Colour, texture and shine
After a lot of time spent faffing about with website pages, lining up my workshop programme for 2016 and running birthday parties, I finally got back to my "studio" (an overly-grand name for a wooden shed) this week.
I've been commissioned to make a textured bangle by a friend, and I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge. Partly because when you start messing about with alcohol inks you never quite know what you're going to end up with (!) and partly because textured clay makes bangle-shaping much more difficult.
The problem is that, as you attach the textured clay to your pre-made base, you have to press down with your fingers to shape it from "2D" strap, to "3D" bangle.
Of course, as you do that, you can't really avoid flattening the texture, too. If you're not careful you end up with a lovely crisp, deep texture in the middle of the bangle, while the edges sort of get smushed into a blur...
The rubber texture sheets that create the pattern in the clay can be a pain too. Some of them (apparently) will fit through the pasta machine, so you just roll the sheet and clay together through the pasta machine and hey presto...
But none of mine do, so I have to resort to putting the clay and the texture sheet together, folding them inside a piece of paper, sliding the lot into a hardback book, and jumping up and down on it for a few minutes. It works, but it's not very elegant. And every so often I forget the paper, and end up with a book with a large slab of clay stuck to one of the pages...!
A better solution - at least for bangles - is to use texture rollers, and Kor rollers are fab for that - really deep and crisp and well-cut patterns. They're expensive £6.50+ each) and a bit difficult to roll evenly, but the patterns are beautiful.
Anyway, here are some of the pieces I made today. The first pic is the bangle cured with the inks in place (and yes, it does look a bit of a mess!) .
This one is just as I'm sanding the top layer of (dyed) clay away to reveal the pattern.
And here's the finished piece... not perfect but I'm definitely improving my technique!