A little while ago, I started experimenting with different types of clay to make flowers to use in my headdresses. I already make simple little roses out of porcelain clay and I use polymer and resin clays as the main ingredients in my Colour Designs range of jewellery but I wanted to have a go at making some more delicate flowers to use. So, armed with a couple of packets of paper clay, I set to work, very messy work I might add, and made a whole load of little flowers.
I’ve never used paper clay before so didn’t really know what to expect but I liked the idea of the off white, matt texture of the dried clay. I like to use different textures in my designs and the subtlest of colours so thought that paper clay sounded interesting. And it was, despite the mess and the whole having-to-wait-two-whole-days for it to dry situation.
The clay itself is funny stuff and quite different to the other clay materials I use. It is quite heavy and cold and I found that I needed to work fairly quickly with it as the moisture starts to dry out of it once exposed to the air – the whole ‘air dry’ thing starts happening quite quickly but you can add a tiny bit of water to it as you work to extend the working time. It was very tricky to roll thin enough for what I wanted as it stuck quite badly to an acrylic roller that I use with polymer clay so I found the most effective ‘thinning out’ method was just to gently flatten and pull it with my fingers. This gave a quite satisfying thin ‘torn paper’ effect which lent itself quite well to becoming flower and petal shapes. I think I’ll definitely persevere with this clay as I really quite like the effect and the texture and it reminded me of having fun at uni with clay which also reminds me, I still have an enormous amount of clay at my mum’s house!
I was aiming to make ranunculus shaped flowers, rose buds and poppies – the poppies were definitely a step too far on my first try! Anyway, here they are after drying for two days – I rolled the flowers onto thin wire and once dry, they were surprisingly strong. Now I just need to find out how they behave when wired into a headpiece (I’ve made my first one) and what reaction they have to water! I don’t really want to paint or varnish them as I’m really liking that flatt, matt, off-white colour. Anyway, here’s the results of my first experiments.