Decoratively Speaking

Because mirror images are so common in nature, I do suppose we find their centered-ness less adventuresome, edgy or contemporary. But, when it comes to nostalgic decor, centered and familiar is where it is at!

1caec81dd2cee5d97d7b25a283c402f8Many holiday ornaments like this carefully crafted piece by Kay Miller, will play off some of nature’s most common mirrored designs. In this case, both floral and snowflake designs are harkened to. Floral influence is seen in the motifs chosen and the petal-like structure of the form, but the way they are built up, in visual steps from the center outward, changing as they progress while using the same kind of shapes, is particular to the snowflake and other crystal patterns.

I couldn’t find an active page for Kay, but she does have an Etsy shop; it’s just a little empty at the moment. However, you can find a lot of her ornaments on Google images using her name and ‘ornaments’ as key words (or use the link you see here, of course.)

As a little fun side item, try to find the one single element that is not mirrored in this ornament. I don’t know if she did this on purpose, and if I had the time, I’d start combing through her designs to see if she does this with all of them. This one single discrepancy,  which becomes very obvious once you find it, reminds me of a story I heard in an art history class many moons ago about a tradition in a particular tribe of American Indians. Their artisans were so adept that they could make every object with absolute perfection, but instead they would purposely make one tiny thing incorrectly, weaving one twist backwards, miss one painted dot in a series or leave one carved feather untextured. Why? Because they were not gods and believed they should not create as if they were perfect like the gods. I always thought that if I become that perfect in anything I do, I would do the same. I’m just not that perfect yet to even worry about attaining a god-like status in my work. But, it’s fun to think someone else might be doing something like that out there.

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog

Mirror, mirror …

burst-of-pendants22The ‘mirror image’ is a very common element in nature; from leaves to flowers to fruit to every creature I can think of, there are often two halves mirroring each other to make the whole. I’ve  seen a number of interesting uses of this in polymer pieces lately and thought this might be an easy theme to gather up work for this week. Not so much, however. Because using this kind of element necessitates a centered composition where the mirror images appear–their meeting point in the middle creating a center line–and with a community much enamored of asymmetry, it is far rarer than I would have thought. But, I aim to find a variety of examples where the mirroring adds energy or depth to a piece rather than feeling stale because the element (or elements) are arranged on some center line.

The obvious first place to look is in caning. The kaleidoscope cane alone holds up a great argument for mirroring. Create an pie slice shaped cane, cut up the length and lay matching sides together to fill in the pie round (or some approach akin to that.)  And you end up with usually very energized visuals. Lines, curves, angles and other directional elements will be moving from the center in opposite directions creating that energy.

When I hear kaleidoscope canes, I always think of Carol Simmons and her intense precision in this art form.  These pendants are examples for her upcoming workshops being held in Racine, Wisconsin after the RAM Symposium later in October. (It’s a waiting list only class; find out more on her website.) The center lines from the process of mirroring images have become a range of star burst like patterns, pushing direction from the center of the pendants to the outside that adds dynamic energy and a mesmerizing amount of detail on such a small space.

If you haven’t attempted a kaleidoscope cane before, but are interested, there are dozens of basic free tutorials as well as more intricate ones sold on Etsy and through other shops. Just Google the term “kaleidoscope cane tutorial” for many instant options.

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog

Fiery Ripples

48487_900A piece with shibori style ripples, fire, and crackling? How could I resist? The creator of this richly textured bracelet seems to go by nothing more than morskiekamni over on LiveJournal. This particular clayer dabbles in a little of this and a bit of that with a fair amount of miniatures and a lot of floral in there.

So, this bracelet comes as a bit of a surprise in the line-up of work. But, a lovely surprise. The cracks ripple across the base layer of orange, as well as along the edges of the flames. The whole surface looks to be in flux, and I find it hard not to get lost in intricacies; it’s an awful lot like staring into and losing yourself in those campfire flames or the fiery embers of a fireplace.

Yes, I usually give you a little something to work on come Saturday, but I couldn’t help but share this lovely piece first. If you are looking to try something new, how about creating using a ripple blade? The ripple blade looks to have fallen out of fashion in polymer within recent years, but I seem to be seeing it in use a little more just recently. Here is an older page full of still fantastic ideas for rippling up some really beautiful polymer! Enjoy!

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog

Outside Inspiration: Rippling Glitz

serena Di Mercione earring ring setWhat else would we do for an outside inspiration that started out looking at shibori, than shibori itself? The artist behind these earrings and ring, Serena Di Mercione, has a number of pieces we actually found on a few polymer clay focused Pinterest boards even though this is silk with beads and pearls and metal findings.  I’m not really surprised. It would not be hard to imagine these as polymer instead of silk ribbons. But how would you do that?

I was thinking maybe thinly folded pearl clay colored with diluted alcohol inks applied to just the edges of the folds with a cosmetic sponge. Or Skinner blends applied in thin strips to a pearl clay back and then rolled thin so you can fold it, letting the folds land on the strips of colored blended clay. I’m not really sure how with would work, but I’d be willing to give it a try . I just might do that this weekend as I pull out my clay and tools to show the wonders of this medium to a few curious young minds. We must instill a love of polymer into the next generation, right?

To really brighten your Friday, take a stroll through more of  Serena’s delicious shibori and soutache jewelry creations on her Facebook page. You will either get your creative juices flowing or start craving rainbow sherbet!

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog

Ripples Gone Wild

dr fimo ripple purple 2

If yesterday’s version of ripples was controlled and reserved, today’s rippling beads border on being a full-fledged party.

