Thursday, January 19, 2012

Productive Days Off

I've been yearning for some new textures lately and started looking online for some ideas for making my own.  I came across a blog that suggested cutting out paper shapes and gluing them to paper.  So, I did just that. 

This piece was made with two texture plates laid end to end.  The jagged section was the edge of one of the plates.  The polymer was not conditioned completely, leaving the edges jagged.  I really like the look.  I was going for this look with the pieces I did for the FAM (four a month) Challenge, using dry clay.  Now, I don't have to make my clay dry out to accomplish the jagged line.

After drying the paper plates, I rolled the textures through the pasta mill with some "conditioned" polymer clay.  I baked the clay for the prescribed time and temp and let the texture plates cool. 

This was a fun, simple project.  I don't know why I waited so long to try it.  Here are a couple more pics of some of the pieces I created with my homemade texture plates...

I added interest to the piece on the right by piercing five holes in it and weaving a 22 gauge wire in and out of the holes.  I had balled one end of the copper wire with my butane torch before weaving onto the pendant.  Unfortunately, butane doesn't get hot enough to ball a wire that goes through a chunk of metal this size.  The pendant acts as a heat sink, preventing the wire from getting hot enough to ball. 

The solution you ask...  I was given a oxy/propane torch.  Knowing that oxy/propane gets hotter than Butane, I hooked it all up.  My hubbie and I had tried it out last weekend, but I wasn't too excited about it.  It's not really meant for jewelry.  The flame is much too large, but I only needed it to ball a wire.  So, I gave it a whirl.  The smallest I could get the flame once I added the oxy was about 12 inches.  It was like a freaking blow torch, but it did the trick.  The little wire got hot and the pendant did not.  Success felt good - especially since I did it by myself. 

I hate to admit it, but I've been kind of afraid of a mixed fuel torch.  It's been years since I used one - aside from the soldering class last weekend.  When I was twenty I took a jewelry making course.  I enjoyed working with the torch then, but controlling the two gasses made me really nervous.  I am still nervous, but I forced myself today to "get over it."  I actually had a discussion with myself to get over myself.  The 12" flame was a little daunting, but I knew I only needed to use it for a couple of seconds.

I'll have to remember to take a picture of the piece I made when I was 18 to show you.  Someday, I want to finish it.  It' is supposed to be a belt buckle.  Maybe tomorrow...


  1. That is a fantastic tip I may have to try myself, always looking for new and interesting textures. Your pieces are fabulous!

  2. What a great idea! Since I love mixed media so much, this seems like something I'd enjoy trying. Your pieces look fantastic! I especially love the one with wire...and the bottom shield.

    I agree about torches and gasses. I'm the same way - but I'm determined to get over it. Of course so far, I'm only using a baby torch. ;)

  3. Show and tell ladies. I want to see what YOU make. Lela, it really helped taking a class and having an instructor show you how to regulate the gases. It was also nice to try different kinds of torches. I loved the Smith Little Torch. Good luck. I still use my blazer butane torch almost exclusively. It does most of what I need it to.

  4. I’m new to clay and do not use metal clay although i know that is in my future. I wish I understood exactly what you meant by making paper plates...? Would you be so kind as to lead me to the blog where you discovered the technique...I want to learn more. Thanks