So, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, I want to introduce you to an enamel artist who did work that could inspire you to try something a little different with your own work.
Marilyn Druin (1941-2001) was an enamel artist of unusual vision, enthusiasm and drive. She constantly pushed her medium, ultimately creating the beautiful but time-consuming and strenuous processes that put her on a level far beyond the majority of her colleagues. The reason I wanted to share her work is partly to inspire those of you who work with faux enamel to look at possible variations. The other reason is to hopefully inspire you to push your work, challenge yourself and realize the huge rewards that Marilyn’s kind of commitment to her craft can bring you … rewards in finding an unexpected beauty you can truly, uniquely create.
Take a look at these two pins below. Marilyn did a lot more than just pins … cups, necklaces, sculpture … but these have some great, easy to see examples of her unusual enamel texture. I have no idea how she did some of this in enamel but I do have some very exciting ideas about how to do it in polymer.
I see combining textured opaque and layered translucent clays with liquid polymer glazes to get effects like some of these. I have not seen a lot of people do things that looks quite like this in polymer but its seems like a rather obvious direction for faux enamel … layering polymer in shimmering, translucent colors with texture underneath or just aiming to emulate enamel with clay instead of liquid.
I think sometimes our influence from all that we see of other people’s polymer art may actually limit our ability to think beyond what is already being done … perhaps that is the reason for the dominance of faux enamel created in single swathes of colored liquid polymer.
When I first started working with polymer, I didn’t see hardly any work. I was self-taught from sites like Glass Attic and a couple books so my exposure was limited. I did some pretty different things back then and would often be asked at shows where my ideas came from. ”The ether,” I would say. But now I find my designs are often reflective of the kind of work I’ve been looking at … and I look at a ton these days. I’ve been feeling overly influenced by the immersion necessary to do this blog and the magazine. It can’t be helped. But I do find I am not happy with my designs because of it. So recently, I have been consciously forcing myself to break past or even erase/remove portions of my designs that I know are from other polymer artists’ work. I am much happier with the results when I do so. I find my mind starts wandering back into that ignorant, child-like portion of my imagination that lets me create work that feels much more my own. It can be hard to stay there though.
My point is, it can be so very advantageous to push your work beyond what you see other people doing. Combine techniques and approaches. And look at other forms of art. Because we can’t, usually, directly copy art made from other materials, we have to translate and filter it through ourselves. That should influence your work to go in directions that others aren’t going in and bring out your own voice. And that is a wonderful, beautiful thing.
In the meantime, treat yourself to a few minutes (or more!) looking through Marilyn’s gallery of work. Even if you don’t do faux enamel, her textures and colors are just stunning–they could inspire any kind of artist, dont’ you think?