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PC10: Nan's Special Techniques

w/ Nan Roche


video sleeve image

$24.95 + S&H

Table of Contents:

Skinner Blend
Loop-in-loop Chaining
Mokume Gane
Jewelry Making

Approx. Running Time: 66 minutes

From Art to Art: Cross-Media Techniques

Nan Roche's video, "Nan's Special Techniques," is an opportunity for polymer clay enthusiasts to add to their repertoire of structural and finishing techniques. This acclaimed author of the pioneering book "The New Clay" shares an assortment of practical tips for mixing, extruding and baking clay, and demonstrates details of braiding, stamping and marbleizing to create unique jewelry pieces.

Nan covers techniques borrowed from other art media:

  • From fiber arts, how to braid a pendant
  • From metalworking, loop-in-loop chains and Mokume Gane
  • From the paper arts, marbling surfaces and using rubber stamps

Several clay-working processes are shown and described in the course of the video:

  • Working with liquid polymer clay
  • Using metallic, atomized and other powders
  • Modifying a caulking gun to hold a clay extruder
  • Creating a Skinner Blend
  • Imitating patinas for an antique appearance
  • Sanding and buffing clay safely and effectively
  • Using rubber stamps and the intermediate rubber stamp production materials
  • Finishing the backs of pins and pendants artistically

A self-described "natural experimentalist," Nan shares with her viewers the results of more than a decade of working with polymer clay and the benefit of her ability to translate techniques from one medium to another.

After describing the tools and materials needed to use her techniques, Nan creates a braided pendant. She gives clear and detailed instructions for making a Skinner Blend, a technique which results in a sheet of clay shaded between two colors or among several. A simple pendant introduces the basic braiding steps, while more complex variations are shown later in the tape.

Next, Nan uses an ancient metalworking technique to create polymer clay loop-in-loop chain necklaces which are very flexible. The chain links are made from extruded clay, for which Nan demonstrates the use of a clay gun. She gives a thorough explanation for modifying an ordinary caulking tool to hold and put pressure on the clay gun. From the extruded clay ribbon, individual links are made and connected, and before baking the finished length of chain is prepared so that the links will not stick together. "Double loop-in-loop" chain is also shown. This segment ends with a display of ways to create closures for necklaces.

Ever wish you could bring the art of marbled paper to clay? Nan shows how it is done using a new product, liquid polymer clay. Because this material floats on water, it can be used to create marble patterns which are then transferred to sheets of clay or to beads of various shapes and sizes. Nan explains the use of different pigments and powders, and observes that "marbling is a very fickle process — it's going to be different every time you use it." She demonstrates the importance of using color and contrast, and shares how to undo mistakes.

Nan now demonstrates the use of rubber stamps and the Japanese metalworking technique called Mokume Gane. Pins and pendants are created by first building a multi-layered, multi-colored base. This base is either impressed with "positive" rubber stamps or is pressed into the "negative" image sheet often discarded by the stamp manufacturer. These stamped clay surfaces are sliced carefully with a tissue blade, revealing the wood grain effect which is the goal of the Mokume Gane method. Nan calls this step "the drawing slice." Nothing is wasted, as Nan applies the resulting shavings to a plain piece of layered clay and burnishes them to create a third distinctive pin in this series.

Using the Mokume Gane pins, Nan shows how to use patinas to alter their appearance. Using metallic bronze base paint, atomized powder and copper sulfate, she creates dramatic surface treatments. Throughout, the importance and timing of sanding and buffing is emphasized.