A couple of years ago, while I was working on the book, Clay Techniques to Dye For, I became enamored with using inclusions in and on polymer clay. I blame Ranger Industries for part of this. They supplied me with some amazingly wonderful products that I'm still experimenting with. I can't wait to sample their new pigment inks. The colors are incredible! When the book was finished, I began to look at things other than powders, inks, and paints as a means to create organic effects in clay. The pendant shown above is one of my favorites and was made with a fusible metallic fiber used by quilters that was embedded into the clay before baking. The effect that you can get with this product is wonderful. I wish I had a better photo so you could so you could really see the depth of this piece.Here's a pendant made with clay, paint, and dirt. There's lots of faux turquoise recipes out there. I think I combined bits and pieces of different ones to get the effect I wanted. These pieces are made from translucent clay combined with those little nonpareil things that you sprinkle on cupcakes and cookies. A little silly but fun!
And here's a surface technique that's one of my favorites. My local guild was meeting one evening to make beads using Gwen Gibson's shaving cream technique that was published a couple of years ago in Polymer Cafe. Since I didn't have any of the dyes that she used in her article, I spent several days experimenting with several inks, paints, etc. that I did have and came up with an effect that was really appealing to me. I include this variation of Gwen's technique in a workshop that I currently teach called "What's Hiding in YOUR Craft Room?" If any of the ladies from the Blue Ridge Polymer Clay Guild in Asheville are reading this, feel free to comment about what a wonderful time you had in that class! I don't want to divulge the name of the product that I used on these beads since I'm still teaching the class and a girl's gotta have SOME secrets. However, I did promise an article to Polymer Cafe and maybe an update on the shaving cream technique would be a good idea. Hmmm . . .
Okay, enough rambling from me! This is what I want from YOU . . . I want to know the most unusual or bizarre thing you've ever combined with polymer clay and what type of result you got. You can post this right here in the comments section and if you'd like, you can also leave a link to a photo so everyone can enjoy your glorious experiments. Don't be shy, one of you will be chosen at random to receive a bag of 20 pendant bails that I've recently started selling. You can see them here and used in other pieces throughout my Flickr site. And, if you have an extra 10 bucks burning a hole in your pocket, email me to purchase a bag of your own.
On a much more serious note, one of the most generous ladies in the polymer clay community is in the midst of dealing with something she describes as "every parent's worst nightmare". Please visit Ponsawan Sila's blog and send her your thoughts and prayers. My heart is breaking for her and her family.