Finding Enlightenment

chulily chandelier 319x450 - Finding Enlightenmentchulily chandelier detail 350x450 - Finding EnlightenmentWhile in San Diego a couple weeks ago, I finally made it to the Mingei Museum which exhibits folk art, craft and design. The news of Mingei’s purchase of a number of polymer pieces a handful of years back was how I first learned about this little museum and I have been hoping to go there ever since. They did not have any polymer works out in the exhibitions when I was there but upon ascending the staircase to the upper floor, I was stopped in my tracks by a very unusual chandelier above me.

For those of you who have made it to one of the Chihuly installations popping up all over the globe these last few years, you may have already recognized the signature glass work of this master artist, Dale Chihuly. This ten-foot-tall, seven-foot-wide chandelier I saw hanging above me was a 2005 creation titled Enlightenment. The wall card for it said it has 498 pieces of clear, cream and gold blown glass.

It looks like the more opaque and colored glass was concentrated at the center so that the clear glass on the ends gives the illusion that the writhing mass is expanding, as if any solidity it has is turning to smoke, which was pretty fascinating to walk around.

The most intriguing thing to me was as beautiful as the glass work: the complex and beautifully textured shadow it cast. Just look at the wall to the right of it in the first image. The detail image shows just how complex the glass work is in each of the pieces that make up the chandelier. The detail image is where I thought some polymer inspiration might come from. A little work with pure translucent clay and veined with some tinted translucent, on a smaller scale of course, could render a similar feel, I’d think. It certainly did get me thinking.

If you have not had a chance to see these wonderful glass works of Chihuly, he certainly does have a lot of pieces installed in various places all over the world. You can see if there is an exhibition of a permanent collection or installation near you by going to his exhibition page.

 

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Giving Floral a Little Teeth

teeth floral 346x1024 - Giving Floral a Little TeethAlong with hitting up a number of museums, I got to chat with a lot of artist friends, including my crazy circle in Colorado who seek out, as well as create, really wild and fantastical work. And whenever they find polymer related work, they bring it to me.

My old roommate and the instigator of my own polymer journey, Kyle Kelley, introduced me to this unusual artist, Anastasiya Khramina of NooboSlowpokoPanda. The polymer flowers you see here may have beautifully painted petals and lots of natural detail but take just a little closer look and you’ll see they also have teeth! And some crazy but realistically textured tongues. There is even one embellished with a cat’s snout, complete with bared teeth.

These beautifully creepy, ready-for-Halloween creations are made into brooches, pendants and hair clips, per the customer’s request. She actually makes other things besides flowers but they all have teeth and tongues. If you’re getting into the Halloween mood or are looking for some creepy inspiration, jump over to Anastasiya’s NooboSlowpokoPanda Facebook page for short videos on her pieces and process and her Etsy shop for a look at her present offerings.

And don’t forget … tomorrow is the last day to get half off all available print editions of The Polymer Arts and Polymer Journeys. Head to our Etsy shop to pick up any publications you don’t have yet!

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Giving Floral a Little Teeth    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!

mondongo insidepolyptych 346x450 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!mondongo rgt side polyptych 350x371 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!mondongo detailpolyptych 350x413 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too! Over the last several weeks, I have been traveling and working on moving the business but I was also lucky enough to squeeze in a little museum hopping as well as catching up with a number of artistic friends so I was seeing and talking about a lot of art. I thought that this week I’d share some of what I saw during the last few crazy weeks while I finish organizing the office and warehouse here.

This first piece, Políptico de Buenos Aires by an artist collective known as Mondongo, was found in an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I was accompanied by Christi Friesen and Anke Humpert and when we came to this piece we were initially just entranced by the images and the unusual layered build of the images which were a cross between bas-relief and painting. But then we all stopped at the same time to look at each other and ask, “Hey … is this polymer?”

