Expanding on the New Fall Issue

Okay … the Fall 2015 – Elements issue of The Polymer Arts had a successful release this weekend (well, with a couple tiny bumps along the way). Thank you for all the great comments already coming in. It is a pretty awesome issue … so many great contributors and ideas!

So, if you are expecting a copy, DIGITAL issues should be in your emailbox. Check junk mail folders or other email addresses if you’re sure you should have one and don’t see it. If it can’t be found, write us at connect@thepolymerarts.com and we will look it up, see what is going on and get it to you as needed. PRINT copies went to the post office at the end of the week, so they are all on the way now as well. If you need to buy a copy or get a subscription, you can do so here: http://www.thepolymerarts.com/Subscribe.html

CelineCharuau GrnSucculentNow onto the pretty stuff …

As always, we had more material than we could fit into the issue. And then there are simply the articles I wish we could have expanded on more. One such was Laurie MacIsaac’s interview of Celine Charuau titled “Strange Beauty”. I am personally so enamored by Celine’s work and, I do admit, the article was a request of mine that I hope you all will agree, is an enthralling look into an artist’s process and view of the world. Celine’s work is just so wholly unusual, and although it’s obvious that she pulls from nature, I didn’t realize how connected she was to plants, but after reading the article, you can really see just how much her passion for them comes out in her work. You’ll see what I mean if you read the interview. I wish we could have had room for a few more of her direct garden interpretations such as this succulent inspired necklace.

Like so much of her work, there is quiet and harmony in the sparseness of this piece. She creates a lot of these bunching kind of compositions which echo the way plants often grow. She also chooses just very particular parts of the plant, so that you aren’t sure what you might be looking at to start with. I also very much admire that she does not restrict her use of space, and has her creations come out quite dramatically from the surface of the pieces, sometimes dangerously so. But that dimensionality gives her work a boldness that might otherwise be nearly impossible with the unassuming minimalism she tends towards.

Celine is definitely one of those artists whose work is best seen in a collection in order to really appreciate the genius of her design choices. I would suggest reading the article if you have the issue in hand already, then go over to her Flickr photostream or her DaWanda shop and spend a little time looking over her varied pieces. Having a little background on an artist can really open up how you see their work and can bring such a rich understanding and enjoyment of it.

 

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The Lively Creation of Contained Beauty

DebbieThenNow138Speaking of inspiring containers this week … I found this little box to be utterly enthralling. This beauty was created by Australia’s Debbie Sheezel.  According to the description I found with this on Pinterest,  this piece was made using cloisonné wiring and enamel, of course, embedded with pearls on the lid of a sterling silver box.

It is the forms and the coloring here that make this so pleasing to look at. The red and orange feel like fire, but the flames come from a cool, organic green. The loose form of the red lines feel alive and with them all coalescing at the center with its gathering of pearls, you have the rich and glorious feeling that this is a visual metaphor for beauty being created. That is even before you know the piece has been entitled Seed. It’s one of those pieces you enviously realize that the artist made all the right decisions, from color to form to line to accents. Even the fact that it is a box with all its possibilities inside seems right.

Debbie is an uncommonly talented enamel artist. Her work is not only beautiful, but you can feel a liveliness in her pieces that is more than the depth this glass ‘painting’ technique affords the artist. We can get such depth with polymer when we are layering translucents, so it’s possible to get this with our medium. It’s just finding the muse that leads you to such colors and lines that would be the challenge.

See more of Debbie’s beautiful pieces on her website and on this enamel artist’s gathering site, Grains of Glass. What a great name. And what a site. Be careful you don’t get lost in there.

 

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Boxed Complexity

il_570xN.619792663_6flySo many people found that Emily’s little triangular dishes we posted on Monday really got their creative juices flowing, so how about a few more container ideas this week?

This one is a lovely little box by Kate Tracton, an avid beader and polymer clay container specialist. We featured her own little burnished bowls early last year, but she also does interesting things with the ol’ trinket box or ‘canister pot’ as she labels it. I liked this particular image because you can see how a few simple canes can be combined to make intricate compositions on a container rather than just covering it all. The fact that is was built up in layers of forms and texture adds to the complexity and causes you to spend a bit of time examining all the little details she added to this in such a caring and careful manner.

To see more of these containers of hers and for a nice array of other cane built plates and bowls and things, visit her Etsy shop as well as her nicely done gallery on her website.

 

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An Art Crush and Some Monday Color

littleplates ESquireLevineSome time back, I saw these little bowls by the wonderful Emily Squires Levine, but suddenly they were the one thing that really stood out to me in my collection of images I want to share soon. The energy of the patterns, the simplicity of the form, the variety of the composition … not sure which is really drawing me the most, but it really felt like a good Monday kind of visual to share. Also, they serve as an inspiration of something useful and cheerful that can be created when one finds it hard to get into the studio.

This photo was actually found on Veru’s Design blog on an“Art Crush” postings, this one obviously about Emily. Apparently Veruschka Stevens has a serious creative crush on Emily Squires Levine’s work and spent a day with her, snapping shots of Emily’s work, her studio and also the pages of The Polymer Arts that Emily has been in, which was fun for us to see. It’s a very cute and insightful post–go take a look and get the full story on what Veru saw when she visited Emily. And if you want more color and fun for your Monday, see what else Emily has been up to on her website.

 

 

 

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Mokume in all its Hidden Glory

platshpinFinally got the Fall issue wrapped up as far as the printer is concerned, but I am already knee deep in plans for the Winter issue whose theme is “Hidden”, which is coincidentally related to what we’ve been chatting about this week. What a great theme idea–it came from a few reader’s last year, and we were all too excited at the possibilities. Mokume is one such possibility to fulfill the theme, and we are working on getting you some amazing mokume techniques to try, but in the meantime, how about a little mokume education?

