Saturday, February 26, 2011

Surveying the landscape

Finally finished my third Landscape piece. I nearly ruined it because the paler shades of polymer darkened in the multiple curings. The heavy etching was a "what have I got to lose now" thing that I ended up really loving! No failures - only detours. I blended another sheet of polymer with similar coloring to make a second simliar piece.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tried and Tru

After several angst laden discussions with my husband about the chemistry involved with curing polymer clay, he, being a problem solver, took the whole issue under his wing. He purchased this wonderful item and ran a battery of tests with me.

This type of thermometer allows me to see, in real time, the temperature of the interior of the oven, it allows me to set a highest temp. alarm that goes off if the oven runs higher than 290F and it also keeps track of temperature range. I now know that my oven cycles to 312, and then to 294 and then its ready. Once pre-heated, I pop the battery out, and re-set and the temp. so I can keep track of the the actual range while a piece is being cured. My oven has a 14 degree cycle range with my new vent (see below) running. I've also found that keeping a ceramic tile in the oven helps to even out the temperature (without it the cycle range is more like 20 degrees).

Kyle finished installing the vent in the corner of the studio that will house all of the things that need to be vented. Soldering will take place directly under the vent, the oven is obviously in the middle and the pickle pot will be to the right.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


What is the missing element on this Landscape necklace?
Idea one: middle of the road approach, a swirled layer of dark blues, a landmass at the horizon.

Idea two: discordant, craggy layers. Sometimes this kind of thing really works for me.

I think the winner is idea three: minimal. I did some nighttime landscape drawing in charcoal in college and this reminds me of that.

Kyle bought a thermometer with a probe and an alarm and I'll be testing the oven with that today to find out if I am having any temperature spikes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Whoa Nellie!

What on earth happened Saturday? I mean, I know what happened - the polymer clay not only burned it melted! But HOW did this happen?

At the correct time I took these out, held my breath, checked the oven temp. (it was correct), turned off the oven and left the room. Thank God I was running my makeshift vent (fan/open window). But the thermometer saying 278F has me stumped. HOW did this happen? Everything should have been fine!

I started running tests using two thermometers and test curing several pieces from the same black clay. My husband thinks that possibly we had a power surge (we had a lot of ice that day) and the oven spiked. The other theory is that I am overtaxing a $75 oven that is only made to toast a bagel a couple times per week. Either theory is a bit distressing because now I don't trust the oven. If something burns again of course I'll know it but what if the temp. dips too low and I end up with improperly cured pieces? Ugh, more tests.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Up and running

I re-opened my Etsy shop today and have an updated banner and avatar...the look of things to come hopefully.

{Sediment Bracelet}

My hiatus didn't go exactly as planned, probably because my planning wasn't very realistic. Family and household won out many a day. Children don't stay children forever.

Beyond that I cleaned and cleaned and tackled several boring jobs like reorganizing how I keep track of business finances (ok, my husband did that part). I divised a new way to store post earrings. Accordion folded drawing paper and a mini hole punch did the trick (printer paper is too thin and cardstock is too thick). You can stack several and put them in a shallow box or draw.

I've been pretty haphazard about storing finished work up until now. I'd love to hear your creative ideas for storage!

I did manage to get some new pieces started and finished. I hope to complete this Landscape necklace over the weekend.

Thanks for reading!