Surprises from Gourley and Katz

I was ready to check airfares to Vancouver when I looked at this beach photo of sand dollars from Rachel Gourley. I must find that beach!

Upon closer inspection (click the image), I was surprised to see that these are Rachel’s polymer clay sand dollar canes. Clever, colorful aliens. Rachel brings a delightful sense of humor and curiosity about the natural world to all her polymer clay work.

She’s not on the web yet but mark your calendar, Rachel’s been selected for a July-September 2010 exhibit at the Craft Council of British Columbia.

Play-doh surprise

There’s quite a buzz in the polymer community this week about using Play-Doh to wrap an irregularly shaped cane. Israel’s Idit Fischer Katz (Idit Zoota) developed the technique and it’s translated to English on Naama Zamit’s site. The theory is that once the wrapped cane is reduced, the Play-Doh can be peeled away and even washed off the polymer.

If you don’t have Play-Doh on hand or are allergic to the wheat in it, you can use this recipe according to Yonat Dascalu who sent the link.

  • reply Libby Mills ,

    Wow! Rachel Gourley’s canes are wonderful, especially all together like that. Great Photo.

    The Play Doh idea is genius.

    • reply Eugena Topina ,

      I love the play-doh idea! Very clever!

      • reply Judy ,

        Kudos to Rachel! I treasure my sand dollar from her. She’s so talented, gracious and funny.

        I love the play doh idea, brilliant! To slice that cane, freeze it and jam it into soft scrap clay. The resulting condensation (after it thaws a bit) keeps it from sticking and the scrap keeps the form perfect!

        • reply Jeannie ,

          Cindy, what a great find. The sand dollars are sensational!!
          Rachel, Congrats! on the CCBC exhibit. You’ll knock their socks off!

          Still pondering the Play-Doh????

          • reply PolymerPaula ,

            I am absolutely amazed by those sand dollars!!!

            • reply chel ,

              It’s really important to note with the “Play Doh” technique that the Play-Doh is JUST a thin layer/barrier between the polymer clay in the inside of the cane and the polymer clay packing the cane. Polymer clay still needs to be used to pack the cane or else it will not reduce properly 🙁 The outside layer of polymer clay peel away with the “Play Doh” layer in place after the cane is reduced. The white you see in the photo above is actually white polymer clay- NOT playdoh. The Yellow clay is the Play-Doh.

              • reply Sheri Williamson ,

                A fabulous two-fer in today’s post! I adore the urchins and wish I’d thought of Play-Doh (d’oh!). Major kudos to Rachel and Idit.

                • reply Emily Miller ,

                  I have one of these in my treasure box, they are amazing. Keep makin’em Rachel!

                  • reply Lorrene Davis ,

                    Gourly’s work is awesome. Thanks.


                    • reply Melinda ,

                      Just love these. Anything to do with the sea. What a neat idea about the play dough.

                      • reply cristalline ,

                        I just tried : it’s really great!
                        Thank you for this info, it is amazing!

                        • reply Julie Picarello ,

                          The sand dollar cane art AND the photo are both fabulous! I’m thinking next summer would be a perfect time to visit my sister in Seattle…with a quick hop over the border to see Rachels work in person.

                          And what a clever reducing idea with the Play-doh! The Israeli polymer artists are creative and enthusiastic (and amazing hosts too). Sababa!

                          • reply Craynor’s faux African beads at Polymer Clay Daily ,

                            […] didn’t quite get the concept of last week’s Play-Doh/shaped cane breakthrough. I missed the part about Play-Doh only being used for a barrier layer with filler […]

                            • reply jane mackenzie ,

                              Do you know how to reach Rachel Gourley? I would like to carry her
                              work in my studio/gallery on Salt Spring Island.

                              • reply chantal stevenson ,

                                HEllo ! I fell in love with the photo of the sand dollars by Rachel Gourley… I was wondering how i could get in contact with her to ask what would be the rights to use the picture for a possible add to represent a very cute local in one of the islands of the Agean.
                                Please contact me :

                                thank you ,
                                Chantal STEVENSON

                                • reply Joanne Meller ,

                                  Can’t believe I’ve just heard about this Play Doh method for reducing a shaped cane, but I can’t find any instructions on how to do it. Do you know where this might be available, Cynthia? Thanks

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