Sonya Rings in the New Year

SonyaGiordan rings 430x288 - Sonya Rings in the New YearHere are a couple more interesting pieces posted in the first week of the year from the prolific Sonya GirodanRandee Ketzel sent me this before it popped up on my Flickr stream. These rings do really grab your attention. They might also grab your knitted sweater but that is beside the point.

These are an intriguing and different use of familiar techniques. The beads were inspired by classes she had with Celine Charuau, who we looked at on Wednesday, and Christine Dumont. In both cases, her instructors generally use these techniques on elements created as pendants or brooches rather than rings. Laying the beads down in a horizontal plane makes them feel a bit more placid than they would be in the about-face position of pendants and brooches.

Sonya brings back any energy lost by the change in orientation, however, by adding thin and reaching elements beneath the beads to draw the eye out and back from the body of the rings’ designs. It may make for delicate looking pieces and not everyday rings but you have to admit, they would grab your attention.

I do wonder if this announces a new direction for Sonya as I’ve not seen anything quite like this from her. Not that Sonya taking a left turn in her work is surprising. She seems to constantly be reinventing her style.  Just take a look at her body of work. Her progression can be very explosive at times and her need to explore and push design is evident everywhere. It’s an inspiring journey and you can catch it all pretty quickly by taking a visual stroll through her Flickr photostream.

Keeping Dragons A-Round

vanillamaart dragon bracelet - Keeping Dragons A-RoundI thought this week, we’d just check in with what our fellow clayers are posting this first week of the year and I found quite a few pieces of new work on Flickr.

This detailed and whimsical bracelet is by Dorota Kaszczyszyn. The individual ridges that make up the dragon’s back work so perfectly as separate beads fitted together to create the bracelet and I love how she integrated the closure into the design. The closures usually end up on top of the wrist in large bead bracelets anyways since the weight of the beads, being heavier than the clasps, spin to hang downward so why not just design for that eventuality? I thought it was a great way to finish off a well sculpted and textured set of beads that is sure to draw some attention.

This is not Dorata’s first dragon bracelet but is, thus far, my favorite. I do like the toggle clasp on some of the others versus a lobster clasp but the face on this guy is beautiful. See more of her dragons (and owls … another favorite creature of hers) on her Flickr photostream.

Ripple Away

ripple collage 201x450 - Ripple AwayFor an easy but classic set of techniques that you might want to explore, just pick up your ripple blade. Most all of us have one. They come in those beginner pack of polymer blades so they are easy to acquire if you don’t have one. The effects you can create with them go from controlled pattern to random to sculptural texture.

I just pulled out a few that caught my eye today. The top one was posted by Libby Mills back in 2012. She used stacks and played around with manipulation and how to slice them, following instruction she got from Jody Bishel both at a retreat and through a project in the book Polymer Clay: Exploring New Techniques and New Materials. She really had too much fun as you can see on Libby’s blog post from back then.

I could not find attribution for the center image but I didn’t want to skip over the sculptural aspect of this handy blade. Cutting beads and stacked edges with this blade gives us quick and interesting textures. The ripple tends to lend a fun quality as well as the instant tactile quality so it’s not for all pieces but whimsical and graphic pieces might be something to try this on.

This last one was created by Nevenka Sabo some years back. I don’t have a date as the links are broken but you can see well enough what she did. Create a bulls-eye cane with a Skinner blend laid on a white sheet of clay and roll. Cut sideways and you have some wonderful veneers with an interesting patterned center swatch. Click here to get a more detailed view.

There are tons of tutorials online for using the ripple blade so if these tickle your fancy, do try a Google search or spend some time on the many Pinterest boards featuring techniques with this tool and then head off to the studio table with a new infusion of ideas.

Scarf as Necklace

scarf jewelry 430x542 - Scarf as NecklaceAs you may have immediately noticed, these scarves are not polymer. In fact, most of them are mass-produced or use mass-produced components. So why am I showing you this? Because the popularity of these kinds of bedecked scarves are not seen in the polymer community, not at least that I could find, which means there is a wide-open opportunity for some of you out there.

Just look at the two-fold use of these. Not only can you have a warm and cozy bit of beautiful fabric to dress up your day, you can have jewelry that can be seen while wearing a scarf. I have never liked having to pick between a scarf and a necklace and with this kind of merging of the two, you don’t have to.

Now, you could just stick with the single pin or charms like we saw in the last couple posts to get some fun and fancy decor on your chest but what about when you want to get a bit more flashy or formal? I just think these designs really open up a lot of possibilities for us as polymer artists. For one, how fun would it be to turn a boring basic scarf into a snazzy infinity scarf that doubles as a necklace AND gives many a bead in that stash of beautiful odds and ends, a beautiful place to hang?

Hopefully, these also give you all kinds of ideas for alternate ways to hang polymer pendants or has you thinking up new wide tube designs or all the above. It would not take long to make the components if you don’t already have them and basic scarves are cheap. I bet you have one or two in a drawer somewhere that you never wear. Just think of how you could dress them up!

