Put a Little Heart Into It

Here is what caught my eye today.Anna Kokareva uneven heart earrings I decided to peruse Flickr this time and came upon the pages of Anna Kokareva (aka Annie Bimur) and although there were a lot of pieces to grab my attention, it was this pair of not quite matching earrings with the heart just hanging out among all the crackle that really grabbed me.

I was a little thrown by that initially since I’m not much of a heart girl but the contrast of the simple sweet heart in all that texture really spoke to me. The uncomplicated things in life, like pure love and joy, set against a back drop of chaos … this is often what life is like, isn’t it? We just have to stop and appreciate the beauty within the bedlam. And in this case, we can appreciate the differences between the two earrings and probably find a smile on our faces when the little heart catches us by surprise.

The one thing I would improve is actually the background of the image. It is usually better to use a contrasting background, especially where texture (and color) is concerned or your work can blend too much with it, as it tends to here.

More little surprises as well as a riot of color and texture can be found on Anna’s Flickr photostream.

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Outside Inspiration: Reflecting Subtlety

angela gerhartAlthough earrings are commonly made as two of the same exact design, this is no steadfast rule and a little change up to this standard can be just what is needed to make a pair stand out on the wearer. Mirroring the design is a very simple and subtle way of doing this.

Simple and subtle is also the hallmark of enamel artist Angela Gerhard whose echos of both ancient and contemporary design are melded into quietly balanced, yet stunning pieces of art jewelry. These earrings with their mirrored design would frame the wearer’s face rather than simply being separate, but duplicate accents dangling from the ears. Mirroring in earrings allows for balance between the pairs while creating asymmetrical designs, effectively getting you out of the centered standard while creating a still matching pair.

Although Angela’s website was down due to a server move as of the writing of this post, you can find more of her work on her online store and more photos and news about her work on her Facebook page.

 

 

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Spinning Off

For this Saturday, here is a bit of fun asymmetry composed from elements not aligning. In this case, these earrings by Elvira Krick consist of incomplete circles  whose breaks sit at different positions make the line kind of rock back and forth. But then, free them from hanging in the same flat plane as shown in the right side image, and you have a number of new asymmetrical compositions and, still with a kinetic feel to them.

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Elvira hails from Amsterdam where she creates jewelry from a variety of materials including glass beads, metals, and fiber as well as polymer clay. Check out more of her work on her Flickr page and in her Etsy shop.

 

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Outside Inspiration: Hanging Felt

Asymmetrical composition is common in every artistic area so choosing just one for today’s outside inspiration was tough. This necklace has been on one of my Pinterest boards for a while though so this seemed like a great chance to share it.

Felted jewelry is becoming more common and the felters are getting quite creative. I like this example by Nadine of Dans Mon Corbillon, not because it’s the most creative but because of it’s intricacy and use of other materials including beads and what I think are feathers. It’s just so full of varied textures. The variation and asymmetrical arrangement could have looked a bit too chaotic but I think it comes across as rather celebratory instead, the way nature can get at the peak of the season when all the foilage and flowers are taking over. (and those of us in the Northern hemisphere are sure looking forward to that!)

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You can look at more of Nadine’s gorgeous work on her Flickr site and her blog.

By the way, the Spring issue of The Polymer Arts came out today. If you are due a digital issue but it’s not in your inbox, look in your spam/junkmail folder as they can be sometimes be routed there. If you are waiting on a print issue, they were sent to the post office in Idaho on Wednesday to be processed so most people will be getting those next week or the week after if you are in the east or far south of the States or overseas. Due to cuts in postal services  a few issues took over three weeks in the US and some places in Europe last time but be patient. They are on their way!

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Bringing it Back to Center

Although this pin by Kay Bonitz is asymmetrical, the pin uses the rule of thirds that we innately identify as balanced. The rule of thirds is a theory that says we recognize beauty and balance in images and objects whose proportions can be split into thirds. Our bodies are composed of elements that are built primarily on mirrored parts but all our limb to torso proportions and many facial proportions can be broken down into thirds which is why we likely identify with other items with proportions in thirds. In this case, Kay also has added further balance by using the feathers to create a center focal point.

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Kay, who is a retired accountant, has moved from counting numbers to counting beads. She is actually a beading artist who embellishes her polymer clay creations with beads and feathers. You can see more of her work and learn more about this artist on her website.

 

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Disconnected Balance

This stunning necklace, titled “Eleganz”, by Ingrid Ulrich is another example of asymmetry in design. This German artist uses a wire form to create a unique one-of-a-kind wrap necklace that has to balance both visually and physically!

With a limited color palette, Ingrid uses textures and finishes to add depth and volume to the individual elements to form a cohesive whole. She uses a synthetic clay (Künstlerton) and fires it at a constant temperature for 60 minutes to give this necklace its strength and rigidity. She mixes her finishing techniques so that some of the surfaces are polished to a high shine and others are a matte finish.

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For a more in-depth look at Ingrid’s work, take a look at her website and her Flickr pages. She is fascinated by polymer clay and says, “It livens up the fantasy and gives therapy to the soul, but it also makes addictive to more and more perfection.”

 

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Aysmmetrical Balancing Act

So, yesterday I very briefly started talking about how balance is at the center of well produced asymmetry. Here is a piece that works more toward a feeling of tension rather than being well-balanced.

In this piece, Margaret Polcawich has mixed wood and polymer clay. The strength of both materials is highlighted in the design as well as the asymmetry. The metal arm leans out to one side while the stacked shapes struggle to lean inward and in the opposite direction. There is a kind of balance in the juxtaposition of the components’ visual movement, even though that movement seems more of a struggle than an harmonious existence. But the piece is named “Temporary” and so the feeling that the balance achieved is only momentary fulfills that idea.

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This Maryland artist is not only a sculptor but also a furniture designer. She calls furniture our most accessible sculpture. She explains, “While studying sculpture in college, I began utilizing the chair as a metaphor for the human figure, and have been drawn to functional art ever since.” You can see her furniture, mixed media jewelry and polymer clay accessories, along with some great Mokume
Gane tutorials, on her website.

 

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Asymmetry and the Dangers of Internet Image Posting

So, if you didn’t read yesterday’s post since earlier this morning, you might want to jump over there and read it. I used a quote to highlight the reasons for not copying and for crediting others. Then ironically the quote image turned out to be a misappropriated quote, reworded and posted without credit. Which brings up the one thing I didn’t summarize in yesterday’s post from the “rules” we suggest in the upcoming article “Stealing Talent” (see the Spring 2014 issue of The Polymer Arts being released on Friday.) That suggested rule is … never post anything derived from another artist’s work, not even from a class or tutorial, unless you’ve really made it your own.

Publicly posting anything that is not uniquely yours, even if you give credit to the original artist that inspired or taught you, is a dangerous and potentially harmful practice, for both you and the original artist. Your credits in the comments section of Flickr, Facebook or even a caption on a website will not necessarily follow that image as it is reposted unless the person pinning/posting consciously chooses to include your words. With the credits missing, people may think you are ripping the original artist off. Besides making you look bad, the original artist is no longer getting credit for his/her hard work.

So I have a proposal … let’s commit to NOT posting images publicly that are not our own original pieces. Let’s only post art which truly represents our unique creativity and ideas. And if we post something that was created as a result of a class or tutorial have it marked with the original artist’s name/credits IN the image itself. You can add text to your images using your photo editing software or watermark them using free online software like www.picmarkr.com or www.umarkonline.com. This way, credit will not be lost when images are reposted.

You may also put your name on images of your own work so they also will always have proper credit no matter where they wander off to, but please, do so as unobtrusively as possible. Watermarking takes away from the presentation of the art and if it weren’t helpful online, I would say never watermark your images at all. But if you do, remember to save an unmarked version as well so it can be used for other things like, oh, getting published in a high quality magazine.

Since I was going to post samples of asymmetry this week (a counter to last week’s symmetry theme) but would also like to give you an example of a watermarked image, here is a bead I created using Dan Cormier’s  die-forming technique. And no, in this case, the credit to Dan isn’t necessary–this would never be mistaken for one of his pieces–but it was part of an exercise for an article reviewing his book, Relief Beyond Belief.

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Asymmetry (getting back on track here) would seem to be about composition set off balance. But actually, it is completely the opposite. Asymmetry is all about balance. A well composed asymmetrical piece will have the various sides and position of elements balanced against each other–unless you are trying to create a sense of unbalance or tension. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow. I have chatted enough for the last day or two.

I do want to thank all of you who sent me emails about yesterday’s post. I would highly encourage you to actually use the comment section of the blog here to share your thoughts with everyone. It is pretty telling that dozens of people emailed me but no one left a comment. It is a heated subject. But if you email me instead (and I really don’t mind at all!) please do let me know if we can repost your comments and we’ll do so anonymously. This is an important subject and we’d like to hear your thoughts as well!

 

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