Doing Cute Well
One of the things I was truly delighted by with the Racine Museum exhibition last year was that the pieces chosen were not all just contemporary and serious pieces. They were, however, all well crafted as well as being historically relevant in the development of our art form. There were a number of ‘cute’ pieces such as Dan Cormier’s rocket vessels (love the one with the chimpanzee face in the rocket window!) or Cynthia Toops cartoon like mosaic pins. (Get your copy of the Terra Nova book to see these great pieces.) Art does not have to be serious. For goodness sakes, life is not!
Doing cute and doing it for a standard consumer audience with skill and good design is doubly difficult since you have to work within a certain pricing/cost structure and yet still spend the time and give the piece the consideration you would creating any true piece of art. That is why I find images like this one catching my eye ..
Pilar has obviously well-refined caning skills as well as being adept at modeling with polymer. She uses repetition of color (blues) placed at fairly regular intervals and repetition of motif (flowers repeated in different versions and even materials) to bring a cohesiveness to what might otherwise be an overwhelming array of texture and variety of items.
Repetition and rhythm are design elements not often discussed outside formal art courses but are hugely important in craft design. You can get great information on these concepts plus tons of polymer examples and even exercises to work on this in our upcoming Fall 2012 issue of The Polymer Arts. The issue rolls out this coming weekend so be sure you have renewed your subscription or have your order in so you can get in on the conversations you see online and can start applying this simple but powerful concepts to your own work!