Experiments With Pardo – Part II

As I hinted in my last post, I am back with more notes on my experiences with Pardo translucent clay. There are people doing some amazing things with this – check out Ginger Davis Allman’s website, The Blue Bottle Tree, for instance. She has done beautiful work with this clay and has posted her own very useful observances on the different brands of translucent clay. I am still in the process of experimenting with the Pardo translucent, so what better way to blog than to share my results?

As you can see, I was able to achieve much greater translucency in this second trial (see this post for the first run). Here’s another flower, in purple:

Purple trans flower

purple trans flower 2

It really amazes me that you can actually see the green stamen through the outside layer, and in the top photo you can see the ball of the head pin I was using to hold it with. Here’s a blue flower I did in that same batch:

blue flower 1

It was really fun and exciting to get these results. What did I do differently? First, I upped the temperature, to 275°F. I baked for 30 minutes, as before. When I pulled the pieces from the oven, they were still white. I plunged them into an ICE water bath, not just cold water as before, and waited awhile. This is the result.

I do have to say, I am not sure I like the pieces at this level of translucency. They are very clear, it’s true, but they are also very shiny. They really look like shiny plastic to me, rather than something made from art clay which happens to be plastic. I know, it’s a weird distinction. I just kind of like the first set of results better.

I like the cone shape, so I’m practicing making them. It is really hard to get the pieces thin enough using this method, but I’m working on it. I decided to work as well at getting results somewhere between my first set, which were more translucent, and the second set that is transparent but shiny. I just like the matte look better for these. Here are a few that I made last night. I haven’t gotten the translucency/transparency thing down right yet, but I still like my results:

Purple flower 1


Yellow Flowers

Green Flowers

That’s it for today… see you next time around.


6 thoughts on “Experiments With Pardo – Part II

  1. gingerdavisallman

    Hi Ann, what a difference a higher temperature makes! It really does come out a lot more clear at higher temperature. But yes, I have also noticed that the clay does have a more plastic appearance. And like you I’m not terribly fond of it. But it does have its uses. When used as an overlay, for instance, it makes for a really clear surface. So it would be great for techniques where there are layered translucent canes or when using metal leaf.

    When Pardo comes out of the oven, it’s always opaque and it clears as it cools. I don’t believe you need to quench it (I really need to get around to testing that someday). And it also often has a waxy coating on the surface that needs to be removed. These are probably the reasons why Viva Decor recommends baking at 248°F. Thank you for sharing your results. It’s fantastic to know that others are coming up with the same results that I see.

    1. Dancing Hand Beads Post author

      That’s so interesting and so helpful to know. I had no idea about the waxy coating, but it makes sense since there’s beeswax in it. I should try not quenching it… I never have with Premo, but I never was trying for total transparency either. Thanks again for your helpful info, Ginger.

    2. Isabel

      hi ginger. i meant to ask you if you got that ‘waxy’ coating…i’m assuming it’s the same thing i’m getting, although i’ve been calling it a ‘bloom’…how do you remove it? i’ve had some difficulty getting rid of it. any ideas would be helpful.
      ann – your flowers are beautiful. i still haven’t managed to get the transparency that you have, but i’m working on different techniques. so far, my favourite beads have been pardo coloured with pinata saphire…makes beautiful cobalt blue beads. i’m not sure about the quenching, either, although i do it (in ice water). i haven’t seen that it makes any big difference.
      needless to say, i’ve been working through my pardo stash pretty quickly!

  2. Ginger Davis Allman

    Oh that coating is just a pain, isn’t it? Yes, I do get it and I think it’s more prevalent when the clay is baked hotter. It makes me think that maybe that’s why the clay gets clearer at the higher temperatures…it bakes the wax out! Who knows! But it does seem to be a waxy coating. And it dissolves very easily with rubbing alcohol. in fact, I use 91% isopropyl alcohol for everything in my studio! It cleans everything from clay to alcohol inks to sticky resin. Great stuff. I think Dawn would work, too.

    And I hear your about working through my pardo stash. I think I need to put in an order. Dwindling fast.

  3. Boni Pienups

    Nice to hear about the alcohol thing. I was doing the boiling thing which worked well for my first 10 samples (really little samples), but I can see it might not work for everything. I have enjoyed reading the blog. I am trying for as clear as I can get. I have ‘sorta’ clear. They all have their place.

    I got my Pardo translucent from Munro Crafts-50% off if you spend $200 (easy for me). I am trying resin. If you’re going for clear, resin seems to make it more clear. Just some experiments to start.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s