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Author Topic: Feeling discouraged- any advice?  (Read 6715 times)

oncejewellery

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Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« on: October 09, 2011, 09:53:22 PM »
Ok guys, so I have had some good results from Mokume Gane/Nendo... I have sold a few necklaces with these beads in them and enjoyed the process. This came from an attempt about a year ago when I decided to go for Polymer Clay more seriously and got a few bits to help me, like a pasta machine and some sand paper. I now want to hone my skills and decide on two or three techniques to specialise in, including Mokume Gane. So I have decided to dabble in caning and surface technique. I have got Donna Kato's books on both and have tried a few things. I would like to get better at these two things! Anyway, my point is that I am being overrun with problems. I managed to make an inked bead last night but then I over did the layering of the ink, resulting in a rather muddy look. Then tonight I tried a few more things and the following things happened: one bead cracked during baking (the only one that looked any good), one just looked rubbish and the other one (a glittery affair) is in the oven now, so I'm just waiting for the problem with that one.

Does anyone have any words of advice? Having found that I have been able to produce some nice looking beads, I am now finding that I am hitting one brick wall after another...

Amanda xx

oncejewellery

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2011, 10:24:53 PM »
UPDATE: I dabbed liquid clay over the glittery bead very thinly and then put it in the oven. When i got it out, all the clay had solidified into a solid droplet on one side of the bin. Another disaster! Not my day... xx

noani

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2011, 10:32:49 PM »
Oh, one of those days  :o I have them too! Usually my bad days are the ones when I actually have the time to clay  :'( So don't give up there will be sunny and rainy days :)

Shirley

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2011, 10:46:43 PM »
Don't give up We all have bad days when the things we make don't please us - we, I know I do. The last couple of things I've made have gne in the bin! Don't forget that the photos you see on here are only the things that worked, we may have had two or three disasters before the idea that worked

Why not have another go at makume, if you know you are good at it? It might help you feel more confident.

If it'd any consolation, one of my binned lots this week was a very muddy ink disaster  :)
Shirley

ejralph

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2011, 11:20:07 PM »
I've seen this feeling overwhelm so many clayers. Sometimes it hits quite early on, sometimes people can be claying months or years even and then it hits them.

This sense of feeling discouraged.

But you need to remember two things.

Firstly - practise makes perfect. When you see brilliant work online or in books, there is a good chance that the maker has spent years perfecting that one look. You don't get to see all *their* disasters they had along the way.

 And trust me, there would be many such disasters - we all have them. And trust me again when I say THIS is what teaches you and makes you a better clayer. Or should I say, helps you to find your own inner style as a clayer.

This is why I dislike so much some of the tutorial sellers who infer that they will "save you time" and allow you to by-pass making common mistakes. Because I think its stealing a very rich part of the process from beginners and denying them those stumbling moments which they work through to find their own voice.

The second thing to bear in mind. Polymer clay is a HUGE medium.

Its like comparing it to painting / drawing and then being annoyed that we haven't mastered oils and watercolour and pastels all in the first year.

Of course it will take a lot of trial and error before all the different techniques start to come together. I'm pretty good and some techniques, but others I'm pants at. And unsurprisingly, its the ones I have done week in week out for the last decade that I am good at and the ones I have only tried once or twice, I am crap at.

But if you have an idea in your head that you want to make and it goes wrong - just try, try . try again. Work out what went wrong, find new ways to do it and just hone and refine and keep at it.

That is the best way to really, genuinely focus and get good at certain techniques. And books and tutes are great for showing the basics to any technique, but you will only feel it is yours when you take it on to your own next new level. And that happens so very very often as a result of these types of disasters and working through them

So please don't be discouraged. Reaching this stage really just shows that you are probably on the right path alright!

Emma

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Peter

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2011, 07:47:57 AM »
What everyone else said Amanda!!!!!

I have had a zillion disasters but it is all part of learning so try and not get too despondent.  I am totally failing to be able to do anything in the Julie Picarello book BUT I sort of know what I am doing wrong (still can't do it right though!) and I have also brushed up on my Mokume Gane technique as a consequence and made some groovy ear rings. Don't give up! 

jembox

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2011, 08:06:41 AM »
Amanda, every failure is a failure unless you learned from, then it is training & practice.
You should see the BUCKETS of CRAP I have made. I have planters on my deck that are20%  full of crappy beads
but are great drainage pebbles. 

