Of Triangles and Fans

Maybe you’ve already saw this in our newsletter a couple weeks ago, but many of you probably did not. And it certainly fits the current theme,  for what are fans, but dimensional triangles? I know, I’ve been pushing the theme a bit hard this week, but it was fun, wasn’t it? Now it’s time for you to have more fun with the ideas we talked about this weekend. If you need a push, I would highly suggest grabbing a copy of Helen Breil’s new digital book, Fan Fold Designs. Just look at the cool designs you can learn to create just on the cover alone.

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As Helen explains, “This design-based book is the result of my exploration of the design possibilities of folding clay.  I was inspired by the paper folding and origami arts as well as the fabric arts of silk Shibori scarves and ribbons. The strong design element of the fold lines seem to naturally invoke a bold and dramatic look.” Agreed. I already have my copy, and as busy as I am, I just couldn’t help but stop in the middle of my day when I got it in order to try out a few things. These techniques are easy and fun and have so many possibilities.

And speaking of our newsletter, if you don’t already get it, you can get by signing up on our website on the left hand side of our main page. It comes out just twice a month, but includes news on classes, products, events, and conversations as well as reporting on what’s happening here for The Polymer Arts magazine. Every issue also includes useful tips and lists the most popular blog items seen the last couple weeks with additional insights and words from our readers. Just another way to get your polymer fix!

 

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Easy Knitted Polymer

This Canadian artist, Shireen Nadir, is passionate about arts and crafts and admits that she is just learning about polymer.  Because she likes working in textiles, especially knitting and weaving, she decided to try a knitting technique with the polymer bangle bracelet shown here. She gives a complete tutorial on her blog “The Blue Brick” for making this bracelet, as well as tutorials on other projects.

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Shireen works as a photographer, and if you would like to know more about her, check out her website. Hope you had a lovely Easter or Spring Holiday with your family and friends.

 

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Build a Basic Ring

Now that we’ve been looking at rings all week, are you not excited to try your hand at this form or expand on what you’ve done in the past with rings? There are a number of online sources including classes at Craft Art Edu or the expansive article on creating rings in the Winter 2012 issue of The Polymer Arts as well as a number of online tutorials. The article in our 2012 issue has easy instructions by Donna Greenberg on how to make a polymer band for a ring base but if you’d prefer a metal wire band, check out this straight forward tutorial by Elena Samsonova, a Russian born artist living in Connecticut in the US.

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To get the first half of this tutorial showing you how to build the wire wrapped ring base, go to Elena’s Flickr page and then peruse other lovely work and ideas of hers while there.  For more of her tutorials as well as more of her work, visit Elena’s website as well.

 

 

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Planning Your Colors

So with this talk of color palettes all week, I thought I ought to stop and add that you don’t need to follow Pantone’s colors for the season. Get to know your market, as well as the colors you prefer to work with, and build your own signature palette for the season.

I know for some people, how to put together a color scheme is a bit of a mystery. But there is help out there! Several sites online have tools that allow you to make your own palettes. This one here is a new favorite of mine because of its relative simplicity and the fact that you can save your color exploration in your own account.

To create a color palette, you choose a color on the wheel in the bottom right then use the sliders on the upper right to adjust hue, tint (addition of white) and/or shade (addition of black). The boxes below the color wheel give you 5 options for types of color schemes that can be created off that first color.

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Join the ColourLovers community on this site to save palettes, swatches and images in your account. I haven’t explored everything this site has to offer yet but I sure am having fun checking it all out. Try this palette maker for yourself!

 

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Go Nuts with Patina

Have you tried the Swellegants yet? Or if you have, did you push what you can do with them?

I found this neat little grid of suggested combinations for using Swellegants recently … some are so juicy and realistic. These are done on metal elements but the exact same effect can be created on polymer pieces too. Check out these tips and color formulas for Swellegants Patinas by Heather Powers.

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If you are up for trying these products or expanding your collection, you can get Swellegants along with metal embellishments, awesome tools, accents, and other goodies from Christi Friesen’s online store.

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Preparing for the New Year

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I suggest focusing on the studio rather than the bank accounts!

