The first step for both Amanda and I was to mix the pigments into our chosen medium to see how the pigments behaved and also to create colour samples and swatches to see what colours we could create. All pigments are different and these were no exception. I was expecting the Indigo to be my favourite but it was really difficult to work with; it was gritty and lumpy and even when thoroughly mixed into the polymer clay it still looked quite speckly with little dots of pigment. If you're looking for something that resembles quartz then indigo pigment really does look a bit like quartz but it wasn't really what I wanted. It does give you some lovely shades of blue - a sort of denim blue from light through to much deeper and darker hues.
The Rouge Ercolano was a joy to mix as was the ochre gris - both mixed into the polymer clay easily and evenly. I didn't need to use very much pigment and the clay took on a lot of colour. With the Rouge Ercolano I created a range of tones from a soft pale peachy coral tone through to a much deeper and intense terracotta burnt orange colour. I rarely use these colours in my work but I really liked them. The grey gave me some lovely neutral grey tones from a soft mid grey through to a much darker grey. I also used the grey to mix with the indigo to give me a darker blue/grey colour which I really liked although the speckly indigo pigment flecks were still visible.
The Terre Verte and the Ardoise Naturelle were the most unpredictable pigments as they were both very pale. The pigments mixed well with the clay but I needed to add quite a lot of both to get any colour into the clay. Both looked so pale before firing but the green in particular really intensified after baking. The natural stone colour was very subtle but surprisingly lovely. I really liked both of these pigments.
I even managed to get an unexpected mauve by mixing indigo and rouge ercolano together - only after baking did the colour really come out! I'm used to using the yellow ochre pigment in my work but I usually mix it with cadmium yellow to get that lovely golden olive colour that I like so much but when used on its own, it gives me a pale warm soft yellow through to a light french mustard tone; I quite like it!
The photos above show my colour swatches before firing in the left and after firing in the middle. Amanda's paint swatches are on the right and I'm always surprised when the colours turn out quite similar. If you want to read more about mixing powdered artists' pigments into polymer clay you might find this blog post interesting.