My new website can be found at http://www.quernuscrafts.co.uk/

Wee Bunny (b.29 July 2009)

The bunny is very much a work in progress. I'm pleased with the teeth, and the ears are definitely rabbit-like.

But unless you see the bobtail at the back, this could be a disembodied head, which is not the look I'm going for! My next plan is to reduce the scale of the facial features quite a bit, and perhaps have the ears going backwards, lying flat against the body.

Wee Horse (b.29 July 2009)

So. The horse. Interesting one, this. Quite a challenge to keep the nose right, and the ears took several attempts. Smaller is definitely better! Keeping the eyes close together definitely helped as well, and having the mane and tail in a darker colour also helps to ground the shape.

I experimented with a new way of using the extruded clay by folding it back on itself, rather than using individual strands. The result is a rather stylised version of hair, and I think it works quite well. Easier to attach to the body too - I'm loving the liquid polymer clay, which has been a bit of a revelation for me. It does create a very secure bond between pieces of clay.
I may well have a go at putting some legs or feet on some of the animals, just to see how they look. There's something very appealing, however, about keeping them all in the same style.

Wee Dog (b.29 July 2009)

So the puppy was born a few days after its mum. I love making these smaller versions, and I think the ears are a little better behaved this time around! The markings will take a bit more work - because I'm working on such small scale, it's hard to roll out the pieces thin enough so that they can be placed on the body without difficulty.

So I'm thinking about incorporating the markings before I make the flat bottom - placing the darker clay on the body, and then rolling it between hands so they become fully incorporated. The eye patch on the puppy is a bit on the large side and I also got
a bit sloppy with the eye placement - I've ordered 3mm black onyx and 4mm black obsidian round beads to use for the eyes, and I'm looking forward very much to using these. With plastic beads, you get occasional tag ends of plastic sticking out from the bead holes, which gets caught up in the clay.

The tails are so important - they really help ground the sculpture and make it clear that this is the entire animal, not just the head!

Cat and Wee Cat (b.27 July 2009)

Hmm. So the kittens need a bit more work to get them right. I used to do more triangular cats and kittens, which certainly worked quite well. Keeping them within the round template is more of a challenge, but I'll keep working on them.

I think I need to make the chops a little smaller. I added the paws to the kitten as an afterthought, and it's not in keeping with the 'no legs' rule I seem to have inadvertantly devised. Ah well, I've got plenty of time on my hands to try out some more ideas. Greg only wants kittens - will have to see what I can do!

Spotty Dog (b.27 July 2009)

I'm chuffed with this puppy! The ears are a little wired, but incorporating a patch around the eye worked very well.

I'll have a think about doing other breeds of dogs - could be interesting to convey a particular look whilst still doing spherical shapes!

Cow and Wee Cow (b. 27 & 29 July 2009)

The large cow came first on Monday afternoon. I really liked the way she turned out, although the ears and horns proved a little challenging. Getting the noses right has been so important - unless you're careful, they all tend to look like pigs!

I think I did a better job with the calf, which I worked on a few days later. Although the markings need to be refined more, I love the horn buds, and including a mouth under the nose really makes it more recognisable as a cow. Overall, I like the idea of doing two sizes of beasties - medium and small - which allows for mother/baby options.

Piglings (b. 27 July 2009)

OK, so I went a bit mad on Monday. Had lots of ideas about different animals to try, but I couldn't get enough of these little guys. I wanted to see how quickly I could make them, and how easy they would be to assemble.

Turns out it takes about 30 minutes to make four of them. I'm very fond of these - I experimented with using a core of scrap polymer clay and then using a veneer of pink/beige, but this allowed air bubbles to creep in and a few of the piglings have cracks in them. The better option is to go with a solid ball of polymer clay, and so I've now ordered some Super Sculpey in beige/flesh colour to see whether how this works as an option. It's so important to be scrupulous about baking temperature and timings, and so I have now invested in a table-top oven toaster which will be dedicated to polymer clay creations. I read a good tip that putting shards of terracotta tiles at the bottom of the oven would help even out the temperature, which should make baking more easy to monitor. Can't wait to refine these little mites further!

Sleeping Kitten (b. 23 July 2009)

So this is the first experiment of my Snoozles range. I want to create stylised animals in various states of repose, using simple, elegant lines and designs.

For this kitten, I used scrap polymer clay, so I wasn't going for realism on the colour front. Out of a few attempts, this was the best shape, and I've definitely got a good idea of where to go next.

Sheep and Highland Cow (b. 23 July 2009)

These are old favourites. The Highland Cow was one of my first ever crafting efforts way back in the late 1990s. Back then, I used air drying clay and I painted the cow with poster paints. Ah, those were the days.

The sheep has remained pretty much unchanged from the early days - using extruded clay as wool, I can create a rather fun, wool-like effect, and the strands of wool on the forehead make it look a bit Wallace and Gromit-esque. Again, the black bead eyes have been a firm favourite with me since the beginning.
When revisiting both these models, I thought I would try them without legs - this is primarily so they are in keeping with the round style I'm aiming for. Ideally, I'd also like the sheep's face to be incorporated in with the body, but this could be a challenge. Good to be back in the saddle, however.

Pigling the First (b. 23 July 2009)

Made very quickly at the end of a long day of getting back into crafting. Delighted at how well he turned out. I based the design on an old ceramic pig I've had for many years, and which I've always loved.

I love using black beads for eyes - a favourite trick of mine I've been using for years. Love the large nose, and the stylised round shape - will see whether it'll work with different animals.