As I have RSI, I thought it would be a good idea to have more variety regarding developing my amateur artistic skills. So far I've started drawing and painting, but I noticed that after a month or so of that, each time I have to really slow down, and sometimes I just have to forgo drawing and painting altogether for weeks to months. So during my downtime from these two activities, I figured I'd focus on sculpting to keep me busy, and to somehow develop my artistic skills.
In any case, I still have to be careful because working with clay that is too hard can be very problematic and even worsen my condition… But I know from experience that I really hate soft clays that seem to pick up heat the moment you look at it (even if you don't have sexy smoldering eyes ).
After searching around, I finally came to the conclusion it's going to be either Chavant M (haha how predictable am I?), And I'll make sure to have a crockpot or toaster oven by my side to soften the clay at all times, or WED.
In fact, I thought that when I found out about WED, I had found the perfect clay. I kind of hate working with water-based clays because you have to work fast and I don't have a kiln, which irks me 'cause I can't fire my works.
And WED clay seems to be a cross between oil-based clays and water-based clays. And you wouldn't need a kiln! And above all it's a lot more affordable than Chavant (25lbs for 35 euro vs. 5 packs chavant for 65 euro shipped). Perfect!!
But, then I start to read things like:
“WED is carcinogenic."
“WED killed my dog!" (Apparently stomach cancer from licking dry powdered clay?)
"WED should never be left to dry! Because it can cause cancer!" ( But then what's the point if it's advertised as slow drying :/)
“And it shouldn’t be left to dry either if you want to make any molds!”
The safety manual over at Laguna also mentions that it can be carcinogenic… But I don't know how bad it is. I mean my titanium white oil paint also says it's carcinogenic but eh… it's not like I'm sniffing paint all day, so I'm not very worried about it.
So, how bad is it? Should you really be that careful with WED clay? Can you really not let it dry for mold making? Because, if it is a pretty big risk, I guess I'll have to go for the plasticine as I have to work in my tiny bedroom where I practically live. The weather here is too cold/rainy/crap to work outside :/
As a side question:
Are Smellybug's tutorial stickies enough to keep me busy for a while, or would I benefit from getting John Brown's Sculpture 1 and 2 DVDs as well? ( Birthday's coming up so... I'm trying to think of what I could get ).
I don't know if WED is carcinogenic or not, I've never bothered to look into it and doubt I'd be able to find conclusive proof either way, some people will say it is some say it isn't. Same thing with Sculpey, it's labelled non-toxic but people still say it can cause health issues. Even if it is, how much would you have to be handling it and for how long for it to have any affect? As you said, your oil paint says its carcinogenic and any medium you mix with your paints are most likely toxic as is anything you use to clean your brushes, you just have to minimise your exposure by not sniffing or drinking them and washing you hands afterwards.
Hopefully someone who actually knows what there talking about can give you better info.
if you have problems with your hands you might be better off with something softer than Chavant medium, I just started a new sculpt in Chavant medium which i haven't used it ages and I'd forgotten how hard it is, nice and soft when you heat it up but it cools quickly.
Have you considered using Sculpey, mixing the normal with the firm version allows you to adjust the firmness until its just the way you want. also has the advantage of having a finished piece without the need for a mold.
Both Smellybug tutorials are very good and have all the info you need to get started, with Sculpey at least. John Brown's stuff looks pretty good from what I've seen of it and Stan Winston School has some really good videos to.
Depending on who you listen to: WED is a mixture of clay dust and either mineral oil, or glycerine.
Glycerine is not carcinogenic.
Mineral oil (aka: Baby oil) is used in cosmetics... but it is made of petrol and carries a risk - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_oil#Toxicology
Clay dust, like most dust, is bad - but with "non-drying clay" it's not so much an issue.
Here's a link that shows how to make WED style clay using glycerine - http://www.makeup-fx.com/waterclay.htm
Whatever you use, keep your workshop/bedroom tidy and always wash your hands (before you go to the toilet... and after)
Sorry for the incredibly late reply (studying for programming exam, which is eating up my arms), but thank you for answering my question!
I guess I will save the WED Clay for summer then, because then I can just sit outside and not worry about dust too much.
That recipe you posted, Mike, looks really interesting! I might have to try it as soon as I've hunted down some glycerin.
I wonder if it'll be more economical compared to ready-made clay.
But, for now I guess I'll go for plasticin.
I also saw a bunch of recipes floating around the web for that. And now I'm wondering if I can just buy the cheap plasticin you can get for children and maybe add some beeswax to that to make it a little bit harder. If that will work, that would be great.
Otherwise, I will just treat myself and go for the Chavant... But if the medium is really that hard, how does the soft version compare to that?
I'll see if I can find it the firm Sculpey as well. I know my local craft stores sells Fimo's doll clay, and they just started carrying Sculpey, so with a little luck I can find it there!
**Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial
Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!
"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
Well, I thought, if I do it outside, in Summer with a dustmask, then surely it should be okay, right?
Maybe not, but that was my reasoning.