Tag Archives: alcohol ink

Playing with polymer

After checking out the recent blog of my friend Holly Kellogg, and her reference to the polymer clay work of Katrin Neumaier, I decided to get out some of my own translucent Premo clay from last fall. I also ordered some translucent Pardo clay, inspired by Katrin’s incredible pieces. Holly blogged about some of her trials and errors with the Pardo, so I decided to try alcohol inks for tinting the translucent clay. It had been at least a few months since I worked with polymer clay, so I warmed up by fooling around with some simple beads. It took most of the first day just to condition the different clay colors I wanted to use, including some opaque colors.

I tried covering some mother of pearl beads and some copper beads with the mix of clays.

I can’t say I’m too fond of the “Citrus” ink color. It reminds me of pee. (well, post-vitamin pee maybe)

The lighter green also disappeared when layered over a copper bead. I was happy with some of the beads, so all in all it was a good warm up.

I stopped back into my studio, before bed on Monday, to get a feel for what I would try next. I draped some thin translucent clay over a metal form, to give it an unusual shape, and ended up with a sticky mess. But I also ended up with some midnight inspiration. Though it was really late, I started sketching…

Don’t you love it when you can’t wait to wake up in the morning to get going on a new idea? I filled my day in the studio with systematically mixing alcohol inks with two kinds of translucent clay;  Pardo and Premo. I made similar earring components with embedded copper wire and pieces of silver, brass, and opaque clay. I couldn’t wait to see how they differed when fired. They sure handled differently. Premo is much softer and easier to condition. It looks more translucent in its pre-fired state. Pardo is crumbly and annoying to condition and it is more opaque in its unfired state.

For each earring I rolled the clay to a #3 on my pasta machine.

Before firing:

After firing:

(I quenched all the pieces in ice water, just out of the oven. I tried to get them back into their positions on the tray for reference.)

Holy Pardo Batman! There really is a significant difference between the translucence of the two clays.

This is the first time I have used alcohol ink to tint clay. I was pretty relieved to see the Pepto Bismol pink turn into more of a salmon color, and the blue turn into less of a milky purple.

I learned a few more things from this batch that I will blog about later. I’m headed for bed and a day off-island tomorrow.



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A whole day in the studio!

And no photos to show for it.

Yesterday, I combined different brands and colors of polymer clay together, working with a variety of green colors. I  hoped to get a layering effect with some of the translucent clay.  The colors were darker than I expected after firing. Some of the pieces I expected to be translucent were not.  I used mostly Premo yesterday afternoon, and one of the alcohol inks I used was a citrus green. After I fired those beads, the light green clay looked like pee!  I have forgotten a lot of what I used to know about polymer.

Today, I decided to get a little more organized. I kept the Pardo translucent separate from the Premo translucent. I tinted each one with the same color ink. I made similar earrings to see how the two clays differ. I haven’t fired this batch yet, so I’ll wait to do that tomorrow and take more photos then. One thing I do know, I like the feel of the Premo translucent clay  much better than the Pardo. Pardo was dry and crumbly, and took much longer to condition.

In the meantime, I’ll post some photos of lobster bait at the Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op.

I know. It’s pretty random.

Redfish racks. Yum.

Some bait gets so old, it can’t even be given away!

And some bait gets left behind, unintentionally.



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