Friday, April 15, 2011

Asian Inspired Focals

Japan has been on my mind lately, of course, with the devastating Tsunami destruction all over the news. My heart goes out to the people there who lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods. My creative thoughts naturally turned to Asian themed pieces.

I have had these Newsprint Jasper puff coins for several months but couldn't find a use for them. I love the patterns in natural Jaspers and Agates. Aren't they amazing? I set out to duplicate the Newpsprint Jasper pattern using one of my faux jade color recipes, which matches very well, and these pendants were the result. Not too shabby a match, eh? I've got more of these in different colors planned.

Faux Newsprint Jasper Pendant 3Faux Newsprint Jasper Pendant 2

Faux Newsprint Jasper Asian Calligraphy Pendant Faux Newsprint Jasper and Black Honeycomb Pendant

I had a few scraps left over which I incorporated into a small batch of faux jade clay and made these Cylinder Beads; and continuing the Asian theme, created these Faux Bone Bamboo Textured Cylinder Beads and this Faux Bone Bronze Antiqued Asian Calligraphy Pendant. I believe the top piece of the pendant is a tax stamp or duty seal of some sort. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Faux Jade Asian Calligraphy Cylinder Beads Faux Jade Asian Calligraphy Cylinder Beads

Bamboo Textured Cylinder Focal Beads Bamboo Textured Cylinder Focal Beads

Faux Bone Bronze Antiqued Asian Calligraphy Pendant

All of these pieces, with the exception of the bamboo textured cylinder beads, were sanded through 8 grits of wet-dry sandpaper and buffed with a Dremel. The bamboo beads were treated with Renaissance Wax Polish for a softer finish.

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Alternative To Sanding - Renaissance Wax Micro-Crystalline Polish

Several people have emailed me and asked about the shiny finish on the faux cameos and the red faux cinnebar pieces. Since I am known for sanding and buffing my work, they assumed I sanded and buffed the pieces as I usually do.

I did not sand these pieces, and it almost killed me not to, honestly. Sanding is a cathartic experience for me. I love nothing better than to sit down with a big batch of pendants and beads and a big bowl of warm, soapy water and just whale away on them with my 8 grits of wet-dry sandpaper until they are all perfect. Given the highly etched detail in the latest pieces, I knew I had to find an alternative to sanding to preserve the crisp details.

Some polymer artists seal their work with resin, Future floor polish, or some other kind of glaze or sealant. I don't like the mess or aggravation of having to wait for a liquid finish to set, and those freakin' bubbles drive me nuts. I felt like I was drowning all my hard work, and it really ruined the aesthetics of the piece for me.

These pieces are finished with several coats of Renaissance Wax, a micro-crystalline, fossil-origin wax polish that contains no damaging acids, which was developed by the British Museum to protect its priceless antiques. A very little dab will go a long way, too... a very, very little. A 65ml can will last forever.

There was a bit of a learning curve to begin with, I wasn't gettting the shine I thought I was supposed to get, but I realized you have to let the wax dry for a few minutes, even though the instructions tell you to apply and wipe. I buffed between coats with my Dremel, although you could certainly hand buff as well. The result is a beautiful, soft, lustrous and very durable finish.

It is still not something I would choose to do for every piece, I much prefer sanding and buffing. I have converted many people to sanding, but I realize there are those times when you just can't do it, like with these highly detailed pieces, and I am thrilled there is another solution available.