Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Making a Lentil Swirl


Lentil swirls were a challenge to learn but once I mastered the technique it became a lot of fun and almost addictive.  Someone in our local clay guild showed us once how to make one.  I was fascinated by the technique as well as the end result.  I went home and searched the internet for more help and discovered a great tutorial by Desiree McCrorey.   I then followed her instructions and practiced, practiced and practiced.

One of the neat things about working with polymer clay is that there is little wastage.  If you create something that isn't just right or you are not happy with, you can just smoosh the clay up and start all over again!  We usually end up with "scrap piles" and one of the things I use it for is as a filler for larger beads or swirls.  Here I have a smooth compacted ball I've made from scrap clay.  This will be a base for the lentil swirl I will show you.


Earlier I showed you how I created a striped blend flower.  I had some ends and left over cane from the demo so I decided to slice them up and use them here for my lentil swirl.


I arrange my cane slices all over my clay ball forming a pattern and covering every part.  I then rolled my cane slices smooth in my hand making sure the ball is completely covered and the gaps are all filled in.


I place my ball on a smooth glass surface and with using a piece of plexi-glass and with even pressure, I rotate it with my hands.  Eventually the clay piece will start to swirl and I will stop when I am happy with the result.

While creating the swirl, the ball first becomes a bicone shape.  I work the clay a little more and by using more pressure, I shape it into a flattened lentil.  I carefully pierce my bead to create a hole for stringing and bake it at a precise even temperature in my special oven.
Afterwards they are sanded by hand and then buffed to create a beautiful sheen.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Lentil swirls are one of my favorite things to do with left over cane ends. And once you get the swirl in, you can reshape into a square, an oval, a teardrop, whatever strikes your fancy. Love the swirls!