Polymer clay and collage -- taking advantage of a myriad of polymer clay techniques
One of the most exciting aspects of polymer clay is its ability to marry well with many other media and techniques. Initially polymer clay enthusiasts worked primarily in the world of miniature. As time passed interest extended to imitative techniques. Polymer clay artists discovered the means to recreate Italian millefiore glass, ivory, jade, dichroic glass, and metallics. Polymer clay art manifested as beads, sculpture, vessels, buttons, and jewelry. More recently artists are beginning to delve into the world of paper arts, bookmaking and collage. The accessibility of polymer clay makes it well suited to these media. Artists can take advantage of time honored paper arts techniques and adapt polymer clay to create new collage elements.
These polymer clay frames take advantage of a variety of techniques to achieve their look. First, natural colors based on the imitative amber, jade, and ivory techniques of Tory Hughes are mixed with translucent clays for the base layer of color and support. A variety of impressions are made with texturing tools. These tools may include found objects, beads, pointers, mesh, texturing plates and rubber stamps. Inlay of gold or silver leafed polymer clay elements, millefiore flower canework or geometrics may be added. Rubbing alcohol is used to transfer images from photocopies or laser prints to the clay. More layers of paper, found elements and polymer clay are added to create depth and visual interest. Even natural materials such as petals and leaves may be layered onto the support and adhered with a layer of liquid polymer clay. When the collage is complete the entire frame is baked. Post-baking treatments include sanding with a series of fine grade sandpaper and painting with acrylics for an aged effect. Finally the pieces are buffed to a high sheen.
The collage of techniques used here can be adapted to other applications such as beads, vessels, boxes, book covers.
Gerri Newfry February 2001
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