In the Kitchen with Sue Heaser
English polymer clay artist Sue Heaser returns to MindStorm
Productions with this video, "Kitchen Miniatures in Polymer
Clay", the 22nd installment in MindStorm's Master Miniaturists
series. Heaser, the author of three books including "Making
Doll's House Miniatures with Polymer Clay", again shares
a wealth of advice and step-by-step instructions.
Sue guides the viewer in making:
- China and Cookware
- Vases and Jugs
- Brushes and Brooms
- Pots and Pans
The simple tools and materials include a razor blade, preferred
by Sue over other blades for its thinness; an Xacto knife
with special (slightly dull!) blade; glass marbles for forming
bowls; and specially designed home-made tools. Sue provides
many valuable tips and suggestions for ensuring that your
tools work for you.
The first segment in this video explains how to create realistic
china, cookware and vases. As with all projects in this video,
the work is done in 1/12 scale, although the techniques can
be applied to other scales as well. Beginning with a charming
rounded teapot, Sue demonstrates basic techniques such as
making perfectly smooth spheres, rolling uniformly thin clay
snakes, and using tapestry needles to handle the clay. For
tiny teacups, Sue shows how to open the interior of these
containers without deforming the shape or proportions of the
exterior. "China" bowls are formed over glass marbles
(along with three variations for bases). Vases and jugs round
out this section of the video, complete with variations of
spouts and handles. Painting and varnishing are explained:
what to use, what not to use, and application.
Moving to the cooking side of the kitchen, Sue now demonstrates
the creation of miniature pots and pans. A cast iron saucepan
with a long handle is the first and most detailed project
in this section. All the basics are covered, from proper proportions
to supporting the handle during baking. The same techniques
are used to create copper kettles, with powders and varnishes
providing various finishes. Sue reminds us that "imperfections
are fine, as they replicate the rustic look".
In the third segment of the video Sue demonstrates "essential
items"- utensils, brushes and brooms. After showing how
to create imitation pinewood in polymer clay, she creates
a wooden spoon and rolling pin, complete with finishing touches
that add to the realism. Tiny knives are created in two steps:
first, the blades are sliced from a specially formed and baked
block of clay, and then "pine" handles are added.
In making miniature brushes and brooms, which really work,
for their intended purpose, Sue uses bristles from ordinary
household paintbrushes. She demonstrates the use of glue to
hold the bristles together and to attach them to their handles,
and again shows how to add decorative accents to enhance the
realistic appearance of these creations.
Next, Sue makes baskets. Tiny thread-like snakes of polymer
clay are twisted to form weavers that are then coiled to form
baskets. Variations include handle possibilities, basket sizes
and shapes and color variations.
The look of ceramic tiles is masterfully recreated by Sue
in the final project. After showing us examples of completed
9-tile to 16-tile panels, she begins by demonstrating how
to make a custom stamp with which to decorate tiles. A sheet
of polymer clay is marked off in 1/12 scale tiles, embossed
with the stamp design, brushed with powdered artists' pastels
for accent, and scored to create the illusion of individual
tiles. After baking, the tiled panel can be varnished to imitate
highly glazed ceramic. Throughout, Sue provides tips that
ensure that the finished product is realistic.
Like other MindStorm videos, "Kitchen Miniatures in
Polymer Clay" devotes time to variations on the projects.
Here, we see different ways to paint china and cookware, with
special attention paid to suggestions and tips for plate patterns.
Mixing bowls, serving dishes and a large selection of jugs
and vases also inspire, especially the containers made from
polymer clay mixed with "tea dust". A wide range
of shapes, sizes and glazes is presented along with brief
comments about creating them. Mugs, buckets, cookware are
also shown in great variety. Wall tile variations range from
unglazed terra cotta to highly sophisticated Delft. Even true
grouted tile panels are explained.
Throughout this video, Sue Heaser combines her 15 years of
polymer clay experience with a very effective narrative style
to share her creativity and enthusiasm for dollhouse kitchen
miniatures. It is a fine example of the work that has earned
Sue her worldwide reputation as a miniaturist.