I’ve kind of resigned myself to the fact that it’s a bead making life right now. Orders are good but it means most of what is cranking out of the Tooaquarius lab are beads.
Did more maple leaves this week – toasted their friends, oops – and little warblers and crimson lentils and a fresh batch of purple pillow beads. The bead boxes and jars, nearly empty after a busy 2014, are filling up nicely again. The boxes of canes no longer look as sadly empty.
A customer ordered baseball beads and little bats. Not my usual flowers and birds but doable. These were a simple cane and the size and hole would be custom. Straightforward order. Of course, there’s a snag in everything.
The white Premo for the baseballs was super fresh. I’ve joked I could cane with butter and I got the chance to test my brag with this pack of white. It wasn’t soft like butter but it was just like Play-Doh: soft, sticky and difficult to keep controlled. I didn’t bother leaching – this was a simple cane and not that big – and powered through but yuck. The rest of the batch I ordered is sitting, packages open, airing a bit. I’d prefer to age it to perfection rather than leach and change the chemical makeup much.
I’m not adverse to soft clay. I cane with Premo and Sculpey 3 every day and, while I used to use Fimo Classic, prefer that. Firm clays do give you great, crisp lines but my canes are not normally large enough to worry about uneven reducing and firm clays are tough on my hands. Line crispness, I’ve found, has more to do with neatness of the design, construction and reduction than the clay consistency alone. I’m sure experience plays a part as well.
Still, this stuff was just soft-yucky.
To get really great results you have to watch the variables of your work. For polymer clayers, the oven you cure in is one of those! I lucked out and there’s a regular old oven to use at work… that needed calibrating. Instead of tucking a few nuggets of pale coloured scrap clay in to test with I put a tray of production beads in. And they ambered.
You can’t really tell ’cause they’re on a yellowish counter but the beads themselves should have a white cast and instead they have a cute, vintage-y tone. This is better than the ones I did in my previous oven which is affectionately named Scorch.
And, because it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow! Heart beads!