Journals: Organic Matter

gabriellepollacc organic matter journalJournal covers are very much like blank canvases, which means you can do anything you desire on them. Your medium is probably the only thing that will constrict you, but then you aren’t restricted to one medium, are you? Polymer is amazing and will always be my go to material but I wouldn’t ignore other wonderful options, especially since so many other mediums work so well with polymer.

Here is a journal cover that has no polymer on it but most of the materials used are quite familiar to polymer clayers and could be combined with it to create looks inspired by this texture rich cover. Gabrielle Pollacco uses an insanely wide array of paints, inks, powders, sprays, stencils, stamps and a few other things to create this cover. Sometimes, too many materials is like too many ingredients in a recipe … going overboard can really muck things up. But Gabrielle brings it all together here by limiting her palette and sticking with a weathered look as her thematic motif.

She seriously looks like she is having way too much fun in this video tutorial that she recorded of her full process for creating this cover. I now have a new list of products to find and try so if you watch this, you have been warned that it may result in a bit of frenetic online shopping! Also … the music she uses may get stuck in your head and have you bopping about the rest of the day. It’s not a bad thing. Just wanted to give you a head’s up so you are ready to defend yourself with the mute button if bopping is not appropriate at the time.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Create a journal cover for your goals and plans book. Try some new materials to really make it interesting. If you’ve not covered a journal or sketchbook before and find covering a pristine new book on your first try to be a bit too much pressure, create on a separate sheet of clay that can be glued to the journal later or, if you like it as is, can be a bit of inspiration to frame. A sheet of raw clay, cured between two tiles to keep it perfectly flat can be a great ‘canvas’ to work on.

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Changing Things Up

Well, here we are … first post of 2017 and I find myself, again, focused on how to make this a year full of useful information and inspiration for everyone who so kindly drops in on my mental meanderings. To that end, I have decided to make a couple tweaks.

I’m going to have just one Inspirational Challenge a week, at the end of the week, so those who were feeling bad that they couldn’t do all three each week (not that I expected that myself!), will feel some of the pressure come off and we’ll have the weekend to work on them.

The other thing is to prioritize studio time in my schedule for myself. This will greatly be assisted by the fact that as of next week, I will finally have the space for a dedicated and properly equipped studio in California, the state I will now be calling home as I move into our new house. I still have my space in Colorado but will be there only once a quarter or so. Not traveling nearly every month will certainly help with getting more time in the studio too.

jana-honnerova-wheel-variationsTo further assist in my New Year’s resolution to find more studio time in my day, I might change up the posts a bit, as long as I can still give you great content. Just want to see what I can do with very short formats. Then, after the move I’ll put together a survey and get your input on what you’d like to see in the blogs, newsletters, magazines and books. If you have specific ideas that you think I should put to a vote in this survey, write me directly at sbray(a)thepolymerarts.com before the 14th of January.

In the meantime, let’s look at some clever designs this week that take common or familiar ideas but give them an interesting tweak. These beads are, I believe, variations on using the same striped sheets of clay but arranged in different patterns. It is hard to believe these could all be from the same initial pattern but look at each piece closely and you’ll see a bargello like concept used to arrange each one. It’s rather fascinating to identify what Jana Honnerova did here. It’s rather like some kind of brain puzzle. But it brings to mind what we can get out of pushing our arrangements.

Jana’s hallmark seems to be taking one thing and seeing what else can be done with it, both with her own techniques and the techniques she has learned from others. See whose influences you can identify in her work and what she does to change up the approach of other artists on her Flickr photostream.

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Anke’s Eyes

AHumpert eyesI’m on my way home today after nearly 3 weeks in Europe. I really look forward to getting back to a regular schedule, and I will catch up will all of you who have been waiting for something from me. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the crazy pieces and wonderful people I snapped pictures of on the last night of EuroSynergy when we got dressed up for the closing dinner.

Here is the witty piece that Anke Humpert created just for this event. If you’ve been to any polymer-centric events, you know how much time we spend checking out each other’s jewelry, so Anke thought it would be fun to have a piece that stares back. It was very entertaining, as well as surprising, and caused much laughter as she made the rounds.

Anke’s work often draws from social and environmental inspiration. You can take a look at her wide range of pieces and techniques on her website.

 

 

 

 

 

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Purple Screened

veronica sturdy silk screenPurple is such a rich color. Its royal overtones command attention, but its not so overly energetic as its neighboring red or orange, yet not so calm as the other cool colors it is grouped with. It is easily one of my favorite colors because of this complexity and richness. And I know I am not alone. So it’s no wonder that these beautiful silk screened pieces popped out and grabbed my color-seeking attention.

Veronika Sturdy created these silk screened pieces with a range of purples and analogous colors on both sides of purple. You have to look close to see how she also complements the darker and lighter shades with a bit of black and white, but it all works together to create a subtlety energetic and commanding set of pieces.

Veronika plays so very well with color, gradation, shading, and texture that you are sure to find a bit of inspiration for yourself on her website or Flickr pages.

 

 

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Plethora of Patterned Plates

Arieta0074We have some incredibly beautiful work in the gallery sections this issue. We are very fortunate that we got Bonnie Bishoff and J.M. Syron to showcase their new work (and grace the cover) and are thrilled to have the latest work from Staci Smith to share with you, as well.

The surprise gem of our collection in the Summer issue of The Polymer Arts galleries, I think, is the beautifully patterned plates by Arieta Stavridou of Nicosia, Cyprus. We had an incidental conversation on Facebook about the Polymer Journeys book and in clicking through I found this photo of them. Not that applying canes to plates is new, but her pattern and color choices are just gorgeous. Placement, orientation, and pattern combinations are very intentional, intention being so important in art, especially in something like this. I loaded a large image of this plate collection so you can click on it and see the detail better.

I talk a bit more about intention in art in my editor’s letter in this issue, as well. And, of course, we have many more of Arieta’s plates to admire along with her fun teapots in the Summer issue’s gallery pages. You can also see more of her work on her Facebook pages.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create or design a piece with very intentional repeated but varied patterns. This can be several different canes, hand tooled marks, or repeated motifs. You could even do a combination of these. Combine the elements used for the pattern based on some specific concept. Any concept will do as long as it has a very intentional connection, such as analogous colors, the flowers in your garden, symbols of ancient Greece, or images that remind you of your beach vacation.

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Polymer Idols

TVShrine48As you may have seen on Friday’s post or through another avenue, we recognized 6 particularly talented artists in a featured section of the Polymer Journeys 2016 retrospective book. I thought we’d take a day to look at each of them this week and next, see what they are up to and maybe where they are going.

Georg Dinkel was the first of the group in the book. His work just continuously amazes and entertains. His work is beautiful and fun and, at the same time, it makes a serious statement about the questionable idolization of technology and manufacturing the brands. I happen to have a bit of an insider’s view on a new project he will be unveiling at Eurosynergy, although I cannot share details. But suffice it to say, it’s quite the undertaking in both detail, size, and complexity of movement.

The reason we are so in the know is because Georg is also the artist we are profiling for the next issue of The Polymer Arts. We have an in-depth interview on his process and how he came into polymer from an unlikely side door in his photography career. His story is as fascinating as his work, so you won’t want to miss the next issue if you’re a fan. You can go to the website to get a subscription or just keep your eyes on this blog and we’ll let you know when individual pre-sales are available.

I love this photo with Georg next to his TV Shrine. It helps to see the scale of his work. This piece in particular has so much detail and to imagine he did all but the support structure and electronics in polymer is pretty mind-boggling. There is so much more to see when the doors of the piece are open, too. Go to this page on his website to see more detailed shots of this piece (see if you can make out the TV celebrities in the pictures that look like saints and holy men on the inside of the door). And, if you have the time, just wander through his site and watch his videos. There is so much to take in!

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Have you ever tried to make a statement with your work? What is on your mind these days? Design or create a new piece that addresses an issue close to you. You don’t need to be literal. It can be very, very subtle, represented by related colors in your work or by creating a related image or form. Let the idea marinate for the day if you can before getting down to designing it.

