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Kathleen Tucci recycled jewelry hummingbird necklace

Earlier this week, I mentioned that you can avoid creating less-than-exciting pieces that use consistent repetition by adding variation or creating unusual or surprising visual impact. Well, today’s piece, created by jewelry artist Kathleen Nowak Tucci, has some serious impact while still using the same form, texture and accents repeated over and over. The impact of this piece comes from the gorgeous, shimmery color. There is a touch of variation in color, but I think this would still be eye-catching if it was all the same color. We sure do like our bright and shiny. Now, do you know what this is made from?

If you make your coffee with a Nespresso machine, then you might have recognized those colors from the capsules used in the appliance. Kathleen’s use of these started with a visit to a friend who used these. She was drawn to the beautiful colors and asked her friend to save the used ones. Now, she’s made a full-line of jewelry from these toss away cups.

I love that Kathleen has created something so beautiful from items we would normally toss out without a second thought. Well, that’s not wholly true. I bet polymer addicts would stop to admire the great colors and might have even wondered if they could be used in the studio. Actually, I know I saw some combination of these with polymer a while back. Although I could not find them just now, maybe you will come up with something of your own. Take a look at the many other beautiful pieces on her website, and if you’re intrigued, find a friend or get yourself a machine and see what you come up with. Nothing like coffee and art getting together!

A nod goes to the fabulous Helen Breil who sent me a link to this particular piece on the Beading Gem blog and website.

 

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Here’s another thought on that whole adding variation to repetition thing. Just as repetition doesn’t have to mean consistent and dull, variation doesn’t have to mean anything chaotic or crazy. The idea of variation is to give us something more to look at, to mix it up a little, to put enough interesting differences into a piece to either make a big initial impact, keep us looking at it, or to evoke a complexity of an emotion. Or, really, just because we find beauty in variation.

But varied can also be part of a series of consistently repeated elements. Center-focused compositions are often considered basic and boring. I probably rallied against that idea in art school more than anything else. What was this aversion to center-focus or balance? Nature is based heavily on this concept, and some of our most beautiful inspirations come from that kind of thing.

These pieces by Ivy Niles are an excellent example of variation in repetition using a centered composition. She uses more than one cane to give the eye a variety of visual textures plus those moderately used crystals to add a sparkle to the brilliant blues. I think we are averaging about five canes per piece plus accents, which could look quite busy, but the centric and regular repetition reins it all in. Just beautiful.

Ivy is a master cane maker with some of the most beautiful and intricate designs. She sells her canes on Etsy and shows off more of her goodies on her website as well.

 

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10922550_10206110456626851_6383282027797743102_nLet’s talk about that perilous pitfall with repetition–when it’s just boring. Why does repetition work sometimes but not other times? Sometimes it can simply be the impact of highly unusual elements (I have the perfect example for Friday … you can look forward to that!), but more commonly, it’s because of variation combined with consistency. And then you say … “What is that supposed to mean?”, right? Well, it’s something you probably already are instinctively aware of but let’s break it down.

Lynda Braunstein-Gilcher‘s necklace you see here is a beautiful example of variation with consistent elements that are cohesive and regular enough to produce a grounding for the variety in the design. I bet you can see it easily, especially when it’s pointed out. Obviously the repetition is in the inverted drop forms, but these forms were created in different sizes with several different canes in a variety of color and line widths. Additionally, some of these lines are gradients and some are solids. That’s a fair amount of variation, but it isn’t chaotic because there is a grounding consistency–they are all the same form, they all dangle off a short bit of cord and, most of all, they all echo the vertical theme. Well, kind of radiating verticals, if you can accept that term. The fact that everything moves in the same direction, from the cords to the lines in the canes to the inverted teardrops that act like arrows makes for strong, repeated lines that all move downward in this piece. So we have variation and consistency in a design of regular repetition and yet a lot of energy thanks to the variation and strong lines. That is not boring. At all.

So, if you like using repetition, consider how you can vary it to add energy or interest to the collective elements. Just keep something consistent to keep it grounded. Unless you are after a feeling of chaos. Then just have at it!

Lynda runs a stained glass and polymer supply store called Lynda’s Artistic Haven in Loveland, Ohio, so if you’re in the area, stop by! You can see more of what she is up to on her Facebook page as well.

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170e469d6a1c77a1491008ba07e70e15So, yes, more about repetition but in slightly less obvious or more varied manners will be in store for you the rest of the week. Hopefully, you aren’t bored with the subject. The ways you can apply it are limitless really.

For instance, take this fun, contemporary piece titled “Little Cities Necklace” by Ann Dillon. There is plenty of repetition in the shape of the beads, the colors and order of the layers and the general placement of the thick cane cuts. But, the canes are laid out in a varied manner and are all different canes. This wonderfully  illustrates the interconnection between repetition and rhythm. Repetition doesn’t mean regular, measured, evenly applied elements. It means something is used over and over, but how those elements are applied create rhythm that can be steady and strong or varied and even chaotic.

