Thursday, 24 October 2013

Clay Feathers and Leaves: Part 1

As organised as I have set myself up to be, I am still leaving my bobby pins, earrings and keys anywhere other than the areas I have especially created for them.  To try and have containers/storage bowls/dishes around to change this, I've been looking for pretty, smaller items that are decorative when nothing is in them, but useful to catch and store things I'll otherwise leave in a mess.  I haven't quite been able to find what I am looking for, so bringing back out my trusty air dry clay, I had a go at creating some pretty feather and leaf accessories for Autumn and as an experiment to see if storage being pretty makes any difference to my messy/organised life.  Spoiler: I am not holding my breath. 

What I Used:
Air Dry Clay
Pencil / Pen / Paper / Scissors

To start, I created my own stencils, sketching some shapes using Google images as my reference:
 Tracing over with a black Sharpie, I made templates which I then cut out.  The thick pen stops you from creating a complicated outline, that will be easy to transfer in to clay and cut around.

Rolling out my air dry clay to around 0.5cm thick, I placed one of the templates on top and
traced around the edge with a pencil, running the pencil around the outline through the clay to
make a seamless and smooth cut [protect your surface with a piece of paper or cardboard to
protect if needed, or you will trace an outline of the design to your table top!]:
I then made a few detail impressions, with the pencil, to imprint the feathers:
Using the remainder of my templates, I made a few more clay shapes:

 ...but left the details and kept the finish plain.  To make the feathers and leaves more 'bowl-like'
and curved to catch my earrings, bits and bobs and nic-nacs, I employed the use of a toilet roll,
bead storage and line of corrugated cardboard to help mould a variety of shapes:

To create a little detail, I moulded some of the feather cuts to overlap and moulded edges in to 
waves to make the shapes a little more realistic and create some interest and detail:
Leave to dry for at least 24 hours and if needed, keep an eye on the shapes during the first hours
 or so to check that the clay is drying to the shapes you have moulded.  After this time, the clay
starts to dry and harden, so re-shaping is difficult and can break [I may have found this out the
hard way in a previous project].  Once dry, lift easily to remove from the moulds:
 Part 1, complete.
Next, they need to be sanded and filed to smooth out the edges and then decorated.  I'm not so sure what to do, which is why they are still sitting, unfinished on my coffee table - must and will sort soon.

see you next time x

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