Tuesday, February 9, 2010
There are any number of ways to make bunches of grapes. You'll have to figure out which will work best for you. Mine's the easiest, probably, in one way but harder in another.
We're making green grapes today:
3 parts translucent
1 part white
just enough green to get the color right (remember to buy some grapes so you can get it just so.)
Now the way Angie Scarr does it is to run some of the clay (very softened) thru a clay gun with a tissue blade attached...that's the one with all the little holes. She extrudes just until the surface forms the little bulges, then cuts it clean; curls the circular clay section under on 3 sides to form a little triangle. Using that as a base she adds her tiny individual grapes on all sides that show.
Whereas the way that I learned to make grapes is simpler: just take some of your clay & roll it to approx. 1/8" and start forming teeny tiny balls. Don't worry about getting them nice & evenly round since most grapes are longish in size rather than completely round.
Make a semi-circle using 5 "grapes"; to that add other grapes, staying in a triangular shape until you have a long enough bunch to suit, then add even more grapes on top of your bottom layer until you have a nicely rounded bunch of grapes. And that's all there is to it. So now you might be asking why I said it's also the hardest method...
That's because if the grape doesn't adhere enough to its neighbors, your grape bunch will fall apart after it's baked. That's sometimes hard to do without squishing the grapes. Usually you'll get 3 grapes clinging together, sometimes you'll have a single grape. ....and that's OK! It'll just mean that your DH people have already partaken. LOL
If you're planning on showing your grapes with other fruit all within a bowl, you might like to show them artistically draped over the edge. In this case, take some fairly thick tin foil & curve it over your forefinger; lay your grape bunch onto this curve and bake. If you have a grape bunch that's fallen apart, this is the ideal way to show those grape bunch segments and fill in some "holes" in your arrangement.
Seeing that I've made you wait so long, here's some strawberries as well. I had thought of chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's but once again real life got in the way. So here are some....not quite entirely ripe berries to get you started. We've still got almost a week for the chocolate covered ones.
Start out with a equal mix of carmine & red. Roll it out to between 1/8" and 1/4". You'll be using your most valuable clay tool...your thumb & forefinger to shape the berries. Then using a needle, make indents all around your strawberry to indicate the seeds.
To form the little green tops, you could punch out tiny 5 sided star shapes. Mine are made simply by picking up a minuscule portion of green with my needle and adding enough green to the strawberry to look correct.
Oh and before I forget: I've used some of the leftover green from the grapes, rolled out and a small section added to the top of the strawberry. Carefully blend the green into the red and continue as before.
I've seen someone else make strawberries that were entirely the pale green color and then paint the lower part with red but until my brush stroke technique improves, I'll just have to, as Frank Sinatra used to say...do it my way!
This is also the reason why I don't do more of a pictorial demonstration. There are any number of extremely talented people who have tutorials on their blogs or on YouTube. You've got to try them all until you develop your own style...the one that works best for YOU!