polymer clay art jewelry and beads

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Polymer Clay

What is polymer clay?

Polymer clay is a low-fire synthetic material with clay-like properties, certified as a non-toxic material by the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI). Properly stored away from sunlight and excessive heat, polymer clay can remain workable for years. Polymer clay is available in a variety of brands, including several specialty clays, and a wide range of colors, which can be mixed together to form other colors. The brands of polymer clay I use are Kato Polyclay, Premo Sculpey, and Pardo Art Clay.

How is polymer clay cured?

Curing polymer clay to harden it is accomplished by baking pieces at a low temperature in a home oven, convection, or toaster oven. After curing, it becomes a hard, durable, and water-resistant material. Polymer clay can be fired multiple times resulting in a more durable piece. 

What is polymer clay “cane work?”

Cane work is a technique used in glassblowing to create intricate designs on blown glass objects. Polymer clay artists have adapted this technique for use with polymer clay. A polymer clay cane consists of rods of two or more colors put together in various ways to create a design or pattern running through the entire length of the cane. When the cane is sliced, each cross-section contains the design or pattern.

What is polymer clay “mokume gane?”

Mokume gane is a metalworking technique originating in Japan. By fusing together thin layers of metal and manipulating these layers, patterns resembling wood are created in the metal. Polymer clay artists have adapted this method by laminating together sheets of polymer clay. The resulting stack of layers is then distorted using various tools. When thin sheets are sliced from the stack, beautiful patterns are revealed. Metal leaf and acrylic paint can also be added between the sheets of clay before laminating to create different effects.


What metals are used to make the jewelry?

Metals used include sterling silver, fine silver, silver-plated pewter or brass, gold-plated brass, copper, stainless steel, pewter, and brass. Findings and metal beads are lead- and nickel-free.

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