When I rolled my first textures in metal clay, I was excited by the results and truly amazed at the level of detail the clay picked up. Then I moved on to a stage where I noticed tiny cracks in the clay, which left me rolling a texture more than once to get the results I wanted. Time went by and I began to notice double imprints or shadows in the designs, then various depths to my textures that I also didn’t like. I was evolving into a metal clay texture aficionado.
To save you months and years of becoming a texture expert, here are some tips for rolling clay for texture:
-Fresh clay makes for the best imprints.
-Always apply non-stick material to all surfaces that your clay touches. This includes your hands.
-Try to roll either from the top down or bottom up with open hands in one smooth,continuous roll for the cleanest details.
-Keep your texture mats clean, and store them in a clean storage container.
Lora Hart gave the following technique a name that I had not heard before. She called this Reduction Rolling. Here is how to get the perfect texture, after you’ve incorporated all the above. The principle behind the Reduction technique is this: clay that is compressed only downward leaves a much better impression than clay that is compressed downward plus across the texture mat.
1. Roll your clay flat one or two cards thicker than your intended texture, depending on the depth of your desired texture.
2. Place this flat-rolled clay on the texture mat or tile with thickness cards or slats.
3. Roll to the desired thickness, as above.
Texture Mat Not Big Enough?If your texture mat or tile is small so that thickness cards or slats are hard to position well, then use other cards, slats, or texture mats to build up platforms on each side on which to set your thickness tools.
About the Author: Kris’ home and studio are in Whitefish, Montana. Kris is a certified Precious Metal Clay (PMC) instructor at PMC Connection. She has taught metal clay classes at a community college, at art centers across the country, and out of her studio. Now her teaching presence is online at I Love Silver, which one can access via her website, kriskramer.com. Also at kriskramer.com is a video showing Kris’ art process, access to Kris’ Etsy shop, and lots of free information for all metal clay artists. Link for her page at PMCC: https://pmcconnection.com/education/teachers/kris_kramer
“Metal Clay 101” is a monthly series of articles written by the teachers at PMC Connection.