The description on the wall just listed “clay” as the material but a quick examination showed that it was not ceramic so it was either polymer or another craft clay. It was not until I got home last week that I was able to research the artists and read that they use plasticine. I am not sure it is the same non-drying plasticine many of us grew up on but, yes, they appeared to create this elaborate, nearly 12-foot tall polyptych in modeling clay, using it like paint, with little daubs, thin snakes, and a smeared blending of colors.

The amount of work this must have taken was impressive but it had to be the various stories embedded in their depiction of a shantytown in Buenos Aires in the center sections as well as their own self-portraits and other images on the outside ends that stayed with us. The more we looked, the more we saw and maybe, the more we understood about their sense of frustration with their home country and how people live there.

I could go on and on about this piece but we don’t have the time here. Let me just say this … if you have not visited a museum, gone to a gallery opening, been on an artwalk, or sought out a sculpture garden in recent months, you really should. It is such a shot in the arm for your own creativity and you just never know what you’ll find!

Don’t have time to get out just yet? Well, you can find additional inspiration in the pages of The Polymer Arts magazine. Through the end of the month, hard copy editions of the magazine and the Polymer Journeys book are on sale in our Etsy shop for 1/2 OFF. Help me slim down the inventory as I set up the newly moved stock and get your hands on those precious few issues you’ve missed or want a copy of in print, not just digital for your bookshelf.

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A Translucent Memory

9328310460 c5231eb025 z 350x313 - A Translucent Memory

Easily the all-time favorite cover and one of the best-selling issues since 2012 was the Fall 2013 – Organics issue. I think this was, in large part, due to this fabulous cover art by Kathrin Neumaier. Kathrin was the most prolific and arguably most interesting artist working in translucent polymer clay. She created hollow forms in both the solid and the liquid forms of polymer with stunning results.

I remember getting this image from her and I knew it had to be the cover art for the issue. I didn’t even make any other covers or put it to a vote with the staff as I usually did. I laid this out while on “vacation” with my family on the Oregon coast and while they were off playing on the beach, I got to play with making this piece shine. I remember finishing it and just stepping across the room to look at it from a distance and it was just gorgeous, no matter how you looked at it.

I dug around to see what Kathrin has been up to but there haven’t been any postings since the end of 2016 so it’s not the most up-to-date news on her. I do hope she resurfaces, but in the meantime, enjoy the inspiring collection of work she has created and shared with us on Flickr.

If you don’t have a copy of this beautiful issue, I have only about a dozen copies left in print although they will always be available in digital. Grab your copy of this memorable issue on our website here.

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The Popularity of Play

The Crush Tammy Durham 347x450 - The Popularity of PlayAnother cover that really seemed to knock people’s socks off was the Tammy Durham cover for the Fall 2014- Play issue. I’m sure it was the color and the detail but perhaps it was simply because it was about a subject very near and dear to most of our hearts: playing.

And that is something Tammy seems to be doing a lot of lately, although not so much with her polymer clay illustrations. She is very much focused on color but has been working with abstract oil paintings in the Mondrian mode of color study, or so it appears to me. You can see her present work and her past polymer illustrations on her website here.

If you would like a copy of this issue, we still have a fair amount of stock that I expect to last for a few months longer at least but we are quickly selling out of our earlier issues, especially those we have left for 2012 and 2013. So if you are wanting to update your library of print issues of The Polymer Arts, hop on over to our website and take advantage of our package deals.

 

 

 

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Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

tpa 125x125 sept2017 - The Popularity of Play    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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A Cover to Remember

Nocturnal ISO200Adj 350x295 - A Cover to RememberAs I wind up the final packing of the Colorado warehouse, I have been thinking about some of our more memorable covers and issues and had to stop and wonder what a few of our cover artists have been up to lately. So, I hope you will indulge me, if you are not curious yourself, as we look back at some of the best cover art on the magazine and catch up with some of those artists today.