You probably already know that mokume gane is an ancient folded metal technique. You will often see me refer to it only as mokume since that means wood grain and gane means metal. And we are giving metal a woodgrain look. It’s kind of ironic that mokume gane is really faux wood in metal and mokume nendo–which means plastic–is the faux of a faux woodgrain. We ALL borrow from from other art forms including that which nature creates.

Mokume gane is not the most popular metal technique, but it does seem to be having a resurgence. And I have to say that the restrictions and control necessary really give the metal technique just gorgeous lines and sophistication. I think because it is too easy to just push it any which way with polymer we have some pretty blobby versions out there. Nothing wrong with nicely done ‘blobs’. Any form can be beautiful, right? But let’s just sit back today and enjoy the beauty of the form we borrowed from as it is seen in the metal arts of Steve Midgett.

The one on the left is actually a pin and was oriented horizontally on his website, but I think it has such beautiful power in the vertical position. We have quite the in-depth article on creating mood with color, shape and orientation in the upcoming Fall 2015 issue of The Polymer Arts–be sure to get your copy and you’ll understand more what I’m talking about after you read it. However, you can feel how that shape still feels so powerfully elegant in the pendant of the same basic shape on the right.

Take a peak at more of these hidden layers and Steve’s beautiful application of mokume gane on his website.

 

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Uncovering The Greens

olga perova purple green vesselSince we started off the week looking at a piece that hinted at what might lie beneath the surface, I thought I’d see what else we could dig up along those lines. This certainly fills the bill! Its a vessel by London’s Olga Perova and has a fascinating surface of what I think must be randomly bunched up layers of clay. How big do you think this is? That could be a lot of clay and a lot of bunching! There are 10 more shots from every angle on her Flickr page if you want to ponder the mystery with me. But either way, it came out really cool looking and the color palette of purple and icy greens was an excellent set of choices to give this an austere beauty and a bit of energy as well.

Olga’s done this in a couple prior pieces she’s posted, but I think this is the most successful thus far, at least in the level of intrigue the application will likely inspire in any viewer. To see what else Olga has been ‘digging up’ lately, hop on over to her Flickr photostream and her Etsy shop.

 

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Clusters of Curiosity

Jan Geisen blue shimmerMonochrome pieces can be difficult to create energy in, simply because one of our easiest and most common elements of visual energy is color and contrast or change in color that creates truly, lively energy. The next most effective element is line. But, here is a piece by Jan Geisen that has a quiet but persistent energy without either of those elements.

It primarily comes from the texture and the use of light in the shimmery clusters that pop out of the rough and crackle surface. And the brilliance of that blue doesn’t hurt at all. I think there is also something to the fact that nothing is well outlined; that you keep wanting to look to see it clearer. The clusters of sparkle suggest something like buried nuggets of precious metal rather than recreating something solid to look at. Normally that lack of definition could too readily detract from the beauty of a piece, but here, it adds a little mystery and piques our curiosity, does it not? Or maybe it’s just me.

If you like this kind of texture, you have to take a look at what Jan has been up to lately. You can find her most recent work on her Flickr photostream and even get yourself a piece from her available collection on Etsy.

 

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Melanie’s Creatures

MWest chiton Brooch 08 15Apparently this is exploration week. A lot of people are out trying other artist’s techniques or pushing their own forms. And there has been a lot of sharing!

I was particularly excited to see this new work by Melanie West. Although it’s not a series of disks as we have been seeing this past week or so, we are still in the arena of stacked forms. Here’s Melanie’s description of this curious creature: Chiton Brooch in Brown and Crimson polymer, formed, carved and laminated, clasp is magnetic.

That’s pretty straight forward, not at all alluding to the otherworldly feel or mysterious intent of this particular entity. But she does call it a chiton, which is a form of mollusk with overlapping plates. But regardless of the mollusk inspiration, Melanie’s forms all tend to be this way–heavily organic and appearing to be living creatures, undulating and moving through space. This wonderful sense of movement comes from the structure of her forms, moving from small to wide and often back to a slimmer form again. That and her lines–sometimes literal in the canes she applies, sometimes showing themselves in the edge of her elements–which skate, slither and wriggle, are where we get that sensation that her pieces are alive.

Melanie has a lot of beautiful newer work on display around her website, so do go take a look at Melanie’s particular zoo.

 

 

 

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Taking the Disk Challenge

Crothers glass beadsI just had to share this because these creations by Debbie Crothers were a direct result of the pieces posted on this past Friday’s blog. Do you recall those gorgeous glass beads by Debbie Sanders? And my mental meanderings about how cool something like this would be in polymer? Well … ta-da!, Debbie took on Debbie and created polymer versions, and I have to say they are just luscious.

Our dear Deb is such an explorer. These beads are just one in many recent experiments she’s shared on her Facebook page and blog. If you are a lover of visual, organic textures, take a look at her recent “what-if” beads you see here too. I don’t know what she put on these, but they’re entrancing in their variation of color and forms. Jump over to her post on her what-if day in the studio to see more.  Crothers what if beads

Debbie also released her latest Craft Art Edu class on image transfers. There must be something out there in the ether that is pushing us towards image transfers because we also have an article on image transfer in the soon-to-be-released Fall 2015 issue of The Polymer Arts. Deb’s class uses pre-printed laser prints, waterslide images, and temporary tattoo applications while the tutorial in the upcoming TPA issue explores inkjet print transfer created on plain paper (yes, just regular old white copy paper) and photo paper. They both have their pros and cons, so you’d have to check them out to see which you might want to play with.

Pre-order your copy of the Fall 2015 issue on the website, and you can preview Debbie’s class on Craft Art Edu by just clicking on the window you find there.

 

 

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.

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