Epoxy clay or resin clay is a cousin of the popular epoxy resin. Although it has been around for decades, it's only been in recent years that the material has been used for jewelry making. There are two major benefits to using this type of clay. Firstly, it cures without heat. Secondly, its inherent adhesive qualities make it a fabulous cold connection material besides wiring and riveting.
I received Debbi Simon's Epoxy Clay Artistry Craftsy Class for review. This artist shows how resin clay can be used by mixed media artists and by those who want to make distinctive creations. The possibilities with resin clay are endless. As you can see from the above photos, the instructor is highly creative with this medium with a bent for vintage looking pieces. The emphasis is clearly on inspiring students to come up with original ideas rather than to slavishly follow a project down to the last detail.
As with all Craftsy classes, the format is such students can watch the class when and where they want and as many times as necessary to learn a technique. You will be able to ask Debbi any questions.
At 5.6 hours, this is the longest Craftsy jewelry making class I have ever had the privilege of seeing. They generally range from 2-3 hours. Some may find the instructor on the verbose side but it is worth listening as she shares numerous tips throughout. You can also run the class at 1.5x the speed if you are impatient!
Debbi introduces herself in this video. She has been using resin clay for some years now and wrote the book, Crystal Chic.
She covers the different brands of clay, lists what you need and shares a number of tips. Clay artists like her have found silly putty to be helpful. I also liked her tip about using wipes to keep hands and things clean!
|Mixing the 2 part epoxy clay|
She uses just a few key colors of pre colored clay (others like me color white clay) as starting blocks to mixing her final shades. Debbi makes one very good comment - like resin, you should be aware of your ambient temperature and conditions as it could affect curing times.
Some may be wondering about whether to wear gloves. There are always individuals who have skin sensitivities to the clay. Debbi does not, so she just uses balm on her hands which also acts as a barrier. The balm or cooking oil resin clay artists uses helps with the stickiness of the clay. If you are concerned, I recommend nitrile (non-latex) gloves. ( I use these myself mainly because I can remove them to take pictures of my work in process!)
She begins with basic bezel work. The embedding of crystals for a pavé style is what drew many jewelry artists to this medium. She demonstrations how to embed not just crystals, but other objects such as shells and even snakeskin!
Moving on beyond basic bezels is this section on how to work with patterns and how to handle crystals.
She also has a great tip on how to handle making a wide channel bracelet form. This type of finding needs a lot of clay so you need to be able to stop and start. The clay is most adhesive in the first 30-40 minutes. It is a race against the clock! This is the reason why you cannot make large batches.
She also demonstrates how to make a bead using metal cores. Resin clay, like polymer clay, is a great way to make custom beads. Really useful technique to know if you aren't up to glass bead making!
This lesson is on how to use conventional texture plates and stamps as well as found ones like stones, feathers and snakeskin! You can use all kinds of pigments - she only introduced just a few to inspire. I like her tips on how to soften Gilder's paste As she says, the sky is the limit when it comes to coloring resin clay.
This lesson on how to do image transfers was my favorite. This easy technique takes advantage of the stickiness of the resin clay to hang on to the pigments from printed images. She stresses that you should be using either your own printed designs or photos or copyright free ones.
She uses regular bezels as well as open ones and channel beads, too.
This section is on mold making and casting. She sure encourages students to use all kinds of found objects - especially vintage buttons and so on.
Her filigree designs with molded resin clay do not require wiring or soldering!! She had a wonderful idea on how to use resin clay scroll work onto a large crystal as shown below. With the right coloring, the piece looks like it was adorned with metal!
The free form shapes section will be familiar to anyone who works with polymer clay or metal clay. Cutting out shapes and doming is pretty much the same.
Here is where she covers in more detail how to build and construct with filigree and resin clay as the "mortar". Building and construction with filigree.
One excellent tip is using other materials as the core for resin projects. Using an armature of sorts saves on clay and makes the piece lighter. Debbi used things like aluminum foil and open bezels. (As as alternative, you can check out my past post How to Make Faux Metal Beads where the armature were wooden balls.
Here she covers finishing techniques such as sanding to smooth out rough edges and shaping especially of irregular shapes. She also demonstrates drilling and riveting - the latter gives a more finished look. She does not create the holes in bezel-less pieces before curing like I do. It is another option to consider.
As a painter, she clearly enjoys the finishing process where she can make her pieces look antique.
The wonderful design below shows off her creativity. She deliberately did not transfer the entire image onto the resin clay. Instead, she filled the "halo" of the Madonna with rhinestones. Her dab hand with paint pigments at the edges nicely completed this piece.
This was the bonus project which shows the idea behind the making of a shadowbox. Scaled smaller, it could be a wonderful focal pendant with enclosed objects inside. Some may be disappointed as there is no picture of the final project. But this way, students are guaranteed to come up with their own unique designs based on her concept.
As Debbi said many times during the class, epoxy resin clay is a medium that you have to play with. And when you do, you will not be disappointed as you will be able to create your own distinctive style. Her inspirational class serves to get you started. The medium is still relatively young in the jewelry making world - what else can you do with resin clay?
If you want a chance to win a free access to Debbi Simon's Epoxy Clay Artistry class (and ask her any question about resin clay), please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog. The class is currently on sale too.
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This giveaway is international.
Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)
It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, August 15, 2016. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!
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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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