Bevy of Blues

bevy of blue Helen Backhouse 430x416 - Bevy of BluesIn my search for popular blues, this person’s work that you see here kept popping up, only it seemed to be attached to different people all the time. As it turns out, this is an artist that sticks with making amazing beads and elements that bead artisans can then assemble rather than creating a lot of finished work herself.

Helen Backhouse is her name and her beads and elements can be found scattered throughout Etsy and on various Facebook pages. Her pieces look to be impressed clay colored primarily with mica powders and, I’d guess, some kind of patina and weathered effect techniques, perhaps dyes or paints. Her blues are straight from the back yard, reflecting the brilliant blues found in a butterfly’s or bird’s wing as well as the dusty teals and blues leaning into greens that appear in natural metal patinas. The shapes are simple, the textures organic, and the coloring coolly dramatic. That makes for really eye-catching elements.

The best place to check out her pieces is on her Facebook page where the designers that use her pieces tag her in their photos alongside the stuff she does post.

 

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Explore your favorite color. Spend just a couple of minutes writing down what you like about this color, what it reminds you of, and where you notice it most often. Look back at what you wrote and see what kind of work, forms, textures or other ideas these thoughts bring up and let those guide you in the creation of new pieces.

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Neverknead 052217 - Bevy of Blues    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Trilateral Glow

Levarry beaded triangles 430x555 - Trilateral GlowWhile I was deciding on a final soft triangle example for this week, I spotted this piece and, when seen as a small image, it looked like it could be polymer but on closer inspection, it obviously is some serious seed beading. Still, what an inspiration this could be for an avid caner who likes to create glowing, blended canes!

The piece was created by Anastasia Ilyashevich who seems to create in all kinds of materials, not just, or even primarily, beads. But even though she is not a wholly devoted beader, this is certainly a well conceived and skillfully accomplished piece. In her blog post about it, Anastasia admits she really didn’t like it until the end. I can’t imagine doing all that and not liking it at least halfway through. But we can see how perseverance can pay off.

I have to acknowledge that a large part of the impact of this image is that it is shot on a black background, making the glow pop even more. But still, this is all triangles, creating pattern as well as being the basis for the focal shapes with those severe straight-edged triangles, giving it a very powerful visual feel. It is also huge–the lowest triangle hits somewhere around the waistline, as you can see in this blog post where it is modeled.

By the way, you can brush up on the kind of canes and color combinations that would work really well for this kind of thing in the article by Meg Newberg we published in the present Summer issue of The Polymer Arts. Get your copy on the website, or drop in on my Etsy site and get that and a few other print edition issues you might be wanting. Our HUGE MOVING SALE ends tomorrow, July 15th.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Look at your work. What shapes do you most commonly use? Pick just one and play with what you can do with it, changing it up and creating new shapes through little tweaks. Do the new shapes inspire you? Create something using the new shape you made up.

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Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - Trilateral Glow    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Variation on Triangles

Laura Orihuela triangles collar 430x283 - Variation on TrianglesAs with most weeks, my themes present themselves from the collection of images I set aside just for this blog. I collect them without a specific idea in mind, just grabbing things that I feel have something we can learn from. Right now, I have a lot of almost-triangle pieces. Straight triangles are the shapes most representative of strength. It is the strongest basic structural shape in nature and in man-made construction since the three sides support each other in an immovable way. But the straight sides are also severe in their simplicity, so in craft art, we see a lot of softening of the basic triangle. We’ll explore the way it is used in craft this week.

This first piece makes use of the various ways the surface of a soft triangle can be treated. The blogger and artisan, Laura Orihuela of Spain’s SuperCrafty blog created this last year. Using African influences for the cane pattern you see here, she applied it with her own design ideas and touches so you end up with a contemporary piece where the influence is subtle and refreshing.

And lucky us, she filmed the creation of these five beads so you can see her process. Find the video on her Super Crafty site as well as on her YouTube channel where you can find a slew of video tutorials on polymer and other materials.

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Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - Variation on Triangles    The Great Create Sept 15 blog  businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Gane Cellular

As we continue our look at designs inspired by microscopic imagery, this necklace by Jael Thorp from Champaign, Illinois, brings to mind plant material under a microscope. This necklace is one of Jael’s Jewels and was made by the mokume gane method. She calls this her mini mokume gane set. They have an organic fluidity that almost vibrates with life.

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Jael works with color to fit her mood. You have to wonder what kind of wonderful mood she was in here. To see more of Jael’s work, visit her Art Fire shop or her Flickr pages. You can read about her process on her award winning blog site “Jael’s Art Jewels Blog.”

 

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.

Blog2 -2014-02Feb-5   polymer clay overlapping cane   14P1 cover Fnl

Looking Back At Folded Beads

As we finish up our week on folded polymer, we’re taking a look at these folded beads by Jamey Allen, one of the early pioneers in the development of polymer clay bead making. He is best known for his millefiori work and reinventing the folded bead. The folded clay adds a richness of detail and the color choices give a comfortable warmth to these beads.

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If you would like to learn more about Jamey, there is a great interview with him online and take a look at his book,”5 Artists – 5 Directions in Polymer Clay.”

 

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.

Blog2 -2014-02Feb-5   Millefiori eggs   14P1 cover Fnl      

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