When I tried paper clay for the little 3D birds in the mixed media piece that I did at the Art Camp in early April I liked it and wanted to do more with it.
It handles completely differently than polymer clay and yields a different kind of result. I find it to be a bit elastic so that if I make an indentation mark it tends to slowly move back towards its original shape – sort of like bread dough. For me, it seems to work very well for a more primitive look. And of course it only comes in white so it needs to be painted or finished in some other way. It air dries, so the curing time is rather slow – especially when compared to the cure time for polymer clay. I find that a project spans several days.
Here are two little birds I made. Their bodies are the paper clay. The eyes are glass beads that I pressed into the clay.
On the left bird, the feet and legs are wire which I glued into holes in the clay body. The wings and tail are each two layers of mixed media paper glued together with spray adhesive. Before I assembled the separate pieces – head/body, wings, tail, legs/feet – I embellished the clay and paper parts with decoupage, using various bits of paper, both printed and hand-written. I used acrylic matte gel medium for the decoupage medium and was pleased to find that the medium did not dissolve graphite like I thought it might. After the decoupage, I applied a coat of the acrylic matte medium over the all the pieces then added touches of soft body acrylic paint. To assemble, the wings, tail, and legs are glued in place with E6000 glue. I attached the buttons at the base of the wings by looping a 26 gauge brass wire through the two holes and tightly twisting the ends together on the back side. I then poked the wire through a hole in the wing into a hole in the body and secured with E6000 glue. The last step was a coat of satin finish acrylic varnish over all.
For the right bird, I fashioned the feet from rusted wire. The legs are tightly rolled rubes of paper secured with glue and a wrapping of embroidery thread. I glued the tubes into holes in the bottom of the clay body then glued the feet in place in the other ends of the paper tubes using E6000 glue in both instances. The paper I used for the legs was a nice heavy glossy coated paper from a Haagen Daas ice cream ad in an old Martha Stewart magazine. I liked the paper so much that I experimented with it a bit for the wings. To make the wings sturdy I added dimension in the form of making the entire shape a very shallow cone with an inverted cone at the shoulder. I cut strips into the back ends of the wings and rolled the strips for the feathers. It’s handy that the paper rolls stay nicely in place. I attached the wings to the body using light acrylic molding paste because it would fill the shape of the upper wings and give them strength. I left the tail just the small stump that I modeled from the clay – kind of like a shore bird’s tail which would go nicely with the shore bird type legs. For the star on her chest, I went back to the old Martha Stewart magainze looking for a small section of paper whose designs and colors would strike me. I found a nice piece in the center of a photo of a bouquet of yellow roses and cut the start from that. I haven’t added any paint to this guy yet, but I think it will be minimal.
I am enjoying making these little birds so much! Using old wire, paper, buttons, and threads makes a nice little exercise of making “something” out of “nothing.” I’m planning on making many more, and calling them my “BURDZ.” I’ll probably sell some of the on Ebay or Etsy once I can persuade myself to part with them!