An underlying regular rhythm, like the bead bases here, provide grounding for the less predictable rhythm of the canes that kind of dance about in close but buoyant manner. The fact that they are applied across the horizontal center of each bead gives them that floating feel, so it’s definitely more of a dance or flight. If they were in the same formation but at the bottom, they could look heavy, as if they were spilled–nothing wrong with that, but definitely a different feel to the rhythm because they will look grounded.

Ann works in polymer and also a lot in seedbeads–talk about repetition and rhythm! That kind of bead work is all about that. Take a look at her website and practice identifying and feeling the rhythm of the pieces. It’s rather fun to think of work in that way.

 

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Jorre de St Jorre blade holderUsually after the latest issue is released I do a week of showing you art work and artists related to the new issue, but I really wanted to continue talking a bit more about repetition. Plus, print subscribers are waiting for their issues which will largely start arriving this week, so I figured we’d start with one thing from the new spring 2015 issue AND talk repetition. I will save more from the spring Diversity issue for next week.

What we have here is a really neat piece by Australia’s Wendy Jorre de St Jorre. Wendy is an avid caner, but she doesn’t do the standard one scene cane all the time. She has a penchant for developing scenes from multiple but related canes, so on this nifty blade holder, she created a scene from a three cane set. Although these are repeated cane slices, they are different. They are carefully constructed to match up at the base and not have an abrupt cut off of objects at the edges. Lining them up creates a wide scene with diversity. That is why she was invited to be in the gallery section of the Spring 2015–Diversity issue.

Wendy has not been working in polymer very long, but she has taken to it like a fish to water. You can read her story, as well as see more of her wonderful work in the spring issue or make yourself a cuppa and spend some time on her Flickr photostream where you can go through her pieces including photos of the original canes lined up together. You might find yourself inspired to rethink your canes.

If you haven’t gotten your copy of the upcoming issue yet or haven’t bought or subscribed, here is a sampler issue of The Polymer Arts Spring 2015–Diversity issue that you can get a peek at. If you like what you see, do keep up your support of The Polymer Arts by purchasing an issue or a subscription. The magazine is what funds this blog and allows me to spend the time necessary to search, research, and write these every day. And eat. When I remember to. Now, if it could only buy me some more time to sleep …! Thank you for your support!

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or an issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Jan-1-Bronze-1Okay … I’m not really drinking here (but you go ahead!), but I did want to change gears from repetition to just show you these versions of wine colors that Syndee Holt put together for Polyform. They are just so juicy. Pantone declared the color of 2015 would be ‘Marsala’, so last month, Syndee whipped up some color recipe options to match the Pantone swatch. This is just one of them.

I guess I had my head down getting the spring issue out and missed them. They’re just gorgeous though, so I thought I’d halt with the repetition theme to bring you the recipes to try out this weekend if you haven’t already. That’s if you don’t have your head buried in the spring issue. Because it came out today!

15P1 cover Med

 

If you have a digital subscription, you should find the access email in your inbox. If you don’t see it, check your junk mail folder or other email accounts that might have been given to us during the purchase process (if you paid by Paypal, the email Paypal has is the one that is given to us).

If you are waiting on your print issue, they started on their journey yesterday and should be with you shortly. If you haven’t ordered or subscribed yet, well you can do just that on The Polymer Arts website.

 

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9-collier_3_LuisAcostaThis piece is going to be a bit more complex than what we have been looking at all week, but I wanted to share it because I could see it inspiring repeatable forms in polymer. This is a stitched paper necklace designed and constructed by Luis Acosta who lists his work on his site in English and Spanish but looks to hail from the Netherlands. Makes me curious to hear his story but more curious is his work.

A complex piece like this could take upwards of 60 hours to create. That is dedication. But, the end result is quite mesmerizing. The repetition of that curl layered in the same repeated stack makes for a controlled energy that comes across as beautiful, concise movement. I like that although the paper starts out layered in the same sequence, the curls end up a little mixed on the top. Kind of a controlled confetti party. How fun would this be to wear!

Luis’ work is all about repetition. Take a look at more of his rather extensive collection of forms on his website for more great inspiration.

 

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Gradient color, as well as repetition, seems to be the theme this week. Carol Blackburn has created lovely examples of both in her interlocked strips designs. You have likely seen at least her earrings in this style which are one dangling bead of these repeated strips wrapping around and overlapping at the ends. She calls […]

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I have been wanting to talk about the use of repetition for a while, but it is just such a huge subject. So, I’m going to get started on it this week with some really obvious versions, and then maybe next week we’ll get into more complex examples. Repetition doesn’t sound like it is that big […]

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Okay … I love this piece, but I hesitated posting it at first. And I bet you can guess why. The beads are beautifully crafted and the combination of contrasts lets each bead stand apart while still feeling like a part of the grand party that this necklace is by using regular jumps to red and […]

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  Elegance is pretty, but not loud. It may shimmer, shine and glitter, but in a calm and quiet way. That is what I found so attractive about this piece by Susan Whitehouse-Evenson of Tres Jolie Designs by Sue. There are a lot of mica powders, glass beads and ribbons in her collections. And translucent clay that allows […]

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