Polymer Clay — To Burn and Crack or Not

My Personal Fears and Work Situation

When I started with polymer clay and figurative sculpting, I immediately had problems with burning (Super Sculpey) and cracking (Sculpey UltraLight) when doing figures. (I didn’t have much of a problem with curing my polymer clay beads.) To be honest, it kind of scared me off from doing art dolls for a while, after I tried Super Sculpey and a full body sculpt (as opposed to assemblage type dolls upon which I affixed polymer clay heads, hands and feet). And I was busy parenting teens or was later taking care of infants. Well, the youngest grandchildren are toddlers now and I can get my grandson, whom I watch the most, to busy himself at the easel with his non-toxic Crayola products while I get some art done. I can get in maybe about 20 minutes at a time that way and then more when he naps. That’s up to 3 hours or more if I really apply myself and there are no other duties that might interfere.

Back to the burning and cracking issue… Even before the sculpting has begun, there’s the research, idea development, tests, planning, safety precautions, setting up a work place, finding and maintaining dedicated tools, networking… Who wants all their effort to get ruined during the curing process? Not me.

My Information-Packed, Fabulous Polymer Clay Troubleshooting and Problem Avoidance Binder

So today I gleaned information about how to avoid cracking and burning, as well as why these things happen, from all over the web, books and that fabulous glassattic site. I condensed it down into a couple of pages and into my Clay Art Dolls binder it went. I love that binder. It’s all organized with a table of contents and tab separators and it’s more thorough than any one source. The research and writing took hours. Problem-solving pages are written in  easily referenced, fleshed out, sweetly succinct outline form.  Bingbadaboom!

Local Doll Clay Shopping

Later in the day, when scouting local stores for doll clay the next town up the road, I stumbled upon a clearance section in Joann Fabrics. Mwhahahahah. They were clearing out the Adirondack inks and Ranger Rick stuff along with those protective work mats that protect your work surfaces from inks, glues, acrylic mediums and polymer clay. I got a few things for a third or a fifth of the normal price. Those are my kind of prices. Yeah.

What I found out as far as polymer doll clays and local stores go, Super Sculpey aside, is that the only local store within 20 miles that sells polymer clay specifically for sculpting art doll dolls is Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby sells Puppen Fimo. (2016 Update: they stopped selling Puppen Fimo). I’m not a huge fan of that store due to their Christian Nation stuff and Wall Builders associations, but then I’m not a huge fan of ordering clay online either.

Creager DVDs

Anyway, while at Joann Fabrics, I got some Super Sculpey and white Premo to mix because that mixture seems to get fewer moonies (white spots that show up after baking) and this is what the Creagers use. I am presently studying art doll creation with the Creager DVDs. Their 3 DVDs are amazing.

Between the Creager’s tips on the DVDs and the information about avoiding cracking and burning I gathered today, I finally feel confident about curing polymer clay doll bodies or parts. I like the combination of informed innovation or experimentation with tried and true methods. — that’s the sweet spot.

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