Sunday, October 21, 2018

Exciting News! 

I'll be teaching in the 2019 Polymer Clay Adventure virtual retreat. This will be my 5th year! Here's a link where you can see what I'll be teaching (and what all the other wonderful teachers will offer) and sign up for the Adventure.
Polymer Clay Meets Aromatherapy:

Pomander Pendants by the Polymer Chef

Friday, August 31, 2018

 Re-Introducing the Polymer Chef: In Print Again!

It's been w-a-a-y too long since I've posted anything to this blog! I've been busy writing monthly "Polymer Chef "columns for Polymer Clay Universe and weekly "Just for Fun" posts for HOP! Hooked on Polymer. But I have such exciting news to share that I just had to post it here.

The Polymer Chef is going back into print! The Create Along team is launching a new print magazine, Passion for Polymer, and I'll be continuing my polymer recipe column there. Since Polymer Cafe magazine disappeared, I've really been missing having a real hold-it-in-your-hands publication exclusively devoted to polymer clay! If you're as passionate about polymer as I am, this will be a treat for you, too.

To celebrate the upcoming debut of Passion for Polymer, I'd like to share with you a reprise of the first-ever Polymer Chef article. This was published in February 2012. If you enjoy this recipe, you'll love the new recipes in Passion for Polymer, which will include newly-discovered ingredients.

Blue Corn Recipe and Pendant

 Blue Corn is what I call a “fantasy stone” (as opposed to “faux stone”) creation. Fantasy stones aren't intended to resemble any particular existing stone but to suggest what some beautiful unknown gemstone might look like. And, after you concoct the recipes, you can follow step-by-step instructions to make a simple but dramatic pendant from your fantasy-stone clay.

2 oz. translucent polymer clay
1/2 oz. white polymer clay
3 drops alcohol ink, Adirondack Stream (or any similar blue-green alcohol ink)
1/4 tsp. opaque cobalt blue embossing powder
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

1. Roll the white clay at the thickest setting of your pasta machine, and cut out a rectangle 1 in. x 1 1/2 in. (It may be helpful to to place the white clay on a sheet of graph paper to cut the rectangle.) Set aside any remaining white clay for a future project. Roll the rectangle into a ball and press it into a cube.
2. Bake the cube at the clay manufacturer’s recommended curing temperature for 5 minutes. Remove it from the oven; while it’s still warm, grate it with a cheese grater (one used only for clay). Set grated clay aside to cool completely.
3. Roll 2 oz. translucent clay at the thickest setting of pasta machine. Place three drops of alcohol ink on the sheet and allow it to dry. Fold the clay with the ink inside and blend well.
4. Roll the blended clay at a medium setting and spread the embossing powder across the surface. Fold the sheet with the powder inside, and blend thoroughly with pasta machine.
5. Repeat step 3 with poppy seeds and then with parsley flakes.
6. Mix the grated white clay into the “dough,” using the pasta machine as in steps 45. You want the grated clay to be fairly evenly distributed, but avoid overblending. Otherwise, the plasticizer in the uncured clay will soften the semi-cured clay too much and you’ll lose the visual texture of the blend.

Your Blue Corn polymer clay is now ready to be used however your creativity suggests. Cure the final piece(s) at the clay manufacturer’s recommended temperature.

Yield: This recipe will make about 75 12-mm. round beads.
Serving suggestions: You can sculpt this dough or shape it with bead rollers. You can cut it into tiles or create veneers for covering solid objects. Blue Corn combines well with silver, brass, gunmetal, or copper accents and findings.

Blue Corn Pendant

1. Mix Blue Corn clay according to the recipe, and roll it out at the thickest setting on your pasta machine. If you want to make only the pendant and a few accent beads, you can make a half-batch by dividing all the quantities by two.

2. Roll 1 oz. black clay at the medium setting of your pasta machine.
Cut a rectangle of each color 1 1/4 in. x 2 in. Stack the rectangles with the Blue Corn on top. Set aside the remaining black clay to be used in Step 8.

3. Measure 3/4 in. from each corner on one short side, and make a small mark on the edge of the clay. Cut the stacked clay from the left mark to the left corner of the other short side; repeat on the right. With a circle cutter approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter, cut the bottom edge in an arc. This will form the shape of your pendant.

4. Place the cut shape on a quarter-bullnose ceramic tile (available at any home-improvement store), wrapping the narrow end of the clay around the curved edge of the tile as shown at the right.

5. Press another piece of the Blue Corn clay into a flexible face mold. I’ve used one of the Art Doll Faces by Sculpey, but you can use any mold you like. Center the molded face above the curved edge of the pendant, and press it down firmly without distorting the face.

6. Roll the remaining Blue Corn at the thickest setting, and cut 3 strips 1/8 in. wide. Curve the strips, place them above and below the head, and trim them to the width of the pendant, as shown below.

7. Cure the pendant on the bullnose tile at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature. Cool. Sand the back of the pendant to remove the shiny patches caused by having cured the clay on a tile.

8. Cut a piece of SoftGlas tubing or similar (pony bead cord will work) about 3 in. long. Roll the remaining black clay at the medium setting and cut a 3/4-in.-wide strip. Wrap this strip around the middle of the tubing and trim off the excess clay.

9. Attach the clay-covered tube to the underside of the curved edge, as shown at the right , using a small amount of liquid clay or Bake & Bond to make the surfaces adhere well.
10. Place the pendant, black side up, on fiberfill batting, and cure it again. When the pendant is cool, pull the hollow tubing out of the clay channel.

11. Rub or brush the front of your pendant with black acrylic paint and rub off the excess to accentuate the contours of the face and curved lines. If you want your pendant to be shiny, sand the upper surfaces lightly with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper. You may also use a varnish of your choice. Your pendant is now finished and ready to string, wear, and enjoy!