EuroSynergy: Beauty at the Reception

The reception at EuroSynergy is the time when many of the attendees run into each other for the first time or at least not in a rushed situation. So it is natural that we also put on our best pieces or our newest acquisitions from fellow artists. It is rather dazzling to see the variety of pieces and so truly thrilling to see pieces in person that one has only seen in photos at this point. I don’t think I made it a quarter way around the room stopping to look at some much wonderful art. It was like a live, moving gallery of the best and most innovative and skilled work.

I did manage to stop my gawking long enough to take a few pictures. I do have to apologize–my camera seems to be having some issues with some modes I am used to working in so I will need to work that out and adjust it so we can have better images through the week. Here are a couple pieces I got photos of that I thought would be particularly fun to share.

This piece by Katrina Marsh Sarlin is an obvious Maggie Maggio project. She worked on and completed this necklace and earring set during her Monday workshop with Maggie. She said she had decided that she needed to get these pieces done just for the reception as her efforts early on in the workshop revealed she was on her way to making the perfect set to go with her Wednesday evening outfit. That kept her focused! You can’t quite see the wonderful variations in color in the links but you can certainly see all the work that went into this very newly finished piece. I just love that we can do that–decide we need something to pair with an outfit and just sit down and make it! That is another huge advantage of our primary medium–the speed of creating.

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This piece just took me by surprise. As you probably know if you’ve followed this blog for long, I look to a lot of other art forms as inspiration for polymer work. One I had never considered was graffiti art. But when I asked Anke Humpert how she came up with the idea for this bracelet below, she shrugged and put up her hands like it seemed so obvious that graffiti would inspire polymer. And I have to agree. With the range of colors and the expressive forms in the lettering, it is suddenly obvious to me too.

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Well, after a day of exploring Valletta and seeing the kick-off of EuroSynergy, I need to get a little sustenance and get ready for the rest of the week. I will post photos from our little tour around Malta’s capital and will try to fit in some quick stories on both The Polymer Arts and Sage Bray Facebook pages so come join me over there a little later on to see what our polymer people are up to.

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Workshops in Malta

Stopping to write a blog in the midst of all the fantastic conversations I’ve been having this first day in Malta has been a challenge so this will be a little short–we’ll let the photos speak for the most part.

I was lucky enough to have time to drop in on workshops being given by Kathleen Dustin and Melanie West. The energy in the rooms was amazing and the dazed look as the students left the day long workshops attested to some exhausting but exciting creativity going on. Melanie West’s class was “Make It Big And Organic!” and focused on the idea of process more than on the creation of any one thing. Kathleen was divulging her signature “Translucent Layering Techniques” in her packed classroom. Here are some shots of these masters at work demonstrating and sharing their pearls of wisdom. Then you get a close up view of Melanie’s ingenious necklace–a reversible pendant that is engineered with a magnet and a removable center piece.

Kathleen Dustin explaining technique during her workshop.
Kathleen Dustin explaining technique during her workshop.
Cara Jane Hayman's project in the middle of hte process in Kathleen's class.
Cara Jane Hayman’s project in the middle of the process in Kathleen’s class.

 

Melanie West talking color choices with her workshop attendees.
Melanie West talking color choices with her workshop attendees.
Melanie West's fabulous reversible necklace.
Melanie West’s fabulous reversible necklace.
The other side of Melanie's necklace showing the magnet design (isn't that wonderful!?)
The other side of Melanie’s necklace showing the magnet design (isn’t that wonderful!?)

I am going to leave you to enjoy these images for now. I’ll be touring Malta in the morning and posting those images on Facebook so if you don’t already follow The Polymer Arts on Facebook, you can get more EuroSynergy peeks there as well!

Wow … day one and I’m already filled to the brim with ideas to ponder and write about and create from! What will I be like come Sunday?


