Thursday 29 March 2018

The Discomfort Zone, Images and Textures, Free Wire and a long awaited Farewell to The Turquoise Toilet. . .

Well, I've been experimenting again. Tearing myself away from the relatively safe/unadventurous option of making stuff that has proven sales potential, and instead, working on following up a few hunches and seeing what spur of the moment options reveal themselves as ideas develop, or falter. . .

Ironically, I find being in my comfort zone, uncomfortable. ;-) 

So I have been playing with textures again. An aspect of my work that I have neglected somewhat of late. I had also been turning my mind to the idea of beads on the end of longer wire loops, so combining the two things led to the semi circular, embossed beads on various length loops that you can see pictured here.

The texture is made using an Indian, hand carved printing block I picked up for a couple of quid

I had spent some time a few days ago, playing with image transfer ideas, basically, transferring images onto other poly clay shapes. By which I mean doing things like transferring round images onto square bead shapes etc. It worked quite nicely, and I will revisit at some point.

I tried some non distressed looking ones, but distressed looked so much better. And more 'Me'. .

The reason I mention it is that I had often vaguely wondered whether you could transfer an image on top of a texture, in such a way that the image only transfers onto the raised parts of the design.

Well it turns out that you can. You just need to use a bit more water when rubbing the paper off the back of the image, and use a fairly deep, simple texture. A lot of scope for experimentation right there. . .

Image transfer over texture. Plus alcohol inks.

Another subject of my vague wonderings was whether I could combine an image transfer element with a 'turned look' one. Early days but that seems reasonably possible. Wire down the middle is needed to provide strength to the join, but it's looking promising.

A fairly crude, early example

And now, the bit you've all been waiting for, - Free Wire!

I snaffled some cast-off electrical cable from a skip the other day. Wire used for higher voltage stuff like mains wiring is solid copper. It is too thick to be used for ear wires, but is great for loops and such. It isn't coated so it oxidises well. It comes in varying thicknesses too. Just cut the plastic away and there you are. Electricians just throw their off cuts and old wiring away.

I haven't tried using the bunched, very thin wires you get in normal TV etc cables for anything yet, but it may have it's uses. Upcycling rules!

Free electrical wire in action

So that was my concerted bit of experimentation and comfort zone escapology. The trouble is that every discovery sparks a dozen other new possibilities to follow up. Not enough hours in the day, especially when you have serious DIY to do as well. . .

The 1970's turquoise acrylic bath, (complete with crack) and related turquoise sink and toilet, lurking in all its glory in our upstairs bathroom since previous occupants of this house installed it, (in the 1970s I assume) has been retired to the local dump. 
I am busy fitting a new 'traditional' style suite more in keeping with the feel of the house. Much as I appreciate retro style, it has to be said that there is both good and bad retro. A hideous, and frankly, knackered, turquoise retro bathroom doesn't really fit our aesthetic - snobbish, pretentious arty types that we are ;-)

Jon x


  1. I love where your new explorations are taking you! I particularly like the transfer on texture and the turned bead! Great work!

  2. Call me impressed Jon!

    Getting out if your comfort zone is going to give you a new comfort zone.

    Loved looking at your endeavours as I watch another 20cms of snow come down. Hey! We're Lucky! A little farther north they are getting -40c temps...

    Bathroom renos. We just taught ourselves how to do tile work on a new shower. It was a lot of work!

  3. Love this new direction you are experimenting with--keep it up--it's terrific! I only hope that when/if you put some in your Etsy shop, I am able to snag some.

  4. Oh Jon! Have a look at this work done out of liquid polymer!

    I note some 'turned pots' - well - sort of. Not near as nice as yours but interesting nonetheless....

    1. Ah yes, I know her work. She is the expert in handling Pardo translucent, which is allegedly the clearest poly clay. And now I guess she is exploring liquid poly clay. Lovely stuff. I see what you mean about the rolled/turned looking long beads. Great work.