Rubber Stamp Carving for Polymer Clay

Oh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I feel like I’m getting sucked in DEEP to something new and delightful :)

I first played with carving designs into some erasers, and of course immediately shoved them onto some scrap clay:

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At the first slice, I was intrigued; at the first impression, I was HOOKED. I think I carved a dozen eraser sides. And then I pulled out the real stamp-carving material, which is some sort of rubber thingy.

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Ohhhh it was fun. So fun. Partway through I stopped even bothering to draw and just did it freehand, until the entire 4×6″ sheet was covered.

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Isn’t it amazing? And I’m not kidding, I was sucked IN – I forgot to eat lunch and I cancelled plans and I spent thirteen hours in the studio last Saturday.

I immediately rolled out some thin, strong, Kato polymer clay and textured it with my new stamp, and cut out some circles (because, simple).

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The feeling of accomplishment at having MY DESIGNS on this clay was visceral. Amazing, amazing feeling.

But oh no, I wasn’t done. I’d come across this “Swellegant” metal/clay patina series and it showed up at my house just in time. I baked the discs plain (new for me!), covered them in the metal-base clay, and began playing with the patinas – which are actual reactions, not paint – and dyes, and even alcohol inks.

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I wasn’t sure when to stop, but I think I got the hang of it eventually. I definitely have a lot of layers on here but I think they came out just fine:

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Good lord but that’s exciting.

I couldn’t help myself. I carved the other one, too. This time I went with a floral/victorian feel, freehand drawn based on a book of designs.

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I already have a third vision in mind, of very thin, fine lines covering the whole sheet. But I’m out of rubber! Back to Michael’s :)

Meanwhile, back to the discs.

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Could you die? The patterns.. the patinas! Here are some of the beautiful patterns I got next to the place on the stamp they came from:

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Finally today, I combined the completed, varnished discs – which are now essentially metal! – with my hand-soldered copper circles, some other hand-patinaed metal, and a lot of wire, and made some actual pendants:

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An amazing weekend. I can now essentially make metal in any shape or size or color I could possibly want. It’s wonderful!

8 Comments

  1. Kat

    Your pieces are awesome. You are an artist of many talents. I am stuck in a ho-hum with my jewelry so looking at what you have done is an inspiration to get back on the horse! I’ve been looking for a new avenue to explore and free-handing my own stamping blocks is an intriguing idea.

  2. These ‘swelegant’ pendants blew me away when I read Sage Bray’s blog today! Gorgeous! I’ve been hesitating about trying Swelegant for some time and have been fooling around on and off – not very successfully – with wire, too. I’m definitely buying your book (wish it came before April), digging out my old carving tools and box of wire. It’s a dull, rainy day here on the west coast, so thanks for the brightening boost and inspiration. P.S. Did you coat the backs of your discs with the patina, too?

  3. Gayle

    Hi Pat, I just noticed a bunch of comments in the queue – I’m bummed I wasn’t notified about them and looking into it.

    THANK YOU for your comments! The Swellegant stuff is super neat. I did NOT do the backs though; it seemed unnecessary for the way I use the pieces.

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