Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A New Tartan Plaid

I met a lady who was volunteering at the World Masters when we were there.  The tartan plaid jewelry we had on display had caught her eye and I explained to her how it was made.  She asked if I could make some pieces that would match her family's tartan and I was glad for the challenge.

She brought in a book with her family history and an old worn Scottish cap or tam.

This happened to be more of a challenge than I expected with the seven colors and larger pattern.  I explained how the lines tend to become a little crooked or wonky when reducing the tartan cane and she felt that would be okay as long as the colors were close and it was similar to the pattern.  I've been working on several methods of reducing the tartan canes without too much distortion and I found that packing it in extra clay (scrap) before reducing helped a fair bit.

I was quite pleased with the overall colors and decided to reduce the cane further so I could create more of a mirrored plaid pattern like in the cap.  By the time I was finished I still had a fair bit of cane to work with but I had a tone of "scrap clay" left over.  Of course when I say scrap clay that doesn't mean it gets thrown out but it can still be used in other ways.

Carol requested a bangle and a tartan "cloth" style pendant each for her and her sister and she was very pleased with how the finished products finally came out:



One of our neighbors popped in the other day while I was working on this set.  She was totally fascinated by it and asked if I could do something for her if she did some research to find out her family tartan.


Unknown said...

I noticed that you use scrap clay to wrap with before you reduce. Have you tried the play-doh method of packing and reducing? It works great for flower canes so I imagine that it would work well for the square cane too and perhaps make it easier to keep the lines from zigging. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out this blog post:

2 Good Claymates said...

As a matter of fact I had -- and it made such a mess I was practically swearing! The play dough was softer than the polymer clay I was using and it went to mush while the cane itself hardly reduced. I think it maybe works with a softer clay like premo than the hard Kato. I'm afraid to try it again after that disaster.

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

How awesome for that lady to get her own tartan like that. She must have been thrilled!

I had trouble with the play-doh thing too, even with Premo. It wasn't exactly a disaster but I found it more hassle than it was worth for me. Had a fair amount of distortion with it and cleaning it off was a pain. It is an interesting concept though. I know a of of people really like it.

Cara Jane (surfingcat) said...

It turned out well. I can see you have a whole new market here in making family tartan jewellery.

I have tried the playdough reduction with Kato (not tried it with the softer clays yet) and had real trouble with the outer scrap clay cracking and then squishing around. I stopped reducing before I planned too both times because of this. It did reduce well up to that point. I wondered if a thicker layer of scrap would of been better. Has anyone else tried it with Kato?

There is a bit on my blog about the above -

I agree with Cindy cleaning it up was a real pain. There are people who seem to use it a lot so they either have a better way or don't mind the cleaning it up! I didn't get much distortion but that could be a Kato thing.

Knightwork Studio said...

You did a beautiful job of matching the plaid. Your attention to detail is amazing. BJ

2 Good Claymates said...

Thanks so much! I'm glad I wasn't the only one frustrated with the pay dough method. I had quite a mess as well and had to throw some clay out (which I hate to do) as the play dough was totally mushed into the other clay.

Fiona said...

I just love that tartan bangle. What a great idea.

Sandy said...

Wow, the finished product is amazing - so much nicer than the original cane would have you believe. I'm sure your customer is going to be thrilled!

Bridget said...

Very interesting idea, very well done,the result is delicate and enchanting for me who always love tartan things!

Melobeau said...

Your tartan cane is absolutely INCREDIBLE!! The pendant and bangle are wonderful and I bet that's one happy client. I was wondering if it's the Anderson tartan?
After watching 2 "how to " videos yesterday I tried the Play Doh reduction on a Monarch butterfly wing cane made with PREMO and it was SUCH a mess. I thought maybe I was the only one who had experienced those problems (there were nasty words forming inside my head!). The Play Doh squished out of the wrapping at the top of the cane so I couldn't see what I was doing and then some of the wrapping clay squished through adhered to the actual cane clay. Some wonderful caners swear by it,....but either I'm missing something or there is a large learning curve.

2 Good Claymates said...

Yes that an Anderson tartan -- how did you know?!

I think a few of us are finding out the same thing with the play dough method and I think it is like a few other things where there is maybe an "ingredient" that is being left out perhaps? I know I won't be trying it again unless someone actually proves to me that it does work -- I don't want those angry words in my head again either! -- lol