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Shall we get the not-so-nice stuff out of the way first?

The New Not-Well-Thought-Out EU Digital Tax Laws hit Worldwide on the First of the Year

If you haven’t already heard, the European Union has new laws regarding selling digital products and services to European buyers, and it goes into effect January 1st. Unlike past VAT taxes that rarely, if ever, affected micro businesses and solo sellers, this one affects everyone who sells any digital goods or services TO Europe because this new law is based on where the buyer resides, not where the seller works. Yes, even you, you seller of $3 PDF tutorials! It’s a tad insane, and most of us small, struggling businesses and artists just found out in the last couple weeks that we need to register with the EU, implement new bookkeeping & documentation storage for at least 10 years, update shopping gateways and our websites, and possibly change who/what we sell through, and we need to have it all ready before the year ends in order to offer digital goods and services to Europe in 2015 and forward. Or, we can change to whom or how we sell digital stuff. Ugh!

I wanted to inform you all of this, so you have a chance to find out if this affects you as a seller of PDF tutorials, eBooks, patterns, subscription or member services, online advertising, or automated online services of any kind and allow you time to figure out what to do. AND, to be heard if you agree that this tax is detrimental to micro and solo businesses.

Please Help. Take Action to Fix this.

Get informed, and sign the petition to have a threshold set, so small, unique sellers don’t have to pull out of Europe or go out of business because they can’t afford to comply. You can find out more about the issues with the new laws on EUVATACtion.org and get the official summary of them on www.gov.uk.

The only possible salvation for many of us will be a service who can take care of  the nightmare of documenting,  setting up calculations, collecting and remitting the tax for you for all of the 28 European countries involved. There is only one viable service I have found so far, and they even offer it for free (up to 20 EU transactions a month), if they can integrate through your Paypal or similar payment service. If you think you’ll need this, write them at www.taxamo.com to find out if they can work for you.

Prices will Go Up; Buy or Renew Now  

This sudden news does not give us here at The Polymer Arts enough time to make the changes needed to collect VAT on our digital magazine sales, so we will be using an exception in the law and will have to individually email digital issues of The Polymer Arts to European readers as of next month.  This will be costly labor-wise, so we’ll have no choice but to increase prices for these manually sent issues. But, this will cost the European buyer far less than paying VAT. So, if you’re in Europe and you haven’t renewed or bought those back issues in digital that you were thinking of getting, now would be the time to do that. Just go to our website,  www.thepolymerarts.com/Subscribe.html, before the end of the year when prices for European digital purchases will go up.

10629427_755333247879748_993078646697291942_oBack to Color … 

How about today we have a moment of color indulgence with color maven and polymer pioneer, Lindly Haunani. Aren’t these colors just yummy. I know that’s not the most technical artistic term, but that about sums it up!

This image is a preview of what she’ll be teaching at Maureen Carlsons Center for Creative Arts. The workshop is entitled “Joy Garden: Translucent Polymer Innovations”, and it’ll be held Sunday, August 9th – Friday, August 14th, 2015. Yep, it’s about time to start planning for summer fun, don’t you think? Okay, maybe it’s a ways off, but you probably want to grab a spot in this workshop sooner rather than later and for those of us seeing snow out our windows, it’s kind of fun to dream about summer isn’t it?

Lindly’s blog and website, as well as her book and DVD set, are a wealth of information on color. Just jump over to her website to get links to all her wonderful stuff.

 

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

 

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margit boehmerAlthough polymer is certainly a wonderful medium for precisely applied or built-in color, I have to say the painterly effects that we are seeing a lot of these days are so intriguing. The approach and application usually involves the inclusion of another medium, which opens the color quality to a wide range of possibilities beyond what the clay itself has to offer.

Margit Bohmer has been playing with pastels and polymer for quite a while. I can’t recall off the top of my head anyone else that has been quite so exploratory with this combination. Much of her work looks like color-stained wood or stone. The way she forms, carves and antiques her beads results in a rough, almost tribal quality; although, contemporary shapes do regularly emerge. Considering those characteristics, I thought this fun and beautifully colorful piece really stood out in her collection on Flickr. The wavy line contrasts rather strongly with the scratched tube beads, but with all the pieces treated with the same painterly color application it all comes together.

Jump over to Margit’s Flickr photostream or Etsy shop for a non-stop painterly color parade.

