Experiments with the Controlled Marbling Tutorial

All last fall on Flickr and Etsy I kept seeing wonderful striped polymer clay pendants and earrings made by Lynda Moseley. First was her Southwest Landscapes Series. Then she started producing works with even more stunning color palettes with names like “Celestial Collection”, “Song of the Clouds Series”  and “Tidal Pool Series. The colors were breathtaking. She started to refer to these works of art as being made by her “Controlled Marbling Technique“. Technique? Did that mean a tutorial was forthcoming? Why yes, yes it did! So you can imagine my joy when I got my hands on a copy of her Controlled Marbling Tutorial and began to play.

As I’ve come to expect from Lynda’s tutorials, this one is clearly written with lots of detailed information. The steps are easily followed. And the photographs really help make the process easy to understand. She demonstrates the main technique and then she provides several projects that are variations on the theme. She also gives the sources of some of her findings and supplies that she uses.  In addition, Lynda gives a short discussion of her finishing techniques, giving a bit of a clue into how much work it takes to get the high quality results she consistently produces. But that’s why she’s known for being so good at what she does. She goes the extra mile in making a truly professional product.

Trying out the Controlled Marbling Technique

My first few tries were interesting. The technique worked great. But my color choices weren’t exactly attractive. It took me a few tries to see how the colors would interact with each other. Lynda gives some great advice about arranging the colors and how to make them look good. I found that she was right. Once I did what she told me to do, my results got better. See?

Striped polymer clay earrings in colors of blue and green created with Lynda Moseley's Controlled Marbling Tutorial.

Personally, I love these beyond measure. I want to hold them in my hand, rub them between my fingers, and look at the colors again and again. Yeah, I like them that much. And I wanted to make more and more. So I got excited, and the next day I didn’t look at the tutorial. I did it from memory. And you guessed it…I wasn’t getting good results anymore. Hmmrph. See, I’m not really one for following directions. Once I get the gist of something I just fly by the seat of my pants. But when one wants really good results, one has to follow the blasted directions.

I was doing a certain step too many times and was making things too thin. So once I corrected my course, lashed myself severely with a wet noodle, and read the directions again, I began to get good results. See?

Blue striped polymer clay pendant made from SCDiva's Controlled Marbling Tutorial

That cobalt blue is to die for, isn’t it? Yeah, I love it too. I learned how to make that color during my experiments with Pardo Translucent Art Clay. And I learned that if I added mica powders to some of the colors it really made for a wonderful effect. See?

Orange striped polymer clay pendant made from DesignDiva1's Controlled Marbling Tutorial

Taking it to the next step

I really liked these pendants and I had a bit left over, so I tried something new. I figured I had nothing to lose. One of the great things about this tutorial is that you don’t waste clay. The scraps and leftovers can be mixed together and they form a new color to be used in a new piece. Ingenious. So if my great idea failed then I’d do that.

My idea was to take the striped clay and make a bargello effect. Well that worked really, really well! See?

Polymer clay pendant made in the flame bargello effect.

In fact, the bargello effect worked well with the orange leftovers as well.  See what I mean?

Sunset orange and sage green polymer clay pendant created with a bargello effect.

Thank you Lynda for creating such a great tutorial and for giving me the opportunity to check it out. You’re the best.

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