Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Artist's Journal: Transitions

Editor's Note: The journal entry Lois created for us for June was published a little early - before she had a chance to add her photographs. We've all been there. Your computer zigs when you expect it to zag. So, we are re-publishing her entry, this time with a few additional details and the all-important photos. This is a transition many who have not used PMC is some time find themselves making and Lois shares her experience.

Transitioning from PMC+ to PMC3
By Lois Lynn

I’ve used PMC+ for almost six years, so making a transition to PMC3 might end up being a big deal. But how much different can PMC3 be from PMC+? I need to find out because a change in the way a medium I’m familiar with responds can really throw me off. That being said, I need to compare “apples to apples” as much as possible. So for this first project, I decide to create a focal bead from PMC3 similar to one I made in PMC+. That way I can clearly compare the feel and pliability of one to the other.

Well, I found there are differences, subtle, yes but definite differences between them. PMC3 has a slightly tacky feel and seems to dry out more quickly, giving me less work time to refine the molded embellishments before I mount them on the bead. But once mounted, the molded pieces hold their detail much better as I touch them when I rotate the piece to do the embellishing. This is a definite plus!

I also used PMC3 oil slip exclusively when working with the project. My mix rate is 12 drops of lavender essential oil to a new container of PMC3 for doing the embellishment. I find that once the slip goes on the surface and dries, I cannot manipulate it. With the other material, I can apply a wet brush and tone down the applied details. But with the oil slip, what I put down is what I had to live with. This discovery causes me to change my approach on how to embellish my piece. I end up drawing out the complete design with all details before I apply any oil slip to the surfaces. Not a bad thing, really. It does take some of the creativity out of working with the piece.

After I fire the bead I find the oil paste embellishments re much stronger than I had thought. It makes the bead look quite busy so I antiqued it several times until the coral background was quite dark. I mask off the two shells and the stone mounting so they would be bright silver, then polish the top surfaces of the coral so the shells will stand out.

I’m disappointed in the final result. The coral background still is much too much for me. I want a much more subtle effect, similar to the one achieved on my original PMC+ bead. Even though the oil slip I used was PMC3 slip, I think the regular PMC3 slip is susceptible to detail dulling just like objects made from PMC+. I didn’t realize how much detail was lost while handling the regular PMC3 slip and had just assumed that the result with oil slip would result in the same softened effect. Lesson learned- I will use regular slip now on to do my embellishing.

Something came to me as I am working on this project. As I “tuck in” all the embellishments and details, I find I’m really enjoying myself. It’s very soothing, almost comforting… making sure all is well and secure on my piece… almost like putting an adored child to bed. Some say I spend much too much time on the details and finishing… but now I know why I do. It’s sort of a conversation I have with the piece… asking it where it wants more detail, is the whole thing balanced, is this detail secure, do I need a stone added - things like that. Strange? Yes, but very satisfying. I guess you never stop learning about yourself. And that’s what makes life interesting.


Sarah Triton said...

Since I usually teach with PMC3, and seldom use PMC+ any more (although I do love it), might I suggest you try another bead with embellishments and make your PMC3 paste only with water, and no lavendar oil? Using the oil is really a repair additive, it absolutely attaches like concrete when dry! I think you night be happier with the result.

All the best,
Sarah Triton, Sarasota FL

katherine said...

I'd love to see the pieces you are talking about so your readers can make a visual comparison, too.

Who is this person? said...

Can you post some photos please!