A Wave and a Tease

DebCrothers PAP 430x282 - A Wave and a TeaseAs of Thursday, I will be out of the country, gallivanting about with my family in Europe for a couple of weeks. Per doctor’s orders, I am trying to completely unplug so I will post something for you Wednesday and then, after that, you’ll have the pleasure of hearing from a number of other well-respected and accomplished artists as they share work by some favorite artists of theirs. It should be a nice, refreshing, change of pace for a couple of weeks, for you and I.

While I am gone, my assistant, Sydney, will be will be working away on our upcoming books we officially announced last week. Her first order of business will be working on the invitation list for the 2018 edition of Polymer Journeys, slated to come out in October. Consideration for inclusion in the book is by invitation only and although we have quite the list going already, we want to make sure we don’t miss anybody because you don’t have the right email or we’re simply not aware of what you’re doing. If you think your work should be included, see the details below.

Sydney will also be orchestrating the continued work on our first Polymer Art Projects tutorial collection – Organics. We’ll share the cover and set you up for pre-sale opportunities soon after I get back in mid-July. But, in the meantime, I’m going to be a terrible person and tease you by sharing a couple of pieces you will be able to make from the upcoming Projects book. Not to get you overly excited too early but I’m excited and dying to share some of this with you.

Here are variations on a pendant necklace that Debbie Crothers will teach you how to make in her tutorial in the book. She shares a number of her lovely surface treatments as well as a creative polymer clasp and other wonderful accents and touches. I asked Debbie to be part of this book because of her colorful, well-designed, but loose-feeling approach to surface design. She shows you how to complete a version of one of these but you’ll be able to easily take from the skills she teaches and create unique pieces of your own.

If you don’t follow Debbie and her blog, you can do so here. She often throws out little freebie tutorials as well as selling her fun and engaging video tutorials on her site here.

Polymer Journeys Invitations: If you were invited to participate in Polymer Journeys last time, you will be in the pool for the initial rounds to choose who gets invitations but please update us with your most recent email if it has changed since then. If you have not been previously invited but would like to be because your work represents some of the best that polymer has to offer and/or are contributing to the polymer community in unique or significantly supportive ways, you can request consideration for an invitation.

To be considered, fill out an invitation request here.  Note that making a request does not guarantee an invitation as we are limited to 250 invitations and so we will narrow down the list in the first round before invitations are even sent out. Invitations go out mid-July.  Submissions of work completed between 2016 and 2018 will be due in early September. If you have questions while I’m out, you can write Sydney at connect[at]thepolymerarts.com. 

Twisted Color

Izabela Nowak twisted color 430x343 - Twisted ColorHere is another example of using both color and line to create fun and energetic pieces.

Izabela Nowak is well known for her folded polymer but it looks like she has taken it a step further, away from the origami-inspired and into geometry formed from spiraling layers of polymer strips. Her color combinations tend to stay on one side of the color wheel but she doesn’t need a lot of bright or varied colors to give the pieces energy when she has these busy lines twisting back and forth around themselves. The open space in these pieces adds a light and delicate nature to her forms, lending plenty of quiet space between the strands of twisting color.

See what else she has been up to with her new forms by checking out her Flickr photostream, her Facebook page or her Instagram account.



Shaking Color

Pavla Cepelikova Summer brooch 430x355 - Shaking Color Imbuing your pieces with energetic color has a lot to do with contrast. The colors do not necessarily have to be bold and bright, although bright colors have an inherent energy of their own, but rather they need to be a mix of warm and cool, bright and muted, or any combination of color characteristics that make the colors vie for dominance, visually.

The colors in this brooch by Pavla Cepelikova have a fun combination of bright and muted as well as cool and warm colors. By themselves, they would give this piece a moderate amount of energy. Applying the colors in stripes adds to the intensity of energy as variation in color alternates up and down those striped strips.

Her use of lines also adds a tremendous amount of energy. Not unlike the way they use lines in animation to denote when something is moving, she has added energetic lines around the petals as if they are shaking on the surface of the brooch. The combination of energetic color and lines makes for a very lively piece.

This combination of line and color energy seems to be a recent exploration of Pavla’s. You can see what she’s done with it so far on her Flickr photostream and in her Etsy shop.



Detailed Color, 10% off Sale, New Books!

jana Lehmann pendant 350x340 - Detailed Color, 10% off Sale, New Books! Things are super busy over here at TPA headquarters polishing up a brand new website. So we thought would make it busier (and because we will need to hold off on doing sales promotions on the new site for little bit) by bringing you a 10% off Everything in Your Cart Sale!  The sale is good through June 14. Use the promo code TPASITE on our website.

We also have initial announcements about new books and our upcoming new website! But instead of filling up your blog post here with details, I’ll leave you with a link to our newsletter here to get all the news.

I thought we could look at busy color this week but find examples that keep it contained, manageable, and a real pleasure to view. A broad and varied colored pattern can add a lot of interest and energetic detail to a piece without being overwhelming. You just need a few points of keeping it controlled.

This pendant is by Jana Lehmann, part of a newer series of hers involving lots of color, lines and folded clay. Her patterns are further enhanced by her many little details—dots and spots and patterned borders. It is visually energetic as well as making you want to reach out and touch its very tactile surface. But for all its busyness, it is well contained within its borders and thick pendant form.

Take a look at her many variations with necklaces, rings, and brooches found on her Facebook page and Flickr photostream.


