24 October 2014

Turquoise clay mosaic

This project was inspired by a couple of postcards that I bought at a museum in Peru, showing beautiful jewellery in gold, turquoise and other stones.

This was a really experimental piece, and, although it's not one of my best, I learned a lot by doing it.
First I got together the polymer clay colours I needed. I used gold clay, and mixtures of green, red and blue with translucent clay. 
I rolled out some gold clay and cut a circle of it, and cut a circle of the pale green mixture which I laid on top. 
I rolled lots of tiny balls of gold clay, painted a line of liquid clay around the circle, and pressed the tiny balls to this. 
I cut a shape from the blue and pink mixtures and placed this on top of the green clay. Unfortunately it turned out looking a bit more like a goat than the bird that I'd intended! 
I used a needle tool to create grooves, then applied some liquid clay and added metal leaf on top.
After baking, I applied antiquing medium then rubbed it off. 
When this had dried, I used a buffing attachment on my Dremel. 
I applied some gold wax to the balls, and gave it a coat of varnish. If I'd been a bit happier with how it turned out, I'd probably have turned it into a brooch. But it has been a great learning experience, and maybe I'll try to make a better version of this sometime!

The lessons I have learned:
1. Make the clay colours paler - translucent clays can go darker when baked.
2. Cut and bake the mosaic pieces individually - they would have looked more realistic.
3. Make a template so that a bird does not turn out looking like a goat!
4. Do not buff metal leaf too hard or it will rub off.
5. Use a gold powder - this would have a stronger colour than the gold wax, I think.

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