What is Polymer Clay ?

5 January 2021

Find out more about the medium I use to create the sculptures and jewellery in my shop, and get an insight into how they are created.

If you've never heard of polymer clay that's not really surprising. It's a relatively new medium but gaining popularity quickly due to how versatile it is. Got an idea of something to make ? Chances are you can do it with this clay. 

Polymer clay is oven baked to cure it, you can use an ordinary domestic oven, you don't need an expensive kiln or hours firing, most items are fully cured in under an hour. It comes in many varieties, one of the skills I have learned is which clay to use for different projects. Some is very soft and great for the more traditional types of sculpture, while others are firmer and hold their shape better for modelling, for example, the feathers on some of my bird sculptures, or the petals on my sunflower clock.

It comes in many colours, which are also mixable to create new colours, and different effects like translucent, which I use for dragonfly and bee wings, or pearl which I use to create shimmering jewellery. You can add many different mediums to it, like gold and silver leaf, or coloured mica powders, these are wonderful for creating beads for making necklaces and earrings. It can also be coloured using acrylic inks.

Blue Black Silver Polymer Clay Earrings

 

One thing I love to experiment with is creating faux gemstones, you can get the most wonderful effects with a variety of techniques. I have some faux opal jewellery in my shop, created using dichroic film and translucent clay which gives a real depth to the beads. I have also experimented with faux lapis lazuli and agate, and may add some of these to my shop in the future.

Red Kite Wall Sculpture

My other love is sculpture.  There are many different techniques used but I like to make my sculptures by modelling each part in coloured clay, then assembling and baking in the oven. To make the Red Kite above I studied many images of their feathers, and some real feathers I picked up at my local golf course, then made lots of each different type of feather. I created the bird shape from clay then arranged the feathers on it in several stages, baking the sculpture at each stage. I completed it by using artist grade acrylic paint to pick out the details. It's quite a time consuming and delicate process to complete one of these larger pieces.

 

The butterflies, bees and dragonfly are made in a slightly different way, first I draw the wing colours or markings freehand in Photoshop, then print them out before transferring them onto thin sheets of clay which are baked in the oven. Then I cut out the wing shapes, model the body with clay and attach the wings, then bake the whole lot in the oven.

Dragonfly Wall Sculpture in Polymer Clay

I am still finding new and exciting ways to use this clay, it's an ongoing learning experience which I am thoroughly enjoying. One of the most satisfying aspects is having an idea, working out in my head how to put it into practice, then seeing it become something real that has never existed before. So who knows what will turn up in my shop, please check back from time to time to see what my imagination has brought to life.

I hope you enjoyed this small insight into polymer clay and how it's used. You can see more of my larger sculptures in the Gallery, and please have a look at the clocks, wall art and jewellery in my shop.

The British Polymer Clay Guild Featured Artist for January 2020

27 February 2020

Thrilled to be named Featured Artist for January 2020 by The British Polymer Clay Guild

Kingfisher Wall Sculpture

The British Polymer Clay Guild is a national organisation run by and for polymer clay artists. It was formed in 1997 and is a great source of information and friendship for polymer clay artists. It includes among its members artists from the UK and Ireland who work in may different areas, reflecting the versatility of the medium, from jewellery makers, miniaturists, sculptors, doll makers and others. There are professionals, amateurs and hobbyists.

The Guild runs monthly 'play days' around the country. These allow those working in this medium to meet up, exchanging ideas, learning new techniques and generally having fun for a day. I can usually be found at the village hall in Hanslope once a month, where the South Midlands branch has their monthly play day. I have learned so much from these sessions, especially from Fiona Abel-Smith who is an amazing artist, both as a painter and in polymer clay, she gives demonstrations and has many You Tube videos, well worth looking up to see some of the things she can do with this medium. You can find out more about the Guild here

So I was especially pleased to be named by the Guild as Featured Artist for January. I met Lisa, who is the president of the Guild, on the stand of the Craft Show at the NEC last November, when they showed some of my work. The stand is all about letting people know of this versatile medium and what can be done with it. 

The Guild's newsletter for January is here

You can see more of my polymer clay sculptures work in the Gallery

 

 

 

About Joy Gregory Creative Studio

12 November 2019

All my life I have been driven to be creative, I am recently retired but my career was in IT, as a programmer, project manager and lastly running my own web design company, all quite stressful and I found the best way to relieve the stress was to lose myself in creating. I had a particular fondness for painting nudes and was part of the "Starkers" exhibition at a Harrogate gallery.

Oil Painting Woman Warm Light

Retirement from the crazy world of IT was going to give me loads of time to really indulge my creative side, but a new project with my husband took over - we bought a bungalow in a lovely village - which needed some serious renovation - as in completely strip and totally remodel inside and out. However it did give me the opportunity to let my love of colour and design free, I did get some strange looks when we started painting but now it's finished those same people admit it works well and looks beautiful !

I made sure we included a studio/workshop, something I've never had before. I have room for all the different arts and crafts I can now find time for. I made several paintings for our new home, we have red kites that fly over the garden, so of course I had to paint them.

Around this time I discovered polymer clay and what a wonderfully versatile medium it is, I had been to several 'play days' with the South Midlands Polymer Clay Group where I learned some techniques for using it and decided to make wall sculptures, starting with the red kite shown below.

Red Kites Painting and sculpture

I was really pleased to be asked by the group to use some of my bird sculptures on the Guild stand at the Craft Show at the NEC recently.

British Polymer Clay Guild

Polymer clay is so versatile, I am constantly thinking up new ways to use it, from larger sculptures, clocks, butterflies to smaller jewellery items like brooches. I am also working on a new range of necklaces and earrings that will be in my shop very soon.   

Everything in my shop is designed and hand made just by me, I hope you enjoy looking at them. If you have any questions please get in touch and I'll do my best to answer. I will be adding another blog soon with information on polymer clay and how I use it.