The Fine Art Air-Dry and Polymer Clay Market Can Be Confusing for the Beginner to Intermediate Artist

What this page is and isn’t about — It’s about fine art air-dry and polymer clays. It’s not about ceramic, cold porcelain, resin clay, epoxy clays, or any kiln-cured products.

This page was written after reading https://www.reviewstream.com/reviews/?p=155083#thoughts-box, which was about Premier clay, which is an artist grade air-dry clay, and the beginner’s needs and understandable confusion.

For jewelry making, Premo!, Fimo Classic, Kato, and Cernit are some of your better choices of oven-cured polymer clays –they’re durable enough and do not have to be sealed unless certain surface treatments (mica powders like Pearl Ex or Perfect Pearls…) require it. See: https://thebluebottletree.com/seal-polymer-clay/

Durability… While people making charms often use various air-dry clays, they usually don’t construct bracelets or rings out of air-dry clays. Jewelry may take much more wear and tear.

Seal it or not? As a rule, air-dry clays generally have to be sealed once dry and finished but oven-cured polymer clays don’t. (Two-part epoxy clays don’t have to be sealed but although they’re often called air-dry, they actually cure by chemical reaction and may even be able to cure under water. They’re not true air-dry clays.)

Cracks in Premier clay.… Cracks don’t mean your air-dry clay is weak. Premier is one of the strongest air-dry clays. Nearly all air-dry clays have some shrinkage and Premier is no exception, although it shrinks less than some air-dry clays. Having a good armature, if armature is necessary, and using minimal amounts of water while sculpting with Premier can decrease the likelihood or severity of cracks. Sometimes cracks happen but they’re easily be repaired with Premier, even if your item dried. See the below video. Cracks may occur if you added too much water while sculpting, used a cardboard armature, used thin clay over a rigid armature (Ostrich legs, for example), let your item dry too quickly, or didn’t support sculpture parts subject to gravity. Don’t dry your Premier clay items under a fan, for example. Do remember to keep unused clay in an air-tight bag and/or container.

For figurative works, Premix, an air-dry clay made by the same company as Premier, is easier to sculpt and blend than Premier. Doll artist Hannie Sarris loved Premix clay. Premier clay may take some different sculpting techniques than what one would be used to with polymer clay and one uses minimal (!) amounts of water are used while sculpting Premier. People working with these air-dry clays might lightly dab their fingers across a wet sponge to keep clay moist enough while sculpting. They may use a mister type of water bottle. Do not use Sculpey Clay Softener or any type of oil to soften, smooth, and blend these air-dry clays — they are hybrid clays and have their own characteristics, sculpting techniques, storage and compatibility considerations. They’re not like the majority of polymer clays that are oven-cured (e.g., Fimo Classic, Fimo Soft, Cernit, Fimo Doll, Premo!). They’re not like most air-dry clays on the market. They are used by a number of very famous art doll artists and others.

So yes, there are indeed air-dry polymer clays — Activa Lumina Translucent Polymer Clay, Staedtler Fimo Air Basic Modeling Clay, and Activa LaDoll Premier clay are examples of air-dry polymer clays. Activa, the company that makes laDoll Premier clay, describes Premier clay as a type of polymer clay on their site. Lumina has long been known to the polymer clay community. Fimo Air Basic is weaker than either of those.

Polymer clays have their own issues — Dirt, lint, hair, compatibility issues, and baking considerations (always monitor your oven with two oven thermometers, not counting the oven’s own temperature reading). If you look at it that way, a few easily repaired cracks in Premier clay items isn’ts a bad deal.

Sculpey Diluent, AKA liquid Sculpey Clay Softener, works with oven-cured polymer clays, specifically, and not with air-dry polymer clays. Here’s the Sculpey Clay Softener Material Safety Data Sheet: https://www.sculpey.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Clay-Softener-SDS-10282015.pdf

In contrast, Makin’s, Hearty, Das, “cold porcelain” clays, Creative Paperclay, Celluclay, and epoxy putties are not polymer clays no matter who describes them as such.

