Monday, May 16, 2011

Steampunk Claytraptions!

 I began this sample during my demo and added to it during the workshop.

A few weeks ago I held a Steampunk Claytraption workshop for local teens at the library. To my surprise we had a full house that included a significant group of guys. These kids were well versed in Steampunk and came ready to create.

An empty watch case and strap became the perfect frame for a teen creation.

For those who aren't hip to the term Steampunk, it's a science fiction movement that came into prominence during the 1980s. Steampunk is set in 19th century Victorian Britain where steam power was still widely used. Steampunk creations often feature futuristic innovations as perceived by period fashion, architecture, and culture.

Melissa caught me in action conditioning the clay.

To get them started I shared a quick demo in conditioning polymer clay in their hands. Once it was pliable I showed them how easy it was to insert the hardware directly into the clay. I brought a generous of selection of silver copper bronze and black polymer clay to complement the metal.

Fabulous vintage clock work pieces, we limited each participant to just two so we would have enough for the group.

Our wonderful teen librarian was able to secure a generous donation of vintage clock gears and parts. I scoured my studio and turned up a plethora of scrapbooking embellishments; small hinges, rivets, brads, charms, and metal alphabet letters. I also grabbed a selection of chain, silver, bronze and gold wire, along with several pairs of wire cutters. The last step was to hit up my husband Jon's hardware supplies for small screws.

 My dentist offered me sterilized dental tools for jewelry making. The kids loved working with them, they were instrumental in setting small wires and engraving patterns.

The teens created freely, using whatever combination of materials they desired. The only restriction was the two vintage piece limit.

 I was thrilled with the incredible variety of the projects. Even with a similar heart theme these two pieces are distinctively different. One is flying on shards of metal and wire whereas the other floating on cloud like wings.

I circulated the room to check that the Claytraptions were strong enough to survive the baking required to cure the polymer. Thin sections of clay are apt to break.  I also made sure all the embedded metal pieces were securely anchored in place.

If time permitted they would have all gladly stayed and created additional Claytraptions. We quickly decided to repeat the workshop this summer. In an amazing coincidence Jon came home from work that night with a bag full of watch parts from the repair shop down the street from his office. I can't wait to see what they'll create next time.

  I love the use of the hinge and chain on this pair of golden wings.

Make it here, take it there: crafts with Heidi Boyd
If you're entering middle school this fall (6th grade) join the creativity!
3:30pm Friday afternoons through the month of July.

6/24 Mexican Paper Flowers, 7/1 Indian Anklets, 7/8 Parisian Mirror Frames, 7/15 Steampunk Claytraptions, 7/22 Chinese Lanterns, 7/22 Japanese Folded Books, 8/5 Thai String Dolls.

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