5 Friday Favorites – Inks & Paints

by Libby on June 22, 2007

I am sitting here in my dad’s living room looking out over a marshy view of the Connecticut River, listening to a cacophony of bird song and intermittent breeze.  It’s a lovely and somewhat unexpected gift.  My dad had a medical procedure this morning, a biopsy to check for recurrence of cancer, and I am his designated post-anesthesia companion.  I was frazzled all week, worried about my dad and anxious about E getting her stuff together for camp.   (She leaves for a month on Sunday)  Well, my dad is cancer free (yeah!) and my daughter is probably a better packer/organizer than I am.  So I am enjoying the gift of this peaceful and lovely afternoon and thinking about how much I love my family.  I wish I had my camera, there’s even a pair of wild turkeys ambling across the lawn.

Since my brain is so relaxed right now, I am opting for an easy Friday Favorites, five inks and paints I really love to use with polymer clay.  They are really my favorite supplies for clay.  If I am working with clay, you can be sure I am up to my elbows in inks and paints.  My fingers usually have colorful spots to prove it.

Alcohol Inks – Pinata Inks by Jacquard or Adirondak Inks by Ranger.  I love them! (think Joanne Whorley voice there)  I like to daub on a layer of color with the alcohol inks before applying paints, foils or stamp pad inks.  They add rich transparent color.  Because the color is transparent, they’re also great for tinting transparent clay or liquid clay.  Beware of color shift in baking when using the pink or magenta colors.  They can turn to a shocking neon pink.

Fluid Chalk Ink Pads – I have recently discovered these nifty inks.  I like the Clarsnap “Cats Eye Queue” because I can get a number of colors together in a smallish pack, but there are other excellent chalk inks brands.  The chalk colors tend to be more muted and slightly opaque.  I like to apply them directly to raw clay as I layer color.  The effect is soft and spongy.  (is that a word?)  Lately I have been using them on my favorite mix of Premo and Sculpey Ultralight.  I think the porous nature of UL works well with the chalk inks.  I have discovered however, that I cannot leave an inked sheet of clay sitting too long because the ink will soak right into the ink and bleed out, losing all the lovely spongy detail.

Ancient Page Ink Pads by Clearsnap – Ancient Page inks are good for nice sharp detail in stamped imaged.  The black is a nice deep black that doesn’t seem to purple the way some black inks do.  I also love the bubbly effect (for lack of a better word) I can get by stamping onto the raised areas of textured raw clay and then baking.  Fun stuff.

Stewart Gill Paints – These are paints developed for use on fabric and paper, but they are wonderful with polymer clay.   The Byzantia line has a great subtle sparkle.  I love the way this paint shows fine detail of brush-stoke or fingerprint even when the clay sheet is stretched out in the pasta machine.  I cover the painted sheets of clay with a thin layer of translucent because it can be messy stuff otherwise.  Once you place the layer of translucent clay on top of the paint you need to use the sheet very quickly though because the paint seems to react with the translucent layer and cause cracking.

Opalite Inks by Tsukineko  These are interference inks.  I like the ink pad and re-inkers in this line.  They are nifty applied over dark clay or clay that has been painted with some dark colors for a quick shifty flash of color.  The ink pads dry out pretty fast so it’s a good idea to pick up a re-inker.

Various brands and types of inks and paints react very differently with polymer clay.  Every so often I read a statement in a book or on a message board along the lines of “pigment inks do this on polymer clay” or “dye inks do that”.  My experience has been that you can’t make such broad brush assumptions.  Different brands of ink are useful for varying applications.  It takes experimentation to find what inks or paints do with the techniques you like.  Get messy and play is my advice.

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{ 1 comment }

Gina July 5, 2007 at 1:09 am

Great news about your Dad!

I too love inks, paints, inkpads. It does get quite confusing, so thanks for the great write-up. Your work is lovely and inspiring.