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Okay, this isn’t terribly old, but let this illustrate that pushing the construction of a necklace isn’t a contemporary idea. This piece below was created 60 years ago. Note the openness of the construction and the careful balance of the compositions – things we’ve talked about already this week. They aren’t that new, but they aren’t that common either.

 

"Patina" neckpiece 1955
“Patina” neckpiece 1955

This intriguing piece was created by Art Smith, a Cuban born American. It is all silver with some surface texturing and some careful planning in order to get the balance right. I can easily see something like this in polymer. Who is willing to push a piece to this level of engineering?  It is something to consider if you are playing in the studio this weekend. I’ll try to dig up one more idea or challenge for pushing your idea of necklace construction for tomorrow. It will be quite warm in much of the US as well as other places around the world, so why don’t we all just stay in and push ourselves a bit?

 

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Pushing the construction or composition of a necklace doesn’t have to be overly complex. Simplicity is sometimes the best path to unusual pieces.

With this composition by Russian artist Oksana Aleksandrovna Vedernikova (she works under the name  Silverpepper), the rather stark presentation really helps us focus on the delicate details of these of the gorgeously crafted polymer beads. The uneven drop length keeps the composition from feeling stagnant and gives each bead a separate height from which to be admired.

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Oksana rarely creates in typical or classical composition. If you enjoy the idea of pushing construction and presentation of your polymer within the art jewelry form, you will find further inspiration within her other creations. Just head on over to  her Flickr pages.

 

 

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This necklace isn’t so off the beaten path when it comes to composition, but it is a bit different in its construction. The hinge construction is somewhat of a trademark for Louise Fischer Cozzi; although, I have wondered why this kind of simple way of connecting hasn’t been seen more. The metal wire goes through one shape into another in order to form the hinge upon which they are connected. This allows the flat beads to move and rotate while on the wearer.  This rotation hides and reveals the surface of the shapes as the wearer moves.

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I love the simplicity of this type of construction, but I also think this could be pushed, using that hide and reveal result, to allow unexpected images that come and go. This would create compositions at the point where the surface textures meet up. Yes, this would take a bit of planning, but how fun and intriguing a piece it would be!

To see more of Louise’s hinged jewelry, along with her other beautiful decor and quilts, take a look at her website here.

 

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Let’s look at the simple idea that necklaces don’t have to be a complete, fully attached, encircling item nor does the closure for it have to be at the back of the neck. If the point at which the necklace opens can be integrated into the design, it can be placed anywhere on the piece. And if you have a firm, but pliable structure, it doesn’t even have to connect.

Olimpia Corvino used this approach with a number of her designs. This necklace breaks the usual standards of using wire as structure. This breakaway from the norm allows for a front entrance and two large pieces of polymer to just barely meet in the middle. That “barely there” touch is fantastic as it causes tension and a point of focus. I really enjoy that she has used wire work to break the swathes of polymer at a point that would have normally been the center had the necklace used a standard wire structure in order to join it.  It’s another subtler point of tension, but these near connections do a lot to enliven the design.

 

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For now, Olimpia’s designs seem to exist only on Facebook, but as it is a business page, you can actually access it whether or not you have a Facebook account. Take a look at her wide range of pieces, which are sometimes nontraditional, sometimes standard, but always bold in color, texture or approach.

 

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I have to say that necklaces are both my favorite and most dreaded form to create. I love the wide ranging possibilities but because of that I tend to come up with some really difficult design ideas that I then can’t help but try to engineer and probably fail in doing so successfully about half the time. That’s the dreaded part, knowing I won’t always be successful and getting frustrated by that. But, when it works … it’s just such a great feeling of accomplishment!

Pushing necklace designs beyond stringing beads is a challenge we may not all be up for, but I do encourage you to consider trying some challenging designs every once in a while. It can add to your skill set and give you great confidence in your abilities to design and execute each time you do have a great success. So this week, let’s look at a few unusual necklace designs to get you thinking about the ways in which you can stretch your ideas of how to create a neckalce.

This piece is not so far off from the classic multi-strand designs usually created with chain, pearls or other small beads. But rather than working with a flexible set of elements, Claire Maunsell created these continuous organic shapes that, although they will not move and sway the way chain does, do give a sense of soft, flowing movement.

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Can you think of other possibilities for necklace design that either incorporates a continuous piece of polymer encircling the neck or that can also convey a sense of flowing movement in polymer that doesn’t require a string of beads? Just something to ponder.

Claire is quite the master of implied and visual movement not to leave out her amazing organic textures and colors. She has a number of websites, shops and blogs to take in her work from. Start with her Flickr photostream to get a idea of the breadth of her work then, go to her Flickr profile page for the list of other sites for more art and information on Claire and her work.

 

 

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It’s time for us to start planning our issues for 2015!

