Getting the marbled effect with your polymer clay can produce artwork that is as natural looking as it is striking. If you live for authentic gemstone jewelry, now is your chance to get those looks alongside the techniques that will get you pretty close to mistaking it for the real thing!
I saw one other blogger do something really cool – she took raw translucent clay and a Sharpie pen of all things, and just dabbed marks on it, then folded it a few times to get colored streaks. Total genius! She kept going with the rolling part until the color distributed fully, but I think if I stopped at a few rolls, I’d get those streaks! And we’re talking about a permanent Sharpie pen just like you’d use on fabric.
Are there other ways besides this to get the marble effect? Of course! In this post I will cover two of the major ones.
The marble effect is the ideal example of nature’s perfection. To get it involves the right ratio of colors and it only takes about two or three – too many, and your effects could be muddied up. The dominant background color should be a larger coil, and the colors that will produce the streaks, should be in smaller skinny snakes.
Once intertwined, the colors will mingle together in just the right amount. Then you’d need to push it down and fold it again, just as you do when you condition clay. Here’s my own example. A lot of orange, a little yellow, and a little white all come together well.
While you twist the strands around and fold them together, remember that it doesn’t take that many pass-overs to get the right effects. When you see the steaks forming, stop….too many passes around and the colors could blend to the point of being uniform (which defeats the purpose, so be careful that you don’t “overblend”.)
Hopefully that makes sense? The famous clay artist Donna Kato refers to this as “marble mixing”. Try it sometime, I think you’ll really get into it!
Need some ideas for getting that effect? Look no further than nature’s jewels – gemstones. Earth elements like thees, if you can locate pictures of them, somewhere, study them up close and use them as inspiration for your next designs. They include:
- Rose quartz
- Tiger’s eye
Nature’s beauty is truly the way to go!
The next best way to get the marbled effect is the mastery of mokume-gane. It’s pronounced “moh-koo-me gay-nay” and an ancient Japanese tradition of metal work that involves intricate layers that are strategically cut to reveal the innermost layers. Now when applied to clay, it can create something very striking. But it is a more advanced technique that takes time to learn.
Here is a beautiful example of mokume-gane beads!
Creative Commons Image Attribution: Image by Carol Simmons
The tool you could use to cut with can be a very delicate one, like a small knife.
Be sure you choose colors for this that will make the effect worthwhile.