So I've hardly ever worked with clay when animating unless it's been baked but I wanted to try something new and create a character with plasticity. I'm working with Van Aken Plastalina because I had some lying around and built the character (a severed finger) around braided 16g armature wire.
Here's the problem: I can't really bend the wire inside the clay without simply squishing the clay and ruining the puppet. I waited for the clay to cool and toughen since I hade just been working with it a lot and tried again. This time I could grip the clay finger and bend it at the joint but the wire inside did not bend with it and broke through the surface of the clay.
I am under the impression that many puppets are made with non-hardening clay and use wire armatures inside but don't see how this works given my first foray. I have also seen a couple of threads on this website recommending different brands of clay that work better than others--among them, Plastilina--so I'm wondering if my approach is wrong.
You don't need a very strong wire inside of the clay because the clay can hold itself in place. You might not even need a wire. There's a couple of things that I've done to avoid wires tearing through the clay: