Thursday, March 13, 2014

Susan's March Tip: Discovery comes from the stangest places

Hi there! It is Susan from with a process tip for you. Whenever I make something, especially with a medium I’m learning, I use any excess material to experiment.You may remember Larry the Lobster - an experimental project where I attempted to create texture with a "bead spackle". I wasn't thrilled with the outcome of Larry, mostly because the bead work didn't finish like I wanted it to. 

Lucky for me, I obsessively hold on to scrap material. I had a lot of the "bead spackle" left in the bowl after I had finished working with Larry. I could have scraped it into the trash and moved on, but I’d really miss an opportunity! I thought it would be interesting to see what happened if I let a large brick of it dry. I made a rough heart shape then put it out of the way and forgot about until it had several days to dry. Since I put very little effort into the heart and have no expectations, I can really test the clay’s limits and try anything. Here's what it looked like before I started in on it:

I really though that sanding was my savoir and as soon as I figured out the right method/sandpaper weight, this was going to do exactly what I wanted it to. I was sorely disappointed. When the high grit sandpaper didn't do the trick, I went at it with 100 grit heavy weight sandpaper. Some of the clay did sand away, but not nearly enough to expose the beads.

Here's where something magic happened... I headed to the driveway to try scraping it across the concrete (no, really, I'll try anything at this point). It had some dust in the crevices from attempting to sand it. I figured, who cares if it gets wet, I'll just rinse it off.....

Holy Free-Molies! Water! When they clay was wet, I was able to wipe the top layer away from the beads with a paper towel. In real life these beads catch the light and just sparkle, exactly what I was going for. It's too late for Larry, he has a coat of paint on him that keeps the clay from wiping away quite like the exposed clay here, but I've really learned something!

So what what's the tip?
Experiment! Even experiment with experiments. Take time to just do for the sake of doing. Try crazy things, things people tell you never to do, and things that will make you neighbors wonder what you're up to!


Charmed Confections said...

Hi Susan! When I first saw your beaded heart, it reminded me of my favorite cookies - the frosted animal cookies (pink and white) with beaded sprinkles. YUM! Your sweet, pretty heart looks good enough to eat. I am loving it! LeeAnn

Janine said...

Great discovery! So much creativity seems to emerge from that 'Is it time to bin it?' moment :)