Inner Cute

kokoru-ring-sceneIn a last bit of cute this week, I chose this bow to Hayao Miyazaki and his well-loved Totoro character. Miyazaki is a Japanese animation director, artist and author with imagery and ways of telling stories that put his films in a class by themselves. He has garnered a huge following all over the world and has fans in every age group and, in my observations, in every walk of life.

This charming necklace is the creation of the Ukraine’s Natalia Grabina who, for the most part, creates delicate flowers and fun fashion jewelry. Most of her pieces show an obvious influence from other polymer artists but in that mix are little gems of astute interpretation. This is, I think, one of those pieces.

The importance of the backgrounds and atmosphere in Miyazaki films are a huge part of what tells the story and colors the characters and their motivation. The representation of the character in this piece is far from precise but the ring of green foliage and springing mushrooms conveys the importance of the natural world in regards to this character, the harmony of the totoro’s existence in it, and the innocence and idealism portrayed in the film My Neighbour Totoro. I would be surprised if Natalia was thinking these things as she created this but we channel a lot of ideas when creating so that concepts sometimes come out in more complete and poignant ways than we are consciously aware of in our thoughts.

Aside from all that deep sounding stuff, the necklace is just really darn cute.

You can see the wide variety of Natalia’s work over in her Etsy shop. And if you haven’t seen a Miyazaki film, or even if you have, take a break with one of them some evening or weekend and pay attention to the colors and quality of the images, especially in the backgrounds. A nod to my better half for bringing animation backgrounds to my attention. I’m passing on that little suggestion in hopes a good handful of you also find joy and inspiration in the artistry of animation. If you have children in the house, watch My Neighbour Totoro but if not I would recommend Princess Mononoke for its beautiful scenes and complex characters or Spirited Away if you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland type tales.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Find an animation or stylized film whose look or stories you connect with. Sketch or make notes as you watch it. Let what you find–be it a small form, a color palette, or a deep concept–influence the next piece you work on, in whatever small or large way it comes to you.

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Charming Bezels

seahorse-gems2We are going from skilled cute to the clever variety today. These  seahorses are more than just cute pendants, the sculpted creatures are cleverly arranged as bezels for various cabochon stones.

Although the form is not wholly new–stones as the backs or bellies of creatures has been done in every jewelry and most sculptural materials already–I think the way these are created to fit the form of the seahorse is pretty clever. Instead of the stone replacing an expected section of the animal, the animals are expanded to be the framework for the stones, making it a critter bezel rather than a decorative one or an animal form simply embedded with a stone. Agnieszka Wachowiak, the creator, does make other fantastical creatures in the more ’embedded stone’ manner but all of her chosen critters, from dragons to turtles to owls to these seahorses, wear their gems in a very natural looking arrangement. However, the accents and smoothly sculpted forms, as well as the cuteness level, does outshine the stones most of the time. But I like the idea and the execution is nicely done.

You can check out Agnes’ other creations in her Etsy shop  or on her Facebook page.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Integrate sculptural or two-dimensional images of animals, plants, objects or faces into a piece that would normally be abstract or decorated with pattern. Or if you do mostly sculptural work, create a sculptural piece based on its presenting or framing an object.

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A Little Bit of Cute

count-blue-animal-ringsAfter a really long and exceedingly full week, just brimming with ups and downs, I am quite in the mood for a fun and light-hearted week. How does that sound?

Cutesy craft does not get a nod to its artistry quite the way that contemporary craft usually does. But that doesn’t mean there is any less talent, skill and self-expression in it. It’s just less serious. Which is great! Life is rough enough as it is. Let’s admire work that makes us smile. Like these meticulously detailed and unquestionably adorable animal rings from our Japanese colleague Jiro Miura who sells under the moniker Count Blue. These adorable rings are a fantastic idea. Now you can take your prized polymer cuties out and about with you instead of just keeping them to yourself on a shelf at home.

Jiro does create sculptures that would just sit on a shelf but he also creates tiny earrings of his creatures. Small in size is the most common feature along with being very detailed. You can find more of his work on this translated-to-English link to his Count Blue website.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create something cute, playful, or at least not serious today but use your usual techniques. Let your child side out and enjoy creating joyful things with familiar processes.

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Leaves Dropping

b00d89c9ae2c0faa047cd0a2298469ebTo wrap up this week, we’ll look at a last echo of Fall with a little Asian flair.

This delicate imagery was created by Galina Milusenko of Ust’-Ilimsk, Russia. A simple palette of grays  are brought up to a dramatic level with the brightness of scattered red leaves. The leaves that come off the end of the pendant create a beautiful flow into the space beyond the primary canvas. I love when a piece does this, breaking the boundaries of the canvas so it becomes part of the space outside it. It just gives a piece  an extra bit of life.

I’m going to keep this short today. Its been a very busy week and there are a few things left to wrap up the Winter issue. The Winter 2016 issue, themed On the Surface, will be released December 4th. It’s a beautiful issue to finish out a great year. You can pre-order your copy or get a subscription on our website today.

If you want to see more of Galina’s work, take a look at her VK posts.

 

 

 

 

 

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In the Midst of Leaves

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So after a week of autumn color and a week of mostly translucent autumn, I am moving from Fall colors (I promise I am!) into leaves! There are tons of leaf motifs popping up out there and this beautiful bowl by the one and only Emily Squires Levine was on the top of my list for found leaf motif. (That has a ring to it!)

Emily has been branching out (pun intended … couldn’t help myself!) with some new designs this that are more of an extension of what she’s been doing than a departure. I am sure, with the In the Forest project, more trees and forest imagery will be popping up in her work and many more polymer artist’s pages as well.

I found these on Emily’s Facebook page where you can view more of her latest work. You can also stop by her website while you are off wandering through the leaves and such.

As for me, this will be a particularly busy week with the holiday, house buying paperwork (it’s like a second job!), getting the Winter issue off to the printer and, last but not least … in a non-traditional move that has more to do with logistics, health insurance, and moving residency to California before the end of the year, my beau and I will be tying the knot tomorrow, at least on paper. The official celebration is a month away but the fact that there will be no turning back after tomorrow does give one pause. Unless it’s the guy you should have married 3 decades ago. So yeah, don’t mind me this week. I may be a bit distracted.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Can we just say … get through the week, make time to relax and play, and enjoy your families. Sound good?

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