Friday, March 18, 2016

Permission to play: faux stained glass and polymer inlay

March is halfway over - and "eye" have been having a great time with the theme this month!

Notes and sketches in my ever present Moleskine. 
Lindsay really sent me down the research and inspiration rabbit hole. Eyes, hamsa hands, even a relatively obscure goddess Tanit. This was the perfect opportunity to play a little - to experiment with a stencil technique that I wanted to try in polymer.
Original sketch, cutting the stencil, stencil after curing, and final impression. 
The process had me draw and cut out a delicate filigree in polymer. (I think I should have tried a simpler design for my first attempt at this!) The stencil is cured, and sanded perfectly flat - then used to imprint the design in subsequent pieces of polymer. One nice feature to this technique is that it is easily reversible for paired images, or mirror images - say wings or the like. Wings! I need to try that...
The first of the series. 
I wanted to create multiples in order to play with polymer inlay and some faux stained glass ideas. I created a set of hands, maybe 6 in all - in black and other random clay colors that were on my table. The first one was a tried and true method - mica powders in the impressed areas. I cured this halfway and then added a layer of Translucent Liquid Sculpey in the impressed cells of the design. As you can see - this one was colorful! The design was rather clear - it could have used a bit more cleanup of stray sprinkles of mica...
Mica powders and a layer of TLS. 
The TLS is so so thick... So I diluted it for the next batch with clay softener. This time I tinted the "goo" mixture directly using the mica powders again. I wiped them back as best I could before curing - it was NEVER my goal to have to sand a lot afterwards. I am not a fan of sanding.

These came out really well - good opacity to the color and some fun blending where 2 wet areas touched in the blue/black eye below. I would do this again in a heartbeat!
Tinting thinned TLS with mica powders.
I tried a direct inlay of polymer clay... ( Purple and pale blue below). While I like the technique - I would like it better for smaller areas and lines. This was WAY too much sanding - and as you can see its still a bit of a mess. 

The most colorful version was utilizing alcohol ink mixed with my thinned TLS "goo"(top left).
Very colorful on the white; near invisible on the black. I think the transparency of the alcohol ink is good to remember... 

My favorite of the experiments was the final one shown here (bottom right). I used the TLS "goo" tinted with mica powders... the difference being I hit the raised areas with a Sharpie to darken them and boost the contrast. 
Alcohol inks, inlay, and inspiration! 
My inspiration for these experiments and many more was " The Art of Polymer Clay" by Donna Kato. It is a wealth of information and inspiration! Overall I am happy I tried these techniques out in a situation with no pressure - I can see using them more in my work as I continue to experiment with polymer as a sculptural medium. 

I'd love to hear what you think - and hope this eyeful has been interesting... Until the reveal I'm off to the studio... 


  1. Very inventive and cool experiments, Miss Jenny! You know I love the way you think! I just saw a Russian blog where the artist made wings from wire, filled with Liquid Sculpey to dry, then painted over the top with Fantasy Moon and Prisme Pebeo paints. Very cool look! I am experimenting with Prisme now for a show this fall. You might want to give them a try! Enjoy the day! Erin

    1. Erin - I have been eating up your Pebeo pins! Wish we were closer and could have a play date. Those wings sound great!

  2. This eye challenge inspired me to make a hamsa hand doodle with the hamsa prayer - If I am bead making capabilities I would convert it into a bead

  3. This was most interesting. Thank you for sharing. I also sketch out designs using moleskine notebooks. Where did you get your "pen holder"? Did you make it?

    1. Laura - I dont do any functional sewing! It was made by CleverHands on Etsy. And I adore it!!!


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.