 

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

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il_570xN.699800404_8hk9Today’s piece pays homage to one of my favorite painter’s of the last century, Wassily Kandinsky, whose birthday happens to be today. Kandinsky is considered the first artist to create purely abstract art and was one of the foremost Expressionist painters, as well as being an artistic theorist.  He was especially concerned with our personal reactions to color, as in how we interact viscerally with what we see. He wrote in his book Du spirituel dans l’art (Concerning the Spiritual in Art), “Colours on the painter’s palette evoke a double effect: a purely physical effect on the eye, which is charmed by the beauty of colours, similar to the joyful impression when we eat a delicacy. This effect can be much deeper, however, causing a vibration of the soul or an “inner resonance”—a spiritual effect in which the colour touches the soul itself.”

Isn’t that just lovely?

This necklace was created by Cecilia Leonini of Italy. To honor Kandinsky’s thoughts and not influence your reaction, I’m not going to comment on this piece. How do you find yourself reacting to it, to the color, form and imagery? Do you see what Kandinsky was referring to in terms of our interaction with color?

You can find more of Cecilia’s work in her Etsy shop. I only just discovered her through the Polymer Clay Artist’s Guild of Etsy which I am a member of. If you sell on Etsy and aren’t a member of the PCAGOE, do consider joining–start by clicking here. This group was key in encouraging and inspiring me when I was still new and uncertain, and many are what we affectionately refer to as the midwives of The Polymer Arts magazine, helping to form the concept and vet ideas for its creation and content when it first started out. They are a wonderful support group and a wealth of information and inspiration!

 

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

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kalc3a9idbraceletDo you ever have those days when you just want to sit down with a box of chocolates, a bag of pastries or a giant pizza with everything on it and just enjoy a little over-indulgence? Of course you do! I’m kind of feeling that way this week, but more about color than candy. Actually, I’ve had enough candy and pastries (gets rough on that account this time of year, doesn’t it?), but bright, saturated painterly color, I have not had enough of lately. So this week, let’s just indulge. We all have enough going on with holiday plans, shopping, selling, making trips to the post office and such. Let’s not get too serious and just enjoy some pretty things.

A quick jolt to the system came across my screen the other day in the form of this incredibly bright and mesmerizing bracelet by Viviane Depasse. She created this during a class with Carol Simmons this past April. Why is that not so surprising? This presentation does not have Carol’s precision kaleidoscope arrangements, but I, myself, am very much enjoying the meandering color. It is like the epitome of the phrase “eye candy”. It is bordering on overly-bright, but like really sweet candy you keep eating anyway; it’s hard not to keep looking.

Viviane posts her work both from classes and independent exploration, as well as her thoughts on her blog Mon Jardin Merveilloeufs.

 

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

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Sonya-Girodon-2-Description2The one article in the Winter 2014 issue of The Polymer Arts that seemed to greatly affect both the readers and the participants in the creation of its writing was the piece by Anke Humpert, “1,700 Pieces of Jewellery“. If you haven’t read it, you really need to. Anke developed a game based on limitation and a challenging process rather than a single challenge concept, and she invited several dozen artists to participate in her first run of it. That alone is a reason to read this; perhaps, in order to get ideas about developing more in-depth challenges for yourself or for your guild.

The thing that struck me, and I’ve had numerous comments back from readers on this and it obviously struck the artists that participated, was the step that required the participants to re-do the piece they made for the challenge. Yes … after the participating artists completed their piece, Anke asked that each of them make their piece again with changes and adjustments that came about from an evaluation of the initial piece. There was something about being given that bit of instruction, or, as I’ve been thinking of it, permission to start over and try again, that was a key illuminating moment for most of the artists. I know for myself, I plan on doing that exact thing when I get into the studio here shortly, maybe even making the same piece 3 or 4 times to see what I come up with. Many of us make just one piece, and then after that attempt move on, especially when it doesn’t work; when really, we could learn so much from trying to create a better version; to evaluate our work with a purpose; to see if we can create the improvements considered in that critique.

The image here is Sonya Girodon’s two pieces and her evaluation notes. There are more comparisons, notes and comments in the article that will get you thinking. Would you be up for challenging yourself to re-do a piece in this fashion as well?

 

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

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Large Agate Wing Earrings, crafted with silver and copper...SOLDYep … back to frames again today. There are just so many beautiful pieces with unique ways to incorporate frames.