To this day, one of the most popular covers we ever had was just the third issue of The Polymer Arts back in February of 2012. This is the cover art piece, without the layout. Raku Inuoe just blew everyone’s minds with his fantastical sculptural winged moths and butterflies. The intensity of the color and the boldness of the forms and lines were certainly attention-grabbing. We got tons of comments and emails about this cover and it was shared all over. It was immensely gratifying for a fairly new magazine to get that kind of attention.

If you read that issue, you would have learned that Raku does not swear allegiance to any one medium but swims from one to another, depending on his curiosity and need for expression at the time. Although it doesn’t look like he’s steered completely clear of polymer, he has certainly made another mark on the visual art world with his floral built creatures, recently featured in Colossal. Take a look at his Instagram page for a ride through his wild imagination.

If you are interested in getting a copy of the Spring 2012 – Creative Spaces issues, you will have to be content with a digital copy as the print copies sold out within a year of its publication. It was an amazing issue with a peek into the studios of Raku, Christi Friesen, Bettina Welker and Swirly Designs, as well as other great articles focused on your creative space. Get your copy here.

 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - A Cover to Remember    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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A Most Beautiful Expression

tiny face 350x343 - A Most Beautiful ExpressionAfter all that reminiscing about my first Facebook posts before the blog, I thought I’d bring us back to the blog itself and unveil the absolute most popular post we ever had. This face resulted in more attention and traffic to the blog by nearly double any other post we’ve done. And this was posted back in March of 2013. It is a most spectacular piece of sculpture, not only because of the talent involved but because of the expression of this beautiful little face.

Here is an excerpt from that post:

The artist of this beautiful face is Poland’s Tatiana Nagrebecka. Her dolls are created without molds, completely by hand in polymer clay, using Genesis paints for the lifelike skin tones and details. If you are entranced by this face, take some time to look over the many photos she’s taken of her works in progress and finished creations on her blog.

 

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Alluring Interpretation

joyce jrb piece 350x330 - Alluring InterpretationGoing sculptural in a jewelry direction, this piece really caught my eye back when and I never forgot it. There is something very alluring and even a bit Georgia O’Keefe about this piece. Here is the original post in which I was promoting the popular Summer 2012 – Recycle and Reuse issue:

With our focus on finishing the next issue (Recycle & Reuse theme with TONS of ideas for using scrap clay, canes, old pieces & parts, etc.) I’ve been attracted to work with this theme. This piece from the mysterious Joyce (JVL on Flickr) uses scrap from a prior class and a broken glass bead. It feels so alive, like a strange new anemone. Some things just come together, even better for not being planned.

As is turned out, the mysterious Joyce was Joyce Ramdan who created this piece during a class with Jana Roberts Benzon back then. Joyce seems to have wandered off into other crafts since then but has several examples of her reinterpretation of the technique, all of them quite beautiful, as you can see here on her Flickr. photostream.

 

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Neverknead 052217 - Alluring Interpretation    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Fantastic Faces

virginie ropars castle headed 345x450 - Fantastic FacesWhile still off working out the last details of moving the business to California, we’ll continue looking at past posts in the days before the blog, when I was just sharing daily on our Facebook page.

This piece’s popularity surprised me a little. It is not sleek or colorful, might be slightly disturbing, and it’s not jewelry but the artist, Virginie Ropars, is a huge favorite of mine. Here is the post I put up on March 7th, 2012:

Art dolls are an incredible artistic form and this woman is one of my favorites because she goes way beyond just costuming a form … and the dolls are made with polymer clay! Take a look at the incredible detail of the castle that is the top of the head and the neck and chest decor. Stunning! Tons more to look at here: http://vropars.free.fr/index.htm

You can see more of her amazing and imaginative sculpture and dolls, (which have gotten a bit more disturbing as time goes on–just thought I ought to warn you!) on her newer website here but also on her Facebook page.

 

 

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Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - Fantastic Faces    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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