I would love to be able to give attribution to each of the pieces here but I somehow managed to find all but one with a broken link or dead website. However, the designer of the Atelie42 scarf piece in the upper right does have a website but even there, most of the text seems to be image based which means it can’t be translated online. But the variation on jewelry scarves is worth a couple of minutes even for those of us who can’t read the text. Head over to the website here or this article that has a nice selection ready for you to pore over.



Detail Rich Reflections

alkhymeia wrapped crystals 430x418 - Detail Rich Reflections

Still exploring the idea of setting stones in unusual ways, I have another stone setting here that rivals the stones themselves for attention.

Daniela D’Uva  creates wonderfully complex and dreamlike settings for her stones and, as shown in this piece, doesn’t stop at showcasing just one bright and shiny focal point but uses several at once. However, the crystals are hard to focus on with such colorful translucent leaves and petals surrounding them. The classic combination of purple and green is so rich and vibrant that the stones only show well because of their reflective quality. The multitude of detail, from the translucent canes to the winding tendrils to the tiny microbeads, add to a feeling of richness. The flow of the tendrils and the way the leaves point over and across the crystals keeps the eye moving.

The approach and the effect are not so different from yesterday’s piece but this one does stick with a stone-centered composition. It’s the asymmetry of the cane placement along with the tendrils and pointing leaves that give it so much energy and life.

Enjoy more of Daniela’s work on Flickr and on her Facebook page.


Variation on Time

pieces clock 430x823 - Variation on TimeI spent a lot of time looking for differently constructed clocks in polymer and couldn’t find much that really illustrated the point I was hoping to make. What I wanted was to show that a clock does not have to be on a flat surface. It can be made of many parts, attached or not, and fully dimensional. As long as you have something that can house or hide the clock mechanism while holding out the hands, the rest is wide open. You can have the hour markers designated by any form and attach them with sticks or wire or be free floating–whatever suits the piece and your inclination.

These two examples are commercial designs rather than polymer art but I think they give you the basics of this idea of moving beyond the flat clock face. Not only do these kinds of clocks make for really interesting wall pieces, they give you the freedom to use pieces you may already have such as large hollow beads, faux stones, unhung pendants, small figurines, flowers, etc.

As a gift, giving a clock that has separate pieces might be best attached to something that can be hung as one piece, like a backing of Plexiglas or painted plywood. Or include instructions for a template to mark on the wall where each piece goes. There is little to no construction to deal with but you will have to make concessions in the design for how the individual pieces will be hung. Alternately, go for a design where the elements are attached like the flowers you see here.

The sky is the limit with these kinds of designs. For more ideas, try searching “DIY clocks,” which was the keyword set that brought me to these two pieces. I hope these sparks some ideas and I look forward to seeing inventive clock designs this month!

The Proliferation Effect

Hee ang kim proliferation 430x496 - The Proliferation EffectThe thing about many items being packed into a limited space is that you stop seeing those individual items and see them as one thing with a texture, and energy that does not exist in the separate parts. You see it in the crowded stands at a game, a bowl of snacks or even in your drawers full of clay. It is a kind of gestalt effect. You can use this crowding of objects to create wonderfully energetic and highly textured pieces.

This is a piece I found last week that got me thinking about this as an artistic approach. The necklace is by Hee-ang Kim, a Korean graduate student Kookmin University in Korea at the time of its creation in 2014. It is part of an aptly named series called Proliferation, this being Proliferation XI. The super thin polymer petals are stitched together to create these feather-like beads, which collectively flutter and wave in a very touchable looking texture.

Hee-ang works in a variety of materials including other types of plastics, metal and, it seems, just about anything at hand. Regardless of material, collecting multiples of objects into energetic, intriguing and often strange never-before-seen organic forms dominate Hee-ang’s collections. You can take a look at the many ways this effect can be used with thin bits of polymer on Hee-ang’s Instagram and website.



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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - The Proliferation Effect    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


A Talented Hobbyist

macabrea split 350x384 - A Talented Hobbyist

I’m so glad that this artist became easier to find and to read up on since the day I originally posted this. Cecilia Button does amazing work but still, she doesn’t sell it. Rather this is a hobby for her that she does in the very early hours of the day before running off to attend to her busy textile career.

Here is the post from January 31st, 2012:

“The ‘Pretty of the Day’ … off another non-English blog (Google so needs to pay me for sending people to their translator all the time!) She’s French, lives in Asia, only lists ‘Cecilia’ for her name and doesn’t sell her work, just gifts it. Lucky friends she has!

These days you can find more of her work on her her Flickr pages as her blog site has not been active since 2013, but is still rather revealing.



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

Neverknead 052217 - A Talented Hobbyist    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Back When We Were Young

angela garrod 350x257 - Back When We Were YoungOkay, maybe we weren’t so very young still just five years ago but man, it sure feels like a very long time ago. What Angela has done between then, as wonderful as the work is, and now, is really incredible. Here is the post from May 15th, 2012:

Angela Garrod is an emerging artist from the UK. She’s featured in our galleries in the next issue (order yours at Her newest piece here is not in the issue but it’s just fantastic–cool, light, springtime polymer. Her new website just went up, too:

You can, of course, jump over to Angela’s website as above to compare old and new but I like doing so on her Flickr photostream where a clear timeline is shown as you move through the pages.



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

Neverknead 052217 - Back When We Were Young    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


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