About the artist:
Mary Lamoray has been working in Polymer Clay since 1991. Her style of art is called 'Relief Sculpture' and her Abstracts are termed 'Base Relief', meaning they are carved out of the clay instead of built up from a flat back. All her pieces are 100% Polymer Clay, she uses no paints or molds of any kind so even the tiniest details are clay.
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Each piece is first hand-molded to anatomical correctness using a single base color. Other colors are then painstakingly layered on to the base. The last step involves the detailing of the work. Using various sculpting tools, Mary works in the fine details of hair, feathers, etc. The artwork is then baked in a regular toaster oven for approx. 20 minutes.
"In 1990, 'Fimo' Clay became all the rage and everyone was making beads. But I didn't want to make beads, I wanted to make pictures! I kept seeing these 3-D pictures in my mind of birds in reeds or underwater reefs. It took another year before I 'tested the waters' of Polymer Clay. After my first few attempts I was hooked and over the years I have developed my own style and techniques. I am adamant about using only 100% clay and no matter how small the detail of coloring, I use no paints.
I have tried many different art forms, but none have given me the deep satisfaction of Polymer Clay. I was a Scrimshander (One who does Scrimshaw) for many years and used Fossilized Mastodon and black Water Buffalo Horn as my mediums. Under magnification I used a needle in a dowel to create my images in a style called 'Stippling'. This was the application of thousands of needle dots into the ivory . The piece was then coated in 'India Ink' and wiped off to show the design underneath.
This kind of work taught me much-needed patience and I believe was the ground work that enabled me to focus on the amount of detail that goes into each piece. Because of its soft texture, incredible colors and durability, Polymer Clay will happily remain my medium of choice."
About this lesson...
Another side to my work is the fascinating world of 'Hidden Image' Abstracts! I have been doing miniature Polymer Clay Abstracts for years and the 'Art Cards' are simply a structured form of the original process. The basic technique, which is represented in this tutorial, can be used for freeform shapes in jewelry as well as really cool wall hangings. Before you begin to tackle this process, I suggest you go to the 'Art Card Gallery' page on my website. There you will find over 40 different designs made with the same process as in the tutorial. This will give you a good idea of what a wild imagination can 'see'. These are really fun! And very relaxing, plus they make a perfect use for all the scraps of leftover clay from other projects.
*Note: Another way to get some really good patterns, especially for smaller pieces, is to roll the mixture into a ball, cut slices about 1/8 inch thick and flatten lightly. This gives really sharp image lines.