Spring 2015 Cover … Your Sneak Peek

15P1 cover MedWell, the Spring 2015 issue of The Polymer Arts is getting whipped into shape, and we can now finally show you the cover. It’s a bit different, being that we have three instead of our usual one artist on it. But the theme is “Diversity”, so it just seemed appropriate to have a diverse cover!

All three of these amazing artists, Wendy Wallin Malinow, Lisa Pavelka and Celie Fago, kindly gave us detailed insight into how they came to work in mixed media, the role that polymer plays in their art and their own tips and tricks as well as a handful of quick tutorials to get you going in combining these artists’ favorite “other” medium.

This issue also has a multi-artist article on alternate ways of coloring polymer, a crazy-fun “string impression” experiment (you’ll have to read the article to understand what that all means!), ways to diversify your polymer income, ideas for changing up your process to bring about breakthroughs in your design and business, plus inspiration from other mediums including in-depth info on using resin and Kroma crackle and a technique tutorial on translating paper quilling into a polymer art.

There will be, of course, tons of other goodies, eye candy and ideas inside. Keep your eyes peeled for the issue due out end of February. If you need to renew or subscribe for either digital copies or print, you can do so at www.thepolymerarts.com/Subscribe.html.

 

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: Where We Find Ourselves

laminated_07Conceptual work in contemporary jewelry is no rare thing. What is a tad rare, in my opinion, is conceptual jewelry that is wearable (how else can you really fully share it if you can’t wear it out?) and accessible. And by “accessible,” I mean a creation that most people can appreciate because it speaks to and pulls at the one thing we all share — the experience of being human.

I actually love conceptual jewelry, the kind that makes you stop and think, but to share something that this community will find inspiration in kept me focused on finding something that we can all smile at or find something to admire. Our experiences and wanting to hang onto memories of the times and places we’ve experienced is pretty ubiquitous, don’t you think? Tzu-Ju Chen seems to be speaking to that aspect of our human side with this ring. It does push the “wearable” boundary with its size, but I love the nostalgic sense he’s captured with the little cropped photos. Chartres Cathedral, as it is named, shows off photos of the building from a variety of angles on angled little boards accented with semi-precious gems. Tzu-Ju actually sees this work from a slightly different perspective, saying, “My works explores the conceptual play of material and meaning. Travel photography and vintage snapshots serve as mementos that embody the present reality.”

Maybe I am tired, but I’m not sure about the “present reality” embodiment here. Nonetheless, I think I could spend a lot of time staring at my hand and checking out the little photos. Especially if they were photos from a trip of my own. It’s kind of a neat idea to consider how we might integrate our own memories into our work in such a literal fashion.

Tzu-Ju’s work certainly does explore the play of material and meaning and in a wide range of approaches and materials. Tzu-Ju’s website is a beautiful, quiet gallery of her work and concepts that should make a perfect quiet break for you today.

 

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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The Idea of a Place

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Conceptual art can be about anything that isn’t literal or tangible. Abstract art seeks to represent an idea or emotion or, like in this fantastical teapot here, both.

On Pinterest, somewhere along the way, someone made a note saying this is about Israel, and I feel pretty confident that is right although I can’t find a source for that comment. But Yudit Yitzhaki, the creator of this amazing bit of decorative art, lives in Israel, and this is not the first time we’ve seen such a vibrant representation of the country. Last year we had a post about wall art by Joan Israel that also depicted a fondness for this part of the world, with similarly bright colors and busy scenery. I do love that it’s on a teapot, of all things. Teapots conjure up thoughts of comfort and warmth and a quiet afternoon taking in the scenes outside our window. So it’s perfect that Yudit’s fond imagery is on something many of us associate with that kind of emotion. 

Yudit’s work is full of joy and a sense of fondness for color, energy and positive imagery. She doesn’t do only conceptual art but also functional pieces of jewelry. You do see in her work a focus on capturing an atmosphere or emotion, rather than just a purely decorative drive. Take a look for yourself on her Flickr photostream.