In these days between Christmas and New Years, it is a great time to go through your studio, clean it out, and get yourself organized so you can start out the New Year fresh. Go through unfinished projects and decide which you are confident you will complete, and which you need to be resigned to never finishing, tossing them out or recycling them if you can. Go through your supplies and tools and make a list of what you need to replace or stock up on. Then you know what to use those gift cards and Christmas money for! And with after Christmas sales, you can make that money go farther … a lot farther. It will feel really good to start out clean, stocked and organized in the studio for 2014!

 

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For Your Wish List

If you’ve ever done any scrapbooking, you may be familiar with the Cricut machine, which cuts out complex shapes loaded into the machine’s little onboard computer. It really saves on the aching hands that comes with trying to make small, intricate cuts in paper. Did you know, though, that you can use it to cut polymer too?  Jenny Barnett Rohrs explored this idea on Craft Test Dummies a couple years ago. I’ve been wanting a machine ever since.

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Although this post  made the rounds back when it was posted, I thought it was worth revisiting. Not only can you cut polymer shapes, you can also cut on a variety of other materials to create templates, stencils, and shapes for impressing in your clay. So if the family is complaining that you’re impossible to shop for because you have everything, maybe you can get this on that list. Unless, of course, you do have everything, including this!

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription to The Polymer Arts magazine, or buy the latest issue. We also encourage you to support our wonderful advertising partners!

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Just released! The Winter 2013 issue …
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The Whimsical Bead–polymer art supplies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Alcohol Ink

So after a week of talking about alcohol inks, have you found yourself diving in and trying a few ideas you saw? And now, are there any alcohol ink colors you wish you had, but haven’t been able to find or don’t want to buy a pack of 3 or 9 just to get them? Do you find them expensive or hard to find? Well, we do have an option–making our own!

The things you need to make your own alcohol inks are a permanent dye color source and rubbing alcohol. There are two primary color sources available to pretty much everyone–home fabric dyes such as Rit, or permanent markers like Sharpies. I haven’t tried either, but I have heard that the ones made with Sharpies are very, well, pungent. That chemical marker smell will fill the air. Not sure that’s a good thing, but if you have  lot of permanent markers you don’t really use, it would be a way to give them a purpose.  However, from the research I’ve done, it seems that the Sharpie colors are more vibrant than those made with the fabric dyes when using them on polymer clay. Which was a little surprising. Not surprising is that the colors are more vibrant on paper than on polymer. But as I haven’t tried it (yet!) myself, I can only offer the online instructions I found that seemed most useful and let you decide.

This video uses the permanent marker method:

7468612_f520Here is a page on creating alcohol inks with markers if you aren’t into watching videos.

As for alcohol inks with fabric dyes, here is the best of them that I found. It’s a short video by Cindy Lietz of Polymer Clay Tutor, so it’s definitely geared towards polymer clay use.

You may also find some instruction about making alcohol ink with food coloring or Kool-aid, but keep in mind that the color needs to adhere to polymer. Most food dyes  cling to proteins but will not stain–certainly not in any permanent fashion–synthetic materials like plastics. So you need permanent dyes that will become permanent on synthetics and non-porous surfaces.

So as far as I know, permanent markers and fabric dyes are your best bet for easy to find alcohol colorants. And they’re cheap. That is always a plus!

Resource for Inquiring Minds

I know I usually give you a few words of wisdom from great minds on Sundays, but we were short a day to honor our guys, so I thought today I would bring up a gentleman who was very influential for me. If you’ve seen Garie Sim’s work, you’ve probably seen his miniatures … his really teeny, tiny miniatures. Here is the world’s smallest minion!

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Although I love his little mini sculptures, this is not why Garie influenced me so much. It was his crazy experiments. Well, some weren’t so crazy, but they were all quite thorough. His was the first strength test of clay brands I saw. He is also the first person I’ve seen who has tried microwaving polymer, frying it in oil, and cooking it in a pot. He’s worked out numerous ways to rejuvenate old clay (based on age, actual condition, and sometimes brand), distilled how to use a variety of glues with polymer, and has worked with and documented a multitude of ways to work with and cure liquid polymer. His crazy and varied experiments really pushed me to go ahead and try the many crazy things that came to mind, because if some guy in Singapore is willing to pan fry polymer, what could I possibly do that would be wackier?

Are you intrigued? Take a look at all his wild “what if?” experiments, tips, tricks, and, of course, his teeny, tiny creatures and food. Mind you, you might get lost on this very dense site, but it’s quite a fun and very informative trip.

 

pg collage 13-P3 Fall 2013

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