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PC05: Ancient Images

w/ Gwen Gibson


video sleeve image

$24.95 + S&H

($29.95 for DVD)

Table of Contents:

Faux Enamel
Negative Etch
Postitive Etch
Oil Etch

Approx. Running Time: 57 minutes


Ancient Images Come To Life In Polymer Clay

When Gwen Gibson traveled to Havana, Cuba with her family at the tender age of 6, she had no way of knowing that one day the ancient images she fell in love with during that trip would come to life using a very modern art medium: Polymer Clay.

"I have a passion for ancient images," says Gwen. This passion has been her inspiration throughout her years as a painter, art student, and polymer clay artist. In "Ancient Images," the latest video in The Master Artisans of Polymer Clay Series from Mindstorm Productions, Gwen shares that passion with you.

In one hour you'll learn how to create a series of ancient images using techniques such as Faux Enamel, Acrylic Etching, Clay Collage, and Oil-Based Etching. Gwen's photo copy transfer process is also known as the "tear away technique."

A complete and detailed review of all the tools and materials you'll need is provided at the outset of the video. Once you've gathered these tools and materials, you're ready to begin.

Your first project will be to create a pin using the Faux Enamel technique. For this Gwen has chosen a goldfish from a Japanese book of images as her design. You'll watch as she creates a stencil from a photocopy of the design she's chosen from the book.

And you'll want to pay close attention to this section because this same stencil and photocopying process will be used for all the projects you'll learn on this video. "Photocopying can be difficult because there are many different types of machines," says Gwen. "I suggest you try a variety of machines and find the ones that work best for you."

Once you've completed your goldfish stencil, you'll place it onto a translucent piece of clay. The translucent effect is created by rolling the clay through the number seven setting of your pasta machine. "If you've ever tried to roll out at number seven," says Gwen, "you know that what happens is usually a disaster! The clay gets stuck in the rollers and it's very hard to get off." Relax. She'll show you a technique to prevent this using a very common household items.

Once you've done that, you'll go back and color your stencil using colored pencils. While she demonstrates this technique, Gwen offers tips for using color and shading to make your image look more realistic.

The next step will be to burnish this image onto the clay. Then you'll bake it, add gold leaf adhesive, mount it onto a white clay background, and add finishing touches to make it look like enamel. Glue a pin onto the finished piece and you're ready to show it off as a piece of jewelry.

"There are many different applications for this technique," says Gwen. "Just choose the images that really speak to you."

As with most things in life, the first step is always the hardest. But once you've mastered this first project, you're ready to move on to the other projects on this video with the same confidence and ease that Gwen displays while she's teaching.

The second project uses a drawing of an ancient Chinese pig and black clay to create a negative etch. You'll follow the same techniques you learned earlier to make your stencil and burnish it onto the clay.

The negative effect is created by using black clay as the background and white paint to fill in the engraved areas that form the image of the pig. The good news is that when painting you don't have to be at all careful. The point is to force the paint down into the engraved rough areas. You'll then use sandpaper to remove any excess paint from the surface until only the paint inside the engraved area remains.

The final step for this project will be to treat it with a variety of enamel paints until you achieve the desired look. You'll then use this same technique to create a positive etch using white clay as your background for the image.

Then it's on to the third project, using Gwen's Clay Collage technique to create a petroglyph pin. The process will be much like the ones you used for the first two projects you've completed so far. In addition, Gwen shows you how to create backgrounds for your images using scrap clay, and she talks about the effects that temperature and humidity have on these projects.

Your final project will be creating a distinctive piece of jewelry using an oil-based etching technique. Since oil paints tend to get messy, Gwen suggests wearing a rubber glove on your holding hand while painting. She demonstrates how to bring out your image onto the clay, paint it using a variety of colors, and polish the surface as a finishing touch.

The video ends with suggestions for finding the images and resources you'll need to develop your own projects using the techniques you've learned. "People ask me where I find my images," says Gwen. "I find them everywhere and anywhere. In bookstores and libraries." She goes on to display the books she uses regularly to create her ancient images from polymer clay.

Gwen's closing words remind us of ultimate goal of every artist, regardless of his or her level of expertise. "I hope you'll have fun with these techniques," she says, "and that they take you to new places."