Touchstone Creations

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Art Blog

Koi Suncatchers

Posted by Julie Benner on October 2, 2013 at 4:05 PM

The week after labor Day, we always camp in a wonderful cabin in a campground on Lake Michigan. That week I have plenty of time to relax, take long walks, and work on new ideas with my polymer clay. This year I was playing with the idea of making a mobile.


Koi are Japanese ornamental carp, pond fish, which come in a variety of patterns and colors: reds, golds, silvers, whites, and blacks. I envisioned some colorful koi fish swirling lazily around on wires suspended from the ceiling. I still think that would be beautiful, but it turns out mobiles are really hard to balance! So for now the koi became suncatchers to hang individually in the window, or wherever else needs a dash of piscine color. Christmas tree ornaments, perhaps?

This project was a bit of a departure for me, as I visualized a two-dimensional fish, cut from a template, rather than something hand-sculpted as all my other pieces are. I developed two different templates for variety, from photos of live koi. Then I used my pasta machine to roll translucent clay to a #6 thickness. I cut around the templates with an exacto knife, and textured each fish on both sides. Then came the fun part: coloring them with mica powders -- no paints! Then baking, a couple of coats of clear varnish and a color-coordinated metallic cord  to hand them from.

Categories: Animals and Birds

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