June 30, 2010

Clay Herb Markers

You may recall that my newest hobby is polymer clay sculpture. I finally got a chance to make something a few weeks ago. I was inspired by the markers in this blog post. I'm not sure how I came up with the idea of using clay instead of a sharpie, but I'm pleased with my results. I wanted the background to look like a terra cotta pot, so I mixed a couple different colors of clay together. My clay/pasta machine is awesome, by the way. Once I got a color I was pleased with, I cut shapes to fit the spoons. Then, because clay only sticks to clay, I used a special glue to adhere the clay to the spoons. The next thing I did was make the letters. I rolled some black clay into a long, round piece, and pinched off pieces to the length I needed. In order to make the leaves as authentic as possible, I dashed out to my herb garden to get these:

I figured it would take forever to make the chive flower look right, so I made more long round pieces, pinched off a bit, folded it in half, and pulled the tips down. Chive leaves are hollow, so I rolled more round pieces. The letters got flattened a bit as I pressed them onto the terra cotta clay. However, I was able to keep the definition of the chive leaves. Two of them didn't adhere, and according to Sculpey's website, the glue should work on clay to clay. Other than the two leaves, everything else is stuck securely together.

For all of the leaves, I blended greens to match the leaves as closely as possible. To get the shape of the Lovage and Basil leaves, I placed the leaves from my herb garden on the clay and carefully cut around them. The Lovage leaf ended up too big, so I cut part of it off. On the smaller leaf, I cut around a shorter part of the leaf, moved it over, and cut around the short part on the opposite side. You can't see it very well in the picture of the Lovage spoon, but if you look at the Basil spoon, you can see that I etched the leaf veins. To accomplish that I very carefully pressed the leaf onto the clay. After removing the leaf, I went over the impressions with a sharp tool to give them more definition.

They aren't outside yet because I want to seal them in some way. Can anyone point me to a website on sealing clay/items that have clay adhered to them? Better yet, can anyone recommend a basics about clay book? The two I borrowed from the library weren't overly helpful. Once I figure out how to seal them, and make sure they'll last a while outside, I'll probably make a few for my Etsy shop.

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