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Author Topic: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?  (Read 6467 times)

Joe Kingthethird

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Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« on: March 22, 2016, 03:50:44 PM »
But there are no rules.
So, why do people paint their polymer clay?
Can you not get subtle enough colours with the clay? Does it take too much time to get a subtle gradation/texture?

Carrie

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2016, 04:22:23 PM »
If you want an antiqued look painting/removing is probably the only practical way to do it, and if you want to reveal subtle layers of colour, paint, sanded, gives a completely different look from all clay.

As for sculpture - about which l know nothing! - l imagine you can get subtle colour shading using paint or especially pastels. 

It's really just a matter of the look you want to achieve, what you're making and so on.  Donna  Greenberg for one is getting incredible effects with oil paints on her abstract pieces which l doubt could be achieved with just clay.

I think perhaps it did seem like cheating at one time but more and more people seem to be branching out and using everything in the crafting world!


ejralph

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2016, 08:09:42 PM »
I think a lot of modellers came to polymer clay using large blocks of Sculpey or whatever it was, that used to only come in white or beige I think. So painting on detail was quite normal.

Likewise many doll makers would use only fleshtone colours and use paint to add detail.

I have at times wondered though when I see people using paint to create a look that would actually be easier done with caning or whatever.

But that is the joy of clay really - there really are no rules when it comes to aesthetics and so long as the paint is compatible - it is as honourable as the next surface embellishment or inclusion I guess.

Emma
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MilleD

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2016, 09:20:42 PM »
I'd only use paint as an add on, wipe off to create detail in patterned clay type thing.

I can see the point of covering it all up with paint.  But as with anything, it's up to the creator right?

JonB

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2016, 09:01:15 AM »
cheating? who is being cheated out of what? Paints and inks etc will give you a far more subtle and complex surface than simple clay colours ever can. use whatever works for you. It's the end result that matters rather than how you got there. Kind of ;-)

Alan

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2016, 02:58:30 AM »
As Jon says, cheating who?  We 'adulterate' polymer clay (if it is adulterating it) in all kinds of ways.  We can add things to it to give it to give it texture.  The two I have read about recently are toilet paper and the fluff from the tumble drier filter!  Then there are all kinds of surface treatments - alcohol, archival and distress inks; pastels and colouring pencils; acrylic paints; mica powders and liquid pigments; varnishes and other finishes like Renaissance Wax (sold at EJR beads  ;) ) etc.  Then we might want to add wire and other metal bits, glass cabochons or even semi-precious gems.  And as far as Steampunk goes - there isn't enough room here! :D

I think if you are showing your creations on the net - and certainly if you are selling anything, then you are only cheating if you make it appear that the final effect is achieved only using polymer clay when other elements have also been used.

I don't really see the point in completely covering polymer clay with paint and stuff, but I can imagine that some complicated figures could only be done by modelling in white clay and then painting.

I do get a bit peeved when I see things being sold that have moulded elements on them and the seller says the item is 'hand-crafted'.  I suppose moulding a lady for a cameo from a bought silicone mould id hand-crafting in a way, but I think that is much more like cheating than adding a bit of paint or pastels or something. 
Alan from wet and windy, but deceptively mild Cumbria, UK.
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Karolina.S

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016, 07:36:38 AM »
You should do what ever makes you feel good. If it looks good do it.

Saying that i´m one of thoose clay only people but it is becuase i enjoy the process using only clay.
Timrċ in the north of Sweden. Always with my polymer clay eyes open.
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ejralph

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2016, 09:11:19 AM »
I think it is a very interesting debate though - over the years I have come across a lot of clayers who DO feel that the "true" art of polymer clay is to manipulate its own colours and not to add supplemary products

I'm not saying I agree with them - far from it. But I know that it is certainly a school of thought out there.

Another, somewhat bigger debate is the use of varnish. Not so much these days with the current generation of clayers - but there was a time where many clayers had an incredibly snobby attitude to varnishing and felt that buffing to a high shine was superior. I never got that one - well applied varnish will look fantastic and protect the clay item, whereas buffing - in my experience - is not such a durable finish for items being handled day in, day out like beads and jewellery

And of course - Alan raises another really interesting debate that I see throughout the jewellery-making world alot. And that is "is it hand crafted, or is it merely hand-assembled?"

