Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Making the Temperature of your polymer clay studio work FOR you and my newly redesigned Sedona Arizona appliqued Red Rock Disc Earrings

I live in the high desert of Arizona where summers are bikini hot and winters can be down jacket cold. There are also wide daily swings of temperature that can sometimes vary by as much as 30-40 degrees. Over the years I have observed that the temperature of my polymer clay studio directly affects the ease and outcome of various techniques I utilize in making my jewelry and ornaments. Some work best in the brutal cold of the early hours of a winter morning before the house heats up and some work best in the sweltering heat of a mid-afternoon July. Once I became aware of this I realized that I could make the temperature WORK for me and I started to plan my work around the expected temperature, both the swings that occur during the day and those that occur seasonally. 

For instance, I find that polymer clay is much easier to condition and blend when it's very warm, so I make and stockpile my custom blended colors in the summer, saving them in fat plugs very well wrapped in Saran Wrap© Brand plastic wrap and stored inside sealed Tupperware containers. BTW, to answer a question a blog reader here asked, after trying other brands of cling wrap I agree with what I've read over the years, all brands of cling wrap/plastic wrap are not created equal and I don't mind paying a bit more for SaranWrap©. I have some canes of both Kato and Premo that I've saved for numerous years this way that still slice up well. However, there are several variants like the vintage of the particular clay formula, the tightness of the wrap and sealing effectiveness of the storage containers that might affect the results.

In our hot summer months when it's warmer the tendency of the clay towards mushiness makes it a great deal easier on my hands to form the round balls that become the cherries in my Faux Bakelite Cherry Collection jewelry pieces.

My Six Piece Faux Bakelite Cherry Collection available for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy
I find that when I'm making the mold pulls that I use to applique some of my Red Rock Sedona jewelry and ornaments the pieces can be difficult to make in a hot studio because the mold pulls tend to stick in the molds more easily and tend to distort more when removed, so I try to make these pieces when it's cooler.

My Eleven Piece Sedona Red Rock Jewelry and Ornament Collection is available for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy
I've observed that it's easier for me to construct and slice canes when the temperature is cool and dry and try to plan my production schedule accordingly. But, if I have to slice canes when it's warm I chill them in the refrigerator first and then slice them on a self healing mat placed placed over a Blue Ice pack.

I texture the terracotta colored bases of my faux Sedona red rock pieces with coarse sandpaper. They are the perfect choice of a project for the hot summer days because textured pieces are so forgiving of mushiness and fingerprints.