My personal Mike B crusade

A few months back I get a message asking if I could help someone find copies of Mike Buesseler’s old polymer VHS videos. They haven’t been in production for MANY years and have become impossible to find. I have felt for a long time that it was a crime to just let all Mike’s amazing talent and teaching ability fade into the past. The new generation of polymer clay users would never know what they were missing !!!

I sort of took it upon myself to find out who holds the copyright to the videos now. After much Googling and asking around the polymer clay community, it turned out that person was Tory Hughes. 😀 After some emails back and forth, it was decided to take the old videos and create digital copies that could easily be distributed.  Next was trying to find a place to host the videos. I tried a couple file sharing websites, but that was not working. Luckily the IPCA (International Polymer Clay Association) stepped up and was able to use their verified YouTube account to upload the huge video files. They videos are FREE for everyone to enjoy. They will always be free of charge.

Landscape Canes

 

All Polymer Metallic Clay

 

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What Is Mica Shift?

Some examples of Mica Shift. Believe it or not, the surfaces are very smooth 🙂

This first is a faux wood technique using the mica shift effect

These 2 show the mica shift ghost imaging effect


This egg is covered with pinches of mica clay squished over the surface.

An explanation of the mica polymer clay may help you to understand. The metallic polymer clays are jam packed with teeny tiny particles of mica. When you condition the clay (using a pasta machine is the easiest way) and roll it out as a sheet it forces all the mica particles to lay down in the same direction. The sheet of clay will have a consistent color across the surface. When you disturb the surface of the sheet of clay by stamping, carving, combing, etc. the mica particles become misaligned (pointing in many directions). This misalignment of the mica is what we use to create the Mica Shift (some people call it ghost imaging).

I get the best mica shift when I use a stamp or texture with a deep etched design. I then use a sharp clay blade to shave off the raised areas of the clay. It takes a little practice to shave the clay evenly, but don’t fret. You are using one color of clay, so if you don’t like how it turned out just roll the clay into a sheet once more and try again. 🙂 Lastly, after shaving the sheet, run it through the pasta machine on a setting thinner than the sheet to smooth the surface out.

I have a mica shift tutorial online that is beginner level and no stamps are required. http://www.tonjastreasures.com/tutorials/basketweave.html

Great videos to buy or borrow:
1) Mike Buesseler – All-Polymer Metallic Clays (try your local clay guild for a copy, it’s out of print, but very worth the watch)
2) Grant Diffendaffer – ArtWay Studio: Marvelous Mica and Ghost Imaging

And a list of other online tutorials.
http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/ms_texture.html
http://www.everclay.dk/1_Tutlinks/Techniques/micashift_US.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm5V3kglUw0
http://paroledepate.canalblog.com/archives/2007/01/22/index.html
http://www.claylessons.com/tutorial/stamped-mica-shift
http://www.sculpey.com/how-tos/techniques/mica-shift-metallic-and-pearl-clays
http://www.sculpey.com/projects/mica-shift-trinket-box

Educate Yourself With YouTube

YouTube has a wealth of learning right at your fingertips. If you are a visual learner like myself I am sure you will find something there to help you. I have watched so many wonderful tutorials and learned some great techniques for free !!! My thanks to all those fabulous people who make the videos and share them at no charge.

Face Canes

Transfers

Roses

Covering Pens

Sculpting Hands

Making 2-Part Molds

Make a Skinner Blend

Clay Magnet Clasp

Swirl Beads (I couldn’t embed the video, so just click this link)

I could go on forever 🙂 Just search YouTube for Polymer clay and you will get hundreds of hits.

Silk Screened Clay

I used to make and sell screen print stencils. I loved the process of designing them. Now I find that I am now hooked on making clear stamps to use in my scrap mokume gane experiments. 🙂

My dragonfly wings using 2 stencils

I used 2 stencils on these dragonfly wings

Silk screens are very easy to make since a fabulous product hit the market a few years back. It’s called Photo-Ez. You just need a black & white image, sunshine and a few other supplies to make the screens.

You should check out Desiree’s web site for instruction on making and using silk screens. She very kindly created a tutorial that was very helpful when I began using Photo-Ez.
Part 1
Part 2

Three well known polymer clay artists that use screen print stencils and teach classes with stencils are
Seth Savarick
Martha Aleo
and Gwen Gibson, who has a great video called Creations Du Jour 2.

Some Helpful links:
Diane Villano has a nice picture tutorial you might want to check out.

Janice Abarbanel shares a way to make a light table for exposing the stencils.

Lisa Pavelka was on Carol Duvall and made the pretties journal cover. Here are the instructions.

You can see some of my silk screens in action in this Polymer Clay TV Epiosde

If after reading all this great info you have decided you want to try your hand at making silk screen stencils I suggest you buy from one of these two places
EZ Screenprint
Ginny Eckly at PhotoEZ Silk Screen
I have purchased from both places and recommend the sellers.

Button Button Who’s Got The Button?

Button making has become quite popular and polymer clay is the perfect medium for it. Perhaps you make clothing or purses. Think of the custom buttons you could make to really give your work a personal touch. What if you lose a button off your favorite coat? You can make a mold of one of the other buttons and create a replacement.

I’ve been thinking about making button for quite a while. The area I live in is really big on sewing and quilting. I even went so far as to order a gross of plastic glue on button shanks about 2 years ago. 🙂 So now I am thinking it may be time to look into this project again. There is a local craft show just before Mother’s Day and I am thinking of getting a booth.

Inspiration is what I need. Yeah. Inspiration. The first stop on my quest is Sarajane Helm’s web site. She always has helpful info there. And indeed she does.

I also found a video on YouTube

And did you know there is a group on Flickr called Polymer Clay Buttons Galore ?
Here are a couple examples of what you’ll see.

Paula Hewitt has a nice little tutorial on making molds from buttons so you can reproduce the same button multiple times.

If you are looking for more in depth help and you’d like to buy a dvd, try Tory Hughes’ video called Buttons and Embellishments. From description:
“Understand the basic engineering of the polymer button.
Learn specifics of attaching polymer to fabric
Make buttons with varying shapes and surface treatments
Design patterns into clay body
Create buttons using molds and metallic powders
Incorporate yarns and threads”
You can buy it at Pokadot Creations . Lisa, the owner, is one of us 🙂

Color Scale

Maggie Maggio has been kind enough to share her wisdom with the rest of us. 🙂 She has provided both written tutorials and videos to teach us color mixing so we can achieve the color pallets we desire.

This is the first of 3 videos.

The second of the series called Color Scales II

And the third – Color Scales In Triangles

This is where you find the handout sheets for video 3.

Some other helpful links
http://maggiemaggio.com/color/?cat=8
http://www.ezl.com/~limegr/polymer2.html
http://www.ezl.com/~limegr/polymer3.html
http://www.tooaquarius.com/learn/colours/two-methods-for-making-wheels/
http://www.sculpey.com/sculpey401.asp

This last link will take you to this seasons color pallets.
http://www.fashiontrendsetter.com/content/color_trends.html

My Amazon Shop

Purchase your Polymer Clay books from my Amazon.com Associates Shop and save money. If you have Amazon Prime they ship free. http://astore.amazon.com/polcor-20