If Possible join a local clay guild

Watch Tutorials on the web

I would master one technique at a time.  EX.start with simple canes first dont go for the complex kaleidascope, the skills you build
making the easy ones make the complicated ones easy when you.  I am the worst cane slicer in the world I cant cut two slices off the same cane
that are the same thickness or that aren't mashed or mis-shaped. Because i am to impatient  and cant let the cane rest  to firm up. But I can out extrude
anybody because I have taken time to practice and experiment in extrusions quite a bit.

Clay is so exciting because there are so many ways to go with it, It is very easy to become a ""Jack of all trades and a master of none""

Don't ask me to open and close a jumpring , it wont be a jump ring when im done !!

I have learned much more from experimenting than i ever have from the 28+ clay books I have,even though they are Great inspiration and full of usefull
 info

Different clays work differently , I love Premo, but Kato scares me to death.

Pick your self up and Get back on the horse or you'll never make it back to the barn !!

Also if you would like to start the new thread for " the ugliest thing I ever made" Im sure every clayer out there could out ugly your best !!

Ask a bazillion questions  and you get 5 gazillion  good anwsers .

Di

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2011, 09:10:33 AM »
We all feel like that sometimes Amanda :) Nearly every time I make a batch of clay things there is something I'm not happy with. Try to enjoy the experimenting and if something really good results from it then that's great. Sometimes it's worth starting with something quite simple and trying lots of variations. If I'm feeling frustrated I go back to something I know I can do and try and do it better. It is worth practising the finish on things as well, making the back of a pendant look neat for example. Don't be discouraged, we are all learning all the time!

Di :)

rubyrube

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2011, 09:55:00 AM »
I agree with all that has been said. Ideas seem great until I try and put them into practice, thats why I tend to let things evolve and develop so I don't get too frustrated that I can't get the idea that I wanted. As others have said, its all down to practice, practice and more practice. Keep going with it.
Carol

oncejewellery

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2011, 12:03:52 PM »
Thanks so much everyone! It makes me feel better to know that others of you are also making mistakes :) I think I was a bit of a 'natural' when it comes to actually making jewellery and I wanted the same to happen with claying. Impatient! I am gonna keep trying inking until I get it right. Perhaps I shall make a list of techniques to try and then decide on two or three to really get good at. I think I would like to be able to do Mokume Nendo/Gane, simple but effective contrasting canes and inked/ folied beads. But we shall see! Thanks again everyone, I shall post my attempts on here, disaster or not! I feel better now. I have a clear idea of what I would like to produce but I think a lot of hard work is necessary first!

Does anyone know how to stop a liquid clay layer dripping in the oven? It was a very thin layer... Maybe I put it on the bead before it was cool after the previous ink drying session in the oven? ALso, could a bead crack in the oven because the clay isn't conditioned well enough?

Amanda xx

ejralph

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2011, 12:12:38 PM »
Are you using an oven thermometer?

beads cracking in the oven is often a sign of baking the clay too high (especially with Fimo)

As for the liquid clay - all I can suggest is doing some experiments and see if it works better when the bead is totally cool.

Another thing you can try is to see if it works better if you put the bead into an already-hot oven or if it works better putting the bead in from cold and bringing the oven up to temp.

Some people use an embossing heat gun to blast liquid clay and quickly heat harden it before baking in the oven as usual. I recall having good luck doing this, but it is literally years since I last tried that particular technique and all the liquid clays have changed at least once or twice since then.

Emma
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jembox

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2011, 01:14:12 PM »
Amanda,
Beads cracking is probably under conditioned clay or you worked air bubbles into the clay or it is Sculpey III.

driping liquid, if you have a heat gun use it to set the liquid  first by turning them while you heat, dont get too close or you will burn
keep the gun moving  back & forth

oncejewellery

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2011, 01:33:16 PM »
Thanks! I don't think it was the oven up too high, I think it was that I hadn't conditioned it enough. Cos it wasn't dry and cracked when it came out, but sort of half baked! I will experiment with the liquid clay and hope for the best...
x

polynana

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2011, 04:59:06 PM »
Aww Amanda, everyone's right, we all have those times when things just don't go as we expect. I've made more than my fair share of rubbish, or things which have looked fine but not lived up to the wear and tear, for instance  pendant I recently made, the bail just snapped off :( I really liked the pendant too, but next tine I will make sure I use some liquid clay when adding the bail and hopefully it will last.

Nan

Hazel

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Re: Feeling discouraged- any advice?
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2011, 05:51:59 PM »
Unfortunately, it seems to be a part of the creative process - those dyas when all you want to do is huddle under a table and whimper over that mangled piece of clay that was 'Genius!' only a few minutes ago. I've just spent the morning photographing something I thought was cool...now it just looks messy and stupid ;D Wait, I mean it looks 'organic'. ;)