Mixing it Up

1542bac55c377606f182b190a8de2696One of my more highly recommended ideas for new inspiration to try this year is to use a variety of other mediums with polymer. The versatility of polymer leaves open a vast number of compatible mediums to combine with, to accent with or to be accented with. Even if you are using other mediums with polymer now, why not try something new to you? It could open doors to entirely new ideas.

Annie Pennington, Associate Editor over at Art Jewelry magazine, mixes all kinds of mediums together. Polymer, fiber and metals have been her staple materials for a while but with them she also uses other things such as colored pencils, acrylics, and paper. None of her pieces are really well-seated within any one material category, but then why should they be restricted to that kind of categorization? This brooch does not jump out at you and say, “I am polymer!” and I think it is better for that even. We see the brooch, its form, color and textures, before we start to consider the materials. Granted, discerning the materials used in a piece is primarily done by other artists, but knowing the piece transcends such distilled defining gives us as fellow crafters a greater appreciation for the work. Don’t you think?

A little time on Annie’s website will show you many more examples of not having any one medium restrict or define the work. You might also take a look at our Summer 2013 issue of The Polymer Arts, Mix it Up, for more mixed media inspiration. You’ll also want to ensure your subscription is up to date so you’ll get our Spring 2015 issue, with the theme of Diversity, where we will offer tons of new ideas for trying different mediums and processes in polymer to get your year off to a very inspiring start.

 

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

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Try a New Form

donna greenbergWe definitely have a penchant for making jewelry in this community, but have you tried other forms to see if you have an affinity for other forms? Non-jewelry forms can be very freeing as engineering them is often less complicated. There are a lot of people trying their hand at home decor objects, decorating furniture, covering sculptural shapes and applying polymer to clothing.

One of the most interesting explorations in this area this last year, at least from what I’ve seen, are the vessels Donna Greenberg has been busily creating. I don’t even know how to explain her journey, but she has really been pushing her form and application of her clay treatment in some really intriguing ways. I’m going to leave it at that and give you this beautiful close-up of one of her newest creations to get your interest piqued. Then go on over to the Donna Greenberg Arts page on Facebook to see the many pieces she’s made and her journey itself.

Then I might suggest you spend a little time on Pinterest or Flickr seeing what else people are up to these days. Perhaps you will find a form that you just must try this new year.

 

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

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Something New in the New Year

loveless varied beads

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? When we start thinking about how we’ll do things differently in the coming year. A lot of us will be considering what we can do to increase our sales, make our work vs art lives easier, improve our skills or simply get inspired to do something new to invigorate ourselves and our work. Well, I thought I might be able to help with the last bit here. It is what I try to do daily on this blog, but this week let’s just pull out a few pieces of work and talk about how the pieces might be used to inspire you to try something new.

For instance, how much variety to you have in your beads? Do you stick with primarily one shape or one type of treatment for them? Do you mix up the canes or texture you apply? If you feel like you’re in a bit of a rut in your bead making, shake it up by challenging yourself to a bit more variety. Here is an example of this from MaryAnne Loveless, who created these large hollow tube beads with a ton of different applications. She uses canes, textures, pressed clay bits and hand tooled marks. There is some dimensional contrast in all the beads, but some have more than others, which creates a wide variety of surface designs.

Varied surface design is MaryAnne’s forte, so if you want more inspiration in that area be sure to take a look at her Flickr photostream and her blog.

 

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

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For Love of Landscape

Joelle tuto-copie-1

To end my week of favorite things, I’d like to share a nice little tutorial on a landscape surface treatment. I am rather partial to landscapes as they can represent so much. They can be calming, dreamy and make us feel small in the enormity of open land before us. But mostly, for me, landscapes feel like the beginning of a story. Maybe I’ve just watched too many movies that have opened on a wide open landscape, but I do like to think about seeing all the possibilities in that openness.

This French artist, who goes only by the name Joelle, is a crafter of many materials but seems strongly drawn to textures and organic color palettes, both of which you can see in this tutorial of hers. I enjoy the mix of additional mediums to get her textures and create little focal points. Switch up the colors to your own preferred palettes, and create a landscape that could hold your own story.

You’ll find the step-by-step tutorial on Joelle’s blog, along with the many other creative projects she gets herself into.

 

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

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Outside Inspiration: Tactile Fun

demi chao broochesI don’t know how long I’ve had these candy-colored goodies on my list, but every time I see them they make me smile. There is something so playful about the forms, colors and what must be an amazing tactile texture, yet they don’t exactly come across as toy-like. I think it may be the very energized color pairing on each that make them too pretty to be a child’s plaything.

These were created by Demi Chao, who was a Birmingham School of Jewellery graduate student at the time she created these. I cannot find a note of what these are made of, but a close-up shot I found looks like rubber. Do you wonder where she got her inspiration for these though? Here it is in her own words:

“Just like the organisms in the natural world, this series of brooches are colorful and textural. They are inspired by the microscopic photographs of pollen cells and sea corals which possess vibrant colours and peculiar shapes. They always make me want to touch them. Therefore, the idea of making playful and tactile jewellery came to mind.”

