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felted polymerToday’s piece is both an outside inspiration and a polymer piece. It’s a little different take on the aged look in that it isn’t so much about that look of disintegration as it is about the way materials meld together over time that have been left out in natural surroundings.

I can’t say what Russia’s Svetlana was thinking of when she created this felted scarf, but this makes me think of the way rocks become embedded in sandstone or maybe how they are exposed by the low tide on a beach. The combined textures of fuzzy felt and smooth polymer along with the little bead accents create a rich landscape that I think must be reminiscent of some place that  she has been. It seems an unusual choice for a scarf, but that just adds to the mysterious atmosphere of what she’s done here.

Felting was the one thing I never took to in my years of fiber art work, but then, I was taught mostly the classic thick felting techniques. The more textural and undulating applications and forms that are becoming popular these days feel more broadly appealing. If any of you have a penchant for felting (or are intrigued enough by this to want to try it), the page I found this on is actually a tutorial on how she created the piece. The textures you’ll see just from the in between steps are worth a gander, so hop on over to Svetlana’s Livemaster blog page and maybe drop by her shop as well.

 

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rustic grunge headpinsThe absence of something can be just as intriguing, or even more so, than the addition of something to a piece of jewelry. In these beautiful headpins, we actually have a little of both.

If you find yourself inexplicably drawn to these but not really knowing why, you’re not alone here. There is something unusual about this faux deterioration, but it takes a minute to understand what it is. The corrosion these polymer beads emulate speaks to a passage of time and disuse, but in this case, it is also a reveal. How often are you likely to see a rusted out piece of iron or old steel eaten away only to show brilliant color underneath? Well, it’s quite unlikely you’d see a turquoise blue like this beneath a bit of unused metal, but somehow it feels right. The corroded look shows an eating away of the form, and the unusual blue, added by jewelry artist Alison Sachs, adds to it. So we are drawn by the subtraction of form, the addition of color and the unusual juxtaposition that looks like something mother nature might have created even though it isn’t common.

And these are only headpins. But hey, headpins got a bit of attention as well in the last issue of The Polymer Arts where you could learn to make your own quick and easy headpins. Take those lessons and add interesting polymer bead-like ends as Alison does in your favorite canes, textures or other clay treatments. The old and well-worn look can be seen throughout much of Alison’s work, which you can find on her Etsy page and more or less on her blog. The images were not coming up for me on the blog last time I checked in, but maybe they will soon.

 

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staci louse faux ceramicThe obvious visual signs of age have been at the center of many conversations I’ve had this week. Many of us try very hard to cover up the signs of aging in ourselves because we don’t think they are considered beautiful. But I, for one, think the visual changes that come with age and being well-used can be quite beautiful. I do admit that I prefer to see these marks on inanimate objects rather than on myself, but even the soft wrinkles beneath the eyes and the laugh lines on the face have an inviting texture. They show we have lived and laughed; that we got out and lived our lives. That we have stories to tell.

I do believe that same feeling–that there are stories where we see age and change–is why we are drawn to old items and why we enjoy the aged faux looks we can achieve in polymer. This necklace here by Staci Louise is a kind of faux ceramic, but both the forms and the crackling affect make the set feel like something almost ancient. Doesn’t it make you want to hear the history of the civilization that bore these? And have a chance to ask about the significance of the beads, and where they got their color?

Luckily, the creator is not from some distant past, but is alive and well today. Staci even has a tutorial for her technique. Find it in her Etsy shop after you drop by her blog to see how she transforms white clay into these spectacular beads.

 

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When talking ruffles, most likely fabric comes to mind first as a source for outside inspiration, but do you think of felt as a particularly ruffled fiber? Instead of flouncy and fluffy, felted ruffles offer substance and a more solid and open canvas for dramatic textures and colors. This scarf shows some of the potential […]

The undulating line of a ruffle brings to mind waves and water, and in this intriguing piece, there seems to be a bit of sea-foam, too. Even though ruffled lines can have a lot of energy, they are usually soothing due to the lulling effect of the smooth up and down repetitions. This particular bead […]

This week, I’ve had my eye on some ruffled up polymer pieces. Greece’s Eleni Tsaliki has been quite busy lately with a fabric fold and ruffle technique that includes a variety of surface treatments and bright jewel colors, as well as metallics and cutout lace. It looks like her explorations have left no fold unturned in the […]

Take a close look at this jewelry set. How many variations of impressing, winding, twisting, layering and embedding little bits of clay do you see here? I’ve gotten a different count each time; I’m giving up on trying to give it a number and have spent my time admiring and determining the variation. And the […]

On the other end of the spectrum from yesterday’s applique work we have some ornate work employing bits of thin polymer string. Closely resembling filigree in its design, the artist here used what might have been wire or metal cut-outs if it was traditional work, and then added texture by using a couple variations of string […]

I am a fan of small details. I love work that has been built one tiny bit at a time, which is probably why I find myself drawn to the application of tiny bits of polymer something called polymer embroidery, applique or even filigree. I found a number of pieces on a search this weekend […]

One of the tougher decisions I had to make when putting together the Summer 2015 issue was to cut part of what Helen Breil sent for her wonderful “Magnetic Design” technique tutorial. The article primarily focuses on the creation of pieces with interchangeable magnetic focal points using rare earth magnets, but she also generously added a […]

One of our most unusual articles in the summer issue, the one we definitely spent the most time on getting just right for you all, is Tracy Holmes’ “Color Connections”. This is a color lesson and color mixing tutorial that throws out the color wheel and works with mixing and matching in three dimensions. The […]

Now that the latest issue of The Polymer Arts is wrapped up and either in hand or on the way to our many excited readers, we get to look back at what went into this issue and show off a few more items and ideas that we couldn’t squeeze in. For me, one of the […]

To end a big and bold week, we just have to go visit the genius that is Ford and Forlano. Their work is not limited by convention in any fashion, and yet their work does not appear uncomfortable or ungainly. Yes, their work is often large and visually arresting, but also there is often an […]

Now off to the world of big and bold and even a bit of wild; although, this piece is not that wild when it come to the work of polymer artist Sona Grigoryan. Everything Sona does is big and unabashedly bold. She shares what seems to be a kind of expressive abandon with our Monday […]

First of all, the latest issue of The Polymer Arts is out! Print issues made it to the post office on Friday, so those are on their way, and the digital issue was released yesterday. If you were expecting a digital issue and you don’t see it in your inbox, check those pesky spam folders […]

First of all, I just realized this will be the last post of May. Really? This month is over?  Wow … that went quick. Due to all the bedlam here, we’ve been just barely keeping up with the 3 blogs a week, and we have at least another week or so of chaos to get […]