Sunday, January 31, 2010

First Explorations Into Faux Dichroic Glass

I have been wanting to try Faux Dichroic Glass ever since I started working in polymer clay and I did make one very early attempt using multicolored metallic leaf but wasn't really impressed with the results. Ever since then I have been looking for fabric foils and yes, I could and probably should have just mail ordered them but never did. So at Christmas when I saw that one of our local crafts stores had fabric foils for silk screen, I decided to buy a pack and try them out. I watched a DIY show by Fiskars with Lisa Pavelka demonstrating this technique and set off to my studio to try it out.
Evidently the type of foil she was using is not the same. The instructions are to roll out your clay on the pasta machine, set the foil shiny side up, smooth out all the air bubbles, burnish with a folded piece of paper to build up the heat necessary to release the foil from the mylar backing, rip the backing off sideways, and voila! Well, I didn't get any voila! I tried and tried. I read the similar instructions in one of my books. The book, an encyclopedia of polymer clay techniques, said that some colors of foil won't release and it is a trial and error thing. In desperation I read the instructions for using the foil on fabric. It said that you have to iron on the foil for 30 minutes to get it to release. Ahah!
Out with the trusty heat gun. I tried a few passes and combined it with the folded paper burnishing since I didn't want to cook the clay. No dice. So I rolled out a much thinner sheet on a #4 setting on my pasta machine since it was all too apparent that I would have to use the heat gun and in the process cook the clay, at least on the surface. This time I had much better results. Most of the foil released from the mylar. The clay was definitely cooked on the top, so I could not experiment with texture sheets as I had seen in the video. I decided to cut strips and shapes out of the colored clay and arrange them on some unbaked clay hearts.
For the first heart, I combined the foiled clay shapes with aurora borealis mica and some turquoise colored mica flakes, glittered embossing powder and Amazing Glaze. I had some trouble getting an even coating of resin on the surfaces. The hearts are in reverse order because I have issues with arranging photos on this blog! The first one is at the bottom and the fourth is at the top!
For the second heart, I left out the mica particles. The second heart is the second single heart from the bottom up. I had better results with the resin. On the third and fourth hearts, I had a small epiphany. When using the heat gun you reach a point where the entire surface of the Amazing Glaze and embossing powder is liquified. If you can immediately apply more powder, it melts itself a little to the very hot surface and is easier to keep from blowing off when you apply the heat gun. So my last two surfaces didn't take as long and were smoother, too. On my third heart, I started with a heart shape from the foiled clay and then added pieces on top of it. I didn't add any glitter embossing powder until the very last layer of Amazing Glaze. The fourth heart turned out the smoothest because I embedded the pieces of foiled clay into the raw clay heart before I began. Once more I didn't add the glitter embossing powder until the final coat. The third and fourth hearts are the next to the top and top photos.
There will be more explorations in this area, now that I have some experience with the heat gun and the powdered glaze and the foil. Trying new techniques involves a learning curve and can take quite a bit of time while one discovers the ins and outs of new materials and new tools. This was a very rewarding exploration and my boyfriend Jim made it even better when I brought the results down for him to see! His eyes got wider and he told me they were really impressive! I like them, too! Now I have to decide how to finish them--do I want frames? Should the frames be wire or metallic clay? I will post the photos of the final results once they are complete.

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