A Slightly Different Stone

I think most of us have a repertoire of faux techniques we use regularly but how often do you push that technique, changing up the colors used, the finished texture or even going from solid clay colors to translucents?

Christine Michel created these gorgeous river rocks using what looks like a standard approach to emulating the water smoothed stones and their variation in color and inclusions. It’s a great, realistic looking choice of colors and the use of translucent clay gives the color in the ‘rocks’ additional variation.

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If you haven’t tried your hand at faux river rocks, here is a great tutorial by Maria Jam Brown that shows how to create a few different types of rocks (scroll down and click on the red link.) Go have fun with it!

You can also see more of Christine’s work on her Flickr site.

 

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Something Different This Year

The New Year is just about here. Many of us are thinking about what we will be doing in 2014 including new projects, new shows and maybe even a new direction in our craft work. This week I’ll throw out a few ideas about how to push your work while we enjoy some pretty polymer pieces.

Many of us cover objects with clay. Often it involves canes or sheets of clay, but what if you used the object more like a canvas and added many small elements to create intricate patterns an texture. I think this can really bring that kind of work up a notch or two. Just look at these wedding toast glasses by Inara Kirhenstein from Riga, Latvia.

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Inara’s description of her glasses: “Luxury wedding flutes decorated with more than 50 polymer clay flowers, Swarovski rhinestones, seed beads and faux pearls. Small Czech Preciosa seed beads are appliqued one by one.” This kind of application would certainly take a bit of patience but the detailed work certainly pays off. It’s very eye-catching and impressive.

All of Inara’s work is similarly detailed. She does jewelry as well as these kinds of glasses. You can see more of her beautiful work in her Etsy shop.

 

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Preparing for the New Year

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I suggest focusing on the studio rather than the bank accounts!

In these days between Christmas and New Years, it is a great time to go through your studio, clean it out, and get yourself organized so you can start out the New Year fresh. Go through unfinished projects and decide which you are confident you will complete, and which you need to be resigned to never finishing, tossing them out or recycling them if you can. Go through your supplies and tools and make a list of what you need to replace or stock up on. Then you know what to use those gift cards and Christmas money for! And with after Christmas sales, you can make that money go farther … a lot farther. It will feel really good to start out clean, stocked and organized in the studio for 2014!

 

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A Favorite Mix

I have been saving a number of pieces by Arden Bardol, hoping to fit this unique work into one of our themes but hadn’t yet found the right place to introduce her work. Arden’s work is a busy mix of varied elements, sometimes graphic, other times quite organic, and many times both. I just find the combinations intriguing and the colors so eye-catching.

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Check out just how fun and varied Ardel’s work is on her website.

Hopefully you are winding down from the holiday bedlam and have time to enjoy your family and friends who might have been in town or the ones you went to visit yourself. Have a beautiful weekend!

 

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Outside Inspiration: Texture in Textiles

My first love in crafts was in fiber arts. Weaving, dying, hand-stitched art-to-wear and mixed textiles wall pieces were all part of my early portfolio and exploration of craft art forms. These materials still fascinate me and polymer design ideas often include mixing fiber or drawing inspiration from the art form.

The textures and use of mixed media in today’s fiber arts often remind me of approaches to polymer. Rich, organic texture and intense color are signatures of many of today’s textile artists making the craft a fantastic source for polymer inspiration. This is a wall piece by Helen Suzanne, a texture maniac whose work I get lost in, just checking out all of the techniques and materials used in these pieces.

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If you ever have a chance to see fiber art in person, in a gallery that specializes in the craft or a museum that has a collection or a curated show, make seeing it a priority. As with polymer, you get so much more out of the work when seen in person.  One can’t help but be wowed by the intensity of the work you see in the details of these pieces. Yeah, the patience of a fiber artist who does work like Helen here just blows my mind. Maybe you can catch the traveling Fiber Art International exhibition, in California right now, or when it moves to  South Carolina and Massachusetts in the coming year. Take a look at the FAI website and gallery sections to see just where fiber arts are today.

 

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Imagination for the Birds

I met Irene Corman at Synergy this past March. She enthusiastically suggested an article idea of hers which eventually resulted in her sharing her knowledge about teaching polymer art classes in the Fall 2013 issue of The Polymer Arts magazine.  Since then, Irene has also answered my call for help in scouting art for the blog and future articles. Her enthusiasm and love of art, not just polymer, has made working with her such a joy.

