Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Play Break to Repurpose

I've been busily reorganizing my studio spaces over the past week.  I'm not yet finished, but the end is in sight, only a day or two more....  I took a break from my organization project to create a piece for my guild challenge.  The PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Guild of Etsy) challenge theme for the month of February 2014 is wall hangings.  I had a completely different idea in mind for this challenge, but the presence of something that needed to be used sparked this project.

I had been asked by a friend to make another one of my turtle island pieces, which I began a few months ago.  I had stretched the canvas on my frame and coated it with liquid polymer, but when I cured that layer the center caved in and there was a lot of slack in the canvas, which for a "quilled" polymer look would not work.  The quilled project really needs to start with a taut canvas surface, because of how many layers of clay are concentrated in one layer creating a lot of weight.  Here's a photo of what went wrong with the canvas:

I've been so busy with my studio reorganize that I had pushed myself to the last day before the challenge deadline and realized that my original plan for this challenge would not have enough time to come together (I'll have to revisit that particular idea another time).  About a year or more ago, I had an idea to try a two layer sandwich of polymer then make certain shape partial cuts to fold back and allow the folds and the color contrast to create the design, so I decided to try this on my saggy  canvas.  At first I was going to cut away the canvas, but quickly realized that I could incorporate it into the design, thus giving more stability to my project.  So I covered the canvas again with liquid polymer, but this time I mixed it with some gold mica.  I made a swirl pattern radiating out from the center.  Some gold glitter scattered on top of the lpc layer added just a bit of shimmer.  I then made two large sheets of polymer (the circle is about 12" to 14" in diameter); one was a skinner blend that radiated from gold in the center to bronze on the outer areas and the top sheet was a blend of blue granite (has silver glitter flecks) mixed with blue pearl, cobalt blue and translucent.

After cutting the shapes and mounting the large polymer sheets to the canvas, I was ready to make the folds to reveal the design.  Some bonding agent, with the help of a few embossed dots as design elements, helped to secure the sheets to the canvas.  Here are some side view shots of the piece, so you can see the folded over elements:

And here are some close up shots:

While I'm fairly happy with my idea becoming a reality in this piece, this project was simply too rushed for me.  I think this design idea has some great potential and I do plan to revisit this idea another day when I can devote more time and effort to the construction.  Plus, (as always seems to happen) I have a whole other tangent of new ideas to implement in the next, or perhaps the 3rd iteration! ;) Please take a moment and let me know what you think about this piece in the comments!

Voting for this challenge will begin on February 1st and will run through February 7th (midnight EST).  I'll try to remember to repost a voting reminder at that time.  A post with my new studio changes is coming soon! 


  1. Wow! Beth even on a deadline, you still amaze! I love the idea of the piece, I've seen metal decorations with the same and yours is wonderful. I'm curious about the sagging canvas. It makes sense that the weight of the polymer would sag it in the middle. Your Creation piece, was it built the same way? If so, then what prevented the sagging in that one?

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Line! :) The sagging happened before the solid clay was put on. The canvas has to be stretched extra extra tight in order for it not to sag in the oven when the lpc layer is curing. Yes, the Creation piece was also built up on a stretched canvas, and since that clay is so much heavier than this piece (because much more built up over concentrated areas), it needs the most taut canvas possible. Apparently I hadn't stretched this particular canvas as tight as it could/should have been in the beginning phase... the creation piece did sag a bit once all the solid clay was built up on it, but it was taut to begin, so the final sagging was minimal. I knew that with this canvas because it had so much sagging it would be a possible disaster to try to do another creation piece on it, so my friend's project is still waiting for me to tackle it... so little time, need to get busy on that one as soon as my studio is back to complete functionality!


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