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Faux Abalone tutorial!
I use Sculpey Premo! as I like their metallic clays :o)
You can use whatever brand clay you wish, including mixing your own metallic clays by using translucent clay and mixing in a mica powder or similar product.
A little bit Black
a little bit of each your color choices
(I like an odd numbers of colors, it looks more random)
and at least a 2 ounce block of Pearl
Obviously if you want more faux abalone you increase how much clay you use :-)
A tissue blade and/or a ripple blade
A pasta machine (helpful, not necessary)
or a brayer
A really really super, paper thin, sheet of black clay or black oil paint.
Any brand of paint will do.
I know Genesis Paints work really well with clay.
I happened to have found a set of regular oil paints by REEVES at a local store. The set has 12 colors, and was under $10 at the time. I have been using these oil paints in/on clay since the late 1990's and those pieces are still good.
Here are some pictures of real abalone:
Looking at abalone pictures you may notice that sometimes abalone has an overall silver (or grayish) look to the colors Sometimes they are bright colors. Sometimes the colors are mostly blues and purples with little hints at green. Sometimes there are gold, yellow, orange, red colors too. Feel free to use whatever colors you wish, nothing is wrong!
And as for the fine black lines in the abalone I will refer to as 'detail lines' in the tutorial.
So, the first time I made this I started with Premo Pearl and mixed in a little black to get a nice silver. I did not want it as dark as the silver Premo metallic clay so mixed it myself. I was also not happy with mixing the silver and pearl together. So I just went with pearl with a tiny little bit of black clay to get my silver base. Use whatever you wish (ie: silver, pearl, combo, etc)
Divide your 'silver' up into sections equal to the number of colors you will use. These do not have to be equal sections, just equal to the number of colors. I decided to use 5 colors so I divided my base silver into 5 parts. One I left the base silver as I liked it. And the others I tinted by mixing in teeny tiny small pinches of blues, greens and a purple.
Here are some scraps from the first time I mixed up colors:
Now, for contrast to help in visualization, and because I need this for another project, I am going to do this tutorial in bright colors. Rainbow Abalone!! lol :o)
Sorry for the color switch up but it was what I needed at the time I was writing this tutorial. Maybe someday I can redo it.
Roll out your colors into sheets using your brayer or pasta machine.
I have an Atlas pasta machine with nine settings. I will roll mine out using settings from #3 to #6 which will make about 1/16" to 1/32" thick sheets. I used variety of thicknesses because I did not want it all uniform. Do whatever you feel is right for you.
Now tear or cut pieces out of your sheets of clay into smaller shapes.
(If the clay wants to stretch instead of tearing, let it cool down)
Now randomly stack anywhere from 2 to 5 squares onto each other to create a bunch of little stacks.
Use a brayer on the sheets to remove air bubbles from between them.
Here are a couple of my stacks of clay.
Pick a rather wide and long stack and set it aside for now (this will be the top layer).
If using oil paint for the detail lines, smear a very, very small amount of the oil paint on top of all of the remaining stacks. Don't take it all of the way to the edges, but fill in most of the surface. Put on just enough paint to make it black, but no more. It will just make a sloppy mess otherwise! :o)
If using a very, very, very, paper thin sheet of black clay, place that on top of each stack so that it covers each stack.
Here is a picture of my stacks all smeared with paint.
(your stacks would look similar if covered with black clay instead)
Notice the 1 stack without black on it. This is the top section.
Now pick one of the painted stacks, a good wide one for the base, and start stacking the others on top of it until they are all stacked up with the unpainted one (or no black clay on top) being at the very top.
You should now have something that looks like this.
Now I flattened the stack of clay down to about half it's thickness (mine started at about 2 inches and ended up about 1 inch thick).
Now we are going to do, basically, what you do to a Mokume Gane stack. Squishing knuckles, finger tips, marbles, rounded tools, etc., into the clay stack to create hills and valleys across the surface, from both sides.
You don't want anything too sharp or small as that wont end up looking like abalone (nice round 'swirls', curves, etc.).
You need not poke a lot, just get the hills and valleys started.
Now, push from the sides and squish it back together!
Try not to trap air in those 'valleys'.
Try to make it nice and 'tight' and get all of those valleys 'removed' and the 'mountains' touching again.
Ta-da! You are done! Wasn't that fun and easy!
Let the cane rest and cool down before slicing across the top in Mokume fashion.
Here is a picture of this really colorful cane that I just made.
It certainly shows the detail.
Actually the slice is much nicer looking than the scanned image and looks great when small shapes are cut out of it.
Vaguely reminds me of rainbow filigree. I said vaguely...heh
If you decide that there are not enough black detail lines, or they are not 'swirly' enough, grab that ripple blade!
Here is the original cane that I had made. The left-hand picture is first cut from the cane.
On the right-hand picture is the cane after I decided it needed more of the black 'detail lines' and so I used a ripple blade.
I should have flattened it before taking a picture as the detail lines are harder to see from the ripples cut in it. Sorry!
Oh, here. I remembered to come back and show a picture of a flattened slice after using the ripple blade.
Here is a quick group of pics showing the assembly of the faux abalone cane in more normal colors.
Now, go create!
So many different looks, from pastel to bright colors! Here are a few of mine.