A Spring Shift

svetlana Parenkova 430x416 - A Spring ShiftThe colors of spring bring a refreshing dash of brightness to the end of winter with its leafless trees and stark landscapes. Svetlana Parenkova embedded the new season’s brilliant palette into her clay with mica shift and an enamel-like technique that looks to be mokume to create these eye-catching elements.

Note how the black outline around the metallic clay makes the bright background colors just pop around it.  The black adds a more severe contrast between the colors so they appear brighter than they would if the metallic and the colored background met without that dark buffer.

Svetlana works primarily in textures and metallics with a sophisticated, classic and old world style.  Find more of her work on Instagram, Facebook and in her LiveMaster shop.


An Orderly Spring

Mervat Radwan 430x410 - An Orderly SpringFirst … we are doing a bit of Spring cleaning ourselves this week with our big Annual Damage Sale. Our stack of imperfect, slightly dinged up, but perfectly read-able issues and books are available on Etsy as of today. Just $4 for imperfect magazines and $10 for imperfect copies of Polymer Journeys! And we took off up to 35% on our other back issues (discount good through April 3rd). We do this only through my Etsy shop–it’s a first come kind of thing, so hurry. Half of the imperfect issues will sell out today if tradition holds.

Part of spring cleaning is spring organizing, right? Well, maybe this piece will inspire your organized side. Mervat Radwan put some of her organizational talents into this well-arranged pattern of brilliant color and tantalizing texture a few years back but I only recently spied it on Instagram. The simple shortened bib style of the necklace allows us to focus on the intricate patterning and color but as a clayer, you can’t help but admire the carefully consistent and skilled placement.

I imagine she laid out this pattern before starting—how else do you get such even lines and spacing? My recent exploration of techniques for tiny bits of clay has made me come to appreciate this type of work even more than I did before. You can read about my adventures and learn a number of techniques, like you see in Mervat’s work, in our latest magazine, the Spring 2018 – Big and Small issue, which you can get on our website here: www.thepolymerarts.com.

I was not able to dig up a lot of information about Mervat, quite likely because I can’t search her Arabic text online. The image came to me through the Polymer Clay Tribe Instagram account. I also found this Google plus page and this YouTube video in which Mervat is interviewed on TV, but if anyone has more information I will add it to the posts. Just write in the comments or reply to the blog email if you get that.


Spring as a Work in Progress

Bischoff wall art 2018 430x303 - Spring as a Work in ProgressSpring has sprung, and we are seeing all kinds of colorful, foliage-focused artwork as well. Bonnie Bishoff just completed this wall piece called Murmuration. We see leaves moving like water in a series of flowing, organized lines. Behind it, the more conventional colors of water swirl and rush in opposing directions to further energize the composition.

This is just another example of Bonnie’s penchant for movement. It’s why she made the cover of our movement-themed issue in the summer of 2016. Get a copy to check out her gallery page and short biography as well as to take in all the articles about adding movement to one’s designs if this is of interest to you.

I look forward to seeing what she will do with the framing and hanging of this piece. But for right now we’re just privileged to get this sneak peak. You can follow Bonnie on Instagram and the work she does with her partner, J.M. Syron,  on their website.

Creepy Cool Street Texture

cityzencane 430x355 - Creepy Cool Street Texture

This surprising piece here was part of a street art exhibition from the curious mind of Cityzenkane. I am used to seeing very colorful and shiny work from him, some of which you can still see in parts of this street installation, but the predominantly black forms make the texture and shapes far more important and impressive when the shimmer and color are not distracting from his sculptural work.

I feel like Cityzenkane worked primarily with polymer in the beginning but then turned to other clays and resins that can be worked in larger forms, creating molds of his polymer sculptures in order to realize his amazing Giger-esque outdoor compositions. I could be wrong and these polymer-to-cast pieces could be what he has done all along. Either way, his uncured sculptures, ruined once cast, start with polymer and eventually work their way out into the streets of urban areas, mostly in the UK and Europe.

It’s really hard to show what this is like in one image so I encourage you to take a look at the YouTube video he has about his process and the event. You can also take a closer look at his range of work on Instagram and this website, and his progress through time on Flickr.



Street Totems

travis suda totems - Street TotemsTravis Suda is not a polymer-specific artist, really, nor does he readily identify as a sculptural artist. He is actually a graffiti artist who took part in an art show in which these totems were displayed. It sounds like he has created a series of such pieces but I could not find them online anywhere so we have only these two to enjoy. And to be truthful, I am not absolutely sure these are polymer but they certainly look like it.

