Tag Archives: mixed media

The pros and cons of various art clays

The pros and cons become quite apparent as you work with the various clay brands. I’ll put down some insights here since I work a lot with the medium.

I started out with polymer clay, Sculpey III, which I still use a lot. There’s also Super Sculpey, which is a lot stronger than the Sculpey III. It usually comes in 1 lb blocks; I use it for figures and more complicated work.

The plus side of Sculpey is that it stays soft until you bake it, and you can work on it all day or even leave it for another day without worrying that it will dry out. The downside is the need for baking. Not that it’s a big con, but if you’re making sculptures (like I do,) you have to think of the inner armature. You can’t use anything that will melt at 275 degrees. If you do, the clay is likely to crack big time. (Been there, done that.) Also, if you live in a hot climate, the clay gets so soft as you work that you have to keep it in the fridge. When I need a chunk I have to run to the refrigerator– back and forth.

I have also made things out of air-dry clay, but the con is that it breaks pretty easily. I’ve made some spirit doll faces and bowls with it, but no sculptures. I tried the Plus brand from Joann’s, and it’s ok to work with but dries and cracks easily. I cover the item as it dries with a damp paper towel and that seems to help. I’ve also tried DAS, which is similar to Plus, but a step up in quality.

Recently, I took a clay sculpture class with Kathy Lewis, and she uses Jovi clay. I hadn’t even heard of it, but I ordered a block from Amazon. It smells like wet plastic, and it’s smooth to work with, but it tends to crack too, but not as bad as the other air dry clays. I guess practice makes perfect, but I don’t like repairing the figures. It makes me doubt that they are sturdy enough for sale.

I mostly work with Apoxie Sculpt, a super strong epoxy clay. Pros: it’s pretty easy to work with, but it takes practice. I have gone through several 2lb containers, and I’m ordering more! It smoothes easily to make a hard surface. It gives you confidence that the item won’t break easily. You can drill and sand it, and it takes paint well.

Cons: It’s expensive. You have to mix the two-part epoxy clay really well, and it takes a toll on your hands. You only have a couple of hours of work time before it hardens, and you can’t save leftover clay. I make small items with leftovers to add to other projects. I have used Apoxie Sculpt to fix items made with other clays.

Here’s an example of a bunny I rescued. I started out with Jovi clay, and as it dried, the arms fell off and some of the other details. I added epoxy clay arms, fixed the cracks, and enforced the delicate area between the head and ears. Jovi dries white, and the epoxy clay is gray as you can see in the picture below.

I also had a bunch of dry eyeballs made with epoxy clay to use (to prevent any flattening if working with air dry clay.)

Below you can see the finished bunny, all painted and varnished. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s available for purchase in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Here’s a link to Apoxie Sculpt on Amazon. (No affiliate.) You can also order it from the manufacturer: Aves Studio. It’s also available on Dick Blick. It also comes in smaller containers than the 2 lb tubs.

Conclusion: Sculpey is great for smaller items and is great for working details. I always use it for my mosaic tiles. I prefer epoxy clay to air-dry clay due to the cracking and easy breakage, but the preference is of course personal. I’d love to hear what your clay experience is like. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have two classes using polymer clay: a whimsy girl and a mosaic tile box. Check them out.

Lots of love,

Fear of failure

Fear of failure anyone? I have experienced a lot of resistance lately as I’ve been stretching myself to create more complicated sculptures. I have always enjoyed making them, but if I make too many of the same style, I get bored. I have been wanting to make more Santos cage dolls, and I found some interesting “stands/cages” at a thrift store. They were probably part of wall sconces in the past, but I could see their potential.

Possibly a wall sconce in its prior incarnation

I used one of them for the first cage doll. To make them look a bit less modern, I wrapped and glued all the parts with sewing pattern paper.

Anything to make the process easier (than making a cage from scratch.) If you’re handy with wood and nails, go for the traditional cage. There are videos on YouTube.

The hardest part is to visualize the doll on top of the stand. I went for a longer dress but, traditionally, the cage is the “skirt.”

I use epoxy clay (Apoxie Sculpt brand) for these sculptures because it’s very strong.

The resistance/fear shows up questioning if the sculpture will be any good. Will I come up with a design I like? What if I waste all that pricey clay and have to scrap the project?