If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Dialing in From Frankfurt with French Polymer

I have been traveling for 16 hours as I sit down to write this and I have another 7 hours to go before I reach the hotel in Malta. Every change of scenery, the many different people, the  variation in languages is enervating–I’ve been trying to guess people’s country of origin based on jewelry and clothing but you know what … people are more or less the same everywhere. It’s still been a fun game. I just wish I was more awake to really take it all in here. Many polymer people are already in Malta. See if you can sneak a peek on Donna Greenberg’s Facebook page–she’s taken some amazing pictures of the places in Malta she and other polymer peeps got out early to see.  I just can’t wait to get there.

My opportunities for photos as well as a decent Internet connection while traveling have been slim so instead of sending the overcast images of Reykjavik and Frankfurt this will be simple and brief and get in some info I couldn’t squeeze in last week about polymer in print.

If you don’t know about Polymere & Co., it’s the newest magazine on the scene and the first one of its kind not in English. The French language magazine focuses on project tutorials and jewelry and is available in both print and digital editions. Even if French isn’t your language, don’t let that stop you from getting a copy. Get the digital and plug the articles into an online translator. In this day and age there is not any reason to stay away from publications simply because they aren’t in your language. What a wonderful time we live in!

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Editor Beatrice PICQ will be joining us at EuroSynergy to talk about why she started  this magazine. I’m so excited to talk to her and hear about her vision. Because at this point, there is definitely still room for more quality polymer instruction and inspiration.

Okay … I’m off to get myself set for my final leg to Malta!

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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The Polymer Dynamo

It’s really hard to talk about polymer publications and not bring up the prolific and non-stop dynamo that is Christi Friesen. She has 8 polymer specific books published and so many articles in so many different magazines, I can’t even guess how many she’s done. I can’t even remember how many times she’s written articles or contributed to articles for us at The Polymer Arts magazine. Plus she sends out regular newsletters, has almost daily Facebook posts and keeps up a Yahoo group. You know she enjoys what she does to do so much with it!

This year Christi is traveling around the world–literally. Her travel calendar makes me tired just looking at it. But to keep her fans in the loop and to create more fun approaches to working with polymer she and her little team put together a “World Tour” project. Each leg of her travels will be documented for those following along and a project based off the location or purpose will be presented as a challenge for her armchair traveling companions. For Malta, this is the project–wire and polymer!

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Get on board with Christi’s fun adventures this year–get your ‘passport,’ project instructions and get lined up for prizes by signing up on her World Tour page. She also has a number of great new products in her store so if you haven’t visited lately, you really need to stop by her online shop.

Alright … now I need to finish the last of my packing and grab the first of my three flights that will get me to Malta in, oh … 26 more hours.

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Maria Petkova’s Polymer Clay Diaries

Some of the most active blogs in the polymer world are in English and here in the US but there some amazing blogs that are getting huge overseas as well and just because they aren’t in your primary language doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them too. We live in an amazing age–just view these foreign language blogs using Google Chrome (it will automatically try to translate pages that are not in your default language) or copy the text into the box on http://translate.google.com/ or search for a translation plugin for your browser.

My first recommended stop for non-English blog sites is Polymer Clay Diaries written by Bulgarian artist Maria Petkova. On her blog she shares polymer artwork, featured artists, galleries and tutorials about polymer clay. Maria herself is quite the talented polymer artist as well. Her work uses many different techniques to bring her art to life with a richness and, often, simple elegance.

These copper and patina earrings are examples of how straightforward contrast can work beautifully in simple designs. The blue of the faux patina against the orange copper clay uses opposing color contrast while the dense texture plays against the smooth half of the earrings’  elements.

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Besides reading Maria’s Polymer Clay Diaries blog, you can find more inspiration in her own work on the Polymer Clay Diaries’ Flickr pages and her own personal Flickr pages. And here is a short list of other blogs you may not know about but are well worth a regular visit.

http://polymerionline.blogspot.com/

http://paroledepate.canalblog.com/

http://polymerclayfimo.livejournal.com/

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Outside Inspiration: Muses from Other Art Forms

Another blog you really should be following is the wonderful Daily Art Muse (DAM) which also has a monthly version sent as a newsletter (MAM). Susan Lomuto doesn’t actually post daily but her intermittent posts are always intriguing. I have found many of our Outside Inspiration artists thanks to her discoveries shared on this blog.