For a whole lot of information on all things polymer and air-dry clay, see:

…Or go to clay manufacturers’ sites and hit their FAQs and MSDS pages. I wish there were sculpting, storage, compatibility, MSDS and other information (to seal or not to seal) with each clay package that one takes home, but that’s sadly not the case.

Advertisements

Karen A. Scofield On “What Makes Me Tick”

Levo App

My Results From the Levo app regarding thinking talents.

image

As you can see, it picks up on my autism-related deficiencies/differences/advantages. My relational quadrant is empty (not in real life), but then the underlying social constructs de rigueur these days overwhelmingly favor charming extroverts, the more gregarious a la neurotypical fashion they are the better. I see it offers are some pointers about things “relational” but ultimately for someone like me, this test may not pick up on social and communication alternatives. Here’s a TED talk that challenges Introverts with a capital “I” being placed at the top of whatever  constructs we can devise without more penetrating examination.

Rethinking Introverts

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3794733

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/top-10-advantages-of-introvert.htmlimage

  • I tend to do my best thinking alone. That is core the body of any Venn diagram about myself).
  • I don’t do well with snap decisions, often go through a vigorous fact checking process, may research a topic north south east and west, and need time to think through pros and cons.
  • I prefer advanced notice about events or needed decisions.
  • I need a good amount of alone time to do my best thinking, stay true to myself, and stay on track.
  • As much as possible, I need to let people know I will get back to them on the topic or decision rather than keep them hanging.

What do I need to work on: I need to devise purposely nurture relationships with “big thinkers.” Spending time with them will nourish and inspire my thinking processes.

Since my relational skills are peculiar or lacking, I do best with other like people, meaning they are rather direct communicators who are or do well with those on the autism range.

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

One Conclusion

It seems I should partner with someone who excels in people, feeling skills and bringing things to action. That sounds like a neurotypical rather than someone who is on the autism range too. Neurotypicals usually shun people like me with a vengeance. What to do? I don’t want a relationship of unequals, so rather than some sort of setup that involves being mentored, I probably would do best in a co-mentoring relationship in which each recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and each other, without the ego trips or superiority complexes and other such baggage. Ideally. If I can’t get that, I can at least use a certified accountant and other specialists to help me get an art career off the ground.

Keeping the above in mind, the below from my about me page may make more sense!

I design and make figurative bead or art dolls, whip together spirit dolls, art journal, do fine art paintings, create mixed media mosaics, and get into some fabric arts!

My blog pages reflect my intense, playful nature that leads me to intermittently research art mediums/techniques N, S, E, W, and outside the box for years on end so that I can readily dip my hands into multiple art mediums and play, sometimes exactingly and sometimes experimentally. To the core, it’s my nature to take things art further and I have no qualms about expanding and correcting my pages as new products or information comes along. Making art stirs up a deep-seated sense of awe, a child’s sense of wonder, a well-seasoned intellectual curiosity, and the sense that creation is a spiritual experience. Ideas for art constantly fly into my head and I keep notes. Days are never long enough.

A little background... Some of my polymer clay beads appear in the book Polymer Artists Showcase, by tejae floyde. My 1st two art dolls were in Kenosha Wisconsin’s Lemon Street Art Gallery, where I was a member from 2005 to 2007. Lovely place. (I had no idea I could sculpt until I was in my mid to late 40s. It turns out that my dominant dominant intelligence is spatial, helpful in more 3D arts.)

Eclectic Focus

Sculpting figurative beads of polymer or earthenware ceramic clay, resin, making my own prototypes and molds, art dolls, spirit dolls, mixed media mosaics, art journaling, water-based painting, and bouts of fabric arts (cotton, Kraft-tex, paper cloth AKA fabric paper).