I like to take a very inclusive stance on these things.

 If the person is having fun and being creative - what does it matter? Maybe they have fun painting a miniature by hand. Maybe their skills don't stretch to that, but they enjoy going to the craft shop and picking up stickers and embellishments and sticking them on paper to make greetings cards. If each person gets pleasure from what they make, looks at it after and has that warm "I made that" glow - that has to be a good thing.

Doing what I do, I've lost count over the years of people who say to me wistfully  "oh I wish I was creative"

And the sad thing is - they genuinely believe they are not creative. I have to always break this down with them - and I will question them about how they chose the outfit they are wearing that day. Or ask them the last meal they cooked. I dig and I delve - and I ALWAYS find evidence very quickly to show them that they ARE very creative each and every day. Some have even gone on to take up a craft - which they had always discounted before because of this false belief they had about themselves.

So yeah - when I see very simplistic stuff for sale, like a simple shop-bought charm put on a chain maybe - I do in part think it lacks some imagination. But I still feel that person IS creating in their own way and maybe they are just at the begining of their creative journey

Emma
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Alan

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2016, 09:43:16 AM »
I agree about varnishing, Emma!  I don't varnish if I can help it, but I can imagine that especially light coloured jewellery could easily become grubby with regular wear if it was untreated.

As for creativity, I agree completely with all you said.  I don't mind at all if someone adds a bought charm to a chain - and yes, everyone has some creativity within them.  I suppose I'm thinking of stuff I've seen being sold for what I think are large amounts and I know that the cameo of a lady on it or whatever has been moulded from a silicone mould because I've seen them on ebay.  It just looks like a lot more work has gone into it than actually has - when it's been built up as 'amazing' and 'unique' and 'hand-crafted'.  I think I would have to mould something like that too, but it would just seem honest to me to say that the cameo is made from a mould and not sculpted, as 'hand-crafted' implies.

Of course, that doesn't mean that a lot of thought and creativity and work hasn't gone into the finished piece.  It has.  And the price of any piece of art is mainly the creativity involved and the time taken to make whatever the piece of art is.  I just think it is a little dishonest rather than lacking creativity if something is made to look what it really isn't, if that makes sense.

Back more on topic, I agree with Karolina.  If I can, I love using just clay.  Queen used to put on the back of their albums, "No synthesizers", to show that all the sounds they made were with guitars, keyboards and drums.  There's something especially satisfying about making something out of polymer clay with "no synthesizers", but on the other hand I love making things using mainly polymer clay, but with mixed media and paint would be included.  Just go with the flow, I would say.  I don't have much time for purists in anything.  :o
Alan from wet and windy, but deceptively mild Cumbria, UK.
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Gilladian

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2016, 04:10:48 PM »
I am a great one for mixed-media projects. I love my pan-pastels, micro-beads, crystal bling, wire, etc...

I do agree though, with Alan that it is sad when someone uses "that same mold" I've seen a billion times, to make "that same type pendant", and then calls it a "hand-made original!"

The other thing that saddens me is when I see work done by fairly "new" clay sculptors (sculpture in particular seems to have this issue) where the work done sculpting the item is good, and then a thick goopy brush-mark-filled coating of cheap acrylic is slapped over the top. They ruin what was a fairly nice piece that COULD and probably SHOULD have been done entirely with clay, by thinking that they "have" to paint it.

ejralph

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2016, 08:12:49 PM »
I wonder if things end up finding their own level?

The hand-assembled stuff ends up going to the people that are happy enough with that. The more creative work finds its own market who understand and appreciate the originality?

I don't know. That has always been my hope anyway - this feeling that there is room for everything and ultimately your work has to speak for itself within that full arena

As for Queen - well, frankly I don't agree with their snobby view on synthesizers either. What makes one instrument "valid" and another not so? They are all just means to creating a sound and anyone who knows anything about synthesizers (as they would) would know that the early types were complex beasts to program. I'm actually quite sad to read that, as Queen have dropped in my estimation because of it. It is like saying artists such as Depeche Mode, Jarre, Howard Jones etc have no talent because their prime instruments are synthesizers.

