Friday, 30 April 2010

Everything's Coming Up Roses

I've let my blog slip again! I really must make time to update it regularly.

I've recently started modelling... no not me, ha ha fat chance of that! I've been modelling with Polymer Clay, a medium I first experimented with over 20 years ago, and one of my first ever forays into jewellery making. Since those days , which seem oh so long ago, Polymer Clays have improved tremendously, or at least I think they have.

I used to use Fimo original, which is still available, but I am now trying out Premo by Sculpey. It's a softer formula, so is easier to condition before use. Even so, I do find it hard work on my poor arthritic fingers, so I was really thrilled to get a free pasta machine on my local Freegle (formerly Freecycle) site. It's a really sturdy Italian made one. This has made the job of conditioning and mixing colours a lot easier and quicker. There's a fairly limited palette compared to some of the other types of polymer clay, but they are based on an artist's palette, so colours can be mixed to make an infinite array of colours. As well as being softer it is also very durable after baking, because it is strong but retains flexibility, so is less likely to break as it isn't brittle.

So, what have I been making?

I thought I'd try my hand at flowers, in particular roses. My first couple of attempts weren't very good, but I eventually got the hang of it. I also scorched one by baking too long, something that shouldn't really affect the clay as it can be baked as long as you like, as long as the temperature doesn't go above that recommended, so maybe my oven has hot spots, or hasn't got a reliable temperature. I really need to buy a thermometer so I can be sure the temperature remains stable. But for now I have devised a way of protecting my items by baking them under an upturned cake tin to maintain an even temperature within the covered area, and only baking them for the shortest time. The rose that scorched had taken me ages to get just how I wanted it to look. It was a beautiful shade of violet and although it looks perfectly fine, no burnt bits or anything, it emerged from the oven chocolate brown! I was so disappointed, but maybe I can find a use for it. I believe certain colours are more prone to darkening than others, particularly transclucent and pearl ones.

Here are some pieces I have been making:

Nostalgia - Teal Blue Rose

Lemon Sorbet Rose

Old Gold Rose

Bubblegum Pink Rose

As you can see they all look a little different, that's because they are organic roses! I cut each petal freehand and sculpt each of them as I go along. I'm going to try using a petal cutter to make the petals a more uniform size, as there is a certain symmetry in nature. It will also speed up the process, but after cutting them out I still need to sculpt them, so they will never look identical, which is a good thing. But I actually like my organic roses as they are, so I may continue to do them freehand.


  1. Wow - those roses are gorgeous!

  2. they are beautiful! lovely work. x

  3. WOW! They are so beautiful, well done! I too have used a pasta maker to soften and mix polymer clay: It's great for our poor fingers isn't it? :)

  4. Gorgeous! Can´t decide if I like Nostalgia - Teal Blue Rose or Old Gold Rose best both are fabulous!

  5. those roses are fantastic! good work cham!

  6. Thank you for all your lovely comments! :)