Campbell’s Poly Fiber Masking

Campbell's Poly Fiber Masking Technique

Inspired by the Synergy conference, Heather Campbell was prompted to test out some new ideas. Heather’s works are usually quite large and adhering polymer to slick surfaces is often a challenge.

“Polymer will stick to most anything, but I have found especially with larger surfaces that the clay if bumped or jarred will pop off or over time will shrink off the surface and then has to be glued back on. Here I am combining liquid clay with fabric or paper fibers to create a very durable background to then adhere the polymer components,” Heather explains.

The big photo on her site helps you see the fiber base onto which she’s added polymer embellishment.

The combination of the fibers and clay complement each other beautifully and present new textures and depth. She’s calling the method “Poly Fiber Masking” and she says she’ll get back to us later with more explanation of the technique.

  • reply Lenora ,

    What a great idea. I’m going to try that the next time I cover a metal water bottle.

    • reply jana ,

      Heather and I spent a good amount of time brainstorming different ways to adhere clay to slick/uncooperative surfaces…..I love seeing what she finally came up with!

      Nice one, friend. The vase is stunning – the colors luscious; congratulations on your feature here – can’t wait to see what you do next!

      • reply Cassy ,

        I’m really glad to know about this idea of working with the papers. This vase is gorgeous.

        • reply Sue ,

          Wow! I love this. I’ll be anxious to hear more about this technique. Very, very nice.

          • reply Gera Scott Chandler ,

            I can certainly endorse the effectiveness of clay on Fabric- it’s been really helpful with several large mixed Media pieces I have done such as “Arbutus” that was on display at Synergy- this piece incorporated silk and canvas with clay.

            I’m continuing to experiment!


            • reply Janice Sears ,

              This is truly inspiring! I had tried covering smooth surfaces before with varying success. This idea is quite innovative and makes me want to try again. Thanks for bringing this technique and this artist to our attention.

              • reply Tina Holden ,

                It certainly is an object of beauty!
                I can’t help but object on something (‘scuse the pun)…

                Walking away from what must have been an absolutely enriching experience of Synergy, one couldn’t help but be inspired by other artists, to go home and ‘experiment’ as Campbell has admitted.

                One of the major pieces at the Synergy Exhibit was Gera Scott Chandlers “Arbutus” and obviously served as a piece of inspiration to many because of the unique application of ‘poly fiber masking’ by Chandler…or as Chandler simply call this technique… ‘polymer clay on canvas, fabric, silk’.

                Those of us that keep in touch via social media and networking would know that Gera has been the major innovator with this technique since at least November 2008. I too have dabbled with polymer clay on canvas around that time, but prefer other media.

                Gera has shared her concepts with us by updating us frequently via blog with her processes and experimentation. So, Campbell applying a title such as “poly fiber masking”, it should not diminish the fact that Campbell was inspired by someone or something at Synergy. The credit of this technique should really go to Gera Scott Chandler. Nowadays new techniques are hard to come by, but Gera has been at this for a few years now. So come on! It would be the right and respectful thing to do.

                • reply Jeannie ,

                  I received my copies of June PolymerCAFE magazine (i’m in this issue to) and Heather’s on the cover. It’s pretty cool. Heather I love the flowers.

                  • reply cynthia tinapple ,

                    Karen and Ann Mitchell wrote a book on liquid polymer back in 2003 and recently we saw Susan O’Neill dipping gauze in it. Gera Chandler is certainly pushing out the liquid polymer frontier with her canvases. It’s exciting to watch the developments. Many polymer artists are experimenting along these lines.

                    • reply Tina Holden ,

                      I owe you an apology Cynthia because my last comment, it was not directed at you and if it comes across as such, I am sorry. Your posts are wonderful and inspirational. I’m glad so many artists are so sharing. I felt I was defending a good friend’s hard work that I’ve admired over the years. It was my observation that the artist was inspired by something at Synergy, not by the Mitchell sisters’ book. It would have been nice to know who or what the inspiration was because sometimes it’s obvious, other times it isn’t, that’s all. It doesn’t matter now, I made my comment, but it was from the heart. My friends know I’m not a meanie, lol.

                      • reply Heather ,

                        Wow!! Love the combination of textures and color!! What a fantastic technique.
                        It is good to know that clay will adhere to paper. I would be very interested in learning more about your method.

                        • reply Sandra ,

                          I have long thought about using mulberry paper with liquid polymer clay but didn’t try it until I was inspired by this post. I also work with large pieces and my first attempt at this methind wasn’t any different. This weekend I decided a 13″ tall mushroom would be a good place to start. (Nothing small for me!) Since I was incorporating a glass vase, a wicker basket, aluminum foil and duct tape into my mixed media armature, I decided to cover everything with a thin layer of poly clay first. As expected, fingerprints were everywhere. I worked in stages with the liquid poly soaked papers and came up with varied results. The light colored background I used for the stem looked the best with the papers and the effort put into making a skinner blend for the top of the mushroom and then covering it with the papers was a waste of time. The papers darkened when wet and did not get any lighter once the piece was baked. My added polymer clay canes were lost. A good thing is the wet paper slides around so it can be easily positioned. The bad thing is the papers slide around. I learned that once you placed a piece of the wet paper into place it was best not to touch it too often after that because it would pull away and get fuzzy. I also found I used a lot of liquid polymer clay. About 3.5 ounces for this piece.

                          Thanks for the post, Cynthia! With some more experimentation (on smaller pieces) this may be a turning point for my larger pieces.

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