Irene brought to me this unusual and intriguing artist, Laura Balombini. What a fabulous imagination!

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Irene had this to say about why she is drawn to Laura’s work:

“She has created individuality and expression in each bird-form, while controlling any random effects through the simplicity of form and the repetition of each one, holding size and the shape elements that make up each of the birds, constant. Each of the faces and wings differ, creating interest for the viewer, while the even number and placement in 2 rows around the rectangle provide “discipline” for the design. Additional interest comes from the birdlike movement created by the positioning of the heads as they peck, look, stretch their necks, birdlike, yet also, somewhat human in their features. At first glance, the piece has a feel of folk-art, but the naiveté of folk art is transformed into something else when one sees the human features in the faces. The piece seems to tell a story, and also, holds a surprise. Using polymer clay for these forms is an artistic choice that works really well, given its color range, density and malleability.”

Enjoy more of Laura’s imaginative creations on her website.

 

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Christmas Cute

As many of you reader’s have seen, we introduced a new section in The Polymer Arts magazine called Polymer Jeweler’s Workbench this past Summer. We created this section to focus on these very popular forms in polymer. Shortly after the first of these articles came out in the Summer issue, Julie Cleveland, owner of Blue Morning Expressions polymer supply and bead shop, as well as being a polymer artist and freelance writer, contacted me about helping with this section. She is now the on-going editor and writer for the PJW section as well as taking on article assignments. She has been amazing to work with, getting in article materials far ahead of the deadline, not just on time. It kind of throws me but in a good way!

One of Julie’s favorite polymer artists is Judy Pollard. Julie says “Her amazing attention to detail, from the tiny fingers and toes to the dash of freckles across the nose, makes her artist dolls unique pieces of art that are created to treasure for a lifetime. They are irresistible in their cuteness. Judy has such a wonderful imagination, and it shows in how she dresses and poses her creations. I can sit and look at her dolls for hours and still find all new details. A wonderful sense of color and a delightful sense of humor can be found in the sweet faces she sculpts.

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You can find more of Judy’s adorable creations on her Flickr pages.

Regardless of what you celebrate or believe in, I hope you all spend time with the people you love the most today. A very Merry Christmas to you all.

 

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Winters Luminescence

Nan Josephson came to The Polymer Arts through a freelance job board where I occasionally post calls for freelance writers to help put together articles or edit completed pieces. I was surprised and so delighted to find this precious metal clay artist who recently found polymer and has been drawn in by all its possibilities the way so many of us have. She wrote the article on Contrast in the last issue and has since come aboard to assist in editing and writing the blog posts as well as taking on article assignments for the magazine. Getting her on board this past month was like an early Christmas present for busy, little ol’ me.

One of Nan’s favorite artists is Elise Winters. Nan says “I love the blown glass art of Dale Chihuly, and her work reminds me of his. Chihuly’s glass objects are only isolated movements in a creative continuum. Elise’s ruffles collection, like Dale’s work, has an exaggeration of form and design that creates a sense of wonder and amusement. The flow and luminescence of her work, as well as the liquid feel of the pieces, create an illusion of glass blown objects, which I find exciting.”

It’s hard to find a piece of Elise’s that hasn’t made it thorough the rounds on the Internet but here is one necklace that isn’t usually chosen to represent her work and yet it is such a breathtaking piece.

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If you haven’t had a chance to explore Elise’s work before, you can find more of her work on her website and Flickr photostream.

To those of you who celebrate, I hope you have a very happy Christmas Eve tonight with your favorite people.

 

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A Few of My Favorite Things …

We’re going to be kind of lax this week with a theme. I am soliciting help from my various staff to bring some of my and their favorite pieces that we have set aside in hopes of posting but have yet to fit into a theme. It is a week of wish lists and the hope for pretty things so it seems appropriate.

My first offering this week is a piece I saw last October by an artist only identified as Krissobe. I wasn’t even sure it was polymer. I thought it could have been dyed wood or bone. It’s the composition that really fascinated me. I can’t even really explain why I find it so alluring but I wasn’t the only one. The piece won first place in what the translator says was a poetry contest. Not sure what that means but we can appreciate why it won, regardless.

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My search for more work or places to admire this artist’s work was in vain. We have the artist’s French language blog to peruse for now but if any of you dear readers have more information on this talent, please post in the comment section at the end of this post. (If you get this by email, click on the post’s heading to get to the page where you can leave a comment.) Thanks!

 

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