|Some of my canes|
Books are my passion – well at least one of my passions. When I saw Donna Kato’s book The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques I just had to have it. In fact, I took it to the hospital when Peter was getting his biopsy and read it cover to cover. It is beautifully illustrated with great explanations and it made me want to try millefiori! Millefiori is one of those words that just feel good in my mouth when I say it.
I tend to jump into new learning experiences with both feet and do a big project rather than starting small and working big. It has always been a problem for me. I did one needlepoint tapestry, drew my own pattern, and 10 years later finished it. Never did another one. My philosophy is: If I still like it after a big project, I’ll keep doing it.
The upcoming Easter holiday gave me the idea to use one of my empty ostrich eggs and cover it with polymer clay canes. I have several of these eggshells as they are one of a very few kind of eggs I can eat. The eggs cost $20 each and one is equal 22 chicken eggs. An empty shell sells for $15 so I’m not wasting any of them!
I learned many things while covering this egg.
- It is helpful to have a guide for patterned canes. I am fascinated with all the patterns.
- Keeping my hands clean is important so that the red clay color does not get into the white clay and make pink
- You can carefully slice a thin sheet and the original color is back again.
- The more you hold the piece and play with it the warmer it gets and the more you can move it. It is also easy to get it out of shape.
- Eggs are not flat and the patterns need to flow in order to cover the egg shape.
- You need to plan ahead…both in the design and how you will cure it.
The highlight of this adventure came when I needed to bake it or cure it. It just fit in my toaster oven that I use for polymer clay. I found pieces of a broken shelf from my kiln that would hold it steady. I slowly heated the small oven and got it to the correct 275 degree and noticed smoke coming out. I unplugged the oven, opened the door and carefully took out the egg. Yes, it burned in one place – rather badly. Too close to the heating element. I probably could have figured that out ahead of time but I had to try.
Next I Googled -how to repair burnt polymer clay- and I found a paragraph about putting a layer over the existing one and curing it again. That’s just what I did. And this time I cured it in the kitchen oven. Yes, I know the fumes are toxic and so I turned the fan on and the timer and left the room for 30 minutes.
It worked beautifully and I just had to share my Easter egg with you!