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The Polymer Arts Fall 2014 - Time to Play collageToday is the day … The Fall 2014 issue of The Polymer Arts is out! The theme for this issue is “Time to Play” so we have tons of ideas for increasing your play time, drawing out your ability to let go and play, thoughts on the art of whimsy and humor, ideas for pushing faux effects, creating canes by numbers, creatively naming your work, and tons of other good stuff.

Print issues were sent to the post office for sorting and mailing on Thursday, and this morning, the digital issue was released. This collage gives you a peek at some of the articles you’ll find inside and a Flipbook sampler with many of the articles’ first pages is available on the website if you want a more thorough peek before buying.

Print Subscribers & purchases: Expect your copies to arrive anytime between today and mid-September; arrival times depend on where you live, but the closer to the northwestern US you are, where the issues are printed and mailed from, the sooner you’ll probably see them. International shipments take a minimum of a week and up to 3 weeks, again depending upon your location and mailing services.

Digital Subscribers & purchases: The issue was released digitally at 10am GMT (that’s 5am EST), so you should have a copy in your inbox if you purchased or renewed before Aug 28th. If you have this issue coming, but don’t see it in you inbox, check you spam or junk email folder. Keep in mind, issues are mailed to the email address that you gave us when you made your purchase, or if paying by Paypal, to your Paypal email of record (that’s the one you sign into Paypal with), which may not be this email address since the blog and subscription mailing lists are maintained separately.

If you have any questions about your subscription or order, write us at connect@thepolymerarts.com and we’ll be happy to help you out.

In the meantime, get some playtime in this weekend, be it in the studio or outside, and enjoy child like joy and discovery.

 

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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317189_215757525162280_226478025_nEarly in the week it occurred to me that I hadn’t encouraged anyone to send me items that were NOT polymer, so I’d have something for our outside inspiration Friday post. However, the lovely Donna Greenberg came to my rescue and introduced me to a rather amazing enamel artist by the name of Liz Schock. This is not your typical enamel work, at all. There are a lot of wild texture and lines, as well as a carnival mix of colors in much of Lisa’s work.

I am bringing you one of her calmer pieces, actually, I just kept going back to it. This Seaweed Necklace has the intense intricacy of her other work, but for all the wild lines and uneven edges, there is a serenity in it. The color green, and this particular shade of it, has much to do with that. In addition, there is minimal contrast even with the one blue bead. It is still a bit of a mystery since it has so much rich texture, yet is such a calming piece. It is reminiscent of seaweed peacefully floating underwater.

I am especially fond of pieces that I can’t figure out, whose elements are not themselves able to reveal their effect. It is a synergy of the elements that brings about the mood or ‘read’ of a piece like this. It is also something that can’t be taught, not in the sense of defining concepts and outlining approaches. This takes intuition, being in touch with your own sense and reaction to your work, being open as you create to the emerging art and if the piece says ‘step back’, then you want to keep from over-complicating it. I don’t know that this is true for Liz with this piece, but I can imagine, with all the color and contrast in the rest of her work, that it might have been just such an experience that had her pull back from some of her more raucous tendencies.

I would really encourage you to see what I mean. She has a website that was working the other day, but seems to be offline at the time I am writing this. Try going to her website and/or her Facebook page to see what she does with her enamel work and art jewelry and let the idea of how the work presents itself. You may love some of it, you may really dislike a few pieces, but the fact is that with work like this, you will have a reaction of some sort. Isn’t that what we all want our work to do in the end?

 

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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80111609_oI can’t give credit to the person who sent me this artist as I only have the email address it was sent from and a query back hasn’t received a response yet, but this was too good to pass by. (If you sent me this, write me back with your name!)

Astrid Brefort was the artist referred to and these fun, graphic pendants were what was sent in consideration of this week’s reader’s choice posts. It looks like texture, both tactile and visual in this piece, are what have been drawing readers lately. And layers! Here form created with layers again plays a role in enlivening the piece. Layers create depth and complexity while the halting swirl of the lines and the bright color contrast of the two colors bring visual energy against the white background. It’s simple elements brought together to create a vibrant and fun piece.

Astrid is one of those highly exploratory artists I occasionally talk about. If you take a look at her blog, she has been trying a little bit of a lot of things lately with great results. Go have fun poking around all the fun stuff on her blog and in her shop.

 

 

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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Today’s reader’s choice comes to you thanks to the talented Randee Ketzel who kindly sends me cool stuff on regular basis. This piece by Olga Ledneva caught her attention due to the layering and the perfectly applied application and juxtaposition of elements.

Yesterday, we got started talking about how the impact of texture can be enhanced by form, but it can be taken one or two steps further by adding lines and contrast to the mix. These forms are created by lines, both curved and straight, which, along with color value, provides dynamic contrast in what is a fairly well controlled composition.

The meticulous finish and balance of elements is key in the work Olga does. See more of her pieces on her Flickr page.

 

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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Nikola MorseToday’s artistic inspiration was sent to me by reader Fran Harkes who only sent this to me yesterday, but it tied in so well to our first piece this week that I thought I just needed to share it right away.

