First attempts at scratch foam texture plates

In March, my friend Holly sent me this link to Wanaree Tanner’s blog. I love learning about any technique for creating texture in metal clay and this idea from Wanaree is quick, clean, effective and inexpensive. If you are unfamiliar with her work, take some time to explore her site. You will be blown away by what she makes. I certainly am!

Holly told me not to order any scratch foam myself because she had just ordered more than enough for the two of us, from Dick Blick. We had it on our list of things to try during our one day studio get-together in April, but we ran out of time. She gave me a bunch of the scratch foam sheets to take home. I got around to trying them last week, starting with some simple earring designs. Thanks Holly!

I had my usual “I-can’t-draw-for-beans” paralysis when I tried to think of what to do first with the foam. You literally draw on the stuff with a ball point pen. The indentations will come out as raised patterns when you press metal clay into your foam texture sheet.

I plan to make a whole batch of saucer beads in silver, bronze and copper clay. I’ll be applying patina to the copper after it’s fired. The high spots from this kind of texture will show up really well against the patina background.

I was drawing a blank on ideas for the beads when I started with these earring designs. Probably the best thing I could do for myself, to keep moving forward, would be to make a bunch of large circles in my sketch book, and start making doodles within the circles. Eventually I’ll come up with the design I’m looking for.

15 Comments

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15 responses to “First attempts at scratch foam texture plates

  1. How interesting! I so enjoy the process you use to create your jewelry. And I have to disagree — you can draw! The sketches may be simple but that simplicity is what allows your designs to shine.

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  2. I cannot wait to try this! I was not super impressed with photopolymer plates because I couldn’t get the depth that I wanted. But, this looks like what I had envisioned.
    *love those earrings*

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  3. I love these, too, Barb. I can’t draw, either, but everyone can doodle and doodles look great in silver. I also recently wrote a blog post about my first attempts.

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  4. Oops… I lied. I posted it on my Facebook page

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    • Barb Fernald

      I just checked it out Lisa. Beautiful pieces! And I would say you definitely can draw. Did you do the beads and Baubles show earlier in the month? I’m signed up for fall, but was wondering how it went for people in the spring.

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  5. LeAnn

    Lovely simple straight forward design. Me I love sketching but I can’t seem to get things boiled down well to the essence. You’ve certainly got a knack for it. I can see these in the patinaed copper with those highlighted raised portions.

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    • Barb Fernald

      Really? I would say you are all about the essence! I love the lines of your beads and pendants. Especially the bronze pieces. I’m always amazed that you get so much depth from photo polymer plates. Have you tried the scratch foam yet?

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  6. ah, again we are traveling parallel roads! i used mine for the first time,too…making examples for that workshop i was invited to teach in october (i was invited, but i still have to write a “workshop proposal”…i wanted to have pics of finished lentil beads to include in the proposal). i’m not exactly sure how i feel about the styrofoam printing material…the texture of the styrofoam surface itself is not my favorite, so i’m finding that if draw dense patterns i can sand down the high parts to a nice matt surface and then the low parts i leave really dark with LoS…it definitely has potential, though!

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    • Barb Fernald

      Ooh. I want to see what you’ve done with the foam. I tried some more detailed pieces, ie: reverse lettering and symbols, and when the lines were too close together it didn’t seem to work as well. Then again I was pressing down to make fairly deep impressions. I might look around for a finer point pen and experiment with lighter pressure.
      Parallel lives! Almost as if we just had tea together!

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  7. also…drawing doodles inside circles is great…i do it often for tear-away. you might try this, though…http://www.zentangle.com. i’m not very good at it, but you might be!

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    • Barb Fernald

      Your doodles for tear-away are my inspiration. Thanks for the zentangle link. I always picture myself just doodling away in a sketchbook, at night, but then I open my laptop……..

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  8. I bought some of this a few weeks ago and I still haven’t tried it. I think I will give it a go now.

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