Friday, July 25, 2014

Rays of Summer

*If you are looking for my Bead Soup reveal, go here

For the month of August, my guild (PCAGOE) challenge theme is home decor.  I had been wanting to do an experiment with polymer by creating lots of negative space (sort-of a lacy polymer if you will).  Having sat on this idea for more than a year, I decided to push my challenge idea to incorporate this feature.  I prefer items for the home to be functional as well as beautiful, which I wanted for this piece as well.  So, my question to myself was, what functional item could incorporate my "lacy polymer" idea?  My mind immediately lighted on the idea of a soap dish because the negative holes between the polymer would allow a bar of soap to dry out and keep the bottom from becoming gooey. 

So, my first challenge was to find a base over which to create the "lacy polymer" part.  Considering that I "can" a lot of food from our garden every summer, I have an abundance of Ball jars.  The ball jars have metal rings which, after a season or two, become spotted with areas of rust around the inside of the ring.  When there's rust on the inside of the ring, they should not be used to seal jars of food.  I have had a bag full of these slightly rusted Ball jar rings waiting to be turned into something else.  If you follow my blog or know me at all, you already know how much I love to upcycle and recycle items that would typically be tossed to the garbage.  So, one of these slightly rusted rings became my base.

I first created the "polymer lace" over the ball ring and cured it.  Next, using Premo white, I added an oval dish, surrounding the circular ring, that I formed over a glass vase.  The piece was cured again.  I then added clay around the entire metal ring and joined it to the oval dish.  After a second curing, I sanded the solid clay parts to smooth out any bumps and fingerprints.  I then extended the radiating design of the center out over the oval part of the dish, these extruded pieces of clay were secured over bonding agent to assure their strength and bond to the dish.  I loved the idea of the center lace design radiating out onto the dish, and this reminded me of a sunflower or summer sun rays.

The outside of the dish was treated to winding extruded strands of polymer and finally a thicker extruded strand was added as a lip to the dish.  After another cure, the entirely white dish was then painted with a mixture of green, yellow and blue liquid Kato polymer, and flecks of copper and antique copper mica were splattered on to add interest and to achieve a glazed ceramic-like finish. 

I used the heat gun to spot cure the lpc and then did one final oven bake to be certain that the liquid polymer was completely cured.  As usual, I'm really happy with my prototype simply because the idea is out of my head and made a reality!  But, I still hope to revisit the idea to refine the process and improve the end result.   What do you think about my little soap dish?  Leave me a comment below!

The voting for this piece will take place from August 1st through midnight on August 7th at the PCAGOE blog.  I'll try to remember to post a reminder when the challenge voting is live...