Etching Alternative©

Etching Alternative by Linda Leach

Have you ever become totally obsessed with a creative process? Working with liquid polymer clay and my hand drawn etched copper sheets has me constantly saying what if. First actually creating the drawings on the copper sheets and then seeing what various additions to the liquid polymer clay will produce. But I get ahead of myself.

As with many artists I have purchased texture sheets to use with my polymer clay creations, but the one disadvantage is that they are not my own designs. As a mixed media artist I already incorporated etched copper in my artwork, but one day working in the studio I started looking at the etched copper sheets I had made for another project and wondered if they would work as texture sheets for polymer clay. There are many techniques available on the internet to actually create the sheets, but my favorite is a permanent sharpie marker as a resist and a soak in a bath of ferric chloride for the etching. This is but one technique, but is fairly simple and safe to use.

Once the copper etching was created I attempted to use it as a texture for regular polymer clay, but unfortunately it was a bit too shallow for a good impression. I couldn’t give up on the idea that I needed to use my own designs in my work and not ones I had purchased.  At this point I was obsessed with using the copper sheets in my designs and not just cutting them up for jewelry parts. For the next year experimentation was the name of the game until I finally created a process for thin polymer veneers using the etched copper sheet as the impression. Now the fun begins in how to use those veneers in jewelry and art.

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