Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Clearing Up Some Mis-information About ADC

Happy Independence Day to our friends in USA!
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I'm going to take an opportunity today to rant a little!   Hope you don't mind!  I'm tired of seeing websites passing out mis-information about air-dry clay and I want to set the record straight.

I do a lot of searching and surfing for new air-dry clay information and tutorials and in the past week or two I've come across a number of websites writing about air-dry clay but they don't really know what they're talking about.  These sites are passing around bad information.  It's become my new pet-peeve!
  Most of these sites actually have very little to do with air-dry clay (or even crafts in general) and they are using the popularity of the hobby as a keyword to get you to visit their site and view their ads for cell phones or some other stuff.  They post a short article that contains enough information to get listed in the search engines (and get us to click on link), but they don't really care about the accuracy of the information they post.

For example, just today I came across 2 sites that said you can make a vase with air-dry clay.  Because most air-dry clay is water-soluable, it's not going to hold up for very long if you put water in it!  Oh no!  LOL

Just so I don't get comments, let me say that it is possible to make an ADC vase IF it has a glass or plastic insert to hold the water!  But that's not what those guys were talking about!  ;-)

One site said you could make a coffee cup with air-dry clay!   That's another no-no!!   Another site suggested making a plate to serve some cookies on!  Let me caution you now that, for the most part, any project made with craft clay (air-dry or polymer) is NOT food safe!   Only kiln-fired containers should be used with foods and liquids.   The clay itself is not necessarily toxic but it's not intended to be used with food.    Also, don't forget that the varnish you seal your project with might contain some hazardous materials.   Check your labels!

Cold porcelain figure created by Diego Dutra
Then there's the posts that say all air-dry clay is paperclay or that you can make polymer clay at home from corn starch.   Wrong, wrong!    Posts like that are just confusing !   Homemade cold porcelain, which is an air-dry clay who's main ingredients are corn starch and glue, is NOT a polymer clay and is not even closely related.   There are some brands of commercial air-dry clays that contain polymers, but, to avoid confusion we usually refer to them as air-dry or no-bake clays...not polymer.   If we say 'polymer clay', we mean clays such as Fimo and Sculpey that cures when baked at low temperatures and can be baked in a toaster oven rather than a kiln.   

'Paperclay' is another term that causes some confusion.   Correctly used,  it would be referring to the commercial brand 'Creative Paperclay'.  However, Creative Paperclay is such a popular air-dry clay that 'paperclay' is often used as a generic term for any air-dry clay, whether that's correct or not.   And it's not.  The formulas for the numerous different brands of air-dry clay vary greatly and Creative Paperclay is uniquely it's own.    Also, while I'm on that topic...Creative Paperclay is not the same as papier mache.  It is a much finer quality.  The manufacturer describes it as a "unique air hardening modeling material that ...feels similar to an earthen clay; however, it contains no clay in it at all".

'Paperclay' is often confused with 'paper clay', which is used with kiln-fired clays.  When you see 'paper clay' written as 2 separate words, it's usually referring to adding paper to clay to create a special effect when it gets burned off in the kiln.   When you see 'paperclay' written as one word, it's usually referring to Creative Paperclay.   But that doesn't always hold true.....'usually' is the key word here and I believe the confusion between Creative Paperclay, paperclay, and paper clay will continue for a long time.

Soon I'll write more about some of the common misconceptions when it comes to air-dry clay.   I'd like to hear some comments and questions from you.   Is there anything in particular that's confused you about this type of clay?  Please ask questions in the comment box!   

Creative Paperclay figures by Chicken Lips




15 comments:

  1. Thank YOU. There are not many who would be willing to stand-up regardless if it isn't popular to say what's right is RIGHT and what is
    NOT is NOT. Thank YOU AGAIN for your willingness to give, w/the attention to DETAIL, which we can TRUST! THANKS AGAIN & AGAIN&AGAIN!!!<(*o*)>

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  2. Hi Lou, Thank you for you comment, it's appreciated.

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  3. That was great! I too have been mislead by links to sites that don't have enough understanding of specifics, or a real grasp of the subject.

    Since I am in love with details regarding the make-up of things, specifically, when I am on some passionate hunt, or comparing, I have learned to track down the manufacturer/site/trusted clay/medium experts first. Unfortunately, this leaves lots of loopholes out there where the ill-informed are putting out their generic "one clay fits all." (remember xerox? it became a synonym for copy). And though wth some I could send a correction or REAL link, I honestly didn't have the time for join-this-site-to comment etc.

    Thank you for this incredibly well written article, attempting to do away with the mis-information. I do hope it comes up for honest artists searching for information they may be unfamiliar with. (Such as the simple difference between doughs vs. clays (A big keyword is Compare/ing.) (Especially youtube vids, where the nomenclature is like a grab-bag. I do love teaching kids, but these unedited/un-researched vids some of them have, are actually heinous. LOL! I can get through them, because I have a good grounding, but have been also majorly irritated at the baker's clay = cold porcelain = bread dough = airdry = resin clay. adnaseum.
    An informative article perhaps dealing with the differences between "clay" vs Organically made "Doughs" (cooked and uncooked), would be really cool. I hope there is a way that these articles can come up on search engines, in their own right, as I know I spent many an hour when first starting out, trying to figure which was which, until I got some killer books, AND my hands wet, as it were,into all kinds of different media. (That always answers a lot! Hands-on!) But I spent quite a bit of time searching out what next? So thank you!

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    1. Hi Jenny, Sorry it's taken me 6 months to post a reply here! I enjoyed reading your comments very much, just didn't have a solid comment to reply with. ;-) I had to laugh out loud when you said you don't have time for join-this-site-to comment on some sites. So many times I've wanted to set something straight but just didn't have the patience to go thru their join routine just to say a few words! I will take your suggestion to write something that defines the difference between kids clay & art clay and the differences between homemade CP, bread dough, paperclay, paper mache....etc.

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  4. Thank you. I have just started using two-part epoxy clays and am so pleased with them ( I've used Gapoxio, Magic Sculpt and Apoxie Sculpt, which is my favorite)yet the few magazines to cover art with non-ceramic clay seem limited to polyclay, which I'm very opposed to on grounds of 1, shrinkage and 2, the need for heat, seriously limiting the use of armatures, imbedments, and so forth. I'm DELIGHTED that there is a blog for info on my favorite new material!--Barbara Ward, Gordonville Gourdworks

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    1. Thanks for the comment Barbara! I also prefer the air-dry & self-hardening clays because of the wide variety of things you can make and the armatures you can use. Plus I always seem to burn the polymer clay...or don't cook it long enough. LOL Never could get it right! There's more and more new no bake clays coming out all the time and it's getting difficult to try them all...but I will keep trying and will write about what I learn in the process. Thanks again for your comment and thanks to everyone who takes the time to comment here and leave some suggestions!

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  5. Great article! It already cleared up a lot of my questions! I'm looking to make some very inexpensive porcelain-like vases to last only about 6-7 hours for my wedding. ADC was the first and most inexpensive thought that came to mind. Do you think that if I use a spray sealant inside and outside the vases might last? Or should I opt for an alternative material? Thank you so much for your help!

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    1. Hi...Glad you enjoyed article. If you plan on using water with real flowers inside vase, you could always make a test vase in advance to see if it'll last. But, better yet, would be to use inexpensive plastic or glass forms (vase or other insert) and cover with your clay to decorate. You should still seal it. Always seal ADC.
      Best wishes for wedding!

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  6. Hiii... actual air dry clay dough needs to be cooked or no cooked dough wil work same?.. still confusing.. which is d best clay to work with for modeling n sclupturing? Pls guide...

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  7. Thank you so much my son got a pottery wheel for Christmas and I didn't want to ruin his masterpieces by trying to use them and this has been such a big help. I couldn't find from anywhere else whether it was water soluble or not.

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  8. Hi Mary, if I've used any kitchen utensils with air dry clay (ie a bowl to mould it) is that bowl still safe to use it for food after washing it with dish washing liquid?

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  9. Do you know if there are any air-dry clays at all that are food safe?

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    1. No. IMHO only kiln-fired ceramics are food safe. Write to clay manufacturers to verify. Sorry it took so long to reply...I took a long break from blogging.

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  10. I have made a small plant pot for a cacti from air dry clay. I was wondering since I will not be watering it much will it holds up or is it best to use a sealer/varnish? And which do you recommend?

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    1. Sorry it took so long to reply...I took a long break from blogging. Did you give it a try? Did it work?

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Thank you very much for taking the time to comment! ;-)
Sorry I had to re-instate the 'word verification'...I'm getting far too much spam in the comment box.

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