Polymer Arts design magazine

Charming Scarves

2 good clip on scarf charms - Charming ScarvesAs we get closer to the holiday gift-giving time, fast and easy-to-make pieces that still have a high “wow” factor are likely becoming the focus in craft studios everywhere so I have a few ideas that focus on scarves. Why scarves? Well, you can give them to both men and women and can make polymer pieces to go with them also for both men and women. Although the pieces we show this week will be more like scarf jewelry with a feminine leaning, I know more masculine designs would be pretty easy to come up with. As mentioned in The Polymer Arts Winter 2017 issue’s article on men’s jewelry, more and more guys are looking for cool, decorative pieces to wear around and putting a clip or pin on a scarf to keep it in place is by no means a need that women alone have. So, yes, we are going to talk scarf accessories this week and if any of you know of well-designed men’s scarf accessories, send me a link. I couldn’t find any polymer examples online, which are the kind of pieces one is most likely looking to make.

It would be hard to talk about polymer and scarves without bringing in 2 Good Claymates. Carolyn and Dave Good have tackled the scarf from many sides and make beautiful scarf charms, clips and pins in a wide range of shapes and configurations. The success of their pieces seems to be primarily in keeping the basic construction simple but offering colorful surfaces with a variety of visual and tactile textures for interest. Then they take it up a notch by creating ways to change them by using things like button-on or clip-on charms.

I could go on but really, if you like the idea of creating simply constructed scarf jewelry, just jump over to their blog at 2GoodClaymates and just put “scarf” into the search box. That will bring up tons of ideas not to mention a lot of pretties to ooh and ah over. And if you want to get ahold of clips and those button charm thingies, you can find much of what they use to create these in their new DIY shop.

 

A Bevy of Bezels

spirit necktar 430x433 - A Bevy of BezelsThe other thing about looking beyond the standard bezel for stones is that you are opened up to using stones and shiny bits of all kinds of shapes and sizes. It is one of the reasons we love polymer clay so much! It is so amazingly flexible.

You can see just how wonderfully it can hold onto and embellish already very interesting stones and crystals in this array of examples from Canada’s Martina Gutfreund. Not only can you get really creative with the bezels and caps, you can combine all kinds of stones, even with wildly disparate forms.

Some visual relationship between the stones should be present in deciding what stones to pair up, such as similar or complementary colors or textures. (Do you see how the most satisfying designs here are the ones with a very evident relationship between the stones?) After you have that, the clay can help you bring them together physically with all kinds of room for creative design work.

See more of Martina’s stone (and shell) setting designs in her Etsy shop and on Instagram.

 

Detail Rich Reflections

alkhymeia wrapped crystals 430x418 - Detail Rich Reflections

Still exploring the idea of setting stones in unusual ways, I have another stone setting here that rivals the stones themselves for attention.

Daniela D’Uva  creates wonderfully complex and dreamlike settings for her stones and, as shown in this piece, doesn’t stop at showcasing just one bright and shiny focal point but uses several at once. However, the crystals are hard to focus on with such colorful translucent leaves and petals surrounding them. The classic combination of purple and green is so rich and vibrant that the stones only show well because of their reflective quality. The multitude of detail, from the translucent canes to the winding tendrils to the tiny microbeads, add to a feeling of richness. The flow of the tendrils and the way the leaves point over and across the crystals keeps the eye moving.

The approach and the effect are not so different from yesterday’s piece but this one does stick with a stone-centered composition. It’s the asymmetry of the cane placement along with the tendrils and pointing leaves that give it so much energy and life.

Enjoy more of Daniela’s work on Flickr and on her Facebook page.

 

A Swirl of Set Stones

mila cypress stone swirl setting 430x556 - A Swirl of Set StonesSo, still with my mind on what unusual gifts we can create, I tried to come up with some ideas for jewelry that might be a bit unexpected but could be readily appreciated by a wide variety of giftees. Then I started stumbling upon a lot of semi-precious stone and crystal pendants and other jewelry. Stones seem to be very popular this year and although that is not a new thing for jewelry at all, some of the presentations I found are really exciting.

It was this piece by Mila of  Mila’s Heart Art on Etsy that got me thinking about moving away from basic bezels and playing around with that centered position that stones tend to be given in jewelry. I mean, yes, the stones are usually the focal point but they don’t have to be front and center. They can be part of a lovely composition like this swirling pendulum-like pendant, with the largest stone in the place of importance at the tip of the pendulum shape. The beauty of the stone doesn’t dominate here as many stone settings would, and the second stone rather blends in but this gives all parts of the piece nearly equal attention while the tendrils-and-swirl shape keeps pushing the eye to make the rounds across the varied details. It makes for a great balance in the piece as well as making it a bit difficult to stop investigating it.

I don’t know that this piece is actually polymer clay. She only mentions a “durable clay” so there is a possibility that this is epoxy clay, but nonetheless, it is a great example of where you can push the design when setting a stone in clay.

For additional inspiration of this kind see Mila’s Etsy shop, which has numerous examples.

Variation on Time

pieces clock 430x823 - Variation on TimeI spent a lot of time looking for differently constructed clocks in polymer and couldn’t find much that really illustrated the point I was hoping to make. What I wanted was to show that a clock does not have to be on a flat surface. It can be made of many parts, attached or not, and fully dimensional. As long as you have something that can house or hide the clock mechanism while holding out the hands, the rest is wide open. You can have the hour markers designated by any form and attach them with sticks or wire or be free floating–whatever suits the piece and your inclination.

