I’ve been hanging on to my outmoded technology — my Print Gocco thermal silkscreen machine (even though flashbulbs for it are up to about 30 bucks a box), my Polaroid DayLab Junior (for making Polaroid transfers from slides).

And, I’ll admit it, I also own a slide projector.

And now, just when I was getting the hang of the Tear-Away technique, the last polymer clay with phthalates in it (and apparently these are important to the process), is being pulled from the market.

Now, I’m not pro-dangerous chemicals any more than the next person, but it’s yet another product that’s no longer being supported by the manufacturer, and it affects what I can make, how I can work.

I don’t like being dependent on the whims of a manufacturer.

Neither do lots of other people, witness the websites SaveGocco.com, SavePolaroid.com, and The Impossible Project – the first two being grassroots movements and the last being the new company that’s recreating Polaroid film sort of from scratch, having purchased some of the equipment and hired some of the staff.

There are some alternatives out there —

for Polaroid Film, there’s Fuji instant film, for the Print Gocco, there’s a digital version in Japan, that hopefully will come here some day, and there’s the Thermo-fax machine or it’s modern equivalent.

For Tear-Away, I don’t have an alternate, other than other methods of creating texture sheets — carving, photopolymer plates — what else? But none give quite the characteristic look of Tear-Away.

I’m not just mourning over the loss of phthalate-including poly-clay, I’m musing the loss of all these technologies, and how fast things are changing.

What to do? Stop using them? Use nothing but hammer and one of those blow pipe torches that you blow through instead of using and oxygen tank?

And of course, metal clay is a manufactured product, there’s another one I’m dependent on to do my creative work the way that I do it.

What do you think? What are your most favorite lost products?

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Links to things mentioned above:

My post on Print Gocco
Save Gocco
Save Polaroid
Tear-Away How To Supply List
Tear Away Instructions

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