Big Paper

dittmar 003 2017 430x842 - Big PaperI can’t tell you how thrilled I was that Meredith Dittmar agreed to do an interview for the artist profile in this issue. Her work is like nothing else that we see in polymer. It’s very illustrative and conceptual. Some of it is cute but a lot of it is otherworldly, seemingly pulled directly from dreams and not always the nice ones. The sometimes uncomfortable juxtaposition of forms and imagery makes you stop and think about what she’s trying to say. That’s after you stop gaping at how well-formed and smooth her polymer shapes are. She has developed a few tricks that she reveals in this interview, to create these well-finished compositions. You also get to see how large they are and how she cures them. It’s fascinating.

Although this was mentioned, we were not able to really delve into her compositions with paper. This is something she has been working on in recent years. The compositions are very much like her polymer work but the paper has some less cumbersome technical considerations to work with. This piece is mostly paper; however, it does have some polymer pieces in it. The paper gives the work a lighter and more fragile feel, although the imagery is still strong and poignant.

Take a look at the article and then take a look at this and her other paper compositions to see how the change in the material changes the feel of the work. You can compare pieces online by taking a look at her website, Facebook, or Instagram pages.

Cat’s out of the Bag

Nikolina Otrzan misko mirrors 430x340 - Cat's out of the BagI’m not sure how it happened but we somehow got Nikolina Otrzan to “spill the beads” on her unique, signature textures that she creates for her jewelry components. She shares not one, not two, but four different textures and even variations on those so it’s more like a dozen possible textures you can get out of completing her tutorial in this issue. It turns out, they are all pretty easy to do. They will just take some patience to do it as neatly as she does.

We were not able to fit in examples of all the ways these beads could be used. As seen here, her textured components can be artfully composed to decorate home décor and not just as beads for jewelry. Her cat seems to approve of these mirrors as well. And what a great idea. If you have a stash of flat-backed beads or components that work together, decorate a mirror, frame, or another object they can be attached to. Your spare components will have a home and you too can end up with some beautiful—as you see in the article—pet-approved décor.

Nikolina is a very thorough and detailed instructor. If, after getting into those textures in the article, you find that you want more, all you need to do is go to her Etsy shop to get another tutorial from the couple dozen she has available right now.


Summer 2018 is here! The Big Picture

collage 18P2 327x450 - Summer 2018 is here! The Big PictureYesterday, the “Summer 2018 – Everything in Its Place” issue of The Polymer Arts was released digitally and the print issues were at the post office getting sorted on Friday. If you are expecting a digital edition, look in your inbox (check spam/junk mail folders if it’s not there) and print editions will start popping up in mailboxes soon (allow up to four weeks if you are on the east or southeast end of the United States or are overseas.)

Here is a collage of some of the first pages of articles if you haven’t seen the issue yet. Click on the image to get a bigger picture.

In the meantime, let’s look at some items that didn’t make it into this packed issue.

The piece you see here is actually in the issue but it’s small and there’s so much detail it seemed a shame not to provide a larger image. (You can click on the image of the tiles to get a bigger, more detailed photo.)

This nine square inches scene was created by Chris Kapono as an example of how to use her tiny tiles methods to create a series of tiles that work together. She shows the construction of this type of tile in the article and has examples of how to lay out a version of your own.

Chris Kapono Sea Turtle Tile Set Steps 350x332 - Summer 2018 is here! The Big Picture

This kind of project reminds me of the “tiny steps” philosophy of goal setting, where you take a big goal and break it down into small chunks. So if you have ever thought about doing wall art or larger pieces, take a tip from this composition and break it down into multiple sections. After mapping out the larger picture, you can create one section at a time and pretty soon, you will have a complete piece. Really makes large projects much more manageable when you can break them down in some fashion.

Check out more of Chris’s work and her tutorials in her Mandarin Moon Etsy shop.

Moving Organic Forms

A little business first …

On Sunday, we release the Summer 2018 issue of The Polymer Arts, themed “Everything in Its Place”. You can still subscribe or pre-order the digital edition and get it Sunday morning with everyone else, or subscribe or purchase to get a print edition and we will mail those out when we get our boxes mid-week. Active print subscribers and print pre-orders will get theirs sorted through the post office today and so those should start popping up in mailboxes next week. Mind you, they might need 2-3 weeks to get to you should you live on the US East or South coast or overseas.

Andriy Mykolenko 430x420 - Moving Organic FormsNow to the artwork. I thought that today, we would move away from floral into a different kind of organic beauty. And a different medium. I figured, who doesn’t love a bit of iridescent lampwork?

These pieces were actually created about five years ago but Andriy Mykolenko still creates beautiful, long, twisted beads of glass along with other traditional and not-so-traditional lampwork forms. However, this was easily my favorite set that I could find. The gradation of color, the line of the dots, and the waving forms create so much motion and energy. And he arranged them beautifully for this photo, poised to suggest a strange but fascinating hollow flower or an alien sun.

I’ve had a renewed interest in lampwork beads of late, primarily because I think with the new Sculpey super clear liquid polymer, more exploration of faux lampwork bead forms is about due. As soon as I get this latest issue wrapped up I’m going to set aside some playtime for just that. And if faux lampwork doesn’t entice you, perhaps the shape of these beads will give you some ideas for really energetic new bead forms.

To see more of Andriy’s lampwork forms, check out his Etsy shop.


Biting Floral

warm Rain Art Ali 430x444 - Biting FloralI told you we will be doing a bit more floral but I bet you didn’t expect to have teeth. However, this floral piece does and yet it’s quite feminine and beautiful.

We can thank Ali of Warm Rain Art on Etsy for giving us this enchanting but slightly uncomfortable view of a floral necklace. The success of this piece is in large part because of the contrast between the light and calm pinks and lavender, and the very sharp teeth set dead center in them. It would still be a pretty piece if there was something else as the focal point, but I don’t think anything else would get quite the looks, comments, and double takes that those teeth will bring. You could take it as a reminder that nature has teeth, or that even the sweetest young lady can hold her own when needed. Or, probably more to the point, that beauty and danger are not mutually exclusive.

Floral work is not actually what Ali primarily creates. Animals, both realistic and fantastic, dominate her shop. Peek in on her very detailed and realistic looking work on Etsy and find her latest art on Instagram.

A Pocket Full

Judith Ligon 430x512 - A Pocket FullI know I usually only do one week of a theme but we’re going to kind of continue with flowers and transition into other organic beauty this week. I’m just letting serendipity choose for us. And serendipity chose that we look at a few more unique floral items.

This wall sconce was created by Judith Ligon. This is one of her signature forms and, in my opinion, what she does best. She calls this heart-shaped wall vase a Posey pocket. The decoration on these works like a continuation of the vase’s content. The floral elements come down the front from the vase’s upper edge with lines and vine impressions creating an echoing backdrop to the stems and leaves that might be here. The placement of these decorative elements causes them to blend with the flowers and other natural contributions set in it. This way the vase and the flowers become one cohesive decorative object.

Judith sells her work through her website and shows off her latest pieces on Instagram.

Ephemeral Flowers

jainine bjornson madala petals 430x417 - Ephemeral FlowersToday we’re going to look at some actual flowers. Well, petals at least. This design is by Janine Bjornson, a Canadian life coach who, apparently, is drawn to color and pattern much like many of us polymer artists. She decided to make ephemeral art the subject of her 100 Day Project on Instagram and this is just one of her many beautiful, natural, and temporary designs.

If you’re not familiar with ephemeral art, it is art created with the intention of it being transitory. Its temporary nature is usually due to either the materials being something that quickly breaks down or the construction being set up in a place where nature or man will quickly and inevitably bring it down. The art is created for the momentary enjoyment, contemplation, or appreciation of it, and, often, also for the experience the artist has in the process of creating it.

In my 100 Day Project, which has completely changed parameters (I do manage to create a texture every day but the writing and posting have been more challenging!), I knew I would be traveling and considered ephemeral art as an option for those days when working with clay was not going to be possible. Some days we are not in a place where we get to be creative with our chosen material but that doesn’t mean we can’t stop and create something beautiful with what we have on hand.

Janine uses natural materials including flower petals, branches, leaves, berries, feathers, and even water droplets. Pretty much anything she can find outdoors, it looks like. So her work allows her to connect with nature and bring us these beautiful images as well. But this begs the question, that if it is photographed, is it still ephemeral art since we’ve made it lasting in recording it? That is a purely philosophical question, and irrelevant to our enjoyment of these beautiful colors designs.

Although this is an obvious mandala, she doesn’t commonly create symmetrically but changes it up pretty dramatically every day. You can take a look at her beautiful temporal creations on her Instagram account.

A Plethora of Petals

jana benzon rose petals 430x408 - A Plethora of PetalsHave you seen what Jana Roberts Benson has been up to lately? She has been creating these entrancing, super textural and rich pieces with layered petals and other highly dense collections of elements. They’re absolutely amazing.

This is the first piece I saw, jumping out at me from my Facebook one day last month, but there have been so many more posted since. It is a bit hard to describe why these are so alluring. I think, for one, you just really want to reach out and touch them and it’s a touch frustrating that you can’t, right? Secondly, for us artists, we look at this and can only imagine how much work must go into them. Or you might wonder what kind of trick she has up her sleeve to complete so many of these in what seems like a short period of time. The colors are deep and rich, matching the richness of the density of elements she puts together in these pieces.

I’m going to stop attempting to tell you about these and just have you jump over to her Facebook page to see what she’s been up to. It’s not like any of her work you’ve seen before and I, for one, am really excited to see where this is taking her.

A Moment for the Flowers

Anna nel nested flowers v2 430x485 - A Moment for the FlowersSpring is finally here in full force in Southern California. My daffodils have already bloomed and gone for some reason but suddenly everything else is jumping out and it is really hard to stay in the office when just outside my window so much is going on. So I will bring some of the flowers indoors this week by checking out some flower pieces here!

I came by this lovely set of nested trumpet-like flowers by Anna Nel on Instagram the other day and just had to stop and admire. I think it’s really the colors that make this image. I first thought this was a complete necklace and then realized it is two separate ones. My vote, however, is it that these be worn together. Green and purple are always a lovely combination and yellow and purple are opposites on the color wheel so collectively the three bright colors make a very vibrant and eye-catching color palette.

I couldn’t find much about Anna but you can go over to her Instagram account to see what she’s been up to. She looks to be in a rather exploratory phase of her polymer journey but definitely heading in an interesting direction.

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