Outside Inspiration: Paisley Patterns

You know if your poor, over-worked brain ever wants to just play and not have to work, following patterns can be fun and lead to unexpected discoveries.

I ran into this embroidery site and was drawn to these abundantly-colorful paisley patterns. Of course, I couldn’ t help but wonder what they would look like ’embrodiered’ on polymer. We already have artists working in a technique often called by the same term using small bits of clay. So roll out a few snakes you can mince up, a few dots of clay in different colors and go wild. Be sure to share with us what you create.



What’s a Zentangle?

There’s been a lot of chatter about zentangles in the last year or so. I have yet to explore them but they are just popping up everywhere.

Simply explained, zentangles are structured doodles. The copyrighted term, Zentangle, was coined by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas when Maria was describing the meditative state she experienced while drawing on a manuscript.  It has grown into a large creative movement with instructors teaching the process throughout the country. The concepts have inspired artists in many different disciplines, including polymer.


Julie VanDuren explains the components of this piece:  “Here is another recent Zentangle-inspired piece. Lots of canework, some component caning and some small loafs or complex canes.” It is one of many on her Flickr page that explores Zentangle-inspired structure.

Liquid Polymer & Scrap Fabric

Isn’t liquid polymer just wonderful as a finish for polymer? Transluscent, easy to apply, durable … Those same qualities actually allow it to work really well with a few more things beside polymer.


Genevieve Dolosor shows how she uses small bits of fabric to create colorful backgrounds using LPC to seal it and make the bit of fabric more substantial so it can be shown off as a center piece like a semi-precious stone in this tutorial.

So pull out those old ties, scraps of fabric or that dress you’ve been wanting to shorten (from hemline to art!) and snip yourself off some color and pattern to play with.


The Flowery Depths

Zuda Gay Pease is a grandmother who lives in Illinois and creates these incredible flowers that seem to have so much depth and complexity to them. But if you look closely, they aren’t so much complex as unexpected.


The caned petals aren’t simply sliced but also cut and sculpted. This gives them a depth and tactile surface I don’t think you’d find anywhere in nature but they seem to be perfectly natural regardless.


Eva Haskova, from the Czech Republic, has applied what looks to be the edges of stacks into a contemporary design for a simple but eye-catching pendant. She uses just a little repetition of line and color and a simple single accent. Design does not always have to be complex … simplicity is a wonderful approach.


Nothing needs to be wasted with polymer. Not even those edges you trim off.  They have such wonderful texture when you turn them on their sides! It’s like getting a bonus project half way done simply by working on another one. Polymer is too cool.

You Know You Are a Creative When …

Thanks to Jan Geisen for sending this along.

I can’t say I have problems with item #1 … Maybe it should be that creative people refuse to be bored! Especially crafters. Art materials are everywhere … and we’re not afraid to use them when our hands are otherwise idle!

Creative Peoples_ rules


Beauty Bust

It’s about time we revisit the Art Doll world. There are so many incredibly talented people in art dolls and Virginie Ropar is among the most amazing of them.

This piece is actually a bust rather than a doll. The detailed components as well as the exploration of texture, color and the injection of a touch of fantasy into a realistic sculpture is just candy for the eyes.



Outside Inspiration: Millefiori in Porcelain

I was sure when I first saw these that they had to be polymer but they aren’t. The way porcelain is being pushed here is inspiring. If you’ve ever worked with porcelain or any earthen clays, you know that manipulation and embedding color with any crispness is tricky.

In this pendant — a reversible one even — the application of color and pattern matches what we do with polymer … all borrowed from the ancient technique of millefiori.


Here is what the artist Tom Garvin of Blue Bus Studios (http://www.bluebusstudio.com/) says about his work:

“The extreme detail and intense color in our ceramic work results from the use of over 500 different colors of clay to create our carefully designed clay loaves. Next, cross-sections are sliced from the loaves, and these sections are shaped and finished into individual pieces, then glazed and fired twice.”

It’s just kind of cool to know that others are working in similar ways to us and that, well, we have a pretty easy material to work with. But kudos to all artists that push their medium to create more beauty in the world!

Cane, Cut, Repeat

If you read the in-depth design articles in this latest issue, here is an opportunity to practice your new analytical skills for identifying types of repetition and rhythm. And to see just how much beauty these design concepts can add to a piece.

Look at the piece below. Draws you in immediatly doesn’t it? But why? Seems straight-forward, maybe even rather basic at first glance. However, this is anything but simple and is a sterling example of what makes good art great — it makes you keep looking at it. After a minute or two of surveying this mosaic wall piece — and especially if you have an appreciation for the roles that repetition and rhythm play in art — you’ll really begin to appreciate the complexity of the design choices.


Ponsawan Sila created this piece with mosaic polymer pieces 1cmx1cm — nothing more representative of repetition than a shape repeated over and over but … the visual textures in each shape are all different or rarely repeated, incorporating random (textures) and regular (shape) repetition. She uses progressive rhythm in the color changes that occur in each waving layer as it moves horizontially across. There is also repetition of line in the waves, which consistently create the space for each color palette, creating  soft slow rhythm established in the reserved undulations of those lines.

All on a 6″x12″ tile. That’s pretty impressive.



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