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April 21, 2011

Today is a small experiment day.

Ever since I began sculpting with polymer clay there have been little pet peeves that get under my skin. Little problems that I haven't been able to solve in a way that satisfies me. Today I'm working on a couple of them.

I'm starting a new Kawaii Shimai, and one thing I hate about making them is the foil in their heads. I don't like making the foil ball because I don't have as much control of the shape as I'd like. And I smooth it hard with a spoon, which works, but the black aluminum gets on my hands and we all know dirt and polymer clay are enemies!

Another thing that bothers me about the aluminum balls is that I don't feel like they really hold on tight inside of the head, and that it seems like the Shimai's heads have to be "tightened" (turned so the wire twists a little more). Which always concerns me, because wire can only turn so many times and then it's broken wire.

So experiment #1 is that I've used a wooden bead as a core, and then covered that with almost 1/2 an inch of super sculpey. You're not supposed to really use it thicker than 1/4 an inch but I'm going to add to the baking time, and not worry about it darkening (since it's inside).

I'm now baking that in the oven at 275 degrees for 40 minutes.

When this comes out, I may need to add yet another layer of Super Sculpey before I start making the face with the Kato clay. My theory is that the polymer clay CAN be thicker than 1/4 inch as long as it's fully baked at each stage. So the second time I go into the oven, the inside core is already cured, so I should only have to worry about the outer core.

**** Do not confuse this experiment with the INCORRECT information that was being spread a few years ago about baking polymer clay in stages and adding up time to equal a total bake. This does NOT work, and many new doll artists were done a disservice by this information, selling dolls that were not baked thoroughly and setting back the progress of our art in the industry years. It's been a long road bringing polymer clay to the level of acceptance as a quality medium. The experiment I am using today is a theory of MORE baking not less. ****

The other part of the experiment, is that when I started out the head armature, I put 4 wires through the bead. Twisting them 2 in the clockwise direction and 2 in the counter-clockwise direction. This is in hopes that the head will stay tight and never feel like it needs turned.

I still concern myself with the wire, because the wire I used is green painted floral wire, and I notices specks of it coming off in my hands as I was adding the Super Sculpey. I'm not sure how I will deal with this issue, except to be very very careful as I sculpt and next time choose a different wire.

And Off we Go!!!

The head armature came out of the oven and I feel that I need to make it even bigger before I consider putting a Shimai face on it. So I've added more Super Sculpty only to the top of the head. Here's a picture of the new layer of clay I'm going to bake.

This to me looks like about 1/4 inch of clay will be added around for the final bake. (don't mind the head in this post....::rolling eyes:: I don't know WHAT I was thinking when I made it.

Back into the oven!

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