Here, we have earrings by metal jewelry artist Nisa Smiley that are more than just frames. In actuality, what the open spaces frame is negative space. That negative space is filled with whatever your imagination comes up with or with the background beyond. Open metal work like this feels airy and light, which matches the wing imagery here.

Nisa works her pieces to bring elements of nature to the metal. She says “When creating a piece of jewelry, I strive to combine five elements of nature that speak most strongly to me: color, pattern, texture, organic shape, and metal. My sense of design recognizes these patterns, textures, and colors to be the ultimate complement to the human figure.” Can you discern the five elements she is working towards in this piece?

Although these frames may seem a bit delicate to create in polymer, open work and the framing of negative space is still a viable idea to work into your pieces when that airiness or space for the imagination are desired. You can see a bit more of this along with beautiful stones and colorfully treated metals in more of Nisa pieces on her website.

 

 

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

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Els Van HanssenBefore we just run away on the subject of creative framing, let’s take a quick look at some of the other items that are getting so much attention in the present issue of The Polymer Arts. The article on silk screening is just amazingly in-depth, and yet, makes it all seems so easy. Tonja Lederman took the reins on this one when I sent out a request for this kind of article earlier in the year, and boy, did she deliver. Not only do you get all the basics, she also gives out a ton of great tips, options for paint (many of which you probably never would have thought of) and resources for all the materials you’d need.

The reason I wanted to see a silk screen article was because it seemed like a lot of people I have talked to and that have written me had no idea where to start in order to try this technique. I figured if we could create an article that can get just about anyone started on it, we’d see a lot more wonderful work using this technique. I was originally inspired by one of the magazine’s very first gallery artists, Els Van Haasen, a Dutch polymer artist. I just thought the light touch of silk screen added a beautiful, delicate visual texture to her carefully finished pieces. This pendant has that same quality from the seaweed silk screen plus a glow from the blended clay colors. The open edge and domed shape gives the simple composition a kind of full and broad feel.

I know there are of polymer purists who might feel a cane or Sutton slice should have been used instead of paint, but it would have been a very different effect.  The silk screen adds that visual texture and touch of complexity without disturbing the treatment of the clay. There really would be no other way to do this.

Els’ style and light touch with this technique can be seen on her Flickr photostream where there are many more examples of silk screen accented pieces along with a lot of textural and form exploration to glean inspiration from.

 

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

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Strangely, this week has become all about frames, which, of course, fits with the theme of the new issue, but my thoughts and the pieces I am being drawn to are these multilayer frames. So, here is one other option for playing with multiple frames in one piece. I love this idea of creating windows […]

I think we are all rather familiar with the idea of a decorative frame. We’ve seen them on old paintings, antique mirrors and even around windows and doors. Frames can be a work of art unto themselves. So when framing your own work, why not go ahead and consider pushing the decorative aspect just as […]

So the Winter 2014 – Boundaries issue is in hand or on its way to all our readers and retailers. If you’ve read through your copy, then this week will be a little addition to the lessons to be learned there. And if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, this will be a bit of […]

My aim today was to bring up something to encourage you to create a simple piece; to make something with a minimum of detail, but that still has eye-catching impact. There are a lot of options. You could look at anything we posted this week, and after finding the element that most intrigues you, create something of […]

It would seem that successful, simple compositions would be fairly easy to achieve, but I have found that in order to be successful with simple creations is many times more difficult than with complex ones. When the elements are few and spare, every single choice made counts in a big way. This is how I […]

Simplicity often works best when presented in an unexpected manner. A necklace of leaves is nothing unexpected. A necklace of three leaves floating, however, is. This interesting neck-piece is the creation of Delphine Roche de Montgrand of Paris, France. There is grace in the simple triad composition, the slight variation of the leaf sizes and the way they are […]

First of all … yes, the Winter 2014 issue is being released today. I am pre-scheduling this blog to post at its usual time, and then I am getting back to testing and getting access ready for the digital issue today. If you are waiting on your issue, digital access should be in everyone’s inbox by […]

Our piece today is not dissimilar from yesterday’s piece, but it’s differences delineate another approach to the simple application of elements. A large swath of continuous color is halted by a mix of color here as well, only in this vase by China’s Frank Khow (known as Beefball Papa on Flickr),the feel is crowded and energetic instead […]

“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” You’ve probably all heard this adage and may even find yourself repeating it like a mantra as you sit at your studio table while tempted to add just one more color, one more accent or one more layer. Many, many times, you should really opt for the […]