A Stroppel Ocean

stroppel cane Dev80

I was going to share the new Fall Cover here but have a couple of bits of information we would like to confirm before we do. Creating a magazine is all details, details, details and they are never-ending! We’ll have it on here by Monday but if you’re just too curious, we’ll send it out in our newsletter tomorrow morning. (Don’t get our newsletter yet? Sign up here–it’s the box on the left of the page–for twice monthly news, tips, eye candy and other fun chatter.)

In the meantime, who would have thought that a Stroppel cane, often used in very graphical designs, would be so reminiscent of the ocean? This beautiful collar by Mara Devescovi, which is all Stroppel cane, certainly looks like the undulating water of a crystal clean ocean as you might see it on some tropical beach. Who would have thought that random cane morphing would emulate in the way the movement of the water distorts the world beneath it. It really gets one thinking about a summer escape, I must say!

Mara goes by Dev’Art60 on Flickr where her progress in polymer art over the last decade can be followed and lots of great ideas can be found along the way.  

 

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

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - A Stroppel Ocean  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - A Stroppel Ocean TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - A Stroppel Ocean  The Great Create July 2015 - A Stroppel Ocean

A Memory of Tidepools

aleksanta stil waters pebeoMy absolute favorite part of the west coast of the United States is the tide pools. They are an amazing microcosm of marine life; not to mention the texture of the rocks and lava flows you find them in is uncommonly beautiful. Although this necklace is not the re-creation of a tide pool –the artist Aleksanta mentions still lake water among trees in her description– but for me this is so very reminiscent of the tide pools I’ve visited on the coast of California with their many tiny basins crowded up on one another that have been created by water wearing away the stone in rippling rings that are revealed at low tide as shallow reflective pools.

Don’t you love that about visual art? You can bring whatever you want to it–and you do it without trying to. Aleksanta created these with a lake in mind and it took me to the ocean. It also grabbed my attention because this looks like an example of Pebeo paints, which we will be reviewing with instructions on how to use them in the upcoming Fall issue. Speaking of which, be sure to check in here on Friday as we’ll finally be ready to show off the next cover and let you in on all the exciting stuff we have in store for you next month.

To see what else Aleksanta has done with these paints and her other beautiful explorations, take a look at her LiveMaster store.

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

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - A Memory of Tidepools  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - A Memory of Tidepools TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - A Memory of Tidepools  The Great Create July 2015 - A Memory of Tidepools

A Sense of Ocean

paredes etsyThis past weekend I had to take a train trip to San Diego. The skies were clear and the beautiful landscape was filled with brilliant teals and page greens. As I struggled to get some work done rather than stare out the window the whole time, I asked my traveling companions what I should write about on my blogs this week. As they contentedly stared out the windows, they said in unison “Oceans”. So, I feel obliged this week to search out pieces that bring the feel and colors of the ocean inland to us in polymer land.

Although motifs like shells and waves would make for an obvious ocean theme, I prefer the pieces that are not so obviously defined. Subtle moods derived from patterns and soft-edged colors can give one the sense of a bright day by the ocean just like you are certain to see in this pendant by Susy Paredes. A handful of organic forms to accent the watery edges doesn’t hurt either. This unassuming piece may have been inspired by a stream or a lake, really, but we all bring our own experience to a piece, and today, I bring the ocean.

Susy’s work is largely simple and quiet without a lot of detail, certainly nothing extraneous. I do enjoy her pieces with the little organic accents the most. You’ll find quite a few on the second page of her Flickr photostream, as well as on her Etsy site.

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

 

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - A Sense of Ocean  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - A Sense of Ocean TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - A Sense of Ocean  The Great Create July 2015 - A Sense of Ocean

Goodies, Giveaways and Friesen on the Brain

We sort of kinda interrupt this art blog to tip you off about a chance to grab a bundle of goodies, get some special discounts and have your opinions and wishes heard! Then we’ll talk art.

