Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Beginnings of My Mad, Mad, Swellegant Experiments...

Good Morning! Welcome to my first blog post! and Happy Thursday going out to all you creative DIVAS!! I use the word "Diva" as an all inclusive term of endearment for all of you, the cool dude or dudette who is here reading about my creative ramblings.It doesn't matter if you are female, male, from this planet, from another planet, if you are reading this blog you are, in my humble opinion a CREATIVE DIVA!! So please wear your badge with pride and join me as we dive into the wonderful world of mixed media jewelry design and whatever else gets sprinkled in along the way!
       Our journey starts with The Swellegant Product Line. The Swellegant line is the bouncing baby and brain child of renowned  Polymer Clay Artist, Christi Friesen. For those of you who have yet to have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the Swellegant line, it is a line of  Metal Coating Paints, Patinas, and Dye Oxides that are suitable for metals, Resin, and Polymer Clay, wood, and many other mediums.       Being a lover of polymer clay, I knew exactly wear my "experiments"  would  begin. From the day I heard B'Sue of  B'Sue Boutiques singing her praises for the Swellegant line I knew that when I finally did get that opportunity  to get my mitts on some I would dive right in with Polymer Clay. Christi has written up a very informative and helpful article of Tips, Tricks and How Do's to help those interested in  using Swellegant on Polymer Clay. You will find the link to her article at the bottom of this post.

  My Swellegant arrived from   I could hardly wait to tear the box open and get my experiments rolling. Above are some photos of my handmade casted Polymer Clay pieces and charms that I treated with Bronze and Copper Metal Coatings, Darkening and Gold Green Verdigris  Patinas, and Acrylic paints. I love using acrylics as what I call a "wash" on my polymer pieces, and I was very happy with the Patina/Acrylic wash results.In the bottom photo the washed pieces are over to the right, Bronze Metal Coating  with Darkening Patina is  over to the top left , while the Copper with the Verdigris is towards the bottom left.  In the middle, toward the back I tried using the Bronze Swellegant as a wash and I was really happy with the painted finish. In carrying out my experiments I have  found a few tips and tricks of my own. Unfortunately, I didn't get back to the Bronze washed pieces in time to get the patina on them, as they bloom best when the patina is applied to the paint when the paint is still "tacky".  One very important tip I learned was in applying the patina to the Metal Coating. The timing of when the Patina is applied is very important, and very much effects the overall finished look. If the patina is applied to freshly wet paint The Patina just takes the paint right off. It is important to let the paint "Set up"  for a minute or two first. The tackier the metal coating is , the more the patina will bloom. So it is a very fine line between too wet and just tacky enough to achieve that really great bloom.How do you know when the piece is just tacky enough? I find that waiting until the piece has just a few "Wet dabs" left here and there is the perfect time to apply the patina, starting on the "dulled" "dry" places because they are still wet enough to absorb the patina and encourage a full bloom. By starting with the places that are "JUST dry" you are allowing the still "wet" spots to set up and then by the time you work your way over to these spots, you hit them just as the metal coating has set up. This is the perfect applying time because even though the top layer appears to be dry , the layers directly underneath are still wet, soaking up the patina, encouraging a full bloom. Another factor I learned from my experimenting was the layering  of patinas. When layering patinas put the darkest down first and allow the patinas to"just dry" in between before applying the next color to avoid bleeding between colors. I found I had the most control of how and where the patina bled with a Q-tip. The Q-tip kept the patina more contained, where as with brushes the patina tended to drip more. A tip that Christi shares in her article is when you want to stop the patina process drop the piece into cold water.  I really didn't find much need for this because I am of the thinking the thinking that MORE is MORE. I think the controlling of the patinas may come more into play for me when I am applying the patinas to metals.
  Tomorrow's post is all about a challenge I am participating in~ Artisan Whimsy's Hand Dyed Seam Binding Ribbon Challenge, so please stop back over and check out what I made for the challenge!      And then its all about Swellegant Polymer Clay Cuffs!