Friday, July 27, 2012

Using Polymer Clay Scraps and a little about Extruders

The red and light beige finished quilt pattern
What to do with those scraps?  Having been raised in Missouri and having an artist for a mother taught me not to throw away leftovers before I played with them to see what they could become. 
I finally finished the red/light beige quilt pattern I had been working on in polymer clay and after storing the canes, I had scraps. 



For anyone who does not know about polymer clay extruders here is a quick description. 

Makin's Ultimate Extruder
There is a tube with a plunger and on the other end of the tube is a cap where you place a disc with a shape cut out. The clay is pushed through the tube and out the cutout in the disc.  The shapes are then put together to form a pattern called a ‘cane’.   The cane in this case is a square and can be reduced or lengthened to be the size I want.  You can see various sizes in the photos.  The design continues through the entire cane making it possible to slice several pieces.
Extrusions for the quilt pattern and one section of the cane
When the cane is reduced, the ends are cut off and you have some ‘waste’.  When you make uneven slices, you have more waste or scraps.  I decided to see what I could do with those scraps.  Sometimes happy accidents occur and sometimes I just create more scraps.


I took the scraps, made triagles and a center roll and formed a new cane.

This is one end of the new cane after I reduced it unevenly.  The other end of the cane is the 5 pointed flower below.  I can't wait to see what happens when the two very different patterns meet somewhere in the center of the cane!

The front piece is  an attempt at sculpting a flower.  I need more practice!

This became a pin.  I took a slice of the new cane and ran it through the pasta machine.
I ended up with beads and earrings too!


For Polymer Clay Artists interested in problems with Extruders:
You might want to see my last 2 Friday blogs to understand how I got to this state.  I attached the Wullen’s Adapter to my ¼” drill and to the Makin’s Ultimate Extruder.  After using it for several extrusions, it stopped working.  The plunger just would not go forward or backward.   I researched, asked questions and found no suggestions to solve my particular problem. 
I bought another extruder thinking the first one defective.  I also purchased the Makin’s handle that makes turning by hand much easier.  After turning a couple of extrusions by hand, I decided to try the drill again.  This time I used a low rpm ½” drill thinking there were be more torque and it would be easier to push the clay.  It worked until I only had 4 triangle strips left to extrude.  Then it also stopped and would not go forward or backward.  Must be something I don’t understand. 
I called my brother who explained that brass (there is a brass nut in the plunger) seizes with heat.  Perhaps I was getting the extruder too hot.  And I did remember holding the tube thinking it was rather warm.  The fix was to use 3 in 1 oil each side of the brass nut and see if it would release.
One of the Makins extruders released and works.  The other does not.  I’m sending it to my brother to see if he can fix it.    
In the meantime, I bought the Walnut Hollow Extruder and finished my required pieces.  I guess a girl can never have too many extruders!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Using Polymer Clay Scraps and a little about Extruders

The red and light beige finished quilt pattern
What to do with those scraps?  Having been raised in Missouri and having an artist for a mother taught me not to throw away leftovers before I played with them to see what they could become. 
I finally finished the red/light beige quilt pattern I had been working on in polymer clay and after storing the canes, I had scraps. 



For anyone who does not know about polymer clay extruders here is a quick description. 

Makin's Ultimate Extruder
There is a tube with a plunger and on the other end of the tube is a cap where you place a disc with a shape cut out. The clay is pushed through the tube and out the cutout in the disc.  The shapes are then put together to form a pattern called a ‘cane’.   The cane in this case is a square and can be reduced or lengthened to be the size I want.  You can see various sizes in the photos.  The design continues through the entire cane making it possible to slice several pieces.
Extrusions for the quilt pattern and one section of the cane
When the cane is reduced, the ends are cut off and you have some ‘waste’.  When you make uneven slices, you have more waste or scraps.  I decided to see what I could do with those scraps.  Sometimes happy accidents occur and sometimes I just create more scraps.


I took the scraps, made triagles and a center roll and formed a new cane.

This is one end of the new cane after I reduced it unevenly.  The other end of the cane is the 5 pointed flower below.  I can't wait to see what happens when the two very different patterns meet somewhere in the center of the cane!

The front piece is  an attempt at sculpting a flower.  I need more practice!

This became a pin.  I took a slice of the new cane and ran it through the pasta machine.
I ended up with beads and earrings too!


For Polymer Clay Artists interested in problems with Extruders:
You might want to see my last 2 Friday blogs to understand how I got to this state.  I attached the Wullen’s Adapter to my ¼” drill and to the Makin’s Ultimate Extruder.  After using it for several extrusions, it stopped working.  The plunger just would not go forward or backward.   I researched, asked questions and found no suggestions to solve my particular problem. 
I bought another extruder thinking the first one defective.  I also purchased the Makin’s handle that makes turning by hand much easier.  After turning a couple of extrusions by hand, I decided to try the drill again.  This time I used a low rpm ½” drill thinking there were be more torque and it would be easier to push the clay.  It worked until I only had 4 triangle strips left to extrude.  Then it also stopped and would not go forward or backward.  Must be something I don’t understand. 
I called my brother who explained that brass (there is a brass nut in the plunger) seizes with heat.  Perhaps I was getting the extruder too hot.  And I did remember holding the tube thinking it was rather warm.  The fix was to use 3 in 1 oil each side of the brass nut and see if it would release.
One of the Makins extruders released and works.  The other does not.  I’m sending it to my brother to see if he can fix it.    
In the meantime, I bought the Walnut Hollow Extruder and finished my required pieces.  I guess a girl can never have too many extruders!