File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 263

To: <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 03:40:39 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Polymer Clay frustration

Hi all.

I just finished a figurine as a gift for someone.
It was made of Super Sculpey.

Polymer clays were my first introduction to modelling, and my first 
successful results were achieved using Sculpey 3.

I stopped using the stuff years ago because of how ridiculously fragile the 
baked items were.
NONE of my polymer clay figurines remained intact after a few years, even 
though I leave them on a shelf, mostly untouched. I single drop damages a 
lot. I recently started fixing some of them, but I know it's just a matter 
of time until they break again, unless I encase them in a poured resin cube!

Still, I missed the immediacy and detail level, so I decided to get back to 
it now, after many years.

I used Super Sculpey this time. The sculpting went well, so did the baking.
I was painting the item just now, and suddenly I broke two fingers, and 
noticed one leg had cracked throughout. Thankfully, the strong armature 
keeps the leg in place!
Just the painting process (with wiping with a rag), as gentle as that may 
be, caused two major breaks!
Thankfully, I can fix it with super glue, but it will eventually crack 
again, in the same areas, no matter how gentle the owner will be. Now I'm 
affraid of shipping the item, despite the highly protective packagaging 
system I came up with.

I'm very disapointed in the product.
Nah, let's face it, I'm enraged and feel betrayed!  On the package, it 
claims:  "ceramic-like sculpting coumpound, shatter and chip resistant". 
Yeah right! If I dropped the item just once by mistake, even from just 4 
feet high, it would suffer great breakage!
Real ceramic would survive much more impact.

I'll avoid Super Sculpey in the future, except for making very primitive 
items, such as eyeballs, which would be protected by the sculpt's eyelids 
and surrounding areas.

I would definitely not use Super Sculpey to make any puppet or prop.
Unless they were covered with two layers of rice paper with weldbond. Which 
would just defeat the purpose, losing all the finer details. The paper would 
strenghten the item, but it would be nowhere as strong as paper mache strips 
or "bark" alone.

I haven't given up on polymer clay because of just one product.
I read that Premo, from the same company, is made to be sluightly felxible, 
therefore reducing the breakage. I haven't tried it yet, and the one 
supplier here didn't seem to carry the full range of colors, nor restocked 
very frequently, last I checked.

FIMO is a bit stronger in my experience, but still easy to shatter.
I'm surprised a better formula hasn't been commercialized yet.
How about a silicone putty that would remain slightly flexible?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gregory Ballora" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2008 12:05 AM
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Preservation and loss & context

> With all the fires in Southern California right now, prevention and
> loss is sort of a theme. Sadly, one of the houses that was lost day
> before yesterday in the Sylmar fire was that of Ed Chiodo of Chiodo
> Brothers. They are multi-talented designer/director/producers,
> responsible for many film and TV projects with puppets and animation,
> as well as actors. Killer Klowns from outerspace to Team America,
> they have been very good to puppeteers and puppets, and I hope we get
> the chance to help them in return. Ed's Family is fine, but the house
> is a total loss....
> On Nov 16, 2008, at 10:20 PM, Alan Cook wrote:
>> A Miss America CROWN--an obvious typo.
>> My apologies
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Alan Cook
>> Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 2:16 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: [Puptcrit] Preservation and loss & context
>> David Shayt, 56, a Smithsonian Museum specialist died November 4th.
>> Patricia Sullivan wrote his obit for the Washington Post which was
>> reprinted in the Nov. 15th Los Angeles Times
>> Among the ecclectic ephemera that Shayt collected:
>> A Miss America cown, scepter & sash
>> A toy castle which survived Katrina flooding
>> tool chests & lunch boxes
>> coffins
>> "There's an accurate perception that we ....will care for--not
>> neessarily exhibit but care for--and honor an object eternally.
>> That perception of immortality is very precious to people." (1992
>> quote from Shayt to the Post newspaper)
>> Shayt added, "There's a school of thought here that regards
>> museums, especially the Smithsonian, as ecclesiastical, as quasi-
>> religious, and that people give things as a way of obtaining a
>> piece of immortality.....what we do offer is perpetual care."
>> Well, forever is a long time. Perpetual care only lasts so long.
>> The best we can do is preserve as much as possible for as long as
>> possible so that it can speak to future generations. With effort,
>> SOME art and artifacts and knowledge will survive fires, floods,
>> earthquakes, landslides, extinctions, wars, asteroid landings,
>> censorship, lightning, highway accidents, burglary, accidents and
>> other disasters including financial Recessions & Depressions. But
>> all of these things of value were made to be enjoyed in the present
>> and anything later is "extra" if we are lucky.
>> This weekend's wildfires have displaced thousands of Californians,
>> destroyed hundreds of homes. There is no way of knowing how many
>> art works have vanished in the flames. But one Korean family lost a
>> 5 hundred year old scroll which had been passed down in the family
>> up 'til now, making us all the poorer for such a cultural loss.
>> Fires have been part of puppet history--Margo & Rufus Rose suffered
>> a home fire. Many puppets survive, but Sarg Mikado puppets by
>> Donald Cordry were damaged, and now preserved at UConn.
>> Michael Myerberg's Hansel & Gretel and Aladdin movie puppets were
>> destroyed in a New Jersey Warehouse fire, Wallace & Gromit figures
>> were lost to flames.
>> Tony Sarg's successful career ended in bankruptcy. Puppets now
>> highly valued sold as low as $1 to $3 each.
>> The Taliban destroyed century-old buddhas for "religious reasons",
>> and the religious right just outlawed the right of same-sex
>> families to be married in California---iconoclasts destroyed
>> religious images. Zealous people are as dangerous as wildfires.
>> Survival is tricky for puppeteers and puppets, but we do what we
>> can to keep on going.
>> _______________________________________________
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