I’m feeling very chilled today. After the performance I had yesterday I was determined to avoid planning anything too taxing. I was looking forward to going to an Embroiderers Guild meeting this evening, but without my little micra I’m grounded. Anyway, this is me making the best of it with an early post and then I’m going on one of my long strolls through the lovely Yorkshire countryside.
I started working towards this post three or four days ago. I’d been having another craft supplies reorganisation moment (and there are many) when I came across some air dry modelling clay that I’d bought eons ago.
I bought the air dry modelling clay from Colourcraft. I wanted to use it to make some buttons and small items to use on notebook covers etc, but most of them I never used. I wasn’t really inspired by them when they were finished. So, I needed to find another use for the clay as it was just taking up space. I had no idea what to use if for so I searched google images for inspiration. There were some beautiful air dry clay bowls that really got my mind working overtime. After a few minutes of brain cells firing and popping and clunking and grating, a few ideas connected together and it was time to make a start.
I have collected some beautiful poppy seed heads:
There is something so attractive about them that makes me want to preserve the beauty forever, and to have a constant reminder of how wonderful nature can be. Sometimes I’m drawn to the colour, sometimes it’s the shape, and sometimes it’s the pattern. I’d been playing with the idea of using the top of a seed head as a stamp on paper and then fabric. My little brain had taken me one step further – I wanted to try to use it as a stamp on the air dry modelling clay. First though I had to work out how to make a small dish (working on a very small scale to try out the idea), and how to stamp the design into it without making the clay stick to the work surface. It was easier than I thought.
First of all I rolled the clay into a ball with my hands, then rolled it out on the kitchen work surface with a rolling pin (I tried various glass jars as a rolling pin first but all the ones that were suitable had seams along the sides). Then I randomly pressed the poppy seed head pattern onto the clay:I used a pastry cutter to cut out a circle and gently removed the excess clay:
Then I found that I could use a knife to lift the edge of the circle so that I could turn it over:
I then stamped the pattern onto the back of the circle, just being careful near to the edges so that it didn’t go completely out of shape. Next the circle was gently pressed over a small metal pudding basin:
Then it was just a matter of waiting for the clay to dry, remove it from the pudding bowl and wait for the inside to dry (I left it overnight to make sure).
Next came the magical part; painting the dish. I mixed up some very watery ultramarine blue acrylic paint, making sure that there were no bits left in the mix. Then it was just a matter of loading the brush and gently drawing it over the surface. The interesting thing was the way that the paint moves along the indentations to fill all the cracks, it was lovely to watch (mental note to myself must learn how to do videos). Again it was left to dry and then covered with acrylic wax which was buffed a little when dry. This is the finished dish (there are actually two of these, but both look very similar): OK, so my verdict on this – it could be addictive! These dishes are tiny (meant to hold my very small objects like the odd paper clip, pin, elastic band and any other escapees that flee from my crafting sessions), and, if I’m being honest, they are smaller than I woud like. The bowls are a little mis-shapen, but I can live with mis-shapen hand made objects. The colour is lovely (though I was left wondering about using the green of the poppy seed heads, but I didn’t think it would beat the blue). Overall I love the effect.
Of course I didn’t stop there. The next step was to use a larger circle and a larger bowl. When I draped the clay over the bowl it took on its own shape (there were a few pokes and prods in the right places but it still did it’s own thing):
How on earth woud I achieve a circular bowl shape I wonder? More investigation is required.
After letting the bowl dry overnight I decided to paint it a shade of bluish green. I decided to use pth..thfh..ffhhph…
phthalo green ha! This was the dish covered with watery green acrylic paint:
No. Doesn’t do anything for me. Wrong colour choice, paint not watery enough. Now what? More brain trundling (is that even a word?) and I came up with a number of different options (saving some for another day). This one won:
A few layers of copper acrylic paint were brushed and sponged over the green – no water added, so that the green indentations were still visible.
The technique has a very strange effect. As you move, the colours seem to shift. Also, depending on the lighting, it gives the effect that the indentations are holes – may be worth investigating this with an object’s first layer painted in the colour of the object it is going to be placed on?
Anyway, I’m quite taken with this air dry modelling clay. I have more left and it may be out again very soon. I’m sure there must be a way to make this, as the texture and weight of the dry product seem to be similar to papier mache. The object’s won’t last forever, but they will be fun to have around for a short time. I’m sure they will make nice little gifts too.
The sun is shining, and the gentle breeze is beckoning. Time for walkies!