Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Joy of Metal Clay: Butterfly Series - Part 1 Leaves

This week marks the beginning of my summer butterfly series project. This week I am starting with Monarch caterpillar food, the milkweed.

In past posts I have blogged about how to use metal clay paste to coat a leaf. This time I am feeling impatient and don't want to paste layer on layer onto a leaf. Instead I have decided to roll the leaf into the clay. The only problem about this approach is that it is hard to get a smooth tapered edge around the leaf and sometimes you may get a choppy edge if you are not careful

Here is what I do.

I first roll out my clay then, lightly roll the leaf into the clay (see below).

Then I take a pin tool and cut around the leaf (above).

After this first cut (keeping the leaf on) I will smooth down the edges of clay and leaf with my fingers, trying to create more tapering at the edge (this will cause more clay to come out of the edge to the leaf)

I will trim again.

After the second trimming i will check and smooth the edges. After this point I will let the leaf dry. If it is still not tapered I may try and smooth and sand the edge slightly when it is dry or leave it.

One important thing to be cautious about is that when you are rolling your leaf in the clay be sure to make your clay thick enough (this depends on your leaf) so that the central vein does not cut through. The above photo was an attempt to show that if you go too deep you may end up with a weakness at this point.

Here is what I am working on (above), I am using CopprClay which will take a while to dry.

Monarch Update: Our first Monarch emerged from its chrysalis, it was a male monarch. It has been set free to search for a mate. We have two more chrysalis under way and today two eggs hatched from some eggs my youngest collected this week. The nursery continues to grow.

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