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MSATClayArt ClayMate Experiment Index

Eva's Experiments with Translucent Clay 8-8-02

Here are the results of experimentation that Eva did on Translucent clay. Mad scientist of Clay.


Okay, the results are in.  And they are almost identical to the
Premo regular trans.  Except the bleach was slightly clearer in
every case and it was easier to get it clear when I did the jiggling
with my finger, warming, smooshing thing.

NJ, I'll add Premo Bleach to the same page, just tag it on so people
know the clearness is similar on both regarding the pre- and post-

Also, I've done a little bleach and reg trans test, bake, etc. to
see which was clearer.  I've got a little more to go on that one and
then will post it and put it on my website.

Dr. Evastein


Below are some of my observations about translucent clay and seeing it become clear as glass before curing. 


I find that people don't condition translucent enough. I've been
finding I can get that glass effect BEFORE CURING with additional
conditioning. For example. With some of the beads I've been doing
there's translucent clay in the chop. I found that when I take a block
of clay chop and get it ready for slicing I tend to squeeze it from
the top and then stretch it. Then I squeeze it from all sides and then
compress it down again. This was to get all the different brands and
ages of the clay that's part of the chop all conditioned and warm
before slicing.

Well, one day I was smoothing the sides of a bead block with a lot of
translucent clay in it. I was using my rubber tipped large cone
shaped paint shaper.

What I found stunned me...

I realized I could see 2, 3, 4, layers down into the clay. It looked
like color was FLOATING over other colors. Like color was floating on
the surface of water and then under that color I could see ledges of
other colors.

I looked under a magnifying glass to see if it wasn't just a trick of
my eyes. Looking closer I saw that the warming, squeezing and
stretching the bead block and then smoothing it, somehow aligned the
polymer molecules in such a way that they came CLEAR before curing!!!

Clear before curing? So I can actually see how the colors will look
like they are floating on water before sanding and Future Finish.

I was stunned, amazed and then I tested the theory out in different
chops, with different mixes. It worked each time.

When my bead cooled off the translucent clay went cloudy again. But I
know once it is cured, sanded and Future finished I'll see floating
color over color that's lower down in the bead.


So that's the new news that I know about Translucent clay and my mind is still reeling with the discovery.



Eva thought it was trippy as well and said she was going to check it out. 

8-6-02: More thoughts on this translucent phenomena. 


You're welcome Eva, it's what's been holding my fascination for days
now. I've tested out 7 different chop mixes to see if I could
replicate this effect and it's amazing me that colors I didn't think
had a lot of translucent in it really do, for when I compress and
stretch and then smooth the translucent qualities appear. It's so
trippy. Got to use a magnifying glass to see it on the smaller designs
but it's there. Colors like flat sheets are floating in clear

Do you know what this means for Faux Opals?

Ok dig it. Let's say we use that Premo clay with mica in it, the
Pearl-Red, Pearl-Blue and Pearl-Green. Let's say we do an abalone sort
of mix to it. Now. Let's say we take that and slice it thin and
sandwich translucent clay with sheets of this iridescent rainbow sort
of mix.

Now, let's chop it up. In chopping up those stacked sheets we will get
chunks at different angles after we recompress the chop pile.

Ok, so this pile has chop bits that have a thin layer of rainbow
iridescence and large areas of translucent.

Would this not make those fractured bits of opal fire?

That's my thought on this right now. The colors are floating, when you
turn the bead this way and that you can see under the color in layers!
Turn it and look through the corners and see layers of colors.

How can we take advantage of that quality? That's what I'm noodling
right now.

But that compression trick before slicing is where I found the
translucent bits clearing up like glass before curing.

Over three years of claying, making all these tutes, doing this list,
it's taken me this long to find this trick.

Now the trick cat is out of the bag and my claymates can run like wild
horses with this technique.

Good... Eva, check it out and tell me what you see. I need to know I'm
not hallucinating.




So she did and that's the link at the top of the page. 

Below are some other thoughts on translucent clay while we're thinking in that direction. 


In answer to mixing color with no color translucent or does one buy it mixed already. 


I can't speak for all clay brands because I use Premo exclusively. We
have a discount with ClayAlley that that's good enough for me.

The Premo primary colors of zinc yellow, cobalt blue, cadmium red,
they are translucent and become more translucent if you add no color
translucent to them. The secondary colors made with these primary
colors will also be translucent.

The light shines through some what with these colors all by
themselves. When no color translucent is added, bit by bit they
increase in their translucent qualities.

Here's translucent experiments with ice, juice, pickled vegetables...


Here's yellow and red making orange. That orange is then mixed with no color translucent.

Then that resulting mix is added to more no color
translucent. This is how I increase the translucent quality of the
clay to make orange juice. Want Lemonade add yellow to translucent.
Want CokeCola, mix brown by taking one portion of red, blue and
yellow, to get a brown, mix that brown with no color translucent and
you have coke, or iced tea if you increase the red portion a smidge.

Experiment with it, goof around with little chips and blobs of clay,
cure them, put Future or some other acrylic floor polish on them, hold
them up the the light.

That's really the only way to see how trippy it all is, to do it at
your worktable.



To use or not to use the pasta press for translucent clay.


For this I've not been using the pasta machine at all. Haven't used it
for a month, but the technique should work no matter how we approach translucent clay.

I've been using the rolling pin with the sheet on the table for adding
slices to things like the On Black...


It seems that jiggling and smoothing clears that translucent clay
before curing. How you get it jiggled, compressed, stretched and
smoothed again is up to what you're making, I would guess.

But adding things to sheets, I'm liking the wooden rolling pin a lot
because I can control how the slices stretch better than running it
through the pasta press.

Keep us posted on your experiments with this, I'm really curious to
hear what other people discover with this translucent thread.