I like to give myself creative challenges, and sometimes I think why am I doing this to myself!? But having seen some beautiful polymer clay sea scenes that include different sea creatures, I thought it was time to stretch myself and make a bigger version of my sea Altoids tins.
The first thing I needed to do was find a suitable container for my mini reef. I didn’t want it to be too heavy or deep so it was easy to see all the details inside. After looking round a few charity shops, I found a large bowl in the supermarket for £2 – bargain!
For references and inspiration I looked through Citizens of the Sea, a beautiful book recommended to me by a friend with has the same obsession with sea creatures! I also love Pinterest for ideas and YouTube for videos on techniques with polymer clay.
Now I had all my materials, I gathered all the different coloured Fimo together I wanted to use in the coral reef. I also used white sand for the sea bed, some really shells and resin. I bought some rubbing alcohol and found it is one of the best (and cheapest) things to clean your clay of lint and dust while you’re working, and can be used to smooth the clay.
I started the coral reef in the bowl by adding clay around the edges, which was a mixture of brown, yellow and mother of pearl. Looking at a few pictures on my phone for reference as I made the different coral shapes, I worked intuitively as I went along and found this to be my favourite approach to this project. I didn’t draw out any plan of how I wanted it to look and I think this helped with making something organic and natural.
My tile for working with clay
Starting the coral – taking ages!
As the different shapes and pieces were so small, this became quite a time consuming project. I had to take frequent breaks over the weeks that I made it to save my hands from getting to rough. At first I was going to have one shark and maybe an octopus in the reef, and to get the scale at least semi accurate, I put the bowl to one side after doing a little bit to make the shark. I was very happy with the way he turned out for my first attempt.
I recently did a poll on the blog asking what tutorials people would like to see and the majority by a long way was art journals. I’ve wanted to do some journaling for ages but with work, life and my other projects going on I never seemed to get the time. So thinking of a tutorial was a good way to get back into it.
I had the idea for a while of doing a page with puzzle pieces and got a 1000 piece puzzle from a charity shop. One thing I love about art journaling is how free form and personal it is and that it is about expression and enjoying using different materials. Here are a list of materials I used but it is entirely up to you:
- Dylusions A4 Art Journal
- Dylusions Sprays
- Modge Podge
- Puzzle Pieces
- Posca Paint Pens
- random card pieces, stamps, paper
- Tim Holtz Distress Stickles
- Claudine Hellmuth Studio Black Gesso
I even forgot I had a brand new Dylusions Journal to play with! First things first:
Once you have all your materials, lay your page out and place paper underneath each page. I used old newspaper. Then I sprayed my page with water from a spray bottle to get the paper damp before randomly spraying my inks. Do whatever comes naturally.
I’ve been pretty busy recently and haven’t felt much motivation to blog really – it is the Summer Graduations at work and I’m doing overtime as well so my drive to make things is dwindling…. But I wanted to put an update on the creatures I have made over the last few weeks which I have decided to call Fizzlings! Sounds cute to me!
I made the purple and pink one for my sister as a request and she asked for him to be holding/eating a lolipop. I think that one is my favourite so far! Each one I’ve made is different and I can clearly see how much better I get, fine tuning details and working on my weak areas.
My sea creature monster, Eric, was a challenge as I wanted to create an upward tail with a mermaid-like fin. I love how he turned out although I was frustrated while I was making him and used loads of clay to get his head right! I used plastic eyes as well and they reacted very strangely with the polymer clay. They started to liquefy! I was scared of baking him but I kept an eye on him while he was in the oven and he turned out fine.
My new creature is going to be a combination of pale colours and new glass eyes I bought from Etsy. Will update as soon as he is finished! And I made this cute baby evil plant for my friend. Enjoy!
Experimenting with tails
Lil baby plant
So, since dealing with my creative rut and then having to move, I decided it is time to plan some art and see if this gets my mind working again. I have a new table and pretty much sorted my supplies in my new place. I just need some focus and motivation to get started. One technique for this I felt worked before is setting out some goals and adding restrictions. And in the next few weeks I aim to do three pages:
- A minimal colours page – two or three only
- A Silhouette page
- A layered and heavily textured page
I haven’t decided whether to do these in my large journal – which is bursting from being saturated but has a lot of pages left – or the smaller one. Both have restrictions which are useful in giving yourself boundaries, as well as scope depending on the page you decide to make. I tend to work in an organic way, so will wait until I start and size up both journals.
Something to look forward to!
I had an idea of two birds flying in this page, and then incorporating a lot of different glitter, but it didn’t go the way I intended! Glitter is hard to work with, although I am sure there are techniques I don’t actually know about. I had red and gold glitter tubes – some were the little stars (which got everywhere!).
I thought I would share my first art journal page for December challenge – and I started with creating a silhouette page. I also filmed myself making my page which I will soon edit and put up on my YouTube channel – I’ve been really pushing myself with these creative endeavors!