Friday, May 22, 2015

Egg #17- Dia De Los Muertos..sugar skulls- polymer clay covered goose egg

     My sister and I were unbelievably lucky growing up. My mother was an excellent cook and baker, and passed down some wonderful culinary knowledge as we grew older. One of the very special things that she would make were the wonderful panoramic sugar eggs we would receive at Easter. She would also purchase large coconut filled chocolate eggs and decorate them with royal icing. Each egg had a multiple bouquet of different kinds and colors of flowers, and oodles of lacy lines. Not only were the treats delicious, but a visual feast for the eyes. The memory of these wonderful creations have stayed with me. I have also seen the wonderful Day of the Dead sugar skulls, decorated in bright colors with wonderful shapes, designs, crosses, flowers, and many other designs. All of these wonderful things will serve as my inspiration for this particular egg...so, here we go!
I start with a goose egg, black sculpey with gold flecks and assemble a variety of shapes of little cutting tools, rollers, picks, and plunge cutters. I warm the sculpey up by kneading it in my hands for several minutes.
To further condition and soften clay, I use a pasta machine deemed only for clay use, and roll the clay through it.


  I start with the thickest setting and work my way down to the thinnest setting each time it goes through. I fold it back in on itself, and once more through the machine for a thick enough to cover the egg, but not too thin.


To help the clay stick to the egg, I brush the egg with liquid polymer clay. It acts like a glue to adhere the skin to the shell.
I cover half of the egg with the liquid.
I drape the sheet of clay over the egg and press it against the shell. I poke a hole through the clay to reveal the drain hole. This is important! You don't want to bake the shell without a way for the air to escape during the baking process, or it might explode.
I keep working the clay around the egg, pressing and closing the seams.
I add more sheets of clay until I reach the top of the egg. I pinch and close off the clay.
The excess is then trimmed off. The top is rounded and smoothed over and I start to work the seams, wrinkles and bubbles out for a smooth surface.
After smoothing out the clay, I am ready to bake at 275 degrees in the oven for 15 minutes. I put the egg on polyfill on a cookie sheet so it doesn't bake with a flat, shiny side. After it cools, I wet sand the egg with a flexible sanding block and rinse the egg.

 I use an index card to draw a skull pattern on and place it on a sculpey mix of pearl and phosphorescent clay. I trace around the drawing with an xacto knife.
I cut away the excess and cut the holes for the eyes and nose.




I use a flat shaping tool to give definition to the skull under cheek bones and temples.
I carefully slice the finished skull from the surface with a flat razor type blade. 

I brush the back side of the skull with liquid clay and apply to the egg surface and work to press and smooth out the clay.
  
 I use a plunge cutter with a leaf shape and cut out the shapes and start applying around the vertical part of the egg with liquid clay brushed on the back of each piece I apply.

I do the same for the opposite side of the band, and start making flowers with the cutters and small bits of clay wrapped around a swirled bit of core.
 
I apply some decoration to the skull. In this case, I am making a maple leaf and other leaves along with tiny little forget-me-not flowers. There are four cones that will act as a base for grapes on top.

 
After finishing the decorations on the skull, I roll several tiny circles and start applying them to the cone bases for the grapes. I brush the liquid clay on the cones to help the grapes stick to the cones.
Roses are applied to the side of the egg and overlap the leaf border. I also use the plunge cutters to help me with petals and stamens of the daffodils on the side bottom of the border.
Ready to paint with bright neon glitter acrylic colors, and use super fine white glitter on the skull.


First the green and blue, then the pink...
then yellow and orange. I mix the pink with the blue and get purple for the grapes. I love the shimmer.
I brush the skull with a polymer medium and while wet, dust it with the superfine iridescent white glitter, and shake off the excess and let dry. Once dry, I gently brush over two coats of the polymer medium to seal in the glitter.
I do the same for the other side. Then I brush a coat of polymer gloss over all of the rest of the parts to seal. I gives a nice glossy look to the black and gold flecked clay. I let dry. And now the fun...


Remember the type of clay that I mentioned using for the skull, leaves and flowers in the beginning? Yes, phosphorescent!  And it glows!
And now for the really fun surprise! Because I used Neon colors, I decided to get out a black light...



 I hope you've enjoyed watching this sugary confection come together. Thank you for taking the time to watch the process from start to finish!


 

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