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January 2016 Clay Day

Another fun clay day on January 31st, despite miserable weather, a poorly child and a poorly husband, a flat tyre and Carol being on the other side of the pond!

We had a lot of enthusiastic and friendly new people, and two demos – one on the mica shift technique (with elements of Mokume Gane) and the other on wire-work findings.

There was the usual delicious tray of Weetabix cake, and a show and tell table groaning with amazing creations (including Ruth Cohen’s entire collection of cuff bracelets) and lots of informal advice and suggestions.

My Mica Shift demo showed lots of different ways of approaching a tried and tested technique. We experimented with several varieties of clay, including Premo, Fimo Professional, Fimo soft, and lots of Kato (my personal favourite for anything mica-related). We even had some home-made mica clay!

Lots of great pieces resulted (as well as a fair few “scrunch it up and start again” experiments!). We have decided that A) a deep stamp B) plenty of translucent in the mix and C) a light-ish colour of mica clay are the keys to good results. Darker colours just don’t have the contrast needed to really show up the mica shift well.

Jude did a great demo on making simple wire loops and the more complex wrapped version – really useful for attaching beads, pendants and even stitch markers for those who knit. She also described how to make your own coiled end connectors for cord (see the pic with the jay-cloth!).

She helpfully came up with the idea of doing a “normal size” version of each loop, followed by the “giant” version using a large cardboard tube so that we could all follow the technique.

We also had fun playing with the Oyumaru (a Japanese rubber moulding compound) that everyone received a piece of – this stuff is amazing, you simply drop it in hot water until it is pliable, press it against the texture of your choosing (Ann and Jude have a good line in trainer soles…) and then as it cools it sets in that form and can be used as a ready-made texture sheet. When you get fed up of the texture, you simply reheat it and re-texture with something else. Amazing stuff.

Thanks to Sally Allen for the tip that it can be bought quite cheaply from at the moment - £3.99 for 10 pieces.

The nursery group was packed and went down very well, as usual, while I did an impromptu ‘bangle making’ demo.

And the show and tell table worked really well, with lots of interesting questions and some debate about various ways to achieve the same end. It’s amazing how clever we are when we all put our heads together…!

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