Friday, April 25, 2014

Thinking about Structures - Skeletons in Nature


One of my goals is to use my last container of Hadar’s Steel XT clay!  I want to start on some of the new clay and am determined to use patience as I deplete my stash of the older clay.  Here goes a new project!

Usually I just thumb through my new book Art Forms in Nature book by Ernst Haeckel but for this project I wanted to get serious and really think about the underlying structure or skeleton forms in nature.  Focusing on a couple of pages that reminded me of what sea creatures might look like under their shells, I sketched some ideas, closed the book and started to create.


Mixing Hadar’s clay is so easy – as long as I creep up on the amount of water and not get it too wet - and it has a reasonable working time.  After mixing the steel XT clay it went into the refrigerator as I made the molds for my creation.

Several months ago, this muffin pan, a treasure from a thrift shop, was sawed in half to fit into my convection oven for polymer clay.  It worked great.  Time to use it again.  I formed a half circle with polymer clay for the lower body of my creature and then fashioned the top part using a spoon for a form.  Then I baked the polymer for the creature’s mold. 

POLYMER MOLD FORM

POLYMER MOLD

The steel clay was rolled 4 cards thick and draped over the molds.  It was fun to use my many oval and circle cutters to create the bone like pattern.  I let the clay dry slightly before lifting out the circles.  Now I have accent shapes for something in the future – tiny circles of varying sizes.  I put those back in the steel XT bottle to help me remember what they are.

INSIDE BEFORE FIRING
OUTSIDE BEFORE FIRING

Once everything was dry, I made sure the head and body were solidly connected.  I thought I had everything connected but after firing one of the added circles came off.  It sintered but was not adequately attached. 

NOTE:  Be sure you attach pieces enough with water and paste.  These metal clays need a solid join.

After sanding the edges and attaching the oval for hanging, I fired the piece in coconut carbon over night.  I opened that kiln the next morning before coffee!  There were a couple of slight cracks but nothing major.  In fact, I thought they added to the overall effect.

DETAIL
 After cleaning it and sanding and grinding and sanding and finishing the body, I was happy! The pearls, moonstones and silver bead dangles (reminding me of things in the sea) were added with the bail and then sprayed it with PYMII.   I absolutely love my skeletal artifact! 

BACK SIDE
FINISHED FRONT
  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thinking about Structures - Skeletons in Nature


One of my goals is to use my last container of Hadar’s Steel XT clay!  I want to start on some of the new clay and am determined to use patience as I deplete my stash of the older clay.  Here goes a new project!

Usually I just thumb through my new book Art Forms in Nature book by Ernst Haeckel but for this project I wanted to get serious and really think about the underlying structure or skeleton forms in nature.  Focusing on a couple of pages that reminded me of what sea creatures might look like under their shells, I sketched some ideas, closed the book and started to create.


Mixing Hadar’s clay is so easy – as long as I creep up on the amount of water and not get it too wet - and it has a reasonable working time.  After mixing the steel XT clay it went into the refrigerator as I made the molds for my creation.

Several months ago, this muffin pan, a treasure from a thrift shop, was sawed in half to fit into my convection oven for polymer clay.  It worked great.  Time to use it again.  I formed a half circle with polymer clay for the lower body of my creature and then fashioned the top part using a spoon for a form.  Then I baked the polymer for the creature’s mold. 

POLYMER MOLD FORM

POLYMER MOLD

The steel clay was rolled 4 cards thick and draped over the molds.  It was fun to use my many oval and circle cutters to create the bone like pattern.  I let the clay dry slightly before lifting out the circles.  Now I have accent shapes for something in the future – tiny circles of varying sizes.  I put those back in the steel XT bottle to help me remember what they are.

INSIDE BEFORE FIRING
OUTSIDE BEFORE FIRING

Once everything was dry, I made sure the head and body were solidly connected.  I thought I had everything connected but after firing one of the added circles came off.  It sintered but was not adequately attached. 

NOTE:  Be sure you attach pieces enough with water and paste.  These metal clays need a solid join.

After sanding the edges and attaching the oval for hanging, I fired the piece in coconut carbon over night.  I opened that kiln the next morning before coffee!  There were a couple of slight cracks but nothing major.  In fact, I thought they added to the overall effect.

DETAIL
 After cleaning it and sanding and grinding and sanding and finishing the body, I was happy! The pearls, moonstones and silver bead dangles (reminding me of things in the sea) were added with the bail and then sprayed it with PYMII.   I absolutely love my skeletal artifact! 

BACK SIDE
FINISHED FRONT