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Well, the deadline for my first polymer clay challenge is today.  The challenge is for the polymer clayers on the Bead and Button Forum.  This months challenge is skinner blend flower surrounded by translucent.  I have made roses and other flowers before using this type of technique.  I decided to try using a single color with white for the skinner blend.  I did two flowers for this challenge and learned a lot.  The first one I did, I forgot to pack translucent around the base of the petals, so it is more of a round flower.  It is the yellow and white flower.  The second one that I did, I packed the petals but when I reduced the cane I lost the round shape so they are triangle petals.  The second cane is the blue and white one.  The third petal in the picture, is actually a petal cane that I made for the cane swap that I am doing in the next couple of months.  It is a skinner blend of pearl and fuschia wrapped in purple.

           challenge1.jpg

Skinner blends, named after Judith Skinner, are usually made from two triangles placed together to make a rectangle.  You then fold them color to color and pass them through the pasta machine anywhere form 20 to 30 times.  Color to color,  say you are using white and red, once you put the two triangles together you fold the sheet in half, keeping the white edge on the same side.  So you have a sheet with red on one side and white on the other.  (It can be confusing!)  As you pass the blend through the pasta machine the colors will blend into the middle to create a blend that goes from white to red with many different shades in the middle.

 You can also do blends with three or more colors.  The trick to doing any skinner blend is to keep the edges the same color when you fold the sheet in half. 

Recently I posted the barrette I made using a faux opal.  I wasn’t very happy with the over all look.  The other day I found something that might “improve” the look.  I found a treatment used in watercolor painting and thought that I would try it.  I also added some varnish.  Here is the finished piece.

faux-opal.jpg

I still need to work on the beveling.

Today I covered my first vase.  I think that if turned out pretty good.  There are flaws in the background that I well improve on with the next vase.  I do like the colors and how it looks.

vase1.jpg This is the “front” view.

vase2.jpg This is one “side”.

vase3.jpgAnd here is another view.  

There are many brands of polymer clay.  Each of them is slightly different from the others.

Sculpey comes in large boxes and used for things that are not going to be handled.  Like houses and scenes for model trains.  It is very brittle when cured.  It can be found online and at many craft stores.

Sculpey III has lots of colors and in easy to work with.  It tends to burn easily if there is a temperature spike in the oven.  It is also very brittle when cured and can break when dropped.  It can be found online and at many craft stores.  Check out http://www.sculpey.com/

Premo Sculpey is good for caning but needs to rest before slicing.  It is slightly flexible when baked which makes it harder to break.  It can be soft and sticky making it harder to work with if you are sculpting.  It can be found online and at many craft stores.  Go to http://www.sculpey.com/ for more infomation.

Fimo Classic and FimoSoft are both very strong when cured.  Fimo Classic is much harder to condition then FimoSoft (or almost any other polymer clay).  The transparent colors look like stain glass and the metallic of the FimoSoft are made with heat resistant glitters.  FimoSoft can be found online and at many craft stores.  Fimo Classic is harder to find in a variety of colors.  Their main site is http://www.eberhardfaber.com/home_eberhardfaber_com.EBERHARDFABER?ActiveID=16811

Kato clay was developed by Donna Kato and is a great clay for all uses.  It cures stronger then the other clays.  It is available online and at a few craft stores.  Check out http://www.katopolyclay.com/index.html for more information.

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