Coloring Outside the Usual

Deb Karash colored circles 350x334 - Coloring Outside the UsualAs much of a focus as Ellen and Sue have on polymer art at Creative Journey Studios, they make plenty of room for other types of beautiful craft mediums.

This work here is by one of the other craft artists they show and sell at the studio, Deb Karash, who works with metal and, surprisingly enough, colored pencil. Her reasons for choosing this combination of mediums sounds much like what many of us say about working with polymer.  In her words, “drawing on metal provides a surface that is unique and can’t be achieved any other way. Colored pencil drawing allows me to blend colors and create patterns that are uniquely mine. I draw on metal because it is strong but easily formed. I create jewelry because I appreciate the intimacy of an art form that is worn on the body and that, historically, carries emotional weight.”

Her colors and forms might even impress one as polymer at first glance, making her work a possible source of inspiration for designing in polymer clay. Take a look at more of her pieces, and drink in more of her beautiful color, on her website and her Facebook page.

A Splash of Mokume

Barbara Fajardo mokume sets 350x339 - A Splash of MokumeIf you make it over to Milton, Georgia for the Creative Journey Studios grand reopening, you will get to feast your eyes on some new work by the likes of Barb Fajardo. I don’t know that the pieces shown here will be there but I sure would love to see these in person.

Barb’s lovely mokume slices, with their leaf-like formations and washes of delicate color, are just such a treat for the eyes. The black background and frames really make the subtle colors pop. She keeps the organic look from becoming too stolid and geometric by giving each rectangular shape a slight curve or angle. The otherwise simple shapes allow the mokume to really shine.

Barb has been having a fantastic time playing with mokume lately and has been coming up with delicious color combinations and patterns. You should really check out her other pieces on her website here as well as follow her on Facebook and Flickr.

New Homes

Ponsawan Creative Journeys piece 350x441 - New HomesAt the end of this week, Creative Journey Studios, the ultimate polymer-related destination and a must-have on every polymer enthusiast’s bucket list, is having a grand reopening celebration at their new digs in Milton, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. The move from Buford was a monumental project for our dear Ellen Prophater and Sue Sutherland who are at the core of this fabulous concept and place. I’m sure they are thrilled as well as relieved to finally have a home set up again for the workshops and collection of polymer arts. Creative Journey Studios houses one of the largest collections of historically relevant polymer art in the world. The collection has recently expanded as well, taking up 18 cases just stuffed with amazing artwork.

One of the newest pieces in the collection is this mosaic by Ponsawan Sila, who recently relocated herself and her daughter to Thailand from Indiana, and had to shed many of their belongings in the process. But lucky us, this beautiful piece is permanently housed with our ladies in Milton.

For this coming weekend’s grand opening, held June 5th to the 8th, there will be demos all weekend along with a trunk show for Lindly Haunani on Friday night. The gallery will be showing off new work by quite a number of artists working in both polymer and mixed media. I’ll spend this week and maybe some of next week highlighting recent work by a number of these great artists that the studio supports.

If you’re interested in attending the grand reopening, go to the Creative Journey Studios’ website for further details. If you will have to visit on another day, you may want to look at the workshop schedule and plan to attend one of the amazing workshops they have coming up, conducted by the likes of Donna Greenberg, Jana Roberts Benzon, Julie Picarello and more. Go to this page for the workshop schedule.

A Painterly Cane

jayne Dwyer pansies 1 430x318 - A Painterly CaneHere’s one last example for this week of these incredible illustrative image canes we are seeing these days. This one uses the more familiar and common imagery of flowers which so many cane makers are inspired by. However, the way Jayne Dwyer creates her flower here makes it look like a painting, with color variation and details that are not very common in polymer clay flower canes.

Jayne employees outlining, which we saw at work in Claire’s piece on Monday, but here it is quite a bit more dramatic with its black and white outlines. The soft gradation of color plays a contrast to the hard black-and-white delineation around the flower. It makes it really pop. She also created a painterly background for the flower within the cane itself. The streaks of color are varied but create radiating lines that give an energized, dimensional feel to the petals.

And then she has these spots of color that pop up within those gradations. It’s very detailed and interesting to look at closely and imagine all the decisions she made to come up with this image. I don’t suppose the decisions are much different than one would make when painting, but in polymer, each decision takes some serious confidence and dedication to the image since how it will look is not going to be wholly apparent until after reduction.

Take a close-up look for yourself at the image in this cane or go to a bigger image on Facebook. You can also see more of the work Jayne does on her website.


A Fascinating Process

julie eakes soul of the rose 430x419 - A Fascinating ProcessI know a lot of you have probably already seen this but it’s too amazing not to comment on. Julie Eakes has been creating her incredible pointillism canes for quite a while, although it has been a couple of years since she created one, but her process and the finished canes never fail to fascinate.

This one, “Soul of the Rose” cane, is the most recent addition to her fabulous cane imagery portfolio. If you go to her Facebook page and go back to April 5 and scroll up to recent posts, you can see her process throughout the weeks that it took her to put this together. She mixed 77 colors for this, extruding each with a square and painstakingly put them together into 56 block canes. The complete cane before reduction was 6.5” x 8” x 2” and weighed 5 pounds. She then reduced it by sections and took a few slices off as she went so she’ll have cane images at different sizes which is what you’re seeing here.

Her cane reduction is probably not quite what you would think either. She uses a few different methods and shares her process of reduction in a video that you can find here. Don’t forget to drop by her Facebook page or Instagram account for the full story of this piece.

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