One of my crafty loves is polymer clay, and I’ve reviewedÂ Studio by Sculpey (may it rest in peace) and Pardo Jewellery Clay by Viva Decor. Newest version on the block? Pardo Art Clay by Viva Decor. Lisa Pavelka has been working with Viva Decor for a while now, and she likes this formulation so much that she has lent her name to it and made it part of her “Signature Series.”
So let’s get to it! If you are familiar with Pardo polymer clay, there some similarities. Art Clay, like Pardo Jewellery clay, is beeswax- based and phthalate-free. It’s also packaged in recyclable packaging (no pesky cellophane, here!) Lastly, it also is very low-odor and I didn’t notice it all while working with it.
One of the first differences you’ll notice, though, is that they’ve abandoned the “balls of clay” idea that is a hallmark of Jewellery clay. Even though it’s packaged in one solid block (no score lines) it’s also easy to work right out of the package. It only needs a little kneading to warm it up (it was about 68 degrees in my studio when I was working on my review.) I ran it through the pasta machine about 8-10 times and it was ready to go. Since this clay is mean to be a little firmer and a higher quality, so I thought I’d focus on two main areas for this clay: blendability and caning.
I prepped the clay and checked the “sticky” factor- I lightly touched the surface and it did not retain my fingerprints or stick to my fingers. It took a little more pressure to get a fingerprint to appear. Light holding didn’t do it. Good! And when I did get one in the clay, I buffed it out with the side of my thumb. But enough about that, let’s move on to the skinner blend.
I will the be the first to admit that I’m not the queen of the Skinner Blend- mine grows and grows!! But I was pleased with how the pigments blended smoothly and provided a nice gradation of color. Next up is to make it into a cane and try reducing.
I let it sit for about 10 minutes, then reduced it by 50%.
I was satisfied with how well the cane reduced. While it certainly got softer as I worked it, the clay didn’t get overly “mushy” if you know what I mean. I tried the same thing with stripes.
So, my stripes did get a little wavy in the reducing process, but I have to admit I wasn’t taking the most care and I was in a bit of a hurry. (Mom crafter. ‘Nuff said.)
So, if you are familiar with Premo, I’d say that it’s pretty close to that in consistency and caning. I baked my pieces in my toaster oven (Jenny’s tip: ALWAYS use an oven thermometer!) according to the directions of 275 degrees per 1/4 inch of thickness. I also tented my clay with aluminum foil.
Here are some photos of how my trials turned out! Some are right out of the oven, some are buffed on my jeans, some are wet-sanded and buffed with my Dremel. Take a look:
The buffing alone gave a nice satin sheen, while the wet sanding yielded a bright glossy finish- no varnish necessary!
All in all, IÂ like this clay a LOT. If it were more readily available, it would probably replace the Premo in my studio just because I likeÂ beeswax base and lack of odor during baking. Please, oh please, craft gods, bring this clay to my local craft store!
So- Jenny Sez:
- 14 colors
- recyclable packaging
- beeswax based
- not stinky when baking! : )
- firm but not TOO firm
- A little pricey- Runs around $3.50 USD for 2.1 oz.
- Difficult to find in brick-and-morter stores (You can find it at Hobby Lobby, though)
- Folks who do very complicated canes may want even firmer clay
And now, some pieces made by Lisa Pavelka herself- after all, why not see what a master can do with Art Clay?
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