 

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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Long Division

CKHarris Long DivisionOne of the reasons I wanted to do this theme this week was so I could also share some of Christine K. Harris’s latest work. Her pieces are almost wholly conceptual, relaying personal, societal and universal emotions and ideas. The richness of her pieces are the primary draw, along with the clear and ubiquitous nature of so much of her symbolism.

I think this may be my favorite piece of hers to date. I say “I think” because I’m not done examining its many sides, imagery, symbolism and just beautiful application of rhythmic motifs. Every side — inside, outside, front, sides, back — is different and wholly intriguing. Most of Christine’s work is a combination of polymer, two-part sculptable epoxy and other materials as needed. But this box or sculpture or altar, or whatever you want to take it as, moves far beyond the definition of its materials, as does most of her work.

The piece is called Long Division and starts at the top with what I am sure are mirrored twins, maybe even Siamese twins. Within and without, there are Christine’s iconic birds, skulls, skeletons and other symbols of birth, freedom and death that appear in so much of her work. This piece feels more joyous than a lot of her past work though, even with the death symbology; death is so much a part of the cycle of life we are in. I have so many ideas about what might be going on here, but art is a personal interpretive experience when it really comes down to it so I will leave it to you to take from it what speaks to you. As Christine says on her home page, “As important as it is for me to use my art to make sense of the world, it is just as important that viewers take their own experience from my work …”

For a full view of this piece, you will want to go to Christine’s page with its many detail shots. But don’t hesitate to wander further about her site and find other concepts and connections for yourself. If you are curious about her use of symbolism and how you might work this kind of thing into your own work, don’t miss the beautiful article she wrote for our Spring 2013 issue still available in both print and digital.

 

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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Abstract Feelings

12950246564_681d9a6309_oI realized after the fact that I posted yesterday’s blog about conceptual art without really going into the particulars of what that phrase means. So I thought I’d correct that, only I ended up going down a bit of a rabbit hole as I went ahead, as I do, when I researched the term and how it is used today. So, just to be fair and to stave off counter-explanations about what the term is used for in contemporary art and various art movements (see Wikipedia’s explanations), I’m going to define our use for it based on how we often used it back in my art school days. We may not have been using it correctly by some people’s account, but we did use the term “concept” correctly and talk of “conceptual art” as being created to relay an abstract idea or complex group of ideas.

Here is an example of both a literal representation and a conceptual representation. Girl on a Blustery Day, by Melissa Terlizzi, is a depiction of, well, a windy, blustery day. That is the visual representation of a state of weather. On the other hand, it also depicts the distress and dishevelment of this poor girl, and particular experiences and emotion are abstract. Along with recognizing the concept, we all connect to the feeling of being caught in a bit of a gale and dealing with the surprises Mother Nature tosses our way. Plus, it’s just a fun piece! It’s too bad I didn’t find a “Blizzardy Day” piece so we could all visually commiserate with our Eastern US friends held captive by the crazy weather right now. You all hang in there!

Although I love this wall piece, it is not, in my opinion, the pinnacle of Melissa Terlizzi‘s work. She also creates the most wonderfully detailed sculptures and fabulous miniature food stuffs. Sophistication and adorableness reside side by side on her Flickr photostream, so wander on over for a delightful e-tour.

 

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Conceptual Horses

TornstromPolymer lends itself particularly well to decorative arts, since it is so versatile in form and color and has the ability to be combined with so many other materials. But it can also be a very expressive medium. An artist can use a variety of sculptural techniques, colors and textures to recreate all kinds of imagery, which makes polymer particularly wonderful for conceptual work. I thought we’d take a week to see just what wonderful and new work is being produced in that area of polymer.

