My obsession with making cold porcelain flowers actually came from my discovery of air-dry clay. I’d been playing with polymer clay, also a fun medium to work with, and came upon some flowers made using air-dry clay while wandering through the internet.
I happened upon the Deco clay site at www.decoclay.com. I was awed by the beautiful florals made with this air-dry clay, and did several searches online to learn more. I found a certified instructor in Georgia, only about an hour’s drive away …. lucky me! Betty is a true artist with this clay, and a great teacher, and now a good friend. This clay is quite soft compared to polymer clay, and much easier on my hands. There are two books on making these florals, Clay Art for all seasons, and Clay Art for special occasions, both by Yukiko Miyai. Here’s a photo of a box I made (with lots of help from Betty!) in one of my classes.
So there I was, frankly struggling a little with the techniques of Deco clay flowers, when I came upon several sites showing cold porcelain. Working with cold porcelain and using cutters and other tools for shaping was much easier for me, and I have to say I was immediately hooked. The petals and leaves are made using the same techniques as gumpaste flowers for wedding and celebration cakes. The cold porcelain can be rolled very thin, making it a perfect material for leaves and flowers.
I found only one book on cold porcelain florals, Modelling in Cold Porcelain by Tombi Peck and Alan Dunn, but there’s lots available on making gumpaste flowers. Being a visual learner, though, I sought out and found some instructional DVD’s that have really helped me. My very favorites are those by Nicholas Lodge www.nicholaslodge.com and Scott Clark Woolley at www.cakesbydesign.cc. Both of these sites offer the necessary tools, cutters, veiners and supplies as well. The gumpaste flower books are easy to find online. Most assume you already know the technigues, though, so for me it was important to work with the DVD’s first.
Like any craft, practice makes perfect. One of the advantages of working with cold porcelain paste that I’ve made myself is that it’s not a big investment, so I don’t hesitate to throw out early attempts when I learn a new flower or technique.
So I encourage beginners to gather all the instructional materials you can and dive right in! You’ll be surprised at how quickly you learn.