Dextrous coordination compilation
Among other things, I've been working on the weevil sculpture. I'm happy with how it's coming along and most excited to see my improvement in skill with the polymer clay medium. Not long ago I had sculpted a relatively big ant. I found it hella' frustrating detailing the ants legs. Now, working on the weevil, sculpting the legs wasn't nearly as hard, with better results (but still hella' time consuming). On the whole, I spent almost 4 hours sculpting the 6 legs to my liking. Not to mention that those 4 hours were hella' spread out over a few days (the child just... keeps... growing).
The truth is, repetition can be a good teacher in and of itself. Although, if I had to choose just a few new techniques that caused the improvements, it'd go a little something like this:
First off, with the ant, I built, posed, and secured the armature to a base before adding any clay. Comparatively, I had a much easier time adding clay and detail to the weevil's body by leaving the leg wires long and undetermined. In fact, it wasn't until after I baked and cooled the body that I spread the legs to decide their correct length and pose.
With the ant, I flattened the clay and wrapped it around each entire leg. From there I began sculpting the leg segments right onto the leg wires. The weevil's legs began as clay rolled into a sheet with a pasta roller (which is the same exact thing as a clay conditioning machine). The even sheets of clay makes it simple to mark and cut into pieces that are exactly the same size. I sculpt each piece into the rough shape of a leg segment. After sculpting the weevil's leg segments I gently sliced open each one and sandwiched them onto the leg wires. The fact that they're all the same size is a big improvement when I look back at the obvious varying sizes of ant legs.
You may have noticed that I slid small black beads onto the leg wires at the elbow. It worked well for keeping a uniform size at each joint; in fact, I plan to make and bake polymer beads to use for this same function in similar future projects.
As I had mentioned, simple repetition is worth the time. It's the only way I can see to improve... hmm... what's the opposite of heavy-handed... graceful coordination? As you may already know, before it's baked, polymer clay is soft enough to deform by merely holding it. With enough experience it's easier to determine the proper hand pressure.
That's as far as I've gotten with the weevil. One more... what-cha-ma-callem on the bug... a paw? foot? Tarsus... of course. One more group of tarsus to sculpt on the raised leg. Which reminds me, I based the pose off the Little Leafnotcher Weevil below (not to be confused with our guy, the Sri Lanka Weevil).
Thanks to the wifey-poo, I'm still waylaid with beadings, but on the up-side I've had a couple jewelry ideas of my own... *thwack* OH, I just remembered... Alan (the writer) came up with this one: The solar system bracelet! Part fashion statement, part learning aid, but all cheat-sheet! I DID come up with the little rocket beads. It's going up for sale on Etsy as soon as I finish Jupiter. The colors are true-to-life (or as true-to-life as I can be sure of without a telescope) and Uranus is a light-turquoise, for real... you're welcome.