EvaMarie Törnström’s Malta Horse is what got me really thinking about this area of polymer art. For those of you who have been to Malta, the iconic crosses, the aged limestone walls and the intense blue of the surrounding ocean are instantly recognizable, collectively, as representative of that beautiful country. There is a lot more to this particular piece, but I’ll let you puzzle out its other less obviously related characteristics. I’m still puzzling them out myself. But even if you haven’t been to Malta, you know there is a connection between the chosen elements, and it will make you stop and think. As all good art really does.

Sweden’s EvaMarie is partial to creating horse sculptures but does very large wall pieces as well, also usually equine-related. Do take a moment to look at some of her unusual and visually intriguing pieces on her 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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Salted Old Beads

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Has this week’s selection of faux ancient and old art got you thinking about ways to create more of that look in your own work? The techniques used to create these looks can be applied to a variety of forms and even be reinvented using brighter colors and not-so-old-looking contrasting textures and finishes. Searching for something fun and easy to get you started on that track, if you haven’t already, I found this delightfully easy and highly textural tutorial for you.

The blog post with this tutorial is originally in Russian, but I’ll send you to the the translated to English version here. It’s really pretty well laid out in the photos, and the steps are simple but with a beautiful and sophisticated result, as can be seen in the necklace Russia’s Katerina Sidorova designed from her technique. The layering of the clay is an ingenious way of adding that additional color for the aged look since it will show on the ends and wherever the salt digs through the very thin top layer to the colors underneath. So no additional painting or other color is needed. Pretty neat.

Katerina is the shop owner at Russia’s online polymer and jewelry supply shop, KalinkaPolinka, and for what I think must be wholesale or at least bulk-buying, Kalinka-Pro. If you are on that side of the globe, it is a shop well worth checking out. But for everyone everywhere, she has a great page on her website of articles, free tutorials and links to other tutorials that would be a great starting point for other new avenues to explore.

 

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Antique Does Ancient

art nouveau egyptEmulating other cultures and ancient work is not a new idea. Artists throughout history have been inspired by the relative uniqueness of other cultures and times. This adaptation of other aesthetics, however, became quite a bit more common when world exploration, archaeology and increased global trade and communication made this type of inspiration more readily available to more and more artists.

The 19th and 20th centuries were particularly enthusiastic about other cultures. The discoveries of ancient Egypt at the end of the 18th century spurred what is know as the Egyptian Revival in American decorative arts. This period began sometime after Napolean’s campaign in Egypt and lasted all the way into the 1920s. We have the combination of this Egyptian Revival with the period of Art Nouveau to thank for gorgeous pieces like this hair comb and bracelet. Their creator is unknown, but the Tumblr page I found it on said they are of French origin and are estimated to have been made around 1900. They consist of gold, enamel, rubies, sapphires and ancient Egyptian scarabs noted to be glazed steatite. I just call them lovely.

I wish I had a particular site to send you to in order to do some more exploring of your own, but I didn’t find anything better than a keyword search on Pinterest or Google images. So if you want to see more Egyptian Revival or Art Nouveau or the combination of these, let your fingers do the tapping and have fun getting into lots of pages of beautiful, inspiring imagery.

 

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Degraded Discs

kristin LoganSquareThis bit of inspired faux old art has more to do with the disintegration of materials than any past culture. The material it emulates could be seen as stone or sap or bone, but it long ago degraded into something soft and well-weathered.  The texture and colors are simple but lovely in their organic connection.

I found these on an Etsy shop called @Logan Square. The artisan only identifies herself as Kristin. She does have some interesting words to explain where her textures come from and how she sees her beads:

“Each bead is unique, created by impressions taken from found objects. These objects come from my collection of plant forms, drift wood and pebbles from Lake Michigan, fossils and shells, as well as copper etchings of digital patterns I’ve created (I call these my digital “runes”) … my beads are fantasy fossils and relics.”

Take a look at her shop and the other wonderful textures she has there, especially her banner; she identifies the impressions made in those beads as being from “walnut seed, crayfish claws, fish vertebrae, digital runes, swordfish skull bones, and weathered concrete.” Wow. I would say no texture is safe from being used in this polymer work!

 

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