Hard to believe that it’s been over a month since I’ve posted. I usually get a bad case of the ‘winter blahs’ in January and February, but this year is even worse. The news headlines have all been relentlessly depressing, and it’s almost impossible to escape from them. Just turn on the TV, glance at a newspaper, or go on-line and they’re in your face !!! Maybe it’s my imagination, but sometimes it seems that the media is actually enjoying reporting on all the misery. I swear I detect a sadistic gleam in the TV news anchors’ eyes !
Now that I’ve conveniently placed the blame on the news media for my recent lack of productivity, I’m ready to move on in an attempt to get the creative juices flowing again. Last week I treated myself to a macro lens so I could get better closeups of my work, and maybe even get a praying mantis to pose for me ! I bought a Sigma 50mm F 2.8 DG Macro, which was the most affordable option for me at this time. Since there were no praying mantises available, I decided to cover an egg with slices from a cane I had made recently and shoot that instead.
The bullseye and jellyroll canes were based on patterns from Donna Kato’s new book The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques . It never ceases to amaze me how Donna is able to take relatively simple components like a jellyroll cane or Skinner blend sheet and make them into something extraordinary. Perfect execution of technique, fabulous color sense, and her flawless finish work has made her work easy to identify, and almost impossible to equal. As the saying goes “Often imitated, never duplicated” !
Here’s another egg I made using the same color palette:
Once I made these eggs, I was on a ‘roll’, and decided to make 2 more:
Preparing eggs for polymer clay can be a bit labor intensive- holes must be drilled (carefully !) in the top and bottom, the contents blown out (to be saved for an omelette or quiche), the inside washed with soapy water and rinsed, and the shell baked to evaporate any moisture left inside. I bake the shells for about 15 minutes at 275°F. If you prefer, you can let the eggshells air dry, but I would allow at least 24 hours to make sure there is no moisture left inside. Once the baked eggshell has cooled, it is covered with a coating of white glue such as Sobo , and allowed to dry. Then the eggshell is ‘polymer clay ready’. Not everyone agrees that covering the shell with glue is necessary, but I always do it because the clay bonds better, and I think it strengthens the egg, especially around the drilled holes. If you are unfamiliar with preparing eggshells, there is quite a bit of information on-line, such as this site . I am still not very good at blowing out eggs, my failure rate (ie, broken eggs) is about 25% !
In Part 2 of this post, I will show the steps I use to cover an egg with polymer clay. Since I do mainly canework (which should be obvious to anyone who reads this blog, LOL!) I will be covering the egg with cane slices. As far as how to cover the egg, an ‘all over’ or random cane placement is easier than a planned design. For really precise and/or geometric designs, an ‘egg lathe’ is a wonderful tool to have because it allows one to draw accurate ‘guide lines’ on the egg. However, I do not have one, and will, for once, exercise fiscal restraint and resist the temptation to buy one, at least for now. One nice thing about covering eggs is that you don’t need to use a lot of clay. There is quite a bit of sanding involved if you want a smooth finish, but sanding an egg is a lot easier than sanding a small bead, especially if you use a sanding sponge. I use “Rhino USA Washable Sanding Pads” in Medium, Fine, and Ultra Fine grits. They are available from Polymer Clay Express and I love using them on larger flat and curved surfaces such as cabachons, pendants, and, of course, eggs.