Monday 25 January 2016

Common or Garden, but mostly Garden

Echinops. . .
Well, as you might have figured, if you were of a mind to ponder these things, I do quite like to try out things I haven't tried before in the area of polymer clay bead making. Not implying that these things are in any way innovative or exciting you understand, just things I personally haven't tried before. Being relatively new to the medium makes it quite easy to find these new things to try. I haven't got even close to exhausting the possibilities of the material yet so I can have a small time, not much effort creative thought, put it into practice and see what happens. All nice and unpressured.

So, I thought about selective texturing, using textures on only part of a bead. Alongside this thought was the knowledge that I had a new texture making tool, or something that can be used as a texture making tool.

You may or may not be a gardener of sorts. If you are, you may know of a plant known by the name of 'Globe Thistle' or by the latin name of 'Echinops'. It's a perennial herbaceous border favourite that stands about four foot high or thereabouts and has rather wonderful round, spiky, ball shaped flowers, or rather multi flower, ball shaped things which must have a technical name, but I don't know what it is. They can be blue or white.

When the autumn comes, and the flowers have gone, the ball shaped multi flower becomes a ball shaped multi seed head, and when the seeds have dispersed, a much smaller, (3/8"-ish)still spiky core remains. That is the thing I had in mind as a texture tool. I have several of them that I snapped off.

What I did was take a bead size ball of Polymer Clay and roll the echinops head around one end to make a textured area. Then I baked it. The bead, not the echinops. . .

The other thing I hadn't done before was selectively paint on Poly clay beads with alcohol inks, or anything else for that matter, so I painted a base layer of red, for the textured area, and yellowy green for the rest. When that had dried, I painted some stripes in yellow, I like the outline that appears when you paint alcohol ink on alcohol ink, and the fact that a new layer of ink tends to replace the previous colour rather than sit on top of it. I thought the result of the texturing and the painting was quite nicely organic looking, like a sort of unthreateningly alien acorn or somesuch.

As you can see below, I made some other ones, using a different texture tool. Those ones look as though they should be edible, like a bizarre sort of canapé or finger food. . .
I drilled a 1mm hole down the length of them, as I thought they looked like something someone might put on the end of a headpin. But whaddoiknow? ;-)

Well, the next step is to stick them up in my shop and see what the reaction is. Since the new year things have been eerily quiet on the selling stuff front. I suspect that it's the after effects of holidays spending and not that everyone hates my work. . . Whichever it is, I am undeterred, and listing stuff every day. Hah!
Jon x


  1. Oooh! The first ones look a bit like acorns! Well done indeed!!

    I just watched a video using alcohol ink and they did some wonderful effects with blending the ink with alcohol. I'm thinking it was isopropyl - it was in Russian so I couldn't tell....but the results were quite unique! Steps were - apply alcohol ink. Apply another layer and then dip a Qtip into alcohol and blend.
    They also used alcohol ink pens which I thought I must get into my studio for some testing and fun!
    Love your results Jon! Btw - sales are nil over here in Canada as well.

    1. Thanks, glad you like them.
      yup, rubbing alcohol/isopropyl would be what was used I guess. Just like water for watercolours, it dilutes alcohol ink. I use it a lot, but not for blending, more for thinning out colours, and for cleaning the brushes with of course.
      cross fingers that Feb is when people start buying stuff again!