The doubting imp is always lurking on the outskirts of my mind. I am well-versed in the Fear of Failure! ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s always uncertainty when you start a new project, especially if you have never made it before. They say that fear is the only thing that stops us from moving down untrodden paths. BUT, they also say that if you can visualize the project, it’s already done.

Fear of failure project

The choice is: do I go into the studio and start (or continue what I started?) Or… do I clean the fridge? There are always dirty areas to clean in the home.

The fear wins out often enough, and lately, I’ve had a very clean house, haha.

But, ultimately, the sculpture won’t go away, so I surrender to the process wherever it wants to take me. More often than not, the end result is okay, and if it isn’t, the sculpture can be used in another project. (Hope springs eternal…)

I have many ugly parts that I repurposed or took apart for elements for other projects.

The silver lining is: I learned something during the process that I can apply to future projects.

The more I listen to the urge to create “no matter what”, the more insights and experience I gather, and that’s priceless!

I leave the fridge cleanup for another day. That will always be there, but the exciting inspiration breeze from the muse fades away if I don’t use it.

Fear and resistance will never go away, but we can choose not to listen to them!

Uglee hands

I’m okay with this sculpture, but I need to work on fixing the hands and the hearts. One thing about Apoxie Sculpt, it is super soft when you mix the two parts together. I let it sit for about an hour before I use it, but then you have to work quickly. The good thing is you can build on top of the clay without a problem. I also have to attach another heart, and work on the one that “collapsed.” I will add another heart on top, and no one will be the wiser. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a wonderful, creative week.

Lots of love,

Maria

If you want to learn how to make one of these polymer clay sculptures, visit my Whimsy Girl workshop HERE.

A month of Mixed media madness

A month that flew by and I felt as if I was out of breath at the speed of time! It’s so important to make some art to keep sane. ๐Ÿ™‚ Things have been changing for me. I seem to lean toward sculpting lately. In the past, I worked in my art journal pretty much every day, but I don’t as much now.

I try to go with the flow. Sculpting has been much more of a challenge since I never had any formal training. However, I like to take online courses, so I’ve learned the basics that way. And, there’s always YouTube…

I made this wood and clay mystery bird. I used polymer clay for the body, and I liked the way it came out. I’m going to make more of these kinds of strange figures. ๐Ÿ™‚

A month of mixed media madness

Then I made cats!

A month of mixed media madness
A month of mixed media madness, mermaid cat

The mermaid cat is all fabric that is gessoed and painted, except for the wand and the base. I used a Susan Barmore pattern that I found on etsy, and it came out ok.

So my inspiration has been more with 3D objects than with 2D. I bring out my canvases but the flow has not been there much. I did however make one mixed media piece on a cradled wood panel.

Mixed media madness!

She can’t help having a big nose like that…

It was fun to make.

I haven’t made a video tutorial this month, but I came across Ina Solsbery on YouTube, and her found objects sculptures are awesome. She also makes some art journal spreads. Here’s one made with pretty napkins and paint.

Napkin collage with Ina Solsbery

YouTube and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration. Go there if you want to get ideas.

I made a simple spirit doll using one of my painted clay faces as a focal point a while back. If you missed it, you can check it out: Spirit doll tutorial.

I was looking through my old videos and this totally RAW art journal spread I made in 2015 is an inspiration that you can still make art even if you have no idea where to start. Check it out.

If you missed my last blog post with the Funky Bird tutorial, you can read it HERE.

The holidays are almost here (gasp.) I have lots of cute things in my etsy shop for those looking for a unique gift: Earth and Faery

I wish you loads of inspiration!!

Maria

A month of mixed media madness

Why I love polymer clay

Why I love polymer clay? There are so many reasons, and I will try to mention some here.

Back in the day I read a book by Laurie Mika titled, Mixed Media Mosaics, and I was hooked! I made tray-loads of clay tiles and painted them. I adhered them to any flat surface that would hold them.

That’s how it all started, and then I began making 3D items, and even ventured into some clay jewelry (not many, but fun.)

Now I have branched out from polymer clay to epoxy clay for some items, and I like the challenge of “mastering” a new material.

Polymer clay is such a forgiving and easy-to-work-with material.

All you need is some elbow grease to soften the clay, a few simple tools, and an oven to bake it.

It became a fun challenge to look for things I could imprint on the clay, from vintage buttons to jewelry charms, rubber stamps, and things like bubble wrap and other trash items.

