Thursday, January 20, 2011

The New Tool and I am in Love


Today, I made all of these pieces using the new tool. I know, they look a little like cookies but they are not. They are bronze clay pieces that are tucked away in the kiln right now. It's the new fast fire bronze and I am hoping they will fire fine. I've never used it before and it's a lot different from what I'm used to.

Yes, I know you are impatient. I know you are tired of the suspense of waiting to hear about the new tool. So without further ado, here it is.



Cool, right? All sort of high tech and sci fi looking. It's a UV exposure lamp just like the jobs they use for acrylic finger nails. You are not supposed to look at the light. And I didn't, just my camera was looking. If you did look at the light all sorts of nasty things can happen to your eyes and things will look strange when you look away. But I have no personal experience of blue halos and blurry vision from looking at the light.

It's an off label use for this type of lamp and I'm using it to develop photopolymer plates. I've been wanting to this for a long time. These photopolymer plates were first used in the printing industry and the technology has been picked up by metal clay artists for use in making texture plates and shallow relief molds. I thought it would be way too complicated and expensive for me. But as it turns out it is neither.

Let me show you how it works.


You start with a drawing that you make into a transparency (top left). Then you make a photo negative from the transparency (top right). There's a special word for this negative but I can't remember what it is. I'm visual you know and words tend to slip out of my head pretty quickly. This all gets developed in the ubeaut new tool. Then you use the negative to develop the photopolymer plate (bottom). There are some scrubbing steps in here too. But you get the idea.  Tonya Davidson made a video of the process for Whole Lotta Whimsey. You can see that here and it's a lot more iteresting than me describing it to you. This is just the nutshell version.

Oh and guess what? You can even get everything you need at Whole Lotta Whimsey. Or you can build your own equipment. But I am an instant gratification kinda girl and didn't want to fiddle around with that. But if you did want to do that, you can find some information here at Silver Clay art in an article written by Maggie Bergman.



Here's a close up of my new key design. Look at that fine detail. I am in looooove! I may also be in love with the new fast fire bronze clay. But we've only had our first date and I think it's way too early to declare undying love after the first date.

And, hey, if none this works out in the long run, I think I will open a small, exclusive nail salon. You've seen my hands and nails. I'd be good at this.

19 comments:

Lois Moon said...

This is so cool. I can't wait to see how they turn out...and get my hands on a couple of the pendants. Thanks for sharing all the info.

SueBeads said...

Wow! I can't wait to see them too!

sharon said...

This is waaaay cool LeAnn! These are going to be gorgeous!

Barbara Lewis said...

What a winning combination ... a potter and acrylic nails! LOL Your pieces are beautiful ... and thanks for information about the technique. Some years ago I thought it would great to work with photopolymer plates ... but I'll live vicariously through you for a while!

sundownbeaddesigns said...

Totally cool! Too high tech for me, but I can't wait to see what you come up with!

kelleysbeads said...

definitely wait until the second date to decide if you want to keep this new tool around. but it looks promising so far!

TesoriTrovati said...

KEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know that I will have to have one of those. Slap my name on one because as soon as they come out of the kiln I WANT ONE! I learned the technique for doing something similar with etching metal through Sherri Haab's E3. It works. Great detail. I have all the stuff to do it but not the time or patience to get into it. I am excited for you new tools. Thanks for the behind the scenes look!
Enjoy the day!
Erin
P.S. I am dead serious about that key. Reserve one for me!

For My Sweet Daughter said...

Love the keys and I wish you had told me you needed a UV lamp I have several of them lying alone and sad in need of bulbs in my garage. They are tunnel lamps so there are 4 bulbs and are not open like this one.
I must have one of those keys.....beautiful!
Shannon

Studio Sylvia said...

Your pieces look terrific - refined detail. Thanks for stopping by LeAnn.

peacockfairy said...

That is so cool! And I see a peacock feather in the mix! Gotta have that!!!

Beverly Herman said...

Nothing like a new tool to get the creative flow going! I love the new keys and seeing the process.

The Joy of Nesting said...

Oh my gosh LeAnn,

This is just way to cool!!!! I am now on a mission to learn all about this. Gads I bet I could even find the UV thingy here, as artificial nails are taken to new hights here!! Let us know what you discover with the quick fire bronze. I had some of Hedar's powdered,quick fire copper brought down to experiment with. Suppose to be able to torch it...we'll see.

Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mx.

stregata said...

What a fab method - I can't wait to see how they turn out! And I need to find out about the fast fire bronze...

Laura Twiford said...

LeAnn the details in those pieces are amazing! I can't wait to see them all finished. very cool, thanks fo sharing with all of us tool junkies! Must go see the video now!

Silver Parrot said...

I can already tell I need some of those new pieces LOL! And before I even read your explanation of the tool, the picture had me going "wow, that is so sci-fic-techy-cool looking!" It really is!

Marsha Neal Studio (Marsha's Garden Blog, Marsha Minutella) said...

OMG! Fantastic!!! I think I came across a video on doing that a year or two ago and thought it sounded cool! So happy that you have gotten one and are using it…

So so you think you could use it for ceramic clay as well? A little corn starch? I wonder though if you would be limited to the amount of detail with ceramic clay vs metal clay? Oh - the experiments you can do… (oh how the tangle drawings can be incorporated…). You know where my brain is - still…

Most excellent LeAnn! Keep it up!

BisqueBeadSupply said...

LOL Marsha! I am thinking the same thing! Can this be done with porcelain? LeAnn, can you explain how exactly you get the raised key effect? I understand all except the actual use of the clay with the photopolymer plate. Is the plate really thick?

MaCarroll Beads said...

LOL to the nail salon! You can help everyone have beautiful nails. When you work with clay, you're lucky to have any nails at all! Very cool post! I want to try out this clay someday!!!

Maggie said...

Thanks for the link to my site Leann!
I'm glad you're making some fabulous work using Photopolymer plates!