072415 goodie giveawayReader’s Wish List Survey

Take a little survey and let us know what you want to see on the blog, as well as in the magazine and in our upcoming projects as we plan for the rest of 2015 into 2016. As a thank you for your time, you’ll find these discounts and a Goodie Giveaway at the end of the survey:

The Polymer Arts 10% off code for subscriptions and back issues on our website.*

–ILove2Craft.com 10% off code for your entire purchase at ILove2Craft.com (featuring Lisa Pavelka and Christi Friesen products.)*

–A chance to win one of two Goodie Boxes that will include a variety of tools and supplies from Polyform, Staedtler, Jacquard, CF Originals, and more (each valued at $40+).* **

The Fine Print:  *Discounts and entering for the Goodie Box giveaways end at midnight PDT on August 2nd, 2015. Your promo codes will pop up on a Thank You page after you submit the survey. **Due to the unpredictability of out of country shipping times and circumstances, we will substitute clays and other sensitive materials with durable items for winners living outside the US.

survey

cf mechanical botanicalsOkay … now for some art to end our week. Summer colors and summer fun had been the theme, but I have Christi Friesen on the brain so we’re going to try to combine this all with some “Mechanical Botanicals” by CF herself.

Why so much Friesen distraction? For one, both the discount and the goodie box you can get by taking the survey can help you stock up on CF Originals goods (Have you seen the new little Swellegant Sampler kit! So cool … you can try it all! It’s not in the Goody Box, but you can grab it at ILove@Craft.com with that discount code mentioned!)

Also, I spent part of the day working on the latest article she’s whipped up for us at The Polymer Arts magazine … “Embellishments”! Boy, she can pack a lot of tips and tricks into a handful of pages! And the pictures! She is a generous contributor, I tell you.  (I know … I need to get the line-up for the Fall issue out to you all, but it’s been an interesting wrangling of content this quarter. Next week, I promise!)

The other reason everything seems to be coming up Christi is that, well Christi came up to see me on her way out of town Wednesday. We stayed up way too late and came up with way too many amazing ideas and even more questions. One of them was about how to categorize work. And even whether we should.

Take a look at these oil cans. They’re decorative. And they’re sculptural. There is polymer, but it’s at least half other materials. So is it polymer art? Mixed-media? Multi-media? For shows, books and even on blogs and in articles, we find ourselves looking for categories and labels and ways to put things into a particular box. But do we need to?

Don’t worry. We didn’t come up with the answer to the universe and everything or the definitive answers to these questions either the other night. We did decide that maybe backing off the labels and categories so we stop mentally boxing things in so often could be a good thing though. So, let’s not say that this is polymer art or mixed media or sculpture or decor. Let’s just say it’s bits of the artist that is here for all of us to enjoy. And most of the time, that should be enough.

 

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

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - Goodies, Giveaways and Friesen on the Brain  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - Goodies, Giveaways and Friesen on the Brain TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - Goodies, Giveaways and Friesen on the Brain  The Great Create July 2015 - Goodies, Giveaways and Friesen on the Brain

Where Spring and Summer Collide

Sylvie Peraud summer d earrings

One of the striking things about summer is that point where some of the vegetation on the hills are still green and putting forth great effort to uphold their place in the sun while swathes of other plants have given up and turned brown. Even though I don’t like to see the hills turn brown, that time where the last vestiges of spring and the heat of summer collide is so beautiful in its contrast.

These earrings by Sylvie Peraud is just one such example. Greens turn to yellow as the plant’s energies are sapped, but when seen on a hill with the morning sun hitting it, it’s just radiant. I don’t know if Sylvie was thinking this when creating these, but it reminds me of the places I was running just a couple of weeks ago out here in Southern California.

Writing about these lead me to Sylvie’s blog where she has some really stunning new work you just have to see as well. Jump on over to her blog and check out her wide range of work on her Flickr pages when you take a creative recharge break today or this week. It will be a good mid-year and mid-week place for new inspiration.

