Super Sculpey: The Devil's Work & Sculptural Designer Toys
The Devil's Work
In Chinese porcelain, walls pierced with openings so as to form a network. This open work when performed on Chinese porcelain was called linglong or 'devil's work'. This can appear as open space or filled with glaze. Click on the link to Pearlriver.com for a in length description of linglong.
This image is a still frame from the broadcasted episode available on HBOMax.
Your Project Challenge
Create an art piece from Super Sculpey Ware that represents the Devil's Work. Use an object as a mold or armature for structure. Mold the Super Sculpey clay over the form and pierce and decorate to ultimately construct a pottery form or vessel.
Squish the Super Sculpey in hand until it is soft and pliable
Flatten the piece by pinching. Hold it up to a light. You should see some light begin to peer through the material.
Be carful to pinch the slab to an even, consistent thickness.
Use a tennis ball or some other round form as a mold. You'll want something that is firm in order to press the slabs of Sculpey around the object.
Sorry, I missed a few shots here. Next, you'll want to press and pinch the slabs of Sculpey around the mold form. Sculpey is greatly pliable so you should easily be able to smooth and press the cracks out and make the material seamless. Here, I've added an extra slab cylinder and coil for a spout and a handle. An Xacto knife was needed here to cut away some material to reveal the shape of the pour spout.
No water or "slip" is necessary for connecting Super Sculpey pieces together. Just be careful to secure the connections by smoothing and pressing your seams. Rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits may be used with a brush to smooth out the surface of the material or seams.
Begin thinking about your Devil's Work design and pattern. Here, I pressed in a circular object I found (the opening to an old film canister). It is suggested to first draw out your pattern before attempting to press it onto your vessel form.
Begin removing Sculpey by cutting away the negative space with an Xacto knife or scalpel.
As you continue to remove material to reveal your design, the tennis ball becomes more visible.
Use the left over cut out pieces as material for added embellishments, like feet, handles, spouts or other decorative forms.
Add embellishments and smooth all the edges. Consider adding feet for stabilization.
Bake your creation on a cookie sheet in the oven for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness at 275 degrees F. The slab thickness is not 1/4 inch so I baked it for 10 minutes. The tennis ball, as you can see, is still inside the material.
This is the tricky part. With oven mits, while the Sculpey material is still hot, carefully cradle and cut your creation in half with an Xacto knife around the equator of the form. Try to hide the cut line within the pattern. After you cut, let it sit and cool for an hour.
This one cracked and broke in a couple areas because I attempted to cut the removal line before it was baked. If baked first while its still warm and soft, you should get a better result after cutting. This piece can be used as a candle lumineer, or I could glue the seam back together for a decorative jug vessel.
The final step to complete here is to paint it and decorate it. I would suggest spray paint, enamel paint or acrylic paint with a layer of finishing varnish.
Plan & Sketch
Begin this process with a solid plan. Sketch out the forms you are interested in and the pattern you could like to create before starting. Once a line or cut is made into the Sculpey it is sometimes very difficult to fix a mistake or something you decide you don't like.
Sculptural Designer Toys
Designer Toys, also called art toys, are toys and collectibles created by artists and designers that are either self-produced or made by small, independent toy companies, typically in very limited editions. Artists use a variety of materials, such as ABS plastic, vinyl, wood, metal, latex, plush, and resin. Creators often have backgrounds in graphic design, illustration, or fine art, but many accomplished toy artists are self-taught. The first Designer Toys appeared in the 1990s in Hong Kong and Japan. By the early 2000s, the majority of Designer Toys were based upon characters created by popular Lowbrow artists, forever linking the two movements.
Anna Lesnichaya, from Kharkiv, Ukraine, is the owner of Cocoon Toys on Etsy. She is a Character/ Creature Designer, Concept Artist, and Illustrator