Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Damn, Goodbye Polymer Clay

Okay, the time has come for me to move away from the polymer clay medium, it has created some health problems for me which I had noticed over the last two years and was visiting doctors to find out "what I had" when in fact what was happening was a reaction to the phthalate esters found in the clay that I use. Apparently phthalate esters are used in the clay to keep it pliable and soft, but they are toxic and in some people (like Pedro Ramirez) they can cause reactions when they come in contact with the skin. I am aware that many polymer clay companies are phasing these toxins out of their clays and using "less toxic" plasticizers but I buy my clay in bulk, I buy super sculpey in HUGE bulk packs saving $$$ and usually it lasts for years and I have a TON left, so I could either use latex gloves when sculpting or just buy all new clay. I have just decided to not use the material at all as my hands are always in it. So as of tomorrow, I will be returning to ceramic clay which has totally different working properties and also has to be fired at much higher temperatures. If I really miss the working properties of polymer clay, I can whip up a batch of cold porcelain which is just glue and corn starch.

Oh and for those who may be interested, the reaction occurs mostly on the index fingers and forms little raised bumps, which sort of look like warts, but they are smooth, they can last for days, weeks, or months and at some point they go from being just a plain bump to having little white dot in the center which is very painful, over time (it can be any amount of time) this white spot turns dark and the pain goes away, then the entire bump seems to dry up and after some time the skin peels off completely and a scar is left behind... eventually even the scar goes away leaving no evidence of the existence of the unsightly and painful things in the first place. I have been to several doctors, at first they thought I had a rheumatic condition, then an autoimmune disease, but finally after much research and unnecessary blood tests, it ended up being the clay which was the last thing I would have thought about!

So bye bye polymer, Its been a fun seven years! I will not bash Sculpey, Fimo, Kayto or any of them for I have nothing against them; I will still be fascinated by all those creating with it and good luck to all!


Chris said...

ow, good luck with your next steps!
i've been a silent observer for several years and i didn't wrote you once about your amazing work!
It's just fantastic!
anyway i wish you the best!

Affirmation Figures said...

Thanks Chris, its an exciting time, everything since has been fun and I do enjoy the work having a tactile quality lacking in the brittle plastic.

cheers to you!