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

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - Where Spring and Summer Collide  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - Where Spring and Summer Collide TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - Where Spring and Summer Collide  The Great Create July 2015 - Where Spring and Summer Collide

The Ups and Downs of Summer

LDeVries summer domeIn the northern hemisphere we are in the midst of summer, but Mother Nature is showing her many sides from hot and still to muggy and stormy, from tornadoes to floods to hurricanes. Down in the southern hemisphere, summer days are a distant memory, but nonetheless, summery colors are making a surge on the pages I’ve been visiting.

Lillian de Vries created this pendant with its interesting visual and tactile texture as inspiration for a summer challenge on Craftliners.com, a blog for the European wholesale company Craftlines, for which Lillian is a designer. The colors are mostly warm but delicate with a scattering of dark speckles falling out of a cooling ceiling of blue. It strikes me as a visual interpretation of a summer memory with its up and down days scattered through the memories of hot afternoons and those thankfully cool mornings.

Lillian plays with all kinds of texture, both visual and tactile, as well as stopping to create miniature and faux foods here and there. If you’re have a gratefully cool morning hiding from the heat, or are down under dreaming of warmer days, make a temperature appropriate beverage and escape into the creative wanderings on her blog and Craftliner’s pages.

 

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

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - The Ups and Downs of Summer  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - The Ups and Downs of Summer TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - The Ups and Downs of Summer  The Great Create July 2015 - The Ups and Downs of Summer

Hail Sale and Impressive Dots

Lisa stevens urchin pendants 2008Did you miss us yesterday? Sorry for the absence, but all kinds of wonderful things have been going on; they have just been keeping me buried until I couldn’t remember what day it was. For some reason I thought the last three days were all Thursday. Can you say sleep deprived?

Why is this? Well, for one, I was acting as my own administrative assistant, but only because our wonderful admin, Kat, has been off this week introducing her new baby girl to the world. Send lots of love and may the powers-that-be grant them both lots of rest!

The other thing that was overwhelming was the sale of dinged up back issues we started Thursday that was far more popular than we anticipated. I wanted to share it with you, my dear blog readers, and give you a chance to grab some yourself, but we nearly sold out in the first few hours. I had to wait until today to go through our unopened stock and find those inevitably imperfect copies so I had something to offer you. So here it is …

The Print Issue Hail Sale: Okay, hail didn’t damage these copies, mostly shipping, storing and traveling did the damage, but that’s a long name for a sale. These are ones with markings on the cover, rubbed off ink, creased corners and small tears that we won’t sell as new, but I do sell for a discount when out and about. However, they have been piling up, so we decided to make them available to you online at half price! So, these are just $5 (plus shipping). Quantities are very limited, so jump on over to my Etsy page where we’ve listed them. That way, sold out issues will drop off instead of sitting there teasing you when there aren’t any more left.

In my shop we are also selling all regular ‘perfect’ back issues for $8 plus shipping. If you are buying just one, it ends up being the same as buying from our website, but if you buy multiples, you will save by getting reduced shipping. So if you have been wanting to stock up on back issues in print and you don’t mind a few marks on the cover or a creased corner, this would be the time to do that!

And now some weekend art. Because we need pretties to cheer up our weekend. We’ve done all these dot pieces, but not outside polymer, so here are a few pieces by ceramicist Lisa Stevens. Wednesday’s post was also super popular, so I’m thinking a few of you who tried (or plan to try) that dotted tutorial, and these pieces made me think of a short cut way to do similar work–by just impressing with hand tools. You can use acrylic, mica powders or alcohol inks to color the holes or back fill with clay. Or brush on ink tinted liquid polymer to get a similar glazed ceramic look.

Lisa does a lot of these impression type treatments. If you want more pretty and inspiring impressed dot ideas, jump over to her Flickr pages.

