Ugh, I don’t even know where to start.
I woke up this morning looking forward to making some art. I decided to bake the polymer clay sun I made last week and the few beads I made yesterday:
As far as I know, I did what I always do. I covered the pan with tinfoil and I turned the oven on to a little below 275. I put my items in and set the timer for 25 minutes, then got to work on another project.
While I was working on the other project I was getting excited–it was going well and I was thinking about something I’d just read in The War of Art by Steven Pressfield:
Because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our case; serendipity reinforces our purpose. This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
Okay, so I’m working along and feeling really good and am having all sorts of ideas. The timer on my oven beeps. I open it up, tin foil in place over my work, and bring it outside. I usually let my stuff cool outside as it’s not great to inhale lots and lots of polymer clay fumes. I went back to my project, and when it was complete, I decided to bake it, too. I went outside and took the tin foil off the pan and was absolutely horrified to see that my other works had burned. They looked evil or possessed or tortured or something. Black and puffy and melty and just awful.
I did not take a picture, as I immediately took the pan and the burnt items and put it all in a bag and threw it in the trashcan outside. Burnt polymer clay is, again, not great for a living thing to be around, specifically the fumes. I did some research and it seems that I would need to be exposed to a lot of fumes of clays cooked at very high temps, and even then it’s not that serious, just one of the many toxins we can inhale on any given day, but it freaked me out, especially because I’m pregnant. There wasn’t even any smoke in the house, I’d had no idea the items had burned when I removed them, but I still opened the doors and turned on a couple of fans.
This made me rethink my current projects. It seems a number of polymer clay artists have a dedicated toaster oven with oven thermometer for their clay curing and often do it in a space away from the house, such as in a garage. I think I am going to take a brief break from creating with polymer clay until I at least get a dedicated toaster oven, and at that point I’ll decide where to bake my items. We don’t have a garage right now but will be moving in two months, so maybe I’ll have a better space? I still plan on creating items, but I think I will finish the beads and suns that are already cured, and concentrate on making some yarn and other mixed media pieces.
So, goodbye to those pretty creations that shall never see the light of day again, only the inside of a garbage can. (Dramatic much?)
And here’s a few shots of what I made while my other art was burning to smithereens, though I do not know when I’ll cure/cook it, since now I’m paranoid (even though this has never, ever happened to me before).
I believe this experience is the perfect example of an incident that I could use as an excuse to stop creating, stop trying to build the life I want, and go back to spending the weekends surfing the internet and watching TV. But I really don’t want to. I want to create, it makes me so happy! In fact, after spending some time working on this blog, I’m going to (maybe) clean the kitchen and (definitely) work on a few ideas I have for non-polymer clay art projects.
Ever destroyed something you loved? (Whoa, that could mean so, so many things.)