Here are a couple of examples of my recent clay work:

Polymer clay wall art where I used one of my painted faces.
Epoxy clay work, cosplay forest crown
Polymer clay hand sculpted spirit doll faces
Polymer clay faces for sale

I have branched out with my clay faces to include “elementals.” I have a fire elemental at the top of the picture, and also a Frost Queen, which is new to me.

Yesterday I got a wild hair and decided to make a video for my YouTube channel. Octopus eye on a key… hmm, sounds weird right? You can view it here:

Polymer clay octopus with eye on an old key

So I’ve moved from flat surfaces to explore more 3D styles, but mosaics will never get boring to make. Right now, people are into clay faces and making spirit dolls. Everything seems to go in cycles.

If you’re interested in spirit dolls, you can watch my video on how to make one. The link is in my PREVIOUS blog post.

I wish you lots of happy creativity, and if you’re in the market for a quirky gift, please check out my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Love, Maria

Art is a blessing

Art is a blessing in these broken times, and always! I practice making art almost every day, and when Iโ€™m in the flow, all troubled thoughts go away. So I highly recommend art as a form of meditation.

I canโ€™t always settle down, but knowing from experience, I at least try. Sometimes itโ€™s great to get out of the house and see other vistas than the mess in my studio, but I always end up there.

The creativity /art is a red thread that travels through my life, and itโ€™s tied to the timelessness that is LIFE itself. In that I find solace and inspiration.

Do you lack inspiration when the world is dark?

Sometimes I do, but some scrolling through Pinterest gives me new ideas. I can translate ideas into my own style, and itโ€™s both rewarding and frustrating. A new design always has its share of frustration. That is the challenge!

We need a good challenge, often! At least I do.

I have some empty Altoids tins, and Iโ€™ve been making shrines with them in the past. This time I wanted to make a sculpture that could be hung on the wall. I wrapped some epoxy clay around it and made an armature for head and shoulders. It didnโ€™t look like much after the first round of clay, but I had to let it dry 24 hours before I could add another layer.

The second day I added facial features, a โ€œshrineโ€ to nature on her stomach with a nest and a heart, and then hair, which was wrapped around a cardboard form to get the โ€œflip.โ€ Facial features are always a challenge, but I was somewhat pleased with the result. I knew she would look better with paint.

Art doll in clay

That is one thing you can make with an Altoids tin.

I havenโ€™t made that many items this month. I painted some and made a couple of clay โ€œwomenโ€, but that was pretty much it.
I got some art journaling done as well, and hereโ€™s a short video of the spreads. Sometimes weeks go by without art journaling, but I always go back to it. Some kind of addiction, I guess. ๐Ÿ™‚

Iโ€™m always looking for new techniques and materials.

I also made a video tutorial of a spring-like spread from the other day. We already have some spring signs here in Florida. The light is much brighter as well. The migratory birds are starting to return to their northern homes already, for another round of raising families.

There are some new things in my etsy shop that you can check out. Earth and Faery.

I wish you an awesome February! Till then, may you have lots of art inspiration. ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,

Maria

Mixed media with sea-loving flair

Mixed media is one of my go-to modalities when I want to experiment and have some fun in my art journal.

There are so many ways to add mixed media elements to your art, as many as you can imagine! ๐Ÿ™‚

Mixed media is the essence of flexibility.

I made this art journal spread with some sea-loving flair. Mice are on an adventure and a mermaid is sending them some good vibes.

I haven’t been as busy as usual in my studio this month. Times have been kind of crazy, and my thoughts have been scattered a lot.

But I’m ready for Christmas, and there will be mixed media galore in my Etsy shop, but no art journaling there. ๐Ÿ™‚

As you can see, I painted some pictures. I also tried my hand at some polymer clay brooches, which were a lot of fun, and a mermaid pendant. What do you think of these?

I made some more angels since they sell well in my shop.

If you are interested in any of these items, they can be purchased at Earth and Faery. There are about 150 items to choose from. I’m amazed at myself as I keep making stuff. When you’re inspired, everything flows!

If you missed my last post, Altered Pages Just for Fun, here it is. You can watch a three-part video tutorial on how to make altered pages with texture and paint. Then I show how to use them as ornaments and as a journal cover. CHECK IT OUT.

It’s always good to make some art in these crazy times. ๐Ÿ™‚

My aim is to inspire.

Lots of love,

Maria