Clay Cutter Magic from the Mind of Robin Milne

This has been another one hell of a week. I won’t go into details, but humor always helps. As I opened up the web browser on my newly-repaired computer to write this post, one of those real provocative headlines you see on the Internet shot across the screen. You know the kind I’m talking about: Stuff like “If You Have One of These in Your Kitchen, There’s a Ninety Percent Chance You Are a Narcissist,” or “The Ten Things Your Dog Does Not Want You to Know,” or “Scientists are Begging Seniors to Wash This One Body Part.” The headline that I saw was “Seven Things You Should Never Do With a Magic Eraser.” Only seven? I can think of lots more.

Let’s see, you should never insert a Magic Eraser into your Blue Ray drive. You should never give a Magic Eraser to a panhandler on the street and expect a thank you. Don’t think you can cut a pocket in a Magic Eraser and stuff it with falafel. Ok, maybe you can, but that doesn’t mean you should. And finally, (do I really need to tell you this?) don’t roll them into tubes, shove them up your nose, and go food shopping. I could list more things you should never do with a Magic Eraser, but I’ll stop here. I think you get the picture.

Besides, I digress. This week’s post is about one of my friends, Robin Milne, who I am convinced comes from a family of geniuses. Robin is a talented artist in several mediums including polymer clay. Her latest project is developing a line of 3D printed, high-quality clay cutters (although you could use them for cookies, too) . 3D printing has always intrigued me, so I asked Robin how she got into it.

Robin’s Canes

My father got me a small 3D printer 5 years ago for my birthday. One of the first things I made was a cutter in the shape of M.C. Escher’s tessellating lizard. I wanted to use that cutter to make a sample of all the polymer veneers I made and connect them all together. Once I had learned how to use the printer, I upgraded to a bigger, higher quality printer and started designing. I made a stamp with my gym’s logo to mark the attendance sheet that I had been to class. That led me to start making initial stamps for artists to mark their polymer clay pieces. A year and a half ago, I upgraded to an even better printer that can print larger items. Since then, I’ve been learning and printing and designing all kinds of things. I brought 3D prints of about 10 different cutters styles sets to Clayathon this past February and almost sold out.

“People were really happy with them and I got requests for new shapes. When I got home I stocked up again, printing as many as I could to take to the next retreat but then Covid happened. Since I can’t take the cutters to a retreat, I have been taking requests and making customs cutters and mailing them out. I have a lot more cutters I want to design and I also plan to make texture sheets and rollers. I have always loved clay tools and now I can make my own.”

The good news is that Robin opened an online shop! You can buy her beautifully designed and reasonably priced cutters , here. Support the arts and small business! Robin’s adding new designs all the time. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Clayathon Wrap Up with Pictures

 

Clayathon is a place to relax, mix with great people, see the work other people’s work in progress and watch demos of  polymer and non-polymer techniques.  I saw demos on caning, faux dichroic glass,  soldering solver bezels, metal fold forming, and I gave a demo on drilling glass and making ring clasps with copper washers.  Lisa Clarke of Polka Dot Creations was there with the latest books and videos and Wilma Yost was there with the latest products from Polymer Clay Express  including their Shape Frames  that Wilma showed everyone how to use.  We had a cane swap and worked on a group cane too.  To sum it up, we had a blast.

Here are some pictures. 

A New Polymer Clay

robindemoRobin Milne    introduced her fellow members of the The Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild to a brand new clay at our last meeting!   Robin had been tapped to introduce Pardo Jewellery Clay manufactured by German Company Viva Decor at the Winter CHA Show in Anaheim, and she came back with clay samples and brochures.  What could be better?

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Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in gumball-sized pieces packaged in 2.7 oz jars.  Robin said it has no odor when  raw or baking and it’s easy to condition.  It uses beeswax as a plasticiser in place of phthalates.

But is it durable?   Robin was  able to run it through her pasta m31achine on the thinnest setting without tearing and, when it was baked, she could tie it in a bow.  She could bend a cured bookmark-shaped piece of clay in a circle without breaking it.  Although the clay is on the soft side, she could produce decent canes with it.  And she was able to sand and buff it to a high shine.

Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in a beautiful range of jewel-toned colors, and the metallics contain plenty of mica. The manufacturer, Viva Decor,  says it can be mixed with other brands of polymer clay without a problem.  

Poly Play Clay, is  the only retail supplier I know of at the current time.  They don’t carry all of the 64 colors of Pardo Jewellery clay yet. Owner Trish Hodgens says that eventually,  however, they  plan to carry every color Viva Decor makes available to the United States Market.

Robin also recommends another Viva Decor product: Precious Metal Paints.   She’s tried thse high quality paints on raw and baked clay; they don’t scratch off and cover beautifully.  When the paint is applied to raw clay, allowed to dry, and run through the pasta machine, it crackles like metal leaf.  The mica in the pain is so small, you can use the paint for screen printing. And, Robin says, “the colors are amazing!” 

If you want to see what Robin has done with Pardo Jewellery Clay and Precious Metal Paints, press here.

I don’t know if anyone in the United States currently selling the Precious Metal Paints, but you want more information on them, check out U.K. supplier The Fruit Pixie.