Noodly Stuff - Page Three
By Marty Woosley
Nancy Lotzer and Marty Woosley
3 Nancy's Gallery
Be sure to
Gallery for more examples of her lovely polymer clay art.
strands (see: Making Strands With A Garlic Press)
knife or X-Acto knife
tip stylus or embossing tool. A blunt
craft needle can also be used.
holeless glass beads – I like 1mm beads but have used bigger and
smaller beads with success.
low-tech beading equipment – a paper plate, strand of spaghetti,
walnut-size ball of scrap clay, and a milk cap or butter bowl lid.
Varathane or other clay sealant
– Roll up a strand.
– Leave a short straight end and then wrap the strand around this end.
– Roll a spiral on each end in opposite directions.
– Roll a spiral on each end in the same direction.
– Long or short. Sweeping across your
piece, around another element, etc.
– Roll tiny balls of clay to poke into tight areas or lay them in a
line along another element.
slices or Cutouts – My strands are about the same as #1 setting on the
Atlas so I use that thickness when cutting out shapes with cutters.
or whatever – Go crazy!Open
space – If you are leaving open spaces plan them so that they are a
part of the overall design. Otherwise they
can look like “oops” gaps.
for Forming Filigree Elements
forming a spiral, cut the beginning end on a slant.
This makes the clay strand easier to roll up.
forming a tight curve or corner, move the clay strand very slowly to
encourage it to go the way you wish. Strands
tend to break when forced too quickly.
you need a longer strand of clay you can overlap two strands about 1/8”. Pinch them together and the roll to smooth.
you want to emphasis a color, put it in the center of the spiral.
an Object With Filigree
on the bottom
or back of the object. I get better at
integrating the colors and elements as I work on the piece. This way
prettiest parts will be on the top or front. Because I can’t
or centered, I usually start with an off-enter spiral.
Then I’ll add another spiral or line.
an S-spiral will be next. Your personal
muse will need to tell you what
comes next on your piece.
2. Play with the
see what is pleasing to you. If you
don’t like something, peel it up and move it or remove it.
letters, a cane
slice, or a cutout, I always outline it with a clay strand first. This helps the eye to separate it from the
general filigree background.
– I started
adding the holeless beads to the filigree to cover up the “oops spots”
gaps and joins that didn’t quite join. Okay,
now that I’ve ‘fessed up, you too can fix up
filigree with pretty beads.
up a sample spiral from leftover strands to practice with before you
start on your finished filigree. Practice
making shallow dimples just the diameter of your beads.
The dimples will hold the beads in place so that
press them into the clay exactly where you want them.
the embossing tool make small dimples along the clay strands in a
pleasing pattern. I personally like to
dimple along long lines, every 2nd row and the centers of every spiral. If I have cutouts or letters I like to bead
the outline row to help set off this element. (Dimpling
is my very favorite part. I love the
“snick, snick” sound that the clay makes – especially on metal!)
“oops spots.” Put a dimple on a messy join. Fill
in a gap by mooshing the clay into place with the embossing tool. Maybe a line is not quite straight – add a
straight row of beads and no one will notice the crooked clay line.
could stop now and have a very pretty piece of dimpled filigree, but be
brave. Try the beading part. It’s not hard
your ultra low-tech beading equipment. Place
your dimpled filigree object on the paper plate. The
plate will help keep the tiny beads corralled in one place. Pour some
holeless beads into the cap or lid. Break
off about 3” of raw spaghetti and stick one end into the ball of scrap
clay to form a handle.
the other end of the spaghetti. Note: I did not say to stick the
spaghetti in your
mouth. As a card-carrying Mother I would
never suggest such a thing. However, you
have probably guessed just how I moisten my spaghetti – but you can do
it anyway you wish.
the moist spaghetti to a bead to
pick it up.
the bead in a dimple.
in the bead with a finger. You may want to
practice this on your sample piece from above.
steps 3 –5 a bazillion times until all of the dimples are filled.I
don’t usually do all bazillion beads at one
time. I’ll work on it over a few days
depending on the size of a piece. I
actually find this to be very meditative. Pick,
place, push. Pick, place, push. Pick, place, push.
the spaghetti as needed. When your spaghetti strand starts to leave
pasta debris on the beads break off the end, reverse the strand, or use
a new piece.
all of the beads are picked, placed, and pushed, carefully press all
over your piece to secure all of the beads. Once
again you can fix any “oops spots” by mooshing the clay to do your
Finishing Your Piece
your work at the recommended temperature for your clay.
at least two coats of sealant to help keep the beads in place and to
make the finished piece shiny.
flexible clay you can use the strands with a wire jig to make all kinds
stuff. I use a small wire jig from the
hobby store with the small pegs. Designs
are available in wire working books. If
you want more sparkle, roll the strands in the tiniest holeless beads,
.5mm, before forming the design on the wire jig. A few ideas that you
Using Clay Strands
or greeting card embellishments
- Holiday ornaments
pull or shoelace decorations
who make clay figures like to use strands for
scrap clay in a pleasing pattern. You
might want waves or loose spirals. Do
not overlap the strands so that your pattern sheet is not lumpy. Cure the clay. Use
this sheet as to add texture or pattern
to other clay projects.
strands around a
metal rod such as a knitting needle. Each
strand can form a bead or you can cut them to
curing. Try wrapping the strand loosely
for another look.
or glass bowl
as a form. Loosely coil strands and
place randomly over the bowl. Continue
until you like what you see. Gently
press the strands together. After
curing, carefully remove the bowl form.