Vessels 2

Polymer Clay Gallery

For a larger picture and more information, click the thumbnails.

Flame Vessel

Dimensions: Height=3"

This bowl was made for a "Polymer Clay Central" contest with the theme of Fire. It is a light bulb vessel, which means that the clay was formed over a lightbulb, baked and then the glass was broken out, leaving only the clay shell.

I started out by making a Skinner blend of black to gold to copper to black. I used the Premo metallics to get the full effect of the mica particles. I took slices of the blended clay and distorted and shaped them to make them look like flames. I laid these onto the black clay background layer on the lightbulb and used a brayer to smooth it. I shaped the top edge of the vessel to make it look like the tops of flames.

Once it was baked, I wet sanded the bowl from 320 grit until 2000 until it was very very smooth. (I also managed to sand my thumbnail almost all of the way through before I noticed it - OUCH!) I then buffed the bowl using my bench grinder to give it a high shine. At this point I broke out the lightbulb by carefully squeezing and tapping the bowl inside of a bag. I cleaned out the last few bits of glass with a dental tool and rinsed it out. Then I gave it a few coats of Future floor wax and put the bowl back in the oven for about 10 minutes to set the finish.

Southwest Sunset Votive

Dimensions: Height=3"

This votive was inspired by some postcards of Arizona sunsets. The background is a Skinner blend of translucent yellow to orange to purple. This was then rolled out as a thin sheet (Number 4 on my Atlas pasta machine) and layered over the glass votive. I cut the cactus and coyote shapes out of thicker black clay. Once I placed them on the votive I textured them with a rough piece of sandpaper to give them more of a matte wrought iron look.

When baking glass, it's a good idea to place the piece in a cold oven, let it heat up gradually and then let it cool in the oven once it's cured. This helps prevent cracks from the glass expanding or contracting too fast.

Wild Horses Votive

Dimensions: Height=3"

This votive candle holder has two image tranfers on it. The images were photocopies, colored in with colored pencils. (It's always a good idea to make colors darker than you actually want them since not all of the color transfers.) I tinted some translucent clay with a little bit of white and blue and made a thin Skinner blend between the two colors. I rolled out a thin sheet, laid the images on it, and pressed them down well. After an hour or so, I took the paper off.

I then carefully cut out the image transfers and laid them on the votive. I used pieces from the same sheet to patch around the transfers. Then I carefully painted a thin layer of TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) over the votive. When the votive is baked, the TLS protects the transfers from being rubbed off. I could have used Future after it was baked, instead, but I didn't want a gloss on this piece.

Meadow Animals Votive

Dimensions: Height=3"

This votive candle holder has three animal image tranfers on it. The images were photocopies, colored in with colored pencils. I rolled out a thin sheet of translucent clay, laid the images on it, and pressed them down well. After awhile, I took the paper off and the images were on the clay.

I then carefully cut out the image transfers and laid them on the glass votive. I used pieces from the same sheet to patch around the transfers. Once the candle holder was baked, I used some Future to protect the images from being scratched off during normal use.

Miniature Filigree Egg

This little container is shown next to the stand that it rests on. The dime gives you an idea of how small it is.

Although it's egg shaped, it wasn't formed around an egg. I used the same technique as a rock purse - using a rock as an armature. I used a polished stone so I didn't have to worry about the clay sticking to it and it gave me a regular shape to work with. I completely covered the rock with a layer of black clay, baked it and then while the clay was still warm, cut it around the middle so I could slip the clay shell off the rock. Then I used tiny little strings extruded from my clay gun to make the filigree.

Since the bottom of the rock box was rounded, I made a stand for it to sit in. I textured the stand with rouch sandpaper to give it a matte look and coated the filigree egg with Future for a gloss contrast.

Yellow Rose Box

This is a wooden box that I covered with Sculpey Granitex for a stone look. I coated the wood with Sobo glue first to help the clay adhere better.

When the clay was cured I used green flocking to coat the inside of the box and make it look nicer. (Flocking is that soft fuzzy stuff that you see sometimes on tiny little plastic bear pins - if that makes it any clearer. You coat the surface you want to cover with a type of glue, apply the flocking fibers and let it dry. Then you shake out the extra flocking and you have an almost velvet looking surface.)

Fern Impression Tin

This altoid tin uses a technique from Mike Beussler, where he uses masking and Pearlex mica powder for leaf impressions. Basically I took a sheet of green clay and laid the fern on it, pressing it down well. Then I took an oval template that I had and laid it over the leaf as a stencil. I used pearl Pearlex to fill in the oval shape. Then I removed the template and carefully filled in around the oval with gold Pearlex powder. I shook off any extra Pearlex and then removed the fern, leaving the green impression.

I baked the fern impression and then used it as part of the lid for covering the altoid tin.

Terra Cotta Jar

Dimensions height=2"

I really don't remember how I made the terracotta color. It was some scrap clay that I was working with.. I made the jar using the bubblepot/wish bottle technique which basically involves making a clay bubble of air and then shaping it before reopening the bubble. Once the jar was baked I roughly carved the markings with a linoleum cutter.

(Linoleum cutters are generally used for carving into linoleum blocks to make stamps but the small U and V cutters are perfect for carving clay.)

I made a thin wash of black acrylic paint and made sure I got it into all the carvings. Once it was dry I lightly sanded the jar to take the excess paint off. Then I lightly buffed the surface on a pair of jeans to give it a slight sheen.