The perfect reason presented itself over the weekend. I picked up a small framed African mask, about three inches high, at the euro store. I took the frame apart to get at the mask. I knew that I wanted to try to replicate the mask for use on art dolls. So, today I rode up to the craft store and purchased a package of the new paper clay.
The clay is so easy to use. I rolled a ball and flattened it, then I pressed in the mask and created a reversed impression. To "fire" the paper clay, you simply pop it into the microwave for 10 minutes at 600 watts, along with a half full glass/beaker of water. If you inadvertently set the microwave to a more powerful setting, or fire the clay for longer, that's no problem.
After firing the reverse impression, I used it as a mould to make copies of the mask. It worked like a dream, and it was quick and easy.
According to the instructions, you can also add to work that has already been fired simply by moistening the fired object and attaching new elements before popping it into the microwave again.
Once done, the pieces are light but tough and can be sanded, drilled, painted, or whatever.
I purchased terracotta coloured clay, but the product also comes in white. Further colours are planned.