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Let’s look at a little more off-white today. In general, off-whites on the warm side tend to look older or antiqued. This would be due to most whites aging warm, not cool. Hence the term ‘yellowing’ for aged white materials, because they take on a yellow cast which is a warm color.

This is something to keep in mind if you choose to create something in a warm off-white. There is a very good chance it will look aged which, if you are going for the look of faux bone, antique ivory or are pulling inspiration from an ancient society, is precisely what you want. This piece here is an example of using that warm off-white to give a piece an ancient look. In the piece seen here, Marina of Clay Carousel looks to be drawing on inspiration from the Mayan culture, with the art work titled “Mayan Princess”. She created a perfectly symmetrical but still energetic necklace with an off white canvas for all her accents and details. The dangles are what really make the design work with their strong directional downward lines and, of course, their actual swaying movement while on the wearer. Choosing the off-white background allows the lines and accents to take center stage as well as automatically giving us the impression of age even when we aren’t aware of what it has been titled.

The link on the image here goes to her second version of this necklace since the first, not surprisingly sold already in her LiveMaster shop but take a look at how she changed up the design. I think the way an artist alters a design can be so interesting and so telling of what they were after.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: If you don’t still have that cool and warm white clay from the last post’s challenge, create a couple more balls, one warm off-white and one cool. Then create the exact same design, one with the warm clay and one with the cool clay. Can you see how the color temperature changes the look of the piece? Cool whites look cleaner and brighter. Where would you want to use a cool off-white?

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kchapman-pendant-tasselsIf you’ve had a chance to read through your latest Fall issue of The Polymer Arts, you may have enjoyed the Color Spotlight article on Sonya Girodon whose work also graces the cover. In the article, our writer, Lindly Haunani, brought up an interesting point about working with white. She noted that Sonya’s work is rarely pure white but is rather just a touch off from white, being mildly cool or warm in color. To illustrate this, she included an image created with pastels over a variety of lightly colored washed paper, showing how pastel colors shift depending on what off-white paper they are placed on. It brings home the idea that moving beyond pure white can add richness and change the look or mood of the colors around it and the work itself simply by choosing to go a little cool or a little warm with the white.

Here is an example of going warm. Warm means the color exists on or leans into the warm color side of the spectrum. Warm colors include red, orange and yellow (think of the colors of fire and the sun) which in an off-white include things like ecru, beige, pale pink and other whites heading towards browns. This is the palette that Australia’s Kelly Chapman chose for this particular tasseled pendant of hers. The near whites give way to a couple of variations of beige in the polymer and eventually a series of browns in the tassels. The warm whites all blend together to give the pendant a rich but serene cohesiveness.

Kelly tends to work in quieter palettes although the occasional brilliant lime green or cobalt blue shows itself but never in a loud way. I can almost imagine that she starts with the idea of white and lets the colors grow from that. I think you’ll see what I mean if you spend some time with her work in her Etsy shop.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Start with two small balls of pure white and add just a small amount of  a warm color to one and a cool color (blue, green, violet, etc) to the other.  Now sheet or roll snakes from each and make them the background or frame for a finished cabochon, cane, or other element you have on hand. Can you see how the slight variation changes the way the colored element works? Now try using an off-white next time you want white in a piece to see how it supports or enriches your design.

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Here is another artist that is pushing the boundaries of his usual forms. Not that Jon Stuart Anderson has ever keep strictly within a certain form although he is widely known for his intricately patterned animals. He has also put his cane work to guitars, shoes, vessels and sculptures but all have had some reflection of his flowing forms and repeated patterns.

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These box lamps seems like a huge departure for Jon but one that definitely suits his love of pattern. They are copper boxes just shy of 7″ (18cm) square, with translucent patterned ‘lenses’ as he call them. One would assume the lenses are canes but I suspect there is a bit more going on. It’s just really hard to tell. Maybe a layering of canes or something related to some transferring techniques he had been working on. Not that it matters too much. They are just lovely.

But back to the main point … they are some rather simplified patterns for Jon–a matter of relativity being that they aren’t simple in and of themselves. The difference is that these forms have no lines of repeated canes working their way expertly around the form to create another pattern from their arrangement. Instead, one beautifully patterned convex circle shows off Jon’s sense of balance in both symmetry and color. Some have different patterns on the lenses of a box while other’s are the same on every side. You can sense the exploration as you examine one box after the other. See what I mean by looking through his first images of this series on his July 8th postings on Facebook.

Jon has never stopped exploring and pushing what he does, making exploration the one strong thread of consistency in his work. If you enjoy his creative meanderings, the best place to keep up with his adventures is on his Facebook page although his website is always worth a visit. He also has a great little video of his cane making which is pretty entrancing.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Break out of your usual form. But instead of just trying a form you don’t usually work with, try to expand on forms you already work with. So if you create primarily flat jewelry elements, go more dimensional with half lentil forms or free form the shapes in waves. If you create round beads much of the time, try squares or twisted oblong shapes. If you like making round bowls, what about boat shapes or  cones? Where can you push your forms?

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Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front  Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog  2Wards Blog Sept 2016

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There seems to be an explosion of innovation in polymer design as of late.  Maybe as a whole we fell into a rut of creating within a fairly small circle of ideas but it seems that more and more, clayers are pushing the ideas or just going off into their own little worlds which creates some […]

When putting together the Simplicity article, we contemplated showing a few non-polymer pieces because there are just so many beautiful designs in other materials that could be inspirational to polymer artists but alas, there was only so much room and much to discuss. Alice Ballard was a top pick on my list for this because her […]

I have been absolutely in love with Genevieve Williamson’s work since I first discovered it some 6 years back. It is so personal, the artist’s hand so apparent, and the design so expert. Perhaps it is more a connection that I have to these muted colors, the scratches and the imperfectly cut shapes, but the work has […]

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The key article in the new issue of The Polymer Arts is probably the one on Simplicity in Design. As mentioned in it, simplicity is a very difficult concept to master for a variety of reasons. For one, people underestimate just how much goes into creating really good, simple design. It takes a lot of thought and […]

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So, business first … the Fall issue of The Polymer Arts came out yesterday, September 7th, and already there is all kinds of cheering online about it and many, many comments in my inbox, all overwhelmingly positive so far. I’m so glad people are already enjoying it so much–I absolutely loved putting this one together as […]

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Tomorrow, September 7th, the Fall 2016 issue of the The Polymer Arts will be arriving in Email inboxes (check spam folders if owed a digital copy and it doesn’t show up by midday US time) and should start arriving in mail boxes in some West coast US areas as well. It is also the day I get to see […]

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