Thursday 4 May 2017

Big Beads, Serious Sanding and The Sad Absurdity of Stuffed Animals. . .

Well, I've been keeping half an eye out, in the local charity shops I frequent on a fairly regular basis, for cheap wooden necklaces that I could deconstruct and repurpose the components of. I found a couple of good ones the other week, big wooden beads, some round, some oval, and a bunch of smaller beads for good measure.

So I tried covering them with a layer of polymer clay, then texturing the heck out of them using one of my own design and own manufacture texture sheets. I baked them and unfortunately went a bit nuts with the alcohol inks. Too nuts, even for my high nut tolerance. . . Frankly, they were a mess.

So after a couple of moments reflection I took the JBD nuclear option and sanded the bejazus out of them, turning them back to white, leaving only the deeper grooves to provide a darker relief pattern. They actually came out rather nice. Which goes to show that knowing when to keep going is as important as knowing when to stop ;-)
See? Polymer Clay has important life lessons to impart. .

For the next set of beads I just went with the texture/paint/sand madly process from the get go. They turned out OK too. One to store in the mental technique library.

I also revisited the Kato Clear Liquid Polymer Clay as varnish technique on some simple bicones. There is a cool, simple trick to get a distressed looking surface such as that seen on the beads above, but I'm not going to tell you what it is. . .

I can tell you about the brown ones however, I mixed a small amount of sepia acrylic ink in with the varnish. They didn't come out quite how I wanted but they came out well enough for me to do some more experiments with colouring varnish.

Faux ceramic 'Candlestick' beads. Variation on my 'Pot' beads. . .

Talking of varnish, it makes all the difference to the faux ceramic effect as seen in the so called 'candlestick' beads above. They remind me also of chess pieces. Ooh, polymer clay chess pieces! Must have been done surely. . hmm. . .

Anyway, outside of claying and diy activities, we have been exploring a few bits of our local city, Norwich. 
The Castle Museum is fascinating, and is already providing food for my instagram feed, (see what I did there?) 

Amongst it's treasures is a room or two of stuffed animals.

I find these collections of stuffed animals and birds fascinating. It's an appalled fascination, brought on by the tragic absurdity of these long dead shells of animals, and by the strange thing that happens when you photograph them. Because a photograph freezes motion, and a stuffed animal has been presented in its own eternal frozen moment, a photograph of a stuffed animal has a certain ambiguity to it. In a strange way the photo is more alive than the object, the animal gets given a kind of life by being no different in a photograph than it's living brethren. It is kind of elevated to the same plane somehow, if that makes sense. . . which is where the absurdity comes in, and the surreal humour and tragedy also. . . I could go on, but I don't have time to construct a proper explanation of what I mean but I hope you get the drift ;-)

An empty tiger no longer burning bright. .

This Marmoset (probably) has a kind of decayed vitality, if there is such a thing

Oh yeah, we are down to just one duckling ;-( 
Also, of the three goslings hatched a day or three ago, we have just one, that was with four geese to guard it. . . sigh. . . 
Oh well, I hope they are still around for the next blog post.
Jon x


  1. Noooooo! The baby birds - NO!!!

    Your stuffed tiger looks alive -

    And your sanded beads - wonderful!

    We have suddenly got warm weather here Jon and I spent almost 6 hours working on the yard yesterday and it's affected my ability to be verbose. Just too tired I think. However - loved the post....went Grrrrr over your not telling the secret - :0)

    Could you perhaps go out at night and help guard that baby bird?

  2. Thanks, but sadly all baby birds are no longer around. . . Maybe it was because it got a bit colder, but then it wasn't that cold really. . Such a shame, but life goes on.

  3. Oh no!

    That is sad. They are so sweet when little. Sigh.