This year we thought we’d get YOUR input on what type of articles you’d like us to research and write for you. postcard-4inx6in-h-front You can contribute by giving us a theme word or phrase, describe a concept, or just tell us what kind of subjects you’d like us to cover.  Any ideas that describe or even just lead us to a theme idea will be eligible to win a little something to show our gratitude. We’ve set aside (4) $20 Gift Certificates to The Polymer Arts to award to the readers with the winning themes/concepts, or in the case of multiple similar suggestions, to award to four people based on a random drawing. All you need to do is contact us at connect@thepolymerarts.com  with your ideas. Here’s how we usually determine a good possible theme:

  • Themes should address design concepts, issues, and/or trends in the polymer community.
  • The single word or phrases we use for themes enable us to encompass any number of broad possible ideas that we can base articles around. For instance, the present issue’s theme “Light” encompasses such topics as illuminating light, light weight or visual light effects like shiny or reflective.
  • Suggestions can even be previous themes, but with suggestions on how we could look at the theme differently or add other types of articles to it.

If you can, please explain a little about the theme or concepts that you are suggesting and why you think they would be a good idea. Any article suggestions are welcome! So, get any and all your ideas in by the end of the day on July 27th for a chance to shape the subjects you’ll get to read about in 2015, as well as having a chance to win a $20 Gift Certificate! Want to see all the themes we’ve done in the past? You can see them and all our articles listed on this page: http://www.thepolymerarts.com/TPA_TOCs.html

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I was thinking about the many ways that we use to establish our variations when I came across this interesting selection of wall hangings created by melting crayons. That’s when I realized that one of most obvious ways in which we achieve variation is by letting randomness and chance have a say. We’ve all had that moment (or 20) when we were messing around with the scraps on our table and a whole new idea arose. Well, you could do that intentionally with the components you have for certain pieces that you have in mind by letting your mind and fingers wander until something wonderful emerges.

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Here, the various ways the crayons melt, as well as the colors, look to be the inspiration for each of the silhouetted subjects. That same approach can be used to renew, revive or reinvent a line you’ve been working with for a while. Be spontaneous and play to see what that clay suggests.

I couldn’t find the creator of these pieces, but I did find out this is ‘thing’ in the home craft world. Much of this melted crayon art is not very well done, but these three are great examples of what can happen when it is done artistically. If anyone, by some strange chance, knows who made these, I would love to give them credit. They are another victim of unattributed Pinterest pinning that ended up on a blog with the online storage URL being the only information that came with it.

Even if you just pin for yourself, at the very least, please do the creators the well-deserved favor by putting their name in the comment section. Or pin to a private board. Otherwise, these things get picked up by random people, spread around and the origination of it becomes lost. That just seems terribly sad.

Be sure to check in tomorrow for a contest we’re now running in which you can help shape upcoming issues of The Polymer Arts as well as win a little something for yourself!

 

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It’s certainly not going to be news that if you want to create variation in a piece, it can be done by strictly using the clay itself. Polymer is perfect for creating all types of color and textures! Here’s a straight-forward example by Nora Pero using various colors, translucency, visual texture, and color blending to [...]

If you are ever in need of an inspiring push to get out of a creative rut, the classroom is the place to go, especially those that encourage variation in the end result. Fabiola Perez Ajates, (known simply as Fabi) encourages a broad range of expression in her classes, and she photographs and posts collages of [...]

Another collection of work for your consideration of examples in variety are these brooches by Betsy Baker. She takes similarly treated sheets with variations in color and texture, cuts them in an assortment of shapes and layers them to create compositions with different effects and impact. You could do the same thing with some standard [...]

I’ve been seeing a lot of collage and photos of groupings of people’s work. These images are a great idea especially for sales materials and websites–it can show your breadth of work as well as give customers ideas for custom pieces. For us artists, it’s a great way to compare similar pieces side by side [...]

Maybe you’ve already saw this in our newsletter a couple weeks ago, but many of you probably did not. And it certainly fits the current theme,  for what are fans, but dimensional triangles? I know, I’ve been pushing the theme a bit hard this week, but it was fun, wasn’t it? Now it’s time for [...]

I am really pushing the idea of what a triangle is in today’s offering, but I had to think up some excuse and quick to share this incredible work with you. This piece you see below is all paper. Intricate, perfectly cut and layered sheets of paper. Check out the detail shot below it before [...]

Triangles, like any other flat form, can be treated like a simple canvas to be filled with all sorts of potential colors, textures, accents, lines and shapes. The thing about triangles though is that you are working with what is visually an arrow so you have this added dynamic characteristic to play with that is [...]

Here is a neat use of the triangle form in an unexpected place–a three-dimensional book! Triangles as 3-D forms are, yes, usually called pyramids but since we are jumping off from the most basic form, this counts, right? Besides it’s too cool not to share as soon as possible. I found this on the Creative [...]

The terms we use for various shapes are simple generalizations of a concept–squares are anything with four straight equal side, a circle has a circumference that moves around a center point with equal distance and a triangle is nothing more than a shape with three straight sides. Using that simple definition as a jumping off [...]