Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blueberry Tartlette and Cream Donuts, and New Year WIP

Completed the tartlettes and donuts I set out to make over the X'mas and Boxing Day stretch. They don't really look like anything sold in shops or really adhere to the real items though. After some deep thought, I realized I liked Deco-style more rather than making miniatures look like the real thing -- although that's a challenge to do, but I would like to create pretty gifts too.

Blueberry Tartlettes and donuts selection.

So, New Year's work in progress :

Sand-cookies; strawberries and you've guessed it, lots of whip cream to come.

Another Store to get your supplies

 Despite the doubts floating about the crafting community (which I am a very quiet lurker) about it being tough to obtain Hearty Soft or Modena Clay, this shop on the second level of Liang Court River Valley, near to the Okonomiyaki restaurant has generous stocks of Japanese and Korean-import clay. I bought 2 bags of Grace Clay for $19.30 each, $3-$4 more expensive than what I would had purchased in Tokyu Hands for; but minus shipping costs and such, sweet deal. They also have a couple of rare clays like Silk or Angel; and they stock a large variety of cream sillicones and sauce-clays for sweets deco or food miniature making.

Apart from clay, this shop also sells cutters, molds and every other thing you would need for a clay craft hobby. However, beware their white sillicone molds are $30.00 each! Hefty price for something I paid 980 yen for. I kind of chuckled when I saw the price and decided not to burn my money into that one. Cutters are expensive too. I'll stick to my straws.

Here is the store's website :

Monday, December 28, 2009

Deco Sweets Whip Cream Clay

The shop Beadtles in Plaza Singapura stocks a small quantity of Deco Sweets Whip Cream Clay if you are thinking of purchasing some from the net and do not have a credit card handy for any e-bay or paypal purchases. They go for around $15-17 per tube; almost the same as what you would pay for in yen in craftstores in Japan.Have fun shopping!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day Works in Progress

Opened up a small pack of white Hearty Soft that I purchased in Tokyu Hands on Christmas Eve. The last time I've worked with clay was ten years ago, when I was making doll figurines using La Doll. Air-dry clay feels strange to handle for the first time, almost a little out-of-control feel since it is so light and mushy. After a while of conditioning it and getting used to the texture, it became fine to handle.

Hearty Soft took well to acrylic paints, I used Daler-Rowney for now since they had a new savers pack of 12 colors for $8.99. You can get it at Art Friends, Singapore. But since H.S. is a white-based clay, the colors that were mixed in becomes pastel-macaroon light, so you have to darken it with additional paints and pastels. I would try mixing in Folkart Acrylic paints and see how the color goes next time.

I managed to turn out a couple of doughnuts and some tarts. Decided to also make some blueberries, leaves, white and dark chocolate flowers as well as vanilla and caramel buttons to go along with the pastries.

Not too bad for a starter attempt at air-dry clay, I guess.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Building your Arsenal I - Straws

Tools are a very important part of your arsenal as a clay artist. But don't be spending a bomb on commercial tools when there are equally useful and cheap (and free!) ones in your own kitchen or local mall.

Straws are one of the most useful tools of all. Coming in different shapes and sizes, these little goddesses can cut everything into mini-cookies, macaroons and omelettes, strawberry slices and bananas. Don't buy a large pack of straws from your local store and have only use for one or two, it's a huge waste of money, ack!

Get straws free from your local MacDonalds - and ever since Singapore's Micky D have the self-serve section, just take a few more some straws, collect some of the sauce dishes too, they are just the right size to put your left over bits on; when you are there for eats. Other places where you can collect more straws include bubble tea stations for big straws such as KOI - ask them for an extra straw if you don't want to save and wash the one you were drinking from. Grab purple straws from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf outlets and Starbucks too. Save your straws from Vitagen or Yakult packs, those tiny straws pack a few mean chocolate button punches.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nendoroid Fun 001

Posed the Kuroshitsuji nendoroid Sebastian with a Re-Ment Luxury French Set; I purchased this set especially for posing dioramas with Sebastian. Can't wait for Ciel Phantomhive to come so we can do more of these dioramas.

Craft Purchases in Tokyo

Japanese clay craft books are wonderful in the sense that they provide visuals of the tools and products you need for your work. Armed with this, I ran the floors of Tokyu Hands in Shibuya to find the basic materials needed to kick-start claycrafting.

A new set of plastic tools, molds, plastic press and roller. I realized I may need a pasta roller in the near future and a dedicated oven but for now since I am using air-dry clay, the oven is not needed.

Other tools I would need would probably be a few tweezers and tongs, water-based glue, Tamiya paints, glasscraft and acrylic paints, and as well a set of non-oil pastel sticks. Throw in some tiny brushes as well, sponges and eyeshadow sticks, Q-tips and a proper craft-box for them all. (Daiso is a good place to grab all these.)

Bought the first load of air-dry clay as well. I went for the Hearty-Soft brand since it is something that you cannot find in Singapore, whereas Modena and Grace brands, as well as Fimo are readily available.

Found the transparent clay in Volks Showroom in Akihabara. It was expensive! 1480Y or around more than SG$20 for a very small slab. I also managed to get a bottle of Paste Clay and a tube of Grace cream clay.

Despite the great amount of references and tutorials you can find online, I still like a book or two with step by step photographs of how certain looks and effects are achieved. The English craftbooks were purchased off Amazon and the Japanese ones were bought from Kinokuniya and Tokyu Hands.

Getting Things Right

Thoughtful Steps to getting started in miniature-making, or well any hobby for that concern.

1. Check out your local scene, know who your fellow hobbyists are. These people will be a source of help if you ever run out of... well solutions. Google for them, forum-search for them - most likely you would find them.

2. Check out the global scene while you can, getting exposed to all sorts of styles will boost your creativity levels.

3. Collect reference material and tutorial sites or books. Books are a must for me - but be careful about what you purchase, you do not want repeat tutorials of anything. Buy a variety - check out - they ship to Singapore! Or Barnes and Nobles.

4. Think about what you want to focus on - be it miniature pastry, furniture or savories. Work on small goals to complete a set of recipes or learn certain skills.

5. Know where to purchase tools and resources, whether online or locally. Budget well. Such hobbies can be expensive! Work around with what you may have at home, some items may end up to be tools or additions you might not have thought of in the first place.

6. Set up a resource site to gather your links, photographs and reference materials, be it a Facebook personal group page, a Delicious account; an online set of resources will help you much greatly!

The First Step to Doing Anything... to prepare loads.

Going into a new hobby takes time and thought. Two months was what I needed to decide to do away with all the old anime and manga collections, to decide fanart drawing wasn't really for me, though the years with W.S. were a grand experience, and to venture into what I really, truly loved best.

Going into miniature-making and miniature collection is a big investment, in terms of time, effort taken to learn, and expenditure. I pored over websites from all around the world, lurked around the local scene to learn of the people who share this common interest and took note of the tools I would need for my work.

Perhaps I was also inspired by the film, Julie and Julia, and the motivation to actually do something with an interest and see it bloom. Hopefully I can too maintain this as much as a stretch of five years at best. It is great that I have a fellow friend who share in this craziness of collecting Re-Ment and like products with me so you don't feel so much alone.

So a toast to a new hobby, a new start and burning pockets!