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!
Or, more accurately, toadstools. It’s a design I get requests for fairly often and more often since fairy gardens started getting big a few years ago. Finally snuck it in and I think the beads turned out terribly cute.
Last week I made a pile of blends… which turned into a pile of canes fairly quickly and then into these. Well these were the first two trays of beads. There have been many more since but you get the idea. My world is beads. And canes.
I didn’t really want this to be just endless updates on the beads and canes so next week I will aim super hard for some finished pieces with beads or canes or something completely DIFFERENT. I just happen to spend about 80% of my clay time making beads and canes alas.