These fantastic little pendants were created by Britain’s Nicola Morse. The reason I wanted to tie them in to yesterday’s post is that in both cases we are looking at some pretty, but simple, textures made so much more exciting and intriguing because of the forms they are shaped into.

It’s definitely easy to see how it worked in yesterday’s pieces because they were monochromatic beads, so texture and from was what it was all about. But, these pendants have the added bonus of some really intense colors. If you imagine the pieces from yesterday and today as flat, you can see how much of their appeal they would lose flattened. Shape helps make them.

As it turns out, the beads from yesterday have an available tutorial.  You can go here to learn to make those organic stamped beads. (Thank you to both Randee Ketzel and Sue Hammer for sending the tutorial link.) So, does anyone know if there is a tutorial related to today’s pieces? These hollow shapes would be so much fun to work with.

In the meantime, Nicola’s website has some other fun stuff to ponder, especially her approach to a faux ceramic look. Enjoy!

Thank you Fran, for such a great find!

 

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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2014_0814ALLast week, I asked readers to send in images of work they felt should be featured and shared on the blog. That’s what we’re doing this week.

The very first person to chime in was Sue Hammer who sent me a link to Rebekah Payne’s website. I’ve actually had a couple of Rebekah’s images in my files, and it was fun to see that Sue had the same type of wildflower impressed ‘inside out’ beads, as Rebekah calls them, suggested for the blog.

These beads get their texture from tiny wildflowers molds. I am not certain how she developed the hollow cup with the texture on the inside, but I sure am curious. An outside mold and an inside mold used at the same time to impress the clay? That’s one idea.

No matter how it’s done, it’s wonderful to see such rustic and organic texture in a complex, but also very organic, looking shape. It feels completely natural that this texture should appear on such a form. This is true of much of the work Rebekah does. You can see this on her blog and in her Etsy shop.

I’m still taking suggestions for this week’s posts and maybe, next week’s as well. If you have a piece you’ve seen that you think we really need to share, it’s reader’s choice! Send links or images directly to me at sbray@thepolymerarts.com.

 

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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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHopefully you’ve been having a fun week, but now for a fun weekend, right? How about something colorful and versatile to try in the studio?

These flower cup beads are created by starting with a rectangular, extruded cane then form a cup over a large ball stylus tool. I just like the stepping away from using circular extruded shapes for extruded canes. There is absolutely no reason not to make extruded canes with any shape you have available for your extruder. This long rectangular shape is particularly fun because of the striations you can make. You will see this in the bead on the first page of the tutorial that I am giving you. And why not reform the cane into long teardrops or flatten them out a little more and roll then into a rainbow jelly roll? Extrude a few and see what you can come up with!

On Poly Cat’s pages , you’ll find the Rectangular Rainbow Extruded Cane being used to create a bead, then there’s the flower cup bead steps you use the cane slices with as well.  Pop the URLs for any of these links into Google translate if you want to read them in English, and your browser doesn’t automatically translate them for you. If I understand the translation correctly, the techniques she uses are inspired by others, and she has links and references to those sources so you have even more to check out if you like.

 

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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Okay, so I don’t have another snail for you. I went back and looked at fun stuff that I had collected to share, and this certainly fills the bill. Plus, I just feel like a splash of colorful fun is needed today. These are glass beads created by Australia’s Regis Teixera. This is all lampwork [...]

I wasn’t planning a snail themed week, but I think I will try to find more for the rest of the week. Maybe. In any case, here’s one more today for you. If you are lucky enough to be heading to the IPCA retreat in Ohio, find Ron Lehocky and get yourself one of his [...]

Kristie Foss is definitely an explorer type of artist. Her blog is full of her exploits in polymer and the many different variations she gets from playing with a technique, surface treatment or form. In this one post, you can see the progression of playing with shapes starting with the same clay treatment.  She began [...]

Things have gone a little bonkers over here so apologies for the late posting and any errors here. Due to a family emergency and people being out of town, I do not have my  back-up people to help keep my dyslexic errors in check. Hope you can put up with it for a day! But [...]

This is that one week every quarter where my brain just goes to mush. We are taking care of the last details as we get ready to release the fall issue of The Polymer Arts (if you haven’t renewed or pre-ordered your print copy, you will need to do so before the end of today [...]

After a week of studying dense and mostly random repetition of elements, I thought some of you might be looking for some ideas to play with using this design concept, so today I brought you a few ideas.   Ponsawan Sila has an easy mokume gane tutorial using bubble-like elements to create a dense surface [...]

Today’s outside inspiration, a bit of crochet jewelry by Russian crafter by Zaji Galochka, has a little of all the things we’ve talked about this week. There is repetition and the crowding of the duplicated elements. Then there is an example of both an orderliness with an organic movement and a lack of precision.  Plus, it’s just [...]

I knew it was not likely that I would get through a week about repetition and crowded aesthetics without bringing in Cynthia Toops. I tried, but of all the artists I can think of, no one really beats her degree of repetitious elements that is a portrayal  of beauty rather than something that tips into [...]

I was hoping to find a piece as crowded with random repeated elements as we’ve had the last two days, but without the obvious organic element to see how that affects the design. However, that has been rather hard to find. Once the repetition is applied in random order, any man-made, machined or polished characteristics [...]