We do tend to play with our jewelry anyways, sometimes nervously, sometimes while daydreaming or thinking deeply. Why not create work that our sense of touch responds heavily to? I know I have a number of designs in my sketchbooks specifically focused on the pieces’ tactile nature, but I never did anything with them. When I see these, I know I need to revisit that idea.

Take a look at more of the delicious color combinations and other organic forms on Demi’s website.

 

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

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Heralding in the Holiday

Forest Rogers fairy-herald

 

Today’s piece celebrates both the holiday and my love of this incredibly talented sculptor. Forest Rogers imbues her work with some of the most fluid, dynamic and ethereal choices of form and detail. Her work can be equally ethereal and disturbing, but her pieces are never anything less than wondrous. This is all my humble opinion of course, but I think many people agree.

For today, just enjoy the faerie herald here, and when you have a quiet moment between festivities, do go visit her blog and website for sculpture that just pulls at the soul.

For those of you that celebrate the Christmas holiday, a very Merry Christmas to you all. To all my readers, regardless of what this day means to you, thank you so much for joining me so often and allowing me to share the many beautiful things I find in my searches. Being able to do this is the best gift, and I am gifted with this every day! How wonderful.

 

 

 

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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Not Polymer and Not a Gourd so …

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I know, I know … this is not polymer, but there was some question about that as it was posted on a few Pinterest boards under polymer. And that colorful inlay could be polymer, right? It could, but it’s not. It’s painted. The reason it was popping up under polymer searches was because it was posted to the polymer tutorial site, claylessons.com, in a message posted to encourage people to visit the Daily Art Muse blog (let’s see how many plugs and links we can fit into one blog post, shall we?). So there is the polymer connection.

But why am I featuring a non-polymer piece today? Because it’s nearly Christmas and if I can’t break some rules now, when can I? Well, yes, I do break rules on occasion for no reason at all, but let’s say this is because it’s a holiday week. And because this piece is gorgeous. It is all carved wood by wood artist, Joey Richardson. The detail is amazing. The form and intricacy are so fluid and natural you might wonder if it’s not alive. It also reminded me of my favorite gourd artist Mark Doolittle (we needed another plug and link here, right?).

But wait, there’s more! More incredible work like this that is (although more links will certainly happen).  After holding onto this, waiting for the right themed week to share it in for nearly a year, I finally found out who the unattributed artist was, opened her site and just got lost there.  I don’t know how Joey has the patience or hasn’t ruined her fingers with all this fine carving, but I am grateful that she does. What a treat. Treat yourself as well by heading over to her site and be sure to read her About page. Her feeling about her sources of inspiration really fit the season.

 

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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Well Gauged

87c0fdc514324a960cda78d0fe849f63I love creating polymer components, but I have never been that big on the stringing and adding findings and all that. I enjoy making something that didn’t exist before it came into my hands; although a couple store-bought ear wires can be integrated into a design, they are still not wholly mine. So I started making my own ear wires. Much better but not quite as much fun as polymer. Then I saw basic gauge earrings made from polymer on Etsy some years ago and thought … ah ha! No ear wires at all. You create a whole piece, and then it goes into your piercing. Cool. Let’s try that. And that is how gauge earrings ended up becoming my primary form sold through my Etsy shop.

I don’t get much studio time these days so I don’t create and sell gauges, but I occasionally stop and see what other people are doing with them now that polymer clay gauges have caught on. These have been my favorite by far. They are created by a pair of artists, the Ukraine’s Ira and Evgeniy Abramov, who run a shop on Etsy called RybaColnce. The concept is simple but wonderful. The traditional contrast of black and red with the beat of those repeated slices into the clay to reveal the hidden crimson inside covers some of my favorite approaches: contrast, repetition and things hidden. Plus they are both serious (like edgy serious) and fun at the same time. Yes, they might not be the most comfortable pair to put in, but they’d be worth it!

 

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Some of My Favorite Things

tish collins time machineI am going to use this week to pull out some pieces I’ve been holding onto but haven’t found a place for in our themed weeks. Just a few of my favorite pieces and artists to drool over this holiday week.

I am not sure what in this is polymer, but it’s in the description of the work so I’ve been hanging onto it. If you read the Fall 2013 issue of The Polymer Arts, then you probably saw (and maybe read?) my article, “Ravages of Time”, on faux deteriorated surfaces. So yes, I have a thing about rust and patina and anything that represents a passage of time and the later cycle of life for inanimate materials. Knowing that, you can probably figure out why I am drawn to this piece by jewelry artist Tish Collins. The piece is titled “Time Machine”, which I easily interpret as the passing of time as shown by the disintegration of elements seen in the rust and patina here. But that is just my take on it. Then again, isn’t that what the purpose is behind art–to pull from it what resonates with you and put your own story to it? How would you read this?

Polymer is not a primary medium for Tish, but I do urge you to look at her jewelry, both with and without polymer. She has some beautiful forms and compositions to share with you on her website.

 

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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