Beautiful Baroque Lynne

I don’t recall why I had dropped in on Lyne Ann Schwarzenberg’s website but it’s quite an opening act. This necklace is on the front page. Well it pretty much is the front page, and why not? For a relatively muted palette, it has tremendous impact. The immaculate execution combined with the bold, almost dangerous looking petals are going to grab your attention whether you are into florals or not.

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Take some time to peruse her gallery and see her photos from her trip to Israel–a handful of minutes that will be well-spent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything is Art Material

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Have I ever mentioned that I live with another artist? My friend and very talented 3-D and digital artist Kyle Kelley lives on the upper floor of my house. I live on the bottom floor. And it is a very full house.

Sometimes we (meaning I) decide we should try to reclaim some space in the house and so we try to go through some portion of the many bins and boxes and shelves of art materials (isn’t every thing art material when it comes down to it?) but inevitably we just end up exchanging newly-discovered and all too precious (because we MIGHT use it someday) resources – which lead to spontaneous art projects; which then require additional materials – that we don’t have room for. So we buy yet-another shed, which requires additional materials to build …

Yes, making art is a vicious circle. And no, I don’t really want anyone to help me get out of that either.

 

 

Texture Sticks

Polymer artists seem to be limitless consumers of texture. Stamps, texture sheets, a multitude of odds and ends, tools of all shapes, sizes and form can be regularly found over flowing bins and drawers and studio tables. So it was with some surprise to see a new term (for me!) … Texture Sticks.

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Arlene Harrison, a fellow member of the wonderful Polymer Clay Artist’s Guild of Etsy, has apparently been making these texture sticks for a while and posted about them on her blog back in 2009. A timeless idea to be sure, I have seen other ‘sticks’ but with old metal buttons, bits of jewelry, and hardware on them. However, this is a wonderful and easy to assemble idea for creating easy to use, custom textures tools.

Check out Arlene’s original post here.

And check out yesterday’s post on stamping and using inks on polymer for more ways to play with stamps and texture on your clay!

Other Sources of Inspiration: Stamp Art

This week’s alternate source of inspiration comes from the scrapbooking community. We already raid the scrapbooking aisle big time so you may have seen these stamps as well as the many inks and stains available but may not have realized how they are used. In the video on this page,  stamping artist Jill Foster demonstrates how to make these gorgeous gift tags using layered stamping with variations on how to apply the inks.

by Jill Foster

 

What I thought would be of interest to polymer artists was not the products she uses but the way she uses them. You can’t actually use the heavy water based Distress Inks she demonstrates with to stamp onto polymer although you can certainly use those stamps! The rather painterly application of the ink on the stamps as well as the little touches like removing the ink here and there before stamping are ideas you can take to your studio table.

If you want to closely emulate this look by layering stamps on your clay, you will need to buy solvent inks such as StazOn or Ranger’s Archival Inks. These can be used on raw or baked clay but should be heat set after stamping regardless. You will want to let each stamping dry thoroughly before stamping over them. On baked clay, take a heat gun to the stamping after the ink dries to heat set it so the solvent in the following layer won’t smear it. This isn’t as big an issue on raw clay since it kind of sinks in but still, stamp carefully.

And have fun!

Jewelry and Sculpture and Miniatures, oh my!

Every week in the blog, I try to include something that represents the sculptural side of polymer. As mentioned last week in the post on combining jewelry and sculpture, the two approaches aren’t exclusive. Jewelry can be sculptural, sculpture can be jewelry and, in addition, they can both be miniatures, another aspect of polymer art that can get buried among the abundance of polymer jewelry art.

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Miniature art itself is an amazingly creative and sometimes tricky art form. Polymer, of course, is an obvious choice for this kind of art due to its broad imitative nature and is widely used in all kinds of miniature applications. Amanda (who, like Cher, sticks to just one name on all her sites) from here in Colorado, created these  miniature sculptures of books based on actual books that belonged to her mother. They have been sculpted on a very small scale and turned into jewelry. The care and detail taken in their creation keep the sculptures from being cutesy and they seem to command a bit of the same reverence we tend to hold for old, collectible books. Tiny treasures and every bit a work of art.

Beautiful Brains

Did you ever think brains could be so lovely?

Yes, I said brains.

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This brain cane just goes to prove that anything with the right coloring and application can be beautiful.

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Dája Dagmar Andělová from the Czech Republic works some rather straight forward but beautiful magic with just a little folding of a few sheets of clay.

Interested in trying your hand at some brain work? You can see her tutorial here.

 

 

 

Lines in the Clay

Stamps and texture plates and things that impress … we all have a collection of such things to texturize our clay. But how often do we stop and do the most natural thing in art, the thing that we all did as children and still do while sitting in a boring meeting or droning phone call–draw?!

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The drawings in these simple earrings byCristina from Umbria, Italy may take you back to your younger years when drawing simple shapes and lines was amazing and enthralling. It still can be.

Drawing in polymer takes nothing more than a hard tipped drawing implement. I would guess pins are used here.  Cristina then uses acrylic paint to fill in and contrast the lines. It give it a wonderful antiqued look.

You can also draw on clay with a ball stylus or knitting needles using a variety of sizes to add some change and interest in the resulting lines. Or you can use my favorite and a not so obvious, yet should be obvious tool … a pencil! I like using colored pencils, the soft leaded Prismacolors in particular, because they color behind. Pencils also give you a wide variety of line as you can sharpen them to a fine point or rub the tip down to a wide dull point on scrap paper or sand paper.

Have fun tapping your inner doodler!

Not Copying Nature

We have an abundance of faux effects in polymer. Many aim to duplicate what we see in nature. Which is great. We can then easily and inexpensively create fantastic forms that would be hard to acquire from nature. But I am of the mindset that if we have a medium that can be anything we can imagine, why not imagine things that do not exist and create those? I love stones and have worked toward developing techniques that emulate the real thing just so I can go and push the texture and colors that nature has. (See the Elabradorite technique in the Winter 2011 issue of The Polymer Arts magazine)

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Kristine Taylor has been doing just that. As she told Jewelry Making Daily in an interview last year, “Polymer clay is a wonderful medium for mimicking other materials like stones, but I like to use polymer clay to create stones that nature does not produce.” She uses a simple marbling technique combined with mica powders and acrylic paint to create focal and accent beads that come out looking like some rare semi-precious  stone.

If you often create faux stone, metal, wood, bone, etc., why not try to push it a bit next time? How about purple turquoise,  pearl green bone or jewel tone wood grain? We do work with a medium that can do just about anything, so it would only be natural to take natural inspiration and create something completely new.

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