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For my 2016 Polymer Clay Challenge I have decided to make a vessel each week. I’m planning a wide range of objects from inros to bowls to covered jars so my first dilemma was deciding where to start!

Since I had a sheet of mokume gane lying around (as one does), I decided to start by covering a jar you either love or hate ;). It was already dark glass so I didn’t feel too guilty covering it with an opaque sheet of polymer clay.

Green jar by Cate van Alphen

Green jar by Cate van Alphen

My idea was for it to look like a chunk of lava rock that had been shaped into a vase with a the sides polished off to reveal the bright mokume gane inside. Something almost completely, but not quite, unlike a bolder opal.

I started off by baking pieces of mokume gane onto the flattened sides of the jar so that it would remain smooth while I textured the black polymer clay around it. Unfortunately my simple idea soon turned into a rescue mission as one side cracked. I tried filling it with liquid clay for the next bake and I ended up with a bigger crack and another on the other side. (It’s only just occurred to me that I should have popped off the mokume gane and started again). The more I tried to fill the cracks, the bigger they got. 😥

cracked mokume gane by Cate van Alphen

Since this is my first jar, I’m not sure if this is just something that happens when you cover a glass jar with solid polymer clay or if it was because when I baked the patterned sheets I did a part bake as I knew I would be adding more clay and doing further curing. I do have (up to) 50 more* times to practice, but any suggestions to prevent cracks would be appreciated.

I have started a group on Flickr for Art Vessels if you’d like to join in with your own creations. It’s not limited to polymer clay either, just in case you make chocolate tea pots.

* I am determined to also have a go at making an inro before the end of the year!