These two examples are commercial designs rather than polymer art but I think they give you the basics of this idea of moving beyond the flat clock face. Not only do these kinds of clocks make for really interesting wall pieces, they give you the freedom to use pieces you may already have such as large hollow beads, faux stones, unhung pendants, small figurines, flowers, etc.

As a gift, giving a clock that has separate pieces might be best attached to something that can be hung as one piece, like a backing of Plexiglas or painted plywood. Or include instructions for a template to mark on the wall where each piece goes. There is little to no construction to deal with but you will have to make concessions in the design for how the individual pieces will be hung. Alternately, go for a design where the elements are attached like the flowers you see here.

The sky is the limit with these kinds of designs. For more ideas, try searching “DIY clocks,” which was the keyword set that brought me to these two pieces. I hope these sparks some ideas and I look forward to seeing inventive clock designs this month!

The Complexity of Time

Natalya Polekh clock 430x411 - The Complexity of Time

In my search for clock inspiration, I veered a bit off the polymer path, but then again, I kept running into pieces that I thought were polymer but were not. Of course, pieces like this splendid celestial clock by Natalya Polekh could be created in a very similar fashion with polymer. Large textured sheets and fun with alcohol inks and mica powders could produce similarly stunning results so I took a  closer look.

Natalya looks to be a well-known mixed media artist in Eastern Europe and Russia and when I say mixed, I mean all kinds of things. Her primary materials look to be various types of acrylic paint, dimensional and pearling paints, 3D gel, embossing paste, and glass and metal accents of different types. She works in texture, mosaics and layered media that is applied in such a way that knowing the materials is rather superfluous. She creates a beautiful complexity of texture and motif with shine and shimmer applied in abundance but always in a tasteful and often intriguing manner.

She does much more than clocks although she has done quite few of them. Take a look at her shop for more clock and textural ideas as well as very well priced tutorials on how she creates this work.  Her VK.com page has more images.

 

Covering Time

mira pinki krispil clock 430x412 - Covering Time

Well, it’s that season again. While everyone else is shopping, crafters and artisans like yourself are working madly away on the stock that your audience demands to make their gift giving season the best one to date. For some of us, that audience is a retail account but for many more of us, it’s the far more intimidating circle of friends and family that we fret over. What do we do this year for gifts and surprises that we haven’t already done? Asking myself this question, I came up with a couple of ideas and in researching, clocks really hit a note for me. Any clayer of any level and any specialized set of techniques can create a clock that is both personal and expressive and everyone of every age can appreciate a lovingly created handmade clock.

Cane-covered clock faces are an easy project for clayers of any skill level. You can buy old clocks at the thrift store, or inexpensive ones at the big box store, or just a clock kit from a craft or hobby store that you put into your cane-covered clay sheets. Here is a fun and colorful, slightly off from the norm, cane-covered clock face for some initial inspiration. Mira Pinki Krispil is quite fond of cane covered decor but she always takes it one step beyond.

I like this piece because of the slight off-centeredness and the imagery in the center. It is more than decorated. The image in its center is intriguing with energetic lines bouncing back and forth through intertwined imagery. It’s just a great visual piece to start with. The fact that it’s a functional clock is a bonus.

Mira creates her colorful piece in south Israel and sells her work on Etsy. You can also see more of her designs by checking in on her Flickr photostream.

Quality of Line

wild onion art lovers pendant 430x563 - Quality of LineI thought I’d continue to keep it simple this week and still talk a little about line, the theme of the latest issue of The Polymer Arts that came out last weekend.

This simple pendant by Yuliya Zharova uses two elements to tell a story—line and dots. The form of the people here is nothing more thank tall lines with a variation in thick and thin. The dots on the top of this line make up the heads, and the small dots and large gold one somehow become stars and a moon. It’s quite amazing how much can be shown with so little detail. But lines, in particular, can do that. It is a nice reminder of how little we really have to put down to get our viewers to see what we have to convey.

It is also a nice reminder that line has characteristics and qualities of its own. They do not always have to be even. The way the line is formed can convey imagery, as we see here, or emotion. The articles on design and the technique tutorials on using lines and dots and soutache to create emotion and texture will help fill in more on those ideas when you get to reading our latest issue.

Yuliya’s compositions are almost all some variation online and dots and are all lovely in their understated design. See more of her work in her Etsy shop, Wild Onion Art.

 

Following the Lines

anarina anar circles 430x732 - Following the LinesI know this week will be a particularly busy one for many of us, especially in the US where we are kicking off the holiday season with our family-oriented Thanksgiving festivities involving way too much food and way too much shopping to follow it up the next day.

So for today, I thought I would harken to the theme of the just-released issue of The Polymer Arts, our Winter 2017 – Line, with a simple piece that represents a quality of line that I discuss in the article in this issue, “The Language of Line.” The simple circling forms, in the signature wavering organic forms of  Anarina Anar, keep the composition centered and focused with a soft energy that continuously winds around in these soft but warm colors. Although the pendant is three-dimensional, it is the line the forms follow that gives the piece its balance and verve.

For more of Anarina’s colorful and energetic compositions, take a look at her Flickr site or her Etsy store. And to learn more about line, get a hold of your copy of this wonderful issue through our website if you have not seen it already or have it on its way to you.

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