Friday, November 14, 2008

Mudcloth Beads--Sort Of

Longest tube bead: 2 1/2", biggest donut bead: 1 3/4"


I've been wanting to do some donut as well as large tube shaped polymer beads, and here are some black and white ones I just made. I was inspired by the mudcloth technique in Judy Belcher's book, Polymer Clay Creative Traditions. She has two interesting techniques for mudcloth in her book, but I improvised a little from her technique.

I carved the designs using a linoleum cutter v-gouge. I'd like to find a better quality carving tool as I want to do more precise designs than the tool let me do. But in trying to recreate the primitive African tradition of mudcloth, it looks pretty close.

One hint for success: if you want to carve through to an underneath color, make sure your top sheet of clay is reeeally thin. As thin as you can make it.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

"Primitive?" The technique for producing the richly colored and beautiful fabrics of Mali may be termed "ancient," or "time-honored," but primitive, with its various negative connotations (such as crude or rudimentary) is inappropriate.

Caren said...

Michelle, Before you call my description inappropriate, get out your dictionary to make sure you know what you are talking about.

"Primitive" means early in history, among other things. You plucked out the negative definitions that suit your politically correct word policing, ignoring the other ones.

You can take it negatively if you want but I stand by my description.

Linelle said...

I really love these beads! I've made faux mudcloth beads using Judy Belcher's technique. I've found that simple patterns work best for me. I love how you've carved your patterns out. Is this done just with layered clay? Or have you also used inks.

Great job!

Caren said...

Linelle, Yes I just used the layered technique, with off-white underneath and thin black on top. I am planning on doing more mudcloth, maybe using dark top colors other than black. It's fun. The most important thing I found is to make the top layer as thin as possible, even thinner than you think possible! I'd also like to find a tiny, tiny v-gouge, because I'm not that happy with the one I have.

Neena Shilvock said...

I love these beads - they are a must try, and you have done really well Caren