Although Daniela Wernli, also known as Dr. Fimo, only uses one color plus white in these beads, the energy here is very high, but you know the color isn’t a primary factor for that.  The beads actually push the whole idea of what a ripple is and can be. You see ripples in the twisted clay curls with their repetition and progression wrapped into tight swirls that ramps up the sense of movement, making for a very energized piece.

In case you were wondering, Daniela was named Dr. Fimo by her family because she is often seen wandering about with her polymer work gloves on.  See more of her work, especially some very interesting dots and rolled clay pieces, on her Flickr page.

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog

Controlled Ripples

connybrocksteadt ripple pinWe’ve looked at a few rather free-form versions of rippling, but ripples can also be well controlled and stylized while maintaining that similarly energized feel of movement.

The pins that emerged in The Broken Internet Project had a lot of controlled, but high-energy lines in the designs, most likely due to their inspiration being a pin by the meticulous Dan Cormier, a pin that had a zigzag line (a cousin to the ripple, you could say) through the center of it. I loved Cornelia Brockstedt’s interpretation with both a controlled rippling Skinner blend and a silhouette of a ripple inserted next to it. Calm, but energized. It’s almost the definition of that.

If you never had the chance to see the whole Broken Internet Project results, be sure to jump over to The Cutting Edge’s Facebook page to see them all together. And, for more by the fabulous Cornelia Brockstedt, take a look at her website or her Flickr pages for her latest pieces.

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog

Exploring Ripples

Vickie Sixsmith ripples

Although shibori is a fantastic source of inspiration in polymer, adding the liveliness of rippling lines and textures can be achieved in a myriad of ways. Just consider what rippling is and how it works in a design.

Ripples are lines and like any lines, they create movement. However, unlike the forcefulness of straight lines or the gentle leading of curved lines, ripples usually portray a calm but steady energy making them an eye catching element in any design.

Here are multiple examples of this all in one necklace as created by Vickie Sixsmith. We can see the energy in the rippled edges of clay discs, not unlike those on Kim’s bracelet we talked about yesterday, along with the subtle movement in the snakes of wound clay as well as in the soft visual sway of the feather canes covering the focal and side beads. The energy is slightly different in each approach, showing the varying levels of energy and d movement that can be achieved with rippling lines.

Besides explorations in ripples, Vickie and her mother Jean Twigg, who together are Fusion Jewellery Designs, explore a variety of form and texture but movement and energy is a primary focus. You can see more of their collective work on their Facebook page and Vickie’s postings on her Flickr photostream.

 

 

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog

Ripples in the Works

Kim CavendarFirst of all, apologies for nothing showing up over the weekend. We had some glitch that wasn’t letting us post. It took all weekend to get it figured out so we had to just abandon our Saturday post. I’m aiming to make up for that with a Sunday post this week.

This week we’re going to look at rippling and related visuals. Inspired by Shibori and Shibori like items on Pinterest, my editorial assistant Paula Gilbert, sent me a number of links to Shirbori like pieces. Shibori, according to the entry on Wikipedia, is a Japanese tie-dying technique. There are an infinite number of ways one can bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress cloth for Shibori, and each way results in very different patterns.”

In polymer, folding or fitting together sections of blended clay can readily emulate the look of shibori. This beautiful bracelet was created by Kim Cavender, and looks to be inspired by a common folded and stitched technique used with silks in Shibori. Her notes on Flickr do point to dyed silk ribbons as the inspiration.

If you want to see the wide variety of Shibori techniques out there, just punch the term into Google images, Pinterest or Flickr and you will find yourself just drowning in all the luscious textures and colors shibori artists’ offer. And for more Kim Cavender, take a look at her Flickr pages and her blog.

 

 

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog

Outside Inspiration: Tile Elements

Chris Sumka tile painting

I just love what Ginger found for us today as an outside inspiration. A scene created with tiles, a kind of bas relief where the elements create the imagery and depth from how they are layered and arranged. This is not so very different from some of the polymer scenes we’ve seen this week. The primary difference is that the imagery is created with large swaths of color and texture to create a piecework landscape scene but one that is cohesive and pulls you in.

The wall hanging was created by Chris Sumka, a tile artist. This is the piece’s description:

“The old Palmer place”, 2014, 21″X42″, 237 hours, composed entirely of 12″X12″ r/c porcelain, ceramic and slate floor tile, mounted on r/c 3/4 inch plywood, green, eco friendly art. Large amounts of white grout were left behind to add to the snow effect.”

Now he actually cuts each of these shapes to fit the image from some pretty hard material. If you’ve ever worked with tile, then you know how hard this is and just how tricky it can be to make the right cut and not actually break the tile. I’ve done more than my share of tiling. I’m impressed. We can–and a number of people do–create polymer imagery in a similar fashion. With some pretty darn simple cutting work compared to this!

You can see further detail of this piece on Chris’ Facebook page here and more of his fascinating work including photos of pieces in progress on his Facebook timeline as well.

 

Our guest blogger partner, Ginger Davis Allman lives in Springfield, Missouri with her husband Gary, her three kids and her many craft obsessions. Subscribe to her blog and look around her website for her well-researched and in-depth posts and articles on polymer related subjects. Support her great information and research as well as treating yourself by purchasing a tutorial or two from this talented lady.

 

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.

14-P3 Fall-Play cover Full sm   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-2   3d star ad  Polymania Advert 125  tpa-125x125-blog   Faux-Glass-Banner-1000px-600x476

%d bloggers like this: