Vessel Unexpected

BethPetricoin 430x504 - Vessel Unexpected

I was going to start off a week of spooky ghoulishness but I have to delay that for one more post as I wanted to take the opportunity to share a beautiful piece recently created by the ever-surprising Beth Petricoin. The glass vessel you see here, accompanied by a similarly styled neckpiece was part of an entry for a decorated table contest in a local town. I choose this image so you could see the work but it is best displayed in a darker setting when the side-sitting vessel and the necklace both are lit up by hidden LED lights.

Beth did not win the contest which was a disappointment for her but if originality and hard work had been what they were primarily grading on, it would have been an easy winner I think. But as she says in her post, it is easier to have your work appreciated by fellow artisans and this, unfortunately, was not really an art contest. But I thought we all could sure show our appreciation for the beautifully applied and finished work as well as the ingenuity of the design, especially in regards to its function as an eye-catching table centerpiece.

I won’t go on too long about this as Beth has written at length about the event and the piece. I do hope it gets a few creative wheels turning with some pondering on larger polymer pieces and maybe a few of you will now want to keep an eye out for more unique shapes for polymer-covered decor. Do jump over to her blog to see the lit up images and to read about how she created these beauties.


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Decked Out Art Deco Bottle

Beth Petricoin art deco bottle

Here is another way to cover a bottle, this time with the careful layering of sheeted and extruded clay. Beth Petricoin leans on the clean planes and lines of machined clay to help create a well finished and precise design. Her choice of art deco for inspiration works well with the sheets and extruded snakes since the era is marked by crisp shapes and balanced patterns.

And lucky us … Beth documented her process, making it look so very easy, even though I know it had to take a lot of patient application, not to mention a lot of clay. This old liquor bottle is quite large–16″ (a little over 40 cm) tall–and she used 7+ blocks of clay to complete it. I think it would be hard to find someone who would not agree that it was an effort well worth the time and clay.

Take a look at the process on her blog here. Her polymer work can also be found in her Etsy shop and her Flickr photostream.


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Chaotic Tendrils

Beth Petricoin Chaos wall hanging

Let’s look at one last example of chaos, tendrils, and limited palettes. This time we join Beth Petricoin who wrote a great article on her polymer quilling in the Spring 2015 issue of The Polymer Arts. Here she actually builds it into a few layers which you don’t often see in paper quilling, the inspiration for her version of this technique.

With the randomness we have here–tendrils snaking their way into so much open space–the limited warm color palette holds the relationship between it all together. It does, of course, help that all the tendrils are anchored to a central form, but that round center’s prime function is as a focal point. When creating chaotic compositions, you would do well to provide a more solid resting point for the eyes of your viewers to gravitate to, otherwise the randomness can be overwhelming.

A focal point like this also give the viewer the opportunity to explore each section with a kind of home base to start from. The way the curls at the end of the tendrils roll back in on themselves helps redirect the viewer back to the center where they can start again in another direction if they like. It is even more impactful of a composition when the wall piece is seen straight on, but this image did a lot to show off the dimensionality of it.

Quilling is the theme of this month’s challenge through the PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artist’s Guild of Etsy), and the entries can be found on Beth’s blog. So if you like the look of this technique, find your copy of the Spring 2015 issue (or buy one here) and check out the challenge entries for alternate clay quilling ideas. She also has lovely work in a variety of techniques in her Etsy shop.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Try some quilling! You can create an entire piece using sliced up sheets of clay to create your ribbons of clay or just use them to decorate part of a piece or, using narrow strips, as ‘leading’ in a faux enamel or stained glass piece.


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The Source of Her Quilling

bPetricoin_turtleisland1The big, information laden and in depth technique tutorial in the spring issue is on polymer quilling. Quilling with paper has gotten quite popular and has gone beyond the realm of basic decoration into some truly museum-quality wall pieces. The art intrigued Beth Petricoin, and she wrote me last year to query about whether our readers would like to see this done in polymer. She had started working on the technique in the summer of 2013 and was needing that push to perfect it. So, with an enthusiastic “Yes!” from me, she worked on it until she streamlined the process and had developed several different approaches in order to provide a great variety of possibilities. The article in the spring 2015 issue includes these with everything from choices of substrate or none at all, closed and open quill work methods, and plenty of tips and tricks to get our readers started on this fun and beautiful technique.

In this article, we were able to show both simple and very complex pieces using this technique. What we didn’t have room for was the piece that rather started this whole journey for Beth. But, you see it here now. I believe this was her first full-scale attempt with this technique back in 2013, and it’s really quite well done. I love how the sky versus the ocean, both in shades of blue, are delineated by types of forms—round and rolling, accented with bubbles in the ocean while the sky is simple waves and white clouds. Zoom in on the turtle as well to see the whorls in the shell. There’s a lot of detail in this.

You can read about this first piece along with the Native American Indian story that inspired it on Beth’s blog. Take a look through some of her other entries and catch the broad range of her work with a little perusal around her Etsy store.



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