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Polymer Clay Cane Mirror

Artist Teri Byrd transforms polymer clay and a shard of mirror into a whimsical framed mirror.

Materials and Tools:

clean white paper or large index card
oven
1-1/2" 20- to 26-gauge wire
mirror piece or shard
craft knife
pasta machine or rolling tool
tissue blade
needle tool
polymer clay: green, black, white, blue, beige
Pearl Ex Micropearl pigment

Preliminary step:
To create the leaves, condition green, black and white pieces of clay by rolling them separately through a pasta machine about 20 times for each piece or by kneading them with your hands.

Steps:

To create the leaves, condition green, black and white pieces of clay by rolling them separately through a pasta machine about 20 times for each piece or by kneading them with your hands.

1. Roll the green clay sheet into a cylinder about the size of a half a roll of pennies.

2. With the cylinder standing on its end, make three parallel cuts straight down with the tissue blade (figure A).

3. Roll out either black or white clay into a sheet about 1/16 inch thick (as thick as heavy cardboard).

4. Put slices of black clay sheets between the sections of the green cylinder and lightly press the cylinder back together (figure B).

5. With the cylinder back on its end, make one cut straight down diagonally across the previous cuts (figure C).

6. Turn one of the cylinder halves upside down to make symmetrical leaf veins.

7. Sandwich a double layer of the black sheet between the cylinder halves and press it back together again. This is a "cane"(figure D).

8. Roll the cane out like a clay snake to lengthen it.

9. Roll until the cane reaches the diameter of the desired leaf size. Pinch the length of the cane along the top point of the leaf design to make the desired leaf shape (figure E).

10. Repeat the above process with other shades and combinations to make a variety of leaves. Pinch additional canes into longer, thinner leaves than the first cane (figure F).

Mirror

1. Work the clay on clean white paper or an index card.

2. Roll out a sheet of green clay the same thickness as the mirror piece and at least three times bigger in area. Cut the sheet in half.

3. Place mirror on one of the green clay sheets. Cut along the edge of the mirror with a craft knife and remove the clay underneath the piece. Trim the sheet at least 1/2 inch away from the mirror edge. This is the mirror frame. Tip: Vary the frame's width to enhance the frame's shape as desired (figure G).

4. Carefully transfer the frame on top of the other half of the green clay sheet. Gently reinsert the mirror into the frame. Trim the lower, back sheet to match the upper, front frame (figure H). Do not press together yet.

5. Make a wire loop with the ends sticking out like outstretched arms. Sandwich the wire loop between the sheets at the top of the frame. Lightly press together and smooth the edges with fingers (figure I).

6. Slice an assortment of the leaf canes into 1/16-inch slices.

7. Starting at the bottom of the frame, place leaves on the mirror frame. Begin overlapping the leaves with the tips pointing down. Vary the position of successive leaves slightly from one side or the other for a more natural looking placement (figure J). Group matching cane slices in selected areas and mix together in other areas as desired.

8. Make three pea-sized balls with blue clay. Press two of them flat; pinch an inch to create the petal shape. Cut the third in half and again press and pinch to make narrower petals. Score three or four veins on each petal with the needle tool. Bend a larger petal into an arch. This is the top of the flower. Place it on top of the leaves along the bottom of the mirror. Repeat with smaller petals, joining their bases to the base of the top petal. Arch the remaining petal and overlap in on top of the smaller petals. Add an iris beard (flower) to accent the petals. Roll out toothpick size yellow clay snakes, cut four sections about a 1/8 long and place one in the middle of each petal so that they join in the center. Texture the pieces with a needle tool.

9. To make the angel:

  • Make a BB-size ball of beige clay for the torso and press it onto the surface of the mirror glass where two leaves join.
  • For the wings, make two pea-size balls of white clay and press flat and pinch into teardrop shapes. Attach the wings to the torso.
  • For the head, make another BB-size ball of beige clay and place it on top of torso.
  • For arms, make toothpick size beige snake rolls, cut two 2-1/2-inch segments, lightly flatten one end for a hand, and attach to the torso.
  • Add facial details with a needle tool.
  • For hair, make a yellow toothpick size snake, cut two strands and attach to head so they flow.
  • For iridescent wings, gently rub wings with a cotton swab lightly dabbed with Pearl Ex Micropearl pigment (figure K).

10. Once the frame is covered, press gently with palm of hand. Bake in oven at 275 degrees for 45 minutes.

www.knology.net/~claywright

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