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Review Index 05-28-09: Review of Inro Experiments: This is a reply to a question from a ClayMate, B, who asked if she could use cork for the inside of the Inro she was planning on making.

The picture is of the first successful inro I made for my son's birthday in 2007.


You made me laugh. Polymer clay is like crack, it's totally addicting. I think it's because one can start and finish a project in one day. The color is in the clay so there's really little need for paint. We've found that there are so many effects we can get from polymer clay from miniature cheeseburgers to faux cloisonné.

As for your question about using cork. I did a quick search and found this information:

"Is cork heat and cold resistant?
Cork is temperature resistant from -180 degrees C to + 110 degrees C."

Hmmmm, polymer clay is cured at 130C/265F, so that's higher than cork's temperature resistance.

"Is cork flammable?
cork is fire retardant."

Well, that's good to hear. 

I love aluminum foil. It's cheap and easily obtained. I have a handful of inro experiments and I'm going to show you the oldest ones first where I was experimenting more with how to cure two layers of clay and have part of it not stick. These first efforts are rough, but the basic techniques are ones I kept on using in more current experiments.


This section shows you putting clay colors through their paces to make designs for the sheet on the outside of the inro. Here the first inro experiments were cured but not sanded or given a finish. These are not classic inro, but rather the early experiments on getting the sections to overlap. It was trickier than I thought it would be.
Here are the first experiments wet sanded and given a finish. It felt like a "close but no cigar moment".


Those are the earliest efforts. I used a toilet paper roll for the inside.

Paper is flamable at 451F, I only remember that because of Ray Bradbury's novel "Fahrenheit 451". So using a toilet paper roll is fine in the oven for the temperatures for curing polymer clay.


Since inros have some overlapping areas the challenge was to find a way to cure two layers of polymer clay and have some areas not stick together. I used aluminum foil again, covering the inner section that I didn't want to stick to the outer layer, or to the other inner section.

Pictures from 1-17 show this process:

A close up example:
As you can see in the chat log I ended up using masking tape to hold the edges of the aluminum foil in place.


2004-2006: As I kept on practicing I did come up with something that's not quite inro but still in the same family of a stacking vessel.
This experiment kept on baffling me and I kept on putting it aside and returning to it.

I wanted the inside to be as trippy as the outside and this was the experiment to do that. It was tricky to remember to expose the good side of the sheet on the inside of the inside section. I about lost my mind during this experiment.

Ok, moving forward in time, my only real inro, done for my son's birthday:



I still used the toilet paper roll filled with aluminum foil and mashed into a shape that's more oval than round.


It has holes for the cord to go throught the different sections.

Now I've given you the links in the order of the process of experimenting. The tutorials on my website build upon each other as I stumble over the ways to do things. You'll see the "crappy side" of the birthday inro, to let you know that no one is perfect straight out of the gate. On the crimson and gold inro I show you how the old sheet cracked because I didn't warm it up by laying it on my stomach before wrapping it around the inner section. No one is perfect and I'll be the first to point out where my experiments had miscalculations.

So sally forth and make that inro and if you run into any problems just give a holler and we'll help where we can. Ok?

Oh, welcome to CITY-o-Clay, ;-)


aka NoraJean Co-Owner of CITY-o-Clay


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