This Pardo translucent. Man, I came up in the days of polymer clay when it was Fimo Fimo Fimo, condition, condition, condition, and still, this Pardo translucent is bringing me to my knees.
I have read all the very excellent posts on other people’s experiments with Viva Decor’s translucent Pardo professional Art-Clay, and dutifully have followed the advice — Ginger Davis Allman has written the best ones at her The Blue Bottle Tree blog — but all these folks seems to have a magic touch with it that I lack.
Or maybe it’s the magic oven.
Because the second thing I discovered about the beeswaxed-based Pardo translucent is that it is extremely finicky in the heat department. So just forget your wildly temperature-fluctuating $35 toaster oven. I am using three oven thermometers and, naturally, they all say something different within five degrees of each other. But those five degrees make or break this stuff, particularly if you are trying to do something like cure the clay at its higher-than-recommended temperature to achieve that Nirvana-like clarity that others have written about.
I can’t even get close to 275°, much less 300° or 315°, without everything bubbling and frying. I had to go to a larger oven to achieve any degree of control over this clay. So expect to babysit it with a magazine or your Kindle, with one eye cocked towards the oven window, if you are trying to bake beyond the recommended curing temperature.
Like Cernit, you get a big surprise if you expect the translucent clay’s color to remain the same in its baked state, compared with the raw. Curing at a higher temperature, of course, merely intensifies this.
I have to add that this is not my first exposure to Pardo clay, nor the first time trying to crack the Pardo translucent code. Several years ago, I spent a teeth-gritting couple of weeks working with those little balls in the jar, albeit opaque colors of clay. And my first efforts working with the translucent a few months ago nearly sent me to the couch with a cold washcloth on my forehead. And I am not at all inexperienced with translucent clays of all brands and types.
I did love the blue color of this new bracelet I made. I was shooting for something resembling Bakelite, having added alcohol inks to color the plain translucent clay.
But following the first baking, I ended up spending the entire two hours of a Netflix movie (“The Big Short”) tortuously cutting out and adding second level of clay dots to the bracelet and earrings. The peach dots dots had been just way too dark to contrast with the color of the bracelet base. The dots are still pretty dim, and there is a serious amount of plaquing that can be attractive in something like a faux jade. But not so much here. Next time, I will use an opaque clay embellishment.
If there is a next time. I guess there will be, because I have about 9 more unopened packages, but I am going to have to again gird my loins when I approach the clay in the future. This is primarily because I don’t know who is receiving this allegedly soft soft clay, but it isn’t me. I placed orders that were months apart from each other, but what arrived were pretty hard little bricks during a relatively cool time of year. So I didn’t exactly hit the ground running with my conditioning efforts.
So if you read this (and no one might be, since I haven’t posted in a while), and you have been playing with this same clay, by all means add a comment, update me with your own experiments, and tell me anything wonderful that you have been doing with it.
Like getting it conditioned.