Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tools of the Trade

 Hello everyone. I don't have a new sculpt to show, I just thought maybe some of you would be interested in seeing some of the basic things I use when creating dolls, as well as future posts on the actual sculpting process! I have had several people ( beginners) ask me where do you get the tools from? What type of clay do I need to get started ect.... I have three photos here, and will explain my method of madness as best I can. Keep in mind, nearly every polymer clay artist has his or her own techniques, favorite tools ect..these are mine, and by no means are the "proper" or only way " of creating a sculpted art doll.  On any given sculpture, I will use a variety of tools. The first photo shows the tools most often used.  Wire cutters, for armature building, and wing assembly, Scissors for various uses, but mostly hair cutting and clothing styling, Hemostats..I use them for different things, holding wings when drying, holding wire when hot shotting a hand or foot...I will explain that term..it is my term..but simply means, I use an embossing tool to super heat certain areas, it could be the top of the head, the back side of the neck, or  a hand or foot, to quick set that piece without an entire body bake.  The exacto knife..I use this tool mainly to ensure precise cuts between fingers and toes..I rarely use it for anything else  until after the piece is completely fired. The exacto is used after firing, for scrap-ing dark spots, or uneven highs and lows in the clay.I have several different sizes of stylus ,(metal tool with wooden handle ball on each end) but this small sized one pictured is the tool I use the most for nostrils, corners of eyes..little hidden areas hard to get at with other tools. Paint brush handle..actually, wooden tools are my preferred tools..I use this paint brush handle to flatten and round out the face a lot..it works very well for me..I simply roll away the bumps! Of course, the other end, I use as a smoothing tool when applying oil, after sculpting, but before baking. The tool with the darker color wood I use for finger, and toe nails. It has a slight concave shape on one side, and is filed to a rounded point for detailing the nails. The bamboo stick is my most used tool, and my favorite! I use this tool more than any other, and created 85% of my sculptures with it!  The wooden knife is a great tool for help with nails and fingers too! The mermaid scale tool is not used as much, but I made this from a thin piece of copper sheeting and an old paint brush handle. The last tool pictured is a smaller size of the nail tool, used for dollhouse scale miniatures.  Well, there you have my tool line up..all the wooden tools you see, I made myself... no need for expensive tools, and for me, metal often times leaves dark spots in the clay, so I prefer wood. A nice smooth sanded, and oiled tool is perfect! The last photo is the four tools I use on every piece, and they are really essential..the other tools are simply enhancements, and I can create without them if I had to. One thing I will never ever sculpt without is a CLEAN glass surface..for me, it is mandatory!   Hope this little Tut was helpful to someone in need of the information..xoxox Christel

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