The other thing that bugs me big time about snobby attitudes in arts and craft though - In looking down upon someone, the snob is denying that other person their own jounrney in learning the medium and about themselves. Or the snob feels that someone that other person should approach that journey in the exact same way they have, taking all the same steps at the same time.

It may well be that the other person will end up with the same thoughts and feelings over time, maybe their work will improve and they will wonder "Jeez, I cannot believe I used to buy pre-made moulds - when this hand sculpting is so fun" or whatever the scenario. But it is their journey to make and explore, not ours to prescribe for them

There are exceptions to this naturally - if you are running a juried show or a competition, or you are buying stock for your gallery  etc -  you have to set certain parameters that fit your vision in terms of workmanship, creativity etc.

I must admit I see some stuff for sale that makes me wince - not so much aesthetically - but I mean poorly made stuff that you know will break. I've come to realise though it just aint my businesss - it is between them and the customer.

Emma
Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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Alan

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2016, 01:13:55 AM »
Oh, Emma!  Don't think too badly of Queen.  They put that on their earlier albums probably as a backlash to all the synthesizer stuff around at the time.  The thing is that Brian May could make that guitar do all kinds of things.  They didn't add it to later albums because, surprise, surprise - they started using synthesizers themselves!  I love synthesizers.  I played in a band once and one of our keyboard players played a Moog and that made some awesome sounds.  I bet they had wished my drums were a synthesizer!  :o 

I think the point I was making was that I love making polymer clay things 'without synthesizers'.  It can make patterns that no amount of surface treatments could achieve.  But I do love adding other elements too.  It's all cool as far as I can see.

I hope I didn't come across as a snob!  :o  God forbid!  I just don't like it when someone claims something is what it isn't.  Of course stringing bought beads together is creative and clever.  I just wouldn't have the patience, let alone the imagination to produce some of the things I've seen.  But when it is then sold as if the beads or the pendant or whatever had been wholly made by them, I just think that is dishonest.  Anyway, off topic!  :o

So, NO!  I don't think painting polymer clay is cheating - unless you say it isn't painted and it is painted. :D
Alan from wet and windy, but deceptively mild Cumbria, UK.
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ejralph

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2016, 10:55:48 PM »
Oh gosh no - I hope I didn't come across as inferring you were being a snob - far from it.

I think it is fascinating debate - it just starts a stream of conciousness thing in me where I move from one semi-related idea to the next, peppered in with my own prejudices and rants and observations too.

So my comments about snobbery are not actually in relation to this subject, more just my own personal rant about stuff because the subject kinda reminded me and I just kick off about stuff because I'm menopausal and its in the guide book to do so.

As for moogs - oddly we watched a very long documentary about them the other day., I was really interested at first, but these nerds went on for about two hours and by that point I was ready to throw every moog into the sea.

Emma
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Alan

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2016, 11:32:02 PM »
Oh no, Emma!  I didn't think you were inferring that I was a snob.  I guess I think I was sounding a bit snobbish - when I didn't mean to be.  I used to work in an area where others had to do readings and things - for which they weren't trained like me.  But my attitude was always to be grateful that they tried - and even if they thought they had messed up, to encourage them.  So I always appreciate anything anyone does.  I always undervalue anything I ever do - which is a different problem.  ::)  And we all have different styles and likes and dislikes, but it's all cool as far as I'm concerned! Some stuff I would never want to try, but it still amazes and inspires me. :)

Ha! Ha! Moogs.  They were amazing instruments and could make all kinds of distorted sounds and growls and thunderous noises.  I may have seen the documentary you saw quite a long time ago.  I'm sure it was on BBC4 - and yes, all that technical stuff numbs the mind after a while!  Wah, wah, kapooowwww! ;D
Alan from wet and windy, but deceptively mild Cumbria, UK.
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Carrie

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Re: Is painting polymer clay - cheating?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2016, 02:56:47 PM »

As for moogs - oddly we watched a very long documentary about them the other day., I was really interested at first, but these nerds went on for about two hours and by that point I was ready to throw every moog into the sea.

Emma

My son-in-law is known as Moog....l asked my daughter if she ever felt like this, and Moog said no-one loved him and he was going to do a Reggie Perrin  ;D  I suggested he waited for warmer weather.......