For instance, I would not likely have found the wonderful work of Phiona Richards who creates jewelry and sculpture from old books, beads and textiles. Just look at this wonderful pin. I love the play on the idea that books are filled with “pearls of wisdom” making this both a visual and metaphorical delight.

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With the folded polymer trend these days, Phiona’s work is a great source of polymer inspiration and ideas for complex folds. See more of her work on her website and then be sure to get signed up for DAM and MAM. Susan does feature a lot of polymer art on her blog but more importantly she features very different craft art in general, because we cannot grow on the inspiration of polymer artists alone.

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Perfect Pairings

Although blogs aren’t traditionally considered a form of printed material, our move into the electronic publishing age has sometimes made blogs the only reliable and up to date source for many subject matters. Cynthia Tinapple has made her name as an author through her popular Polymer Clay Daily blog which has become a standard read for any serious polymer artist. Last year, she also broke rank with the typical polymer clay project book format by presenting the  global side of our medium with a lot of background and insight alongside intriguing projects in her book Polymer Clay Global Perspectives

Of course, Cynthia is an accomplished polymer artist as well. My favorite pieces of hers are the collaborations she creates with her wood sculpting husband, Blair Davis. Their polymer trimmed wooden bowls, although reserved in their design, are so eye-catching due to the care and finish of the work as well as the contrast of materials and colors. Most of her inlay is cane work but I found this extruded swirl inlay absolutely entrancing. The swirl of the clay mimics, in a stylized manner, the waves and whorls of woodgrain making the choice an excellent design pairing.

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You can find out all about Cynthia, see her work, find her book and take a look at her adventures all on her website. And of course, if you aren’t already subscribed to Polymer Clay Daily, you really need to get on that!

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Prolific Polymer in Print

In our little community, we have just a few people who consistently write and publish about our medium. One of our earliest teachers through print and one of the most prolific is Barbara McGuire. She has authored or co-authored half a dozen polymer specific books and has written numerous articles along with her many other contributions to product development, teaching and archiving. Most recently she has been expanding into wonderfully detailed videos which you can get for free on her YouTube channel.

Barbara lives outside Asheville, South Carolina in a rural area where, until recently, she kept a bee colony. Unfortunately, her bees were wiped out and she is in the process of putting money together to build the colony again. That is the inspiration behind her series of bee beads, a collaboration between Barbara and with Thomas Michael Poole who made the bee wings and Klimt patterns seen in the series. Created from layers of canes, the bees on these beads look they just landed there and yet still meld into the complex flow of the colorful backgrounds.

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If you want to help Barbara get back to her beekeeping as well as own a piece by one of our great pioneers, you can purchase her bee beads and necklaces in her Etsy shop. Barbara is even offering our blog readers a 30% discount off items in her Etsy store–just use the code SAVETHEBEES. You can also take a look at more of these wonderful beads and other work by Barabara on her Flicker pages.  And do take a look at her many wonderful products and books she has for sale on her website as well as checking out her class schedule for upcoming opportunities to learn from this master artist.

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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More Fun and Flair in the Netherlands

Since I featured Marjon yesterday, I certainly couldn’t leave her periodicals partner in crime,  Saskia Veltenaar, out of this look at the art of our polymer publication people. I suspect that part of the reason they are such close friends is that they are both so much about fun and flair, both in their personalities and their creative endeavors. Last year, Saskia went quite floral with a series of colorful pieces with botanicals emerging from textured black backgrounds. Bright colors against black really make the colors stand out and Saskia and her bubbly personality never seems to be afraid to stand out!

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Saskia shows off her many talents including beading, fiber and metal work on her beautifully composed website and on her Flickr pages.

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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