This work reflects the influences of the indigenous Northwestern Amercian people’s totem poles as well as the imagery of the native peoples of the Southwest. He is not, however, pulling directly or even emulating the imagery and forms from these regions but rather, he is trying to embody the attitude and purpose for which these figures were formed in their culture. For instance, as Travis himself says regarding the Hopi Kachina, “Often these Kachinas were said to contain the spirits of certain deities, natural forces or animals and these acted as a conduit of communication with the unseen world. I’ve made each one of these sculptures with the same spiritual intention.”

He also creates new and captivating textures with the undulating lines and forms that are fitted together like some challenging new puzzle. If you find Travis’ sculpture intriguing, you might like his street art too. You can find his shared images on his Facebook page and Flickr page.

Alien Texture

MARIANA KOPYLOVA 430x563 - Alien TextureThis week I’m going to have us wander off into the weirdly wonderful. The weird part comes from what and where I have been finding these treasures while the wonderful is about the amazing texture on this sculptural pieces.

Maryana Kopylova sculpts the most fantastical alien animals that, unlike how I imagine encounters with real aliens would go, do anything but drive you away. Some have adorable, huge eyes while others are hauntingly beautiful in their unfamiliar forms and appendages. I think we can say that this creature here is both cute and beautiful, sporting an array of alluring tactile textures. The big baby blues don’t hurt either.

Maryana sculpts and then paints her pieces with carefully matched-up colors softly applied in a gradation of natural tones. The highly textured surfaces and variation of color give this creature of her imagination a realistic, natural look. So even though much of the color could have come from the clay, the natural feel would have been very hard to accomplish.

Mariana parades her alien dolls on her Instagram page and on Facebook.




Paper Cranes for Days

paper cranes 430x442 - Paper Cranes for DaysThere is nothing quite like a challenge to really push one to try out really different things in a design, especially if you are doing one a week for a year or some such challenge.

Cristian Marianciuc, however, went nuts and created one artistic paper crane every day for, not one year, not two years, but for nearly three years! 1000 days to be exact.  That’s 1000 variations on the origami paper crane and most of the variation did not come from the paper but from the additions he brought to his little creations. And his efforts were well rewarded, not only because he now has this wonderful collection but because it caught the eye of the editors of the Colossal blog and got him this little article here.

Just take a look at the article to see a small sampling of all the ways he added to the cranes. And if you really want to go down that wonderful rabbit hole, start with his Instagram page. No material or curl of paper seems to be safe from his mad craning. But how wonderful it is.

Many Helping Hands

samunnat angels 430x380 - Many Helping HandsYou may have already read about this in Cynthia’s blog a couple weeks ago but a new, enticing picture is fitting into our theme of variation this week, and I couldn’t help but share.

The Samunnat Nepal project is sending three of their ladies to the States for training, and the sale of these beautiful angels is part of the fundraising. The variation on these is aided by the help of the many busy hands at the Samunnat house along with a lot of scrap sari. The variations are not huge—a change of color in the top, a different hairstyle and slight changes to the face—but it makes each unique and something to be treasured.

The angels are $50 including free shipping within the continental United States. Ron Lehocky will be taking care of the orders so you can write him at rlehocky@bellsouth.net and send checks to him, made out to Ron Lehocky and mailed to 1763 Casselberry Rd, Louisville, KY 40205. If you’d like to support Samunnat with direct monetary support, you can do so on Paypal by donating here.

If you are working on variations, take a cue from these ladies and work with other artists to see what you can come up with. They do this all the time as you can see on their Instagram page

Colors of the Subtropics

gen williamson subtropical 430x542 - Colors of the Subtropics

Creating variations on a theme is one very good way to really understand and perfect a design, plus you often end up with a lot of work to sell!

This set was one I was actually going to talk about the week before last, as another example of how to work paint into polymer in a way that polymer alone can’t accomplish. Yes, Genevieve Williamson uses an antiquing process but instead of just trying to give the work an antique look, the technique really feels like it is more about softening the colors and bringing out the scratched up surfaces that are her signature texture.

The look is a bit grungy but definitely sophisticated. The effect transcends the materials used so that the look is all about the color and style and what they are made of is of no consequence. The quiet affinity Genevieve shows for the organic is rather remarkable in that all that her shapes are primarily geometric, however loosely cut and carved. Her colors are usually more subdued as well but these subtropical colors are a pleasant departure, still keeping all her signature marks and shapes but giving the work a sunny and fun look and creating variation within her own style as well as this line of subtropic earrings.

Genevieve’s style is unique as is how much she shares about her life and process online. If you read her blog, you do really feel like you know and understand where her work is coming from. It’s a pleasure to read her posts, however few and far between they are. You can find those posts and a gallery of her work on her website as well as work for sale in her Etsy shop.

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