August 30, 2010

Depicting "transition" in polymer clay

You see, Blog, "Transition" is the theme of the August Creativity Challenge from A Creative Dreamer. This month I didn't have any trouble coming up with something, and it worked out well as I felt Magic House was in need of another good scuptural vase for the living room, and the idea I had in mind played perfectly into the transition concept.  Why?  Well, I'll explain as I go.

At about eight inches tall, my so-called "Copper Transition Vessel" is one of the bigger pieces I've done. I worked from a glass jar I set aside some time ago, but needed to change the cylindrical shape into something more organic.  So I added "padding" of crumpled aluminum foil and then covered the whole piece in a smooth piece of foil.  To smooth it out further, I coated it all in a layer of scrap clay.

The living room is mostly in light brown and other neutral shades, so the color that really pops in there is turquoise.  But with the transition theme, I thought about copper and how it oxidizes to that light blue-green color, and that sounded perfect.  (This oxidation process is what? Transition!)

I made the turquoise-colored clay by working from Premo in a tan color; this is the same clay I used for my ill-fated doll (so I have lots of it left), and it has a slight translucence to it.  I blended in blue and olive green clay in small amounts, and stopped mixing just short of an even color.  The resulting clay was very pretty in and of itself.

I used plain copper clay for the copper areas.  I made sheets of clay that blended the blue into the copper, using the popular "Skinner Blend" technique (all polyclayers know that one!).  Note though, Blog, that here is another example, that makes two, of "transition."

I covered the vessel in overlapping pieces of this blended clay.  Then I created surface scuptures that look like flowers or seed pods.  They incorporate all kinds of embellishments like beads, faux gemstones, and copper wire.  Then I used Perfect Pearls paint in coppe to highlight.  Lastly, I applied some metal leaf (gold and copper), particularly inside the "mouth" of the vessel, to make it like the intriguing interior of a flower might appear to a hungry bee.

You see, Blog, making a sort of faux metal is all well and good, but metal is static, and although copper does change with oxidation, other than that it doesn't "transition" much.  On the other hand, living things are always in transition, and making my vessel into an organic design provides a sense of growth, blooming, and development.

So there you have it!  It turned out exactly like I hoped it would.  Nevertheless, Davie had a certain "huh?" reaction.  "It's a wacky shape, kinda like that 'octopus' vase you made before," he said.  The "Octopus vase" is one of my three favorite projects to date, Blog, and not an octopus but another organic piece that happens to have trailing beaded wires at the bottom.  So I took that as a compliment, in a way.

In closing, let us all join in singing "Transition! Transition!" in our best Tevye voices to the tune of "Tradition" from "Fiddler on the Roof."  Something like that.


  1. "Traditon" - now wouldn't that be a great creativity prompt?

    I love the organic transitioning vase.

  2. Thank you, Eileen! And you're right, that would be a really interesting theme.

  3. That is a really rockin vase. Thanks for such detailed description of the process. Well done!! Now we need to see a picture of the octopus vase. :)

  4. Thank you, Sam! And here's a link to a picture of the octopus vase:

  5. I love to read your thought process as you were making this. So lovely and unique.