Communication Style

I’m socially awkward (autistic) and do best with kind but exquisitely forward people who don’t infer or beat around the bush so if you talk with me, just say what you mean/feel yet remain respectful. (Hint: I love pluralism, eclecticism, constructive criticism and civil rights. I’m incredibly tolerant up to the point of intolerance, brainwashing, purposefully burdensome learned helplessness/ignorance, and other stupid toxic people tricks.)

Watermedia Warning: I’m an unabashed Cretacolor, Liquitex, Golden, and Da vinci fluid acrylics fan.

FAVORITES

Favorite Clays:

Ceramic — Earthenware, Raku
Polymer Clay — Cernit, Fimo Doll/Professional, Kato, Pardo, Premo, Sculpey UltraLight for under structures/armature
Air Dry Clay — La doll Premier, Creative PaperClay, Professional Cold Porcelain
Apoxie Sculpt

Favorite Artist Paints:

Winsor & Newton Watercolors
Golden Acrylics — Fluid Acrylics, Heavy Body
Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics
Liquitex — Soft Body, Heavy Body, Spray can), Basics

Favorite Acrylic Craft Paints (Art Journaling):

Delta Ceramcoat
Jo Sonja
SoHo

Favorite Watermedia Pencils and Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, in Order of Preference:

Cretacolor (artist grade) — AquaMonoliths, AquaStics, AquaBricks
Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Artists’ Crayons (not as lightfast as Cretacolor, across the board)
Inktense Pencils (the more lightfast shades)

Note: In any fine art, I only use water-soluble oil products on top of acrylics or watercolors, for final finishing touches, if I use them at all.

Favorite Opaque Markers and Pens for Art Journaling:

Uni Posca Paint Pens (remain water-soluble — judiciously seal with 3 layers spray sealant)
Sakura Gelly Roll Pens (no sealant
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens (permanent, can watercolor and paint over them!)

Favorite Sketching Pencils and Powders:

Cretacolor — Artist sketching pastel pencils, carre hard pastels, sketching leads and holders, sketching powders.
Pitt Pastel pencils
Prismscolor sketching pencils
Unison Soft Pastel Red Earth 10

Favorite Papers:

Canson, Strathmore 400 or 500 series, Canva-Paper, Stonehenge, Fabriano Soft Watercolor Paper, Yupo

Favorite Art Board:

Ampersand (especially their Aquabord)
Fredix Archival Watercolor panels

Favorite Illustration Boards:

Stathmore
Crescent

Favorite Canvas:

Fredrix — Watercolor Canvas and their canvas for acrylics

Favorite Canvas Pads:

Fredrix — Regular and Watercolor
Canva-Paper
Strathmore Acrylic

Favorite Mixed Media Pads:

Canson XL Mix Media (for art journaling)
Stathmore 400 or 500

Favorite Gesso:

Liquitex (not Basics!)
Golden
Winsor & Newton
Martin F. Weber Prima (art journaling and DIY art boards, has a lovely matte eggshell smooth texture)

Favorite Fixatives:

Krylon — Matte Finish, Workable Fixatif, or UV Resistant Clear Matte
Lascaux UV Protect 2 or 3
Blair Very Low Odor Spray Fix
Plaid Patricia Nimrocks Clear Acrylic Sealer Matte (for crafts only)

Favorite Colored Pencils:

I can’t afford those! Nevermind. Sigh.

I did unwittingly get Prismacolor pencils from after their factories moved to Mexico and too many leads fall out of the pencils or break. Grrr.

I’m not so much in love with colored pencils, presently.

Favorite Fabrics:

Quilting cottons
Kraft-tex

Favorite Thread:

Carpet thread
Strong quality cotton threads
Silky threads

Favorite Languages:

English, Estonian, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Punjabi, Spanish, and Italian.

Favorite Cuisines in Order of General Preference:

Punjabi, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Estonian, French, American.

Note that all my work is copyrighted and you may not use it without explicit written permission.