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

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - Hail Sale and Impressive Dots  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - Hail Sale and Impressive Dots TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - Hail Sale and Impressive Dots  The Great Create July 2015 - Hail Sale and Impressive Dots

Lining Up Your Own Dots

ukrasheniya-kulony-dvuhstoronnie-quadSo, all this talk of lines and dots has you wanting to try out your own dot-line compositions, right? Well, being the cheerleader that I am, I’ve gone out and found a little something that might get you playing with some of those dots and lines regardless of how enthralled you are with the subject. Just try out this easy and rewarding application technique.

Svetlana Belova generously shares her process for creating these lovely pendants on LiveMaster. The types of patterns you can create this way are endless. It really lets you explore the possibilities without committing to a block of mokume or being limited by a stamp or texture sheet. This kind of work is very meditative and can be a fantastic way to relax or get yourself into a creative zone before working on something else.

Svetlana shares her techniques on her blog and sells her work through her LiveMaster shop where you can see other examples of this and other pretty compositions.

 

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

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - Lining Up Your Own Dots  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - Lining Up Your Own Dots TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - Lining Up Your Own Dots  The Great Create July 2015 - Lining Up Your Own Dots

 

Dots and Bits and Limiting Labels

46419e59fe11c8290cfac3fb1d51c115Today, let’s ponder a broad combination of themes from French artist, Ouedd. Here, lines of white dots play the part of contrast to densely gathered leaf forms with rich, graduated colors applied in a polymer embroidery-type manner. I also thought this might be called a type of mosaic, but do dense patterns of parts alone define a mosaic?

Merriam-Webster says mosaics are “a surface decoration made by inlaying small pieces of variously colored material to form pictures or patterns.” This would be a mosaic then, right? But, Google’s dictionary says, “A picture or design made from small pieces of colored tile, glass, or other material set in mortar.” Oh, well, it is not really set in a mortar. So, maybe it’s not mosaic.

I just think it is best to say it is a richly colored pendant whose erratic primary texture has been thoughtfully broken up by orderly white lines.

Of course, it really doesn’t matter what the type of work here is called. When we label something it is, in our mind and in the mind of anyone that ascribes to that application of the label, limited by that label. Take “polymer artist” as an example. If you consider yourself a polymer artist, do you forever limit your creative endeavors to polymer work only?

I do very much appreciate that we need labels in order to help us organize, in our minds, all the information that comes to us and all the people we meet, but it just seems like we could move beyond them with individuals we know, especially ourselves and, as an extension, the work we do. For instance, do you realize that, usually, when someone we just met asks “What you do?”, we usually say “I am …” tacking on the label that our work or career gives us. That is not what we ‘do’; that is what we ‘are’, or more precisely, what we label ourselves as. You could say “I’m a polymer artist”, but is that all you are? Maybe you could say, “I create polymer art … among other things.” Then you are this vast, complex, person of endless possibilities and action. Doesn’t that sound like a truer way of presenting ourselves? And without the label you are free to create whatever you like with whatever you like without worrying that you are falling outside of some boundaries.

I bring this up because I’ve had two conversations recently with people apologizing for not fitting a label they think the rest of the world may have put them under. My thoughts … it doesn’t matter. Do what you need to do and throw the labels out.

To see an example of art that shows off the endless possibilities of polymer and of artists who play with the medium, take a peek at Oeudd’s Flickr pages and her interesting array of work. Then there is Ouedd’s blog that is fun and a bit silly, especially if you don’t speak French and use the Google translator.

 

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

Polymer Clay Workshops July 2015 Tie Dye 480x480 - Dots and Bits and Limiting Labels  TPA_McGuire_blog ad never knead july 2015c 125 - Dots and Bits and Limiting Labels TPA Blog Newsletter Ad ShadesofClay 1014 v2 - Dots and Bits and Limiting Labels  The Great Create July 2015 - Dots and Bits and Limiting Labels

%d bloggers like this: