Friday, October 22, 2010
Catching Up with Amulets
I've been making totem animals using a faux bone (or maybe it's faux ivory - I'm not sure) polymer clay technique. I've tried faux ivory before but haven't done any in qute a while. Last week some time I followed a link from the IPCA's (International Polymer Clay Association) newsletter to polymer artist Luann Udell's website and was intrigued by her tiny totem animals inspired by her life-long admiration of the Lascaux cave paintings. The article in the newsletter and Luann's response discussed the issue of copying vs. stealing and Luann has some very strong opinions on this subject. She definitely does not want others to copy her pieces that are in a unique and identifiable style that she has worked so long and hard to develop.
Knowing this, I was somewhat reluctant to make animals amulets using the faux ivory technique. But, in my own defense, faux ivory techniques are pretty common knowledge amongst polymer artists (I didn't use hers anyway, but one that I developed from one that I found in a tutorial a couple of years ago), and my animals are definitely my own style and not influenced by the Lascaux paintings or Luann's work.
Almost always in my polymer clay work I finish my pieces with mica powders and get wonderful metallic sheens. But that finish would obviously not be appropriate for faux ivory. So I imitated scrimshaw by varnishing the cured clay, rubbing it with thinned oil paint to push the paint into lines I had incised in the clay before curing it, then wiping most of the paint away.
I really had fun with these pieces and like the results. I have been wearing the otter pretty much constantly since I finished her and had great fun at last weekend's local gem and mineral show shopping for the perfect stone to accent her - a faceted citrine nugget. I made the otter and bear from the same batch of clay then mixed up a new batch for the fox and rabbit. I prefer the slightly darker first batch. But my favorite of these animals is the rabbit. She has such a sweet and playful expression. I messed up the fox when I was finishing it. Apparently I didn't do a very good job with the varnishing and left large patches unvarnished. These unvarnished patches sucked up the oil paint and left stained blotches when I tried to rub the paint away. There was nothing I could do to get rid of these stains. So -- lesson learned!
I'll be making many more of these!
By the way, I prefer Fimo Soft for this type of sculpture work.