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A Relationship of Lines

12768184_370844913085808_8932626980699712895_oI have had this in my collection to share for a few weeks, but I hadn’t been able to figure out who the artist was until today. The image came from a Facebook post … that’s all I knew. Now, I am excited to introduce a new artist! Well, an artist that is new to me, I suppose. I haven’t learned a whole lot about her or her artistic story and history just yet.

I was intrigued by the mix of surface textures and the energy of the various lines used. The surface is both impressed with a controlled and deliberate pattern, probably hand tooled, then a central bit of random cracking, then a predictable pattern of swirling copper. They are all highly energetic lines, each doing their own thing independent of the others but nested the way they are and all in a muted orange of some sort, they work together.

The use of line and its energy as well as warm muted colors are even carried into the stringing and connectors of this piece. It makes for a lot of interest and movement but with a very cohesive feel.

After searching and searching, using Google image searches and looking through Facebook for artists with the initials MB, I finally got a hit and the mystery was solved. This necklace was created by Martina Burianova. You can find her on Facebook or check out her work on her website.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create a surface texture with at least three different types of lines in it. Create cohesiveness by choosing another element or two (color, material, texture, etc) they all have in common. You can make three separate elements, each with different line qualities, then work on arranging them so they have a visual relationship that creates a balanced design, or just dive in working on one surface with line qualities intermixed.

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Dedicated to Zen and Stones

mandala stonesThis week, we’ve looked at work that showed a couple of artists pushing themselves in form and repetition. The use of repetition can have an exciting and energized look or it can be calm and grounding. But for the artist creating it, it is often a doorway to the sometimes elusive state of what is often referred to as flow. It’s that time when you are so enthralled and engrossed by what you are doing that you completely lose track of time, of where you are, and sometimes what exactly you are doing. It’s a fantastic state to reach because it means that the work you are doing is satisfying your many sides. This kind of work is challenging enough to keep your attention, interesting enough to basically mesmerize you, but is not frustrating or tedious so you can relax and enjoy the process.

This little bit of insanity you see here is just such a process for Elspeth McLean, an Australian living in Canada and a self-proclaimed “Dotillism” artist. According to an article published on the Mother Nature Network, creating art is her form of meditation and these mandala stones are at the heart of that process for her. The joy and dedication she gets from her work is so readily apparent that the poor girl is overrun with requests for these beautiful stones.

Images of these stones went viral recently, and now Elspeth has been forced to do something rather different from most Etsy sellers–she releases the sale of her stones only on certain days and during certain hours, just a couple of times a month, with many selling instantly and all selling out, it appears, within the day. What a problem to have! The colorful and zen-like beauty of the stones can also be found in her dotillism paintings. However, there is something to the centered patterns of the mandala stones that really draws your eye and pulls at something deeply rooted in all of us. And for those of you that cane, does this not spark some ideas?

To see the short article and all the wonderful photos of her stones, go to this page on MNN.com. You can admire her illustrations and photographs of her work artfully placed in nature on her website and, of course, in her Etsy shop.

http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/dotted-mandala-stones-reveal-artist-vibrant-life

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A Stroppel Ocean

stroppel cane Dev80

I was going to share the new Fall Cover here but have a couple of bits of information we would like to confirm before we do. Creating a magazine is all details, details, details and they are never-ending! We’ll have it on here by Monday but if you’re just too curious, we’ll send it out in our newsletter tomorrow morning. (Don’t get our newsletter yet? Sign up here–it’s the box on the left of the page–for twice monthly news, tips, eye candy and other fun chatter.)

In the meantime, who would have thought that a Stroppel cane, often used in very graphical designs, would be so reminiscent of the ocean? This beautiful collar by Mara Devescovi, which is all Stroppel cane, certainly looks like the undulating water of a crystal clean ocean as you might see it on some tropical beach. Who would have thought that random cane morphing would emulate in the way the movement of the water distorts the world beneath it. It really gets one thinking about a summer escape, I must say!

Mara goes by Dev’Art60 on Flickr where her progress in polymer art over the last decade can be followed and lots of great ideas can be found along the way.  

 

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