• Ruth

Silk screen printing, and silver-polymer experiments


Been experimenting this week with two exciting possibilities - silk screen printing on polymer and how to include and embed silver in polymer.


​I love the colours and pattern of the silk screen printing (and my favourite supplier, Penny at Clayaround.com seems to be stocking an ever increasing number of beautiful screens for use with clay) but I'm still a bit rubbish at working out what to turn them into.

Most of my work involves sanding the finished piece, which obviously doesn't really work with a silk screen technique (you'd just sand the applied heat-set paint straight off!). Perhaps a complex necklace, set of beads or just a very carefully created bangle that doesn't need any sanding!? Any ideas welcome!

I'm really pleased with my first foray into silver-in-polymer. I love silver and I'm getting bettter at silversmithing, but compared to the colours available in polymer, silver seems... well... ever so slightly boring. I've been spending some time on Not on the High Street recently and (from my rather biased viewpoint) there's a hell of a lot of too-shiny, cheaply mass produced silver jewellery on display - especially when as a metal it's pretty cheap right now. The worst thing is that they all look more or less the same - so if you search for 'silver bangle' you end up with pages and pages of identikit metal. Yawn!!

For a while I've been thinking about how to combine the simplicity and timelessness of silver with the colour and vibrancy of polymer and this is the first piece I've ever attempted. Nothing at all complicated - just a slab of slate-grey polymer with some random wiggly silver wires inserted. I laid translucent clay over the top and then cured the lot together, and then sanded away the translucent. I'd have loved to have left the translucent clay there, but I have yet to work out how to get it to be translucent! Lots of people seem to manage it, but I just get an opaque layer with a load of plaques! Using fine silver (99.9% silver) rather than sterling (92.5%) for the lines means that they won't tarnish.


Next steps are going to be creating some earrings using blue-green skinner blend (colour shading from one to the other using Judith Skinner's now-famous technique). I'm then going to bisect the gradual change of colour with silver lines. And I'm going to try pressing the polymer down onto the silver threads rather than pressing the silver into the polymer, as I'm hoping that this will stop the wires gouging holes in the polymer's visible surface.

The pic on the left is of the pendant and the rubber cord that broke in the shower this morning - I am in the middle of a very long and tedious search for a really reliable glue that works with buna / rubber cord AND leather / cotton etc AND will stick polymer to other things without suddenly giving way. Cufflinks are a particular problem. I'm losing patience with superglue, E6000 AND even araldite (which my Dad considered the best glue in the world and used regularly for virtually every application!) Any good advice? Please let me know!


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 Email: ruth@doodlepippin.co.uk