Shiny and Striking

carolinerivierejoaillerie 430x431 - Shiny and StrikingWe are going to move away from polymer for the last piece of this week because this was just too amazing to not share right away. Caroline Rivière was originally a marine biologist; however, with the birth of her children she questioned her career choice and ended up exploring jewelry making. Self-taught, she really found her passion and a unique voice in metal and stonework.

The open airiness of her work is reminiscent of some of the polymer work we have seen in recent years from the likes of Sona Grigoryan and Donna Greenberg. I thought this would also be particularly inspiring to those working with a more delicate polymer construction.

For more inspiration, visit her website and check out the Instagram page “The Eclectic Artisans” where I first found this piece.

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.

Riotous Floral

zafrika flower bracelet 430x358 - Riotous FloralA meadow full of spring blooms or a wall adorned with thousands of roses becomes a thing of beauty, quite beyond what any one flower could create. Using many small flowers tightly set on a piece of jewelry also moves it beyond just being flowers. The texture and variation in the surface creates energy even among the tranquility so often associated with flowers.

Irina Dzhalilova who watermarks her photos with the online name Zafirka favors this effect in almost all her work. Working in variations on a floral theme, she creates very romantic yet energized pieces. It is the small but crowded compositions that allow for this. I chose this piece as an example because the colors are subdued and not commonly associated with flowers so you can see, even without the colorful presentation we usually see in florals, the gathering of so many small petals creates an inviting and relatively riotous texture.

If you are up for more riotous floral, you can find Irina all over the web from  Twitter to Facebook to Vkontakte but you can also simply start on her website and follow links from there.


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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.



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Balancing Silkscreens

HBreil Radiating Rays silkscreenAs mentioned yesterday, silkscreen is great for adding pattern to a piece but you want to be careful that you don’t lean too heavily on the pattern to carry your design. As fun and novel as silkscreening can be for the maker, it is still just a visual texture. Something else has to come into play.

So, of course, I had to check out Helen Breil’s silkscreened pieces because I knew she’d have a fabulous example for us. This gorgeous bracelet gets energy and an interesting texture from the silkscreen but if it weren’t for the color choices of gold against a rich red and the undulating form, the pattern would not be overly interesting. But with texture, color and form combined, we have a very dramatic and energetic piece. Let’s not forget the anchor of that black focal point. Without it, all the movement and energy might be a bit much but the button in the middle gives the eye a place to rest before heading back out to take in beauty of this great combination of elements.

Of course, Helen’s shop is an excellent source of silkscreens as well as instruction on how to use them. You can find both on her website here and her Pinterest board of examples here. Also take a look at her video classes, including her new Magnetic Pendants class, all on her website.



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Translucent Play, in 3 parts. Pt.3

eva-haskova-braceletHere is one more day of autumnal translucent beauties. Eva Haskova actually created these last April but they seem an appropriate homage to our quickly fading Fall season.

These bracelets are fairly simple in concept but so intriguing with their gradation of luminous colors and the short open tubes that allow a glimpse of the soft white of their translucent base. The color selection, similar to the piece by Jan Montarsi we saw last week, wisely includes a touch of cool color among all the rich warm hues to balance the intensity of the palette.

Holes and spaces seem to be dominating Eva’s explorations lately. You can see the evidence of this on her Facebook page as well as admire her other work on  her Flickr photostream or her website.



Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create something in either a completely cool palette or a wholly warm palette. Once you have most of the design planned or executed, try inserting colors of the other temperature. How does that change the feeling of the piece when you add just a little of the opposing color temperature? How about if you add a lot? Play with the contrast until you have something that speaks to you.


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Damage Sale, and Cellular Caning


As many of you may know, we started our annual Damage Sale yesterday. This is when we sell copies of our publications that are not in perfect condition for half the base cover price–that’s $5 a copy for the magazine! We also put a stock of ‘perfect’ magazines and the book on sale from 15%-30% off alongside them. Not all publications are available as ‘imperfect copies’ and some have already sold out but there are about 10 different issues still available as of writing this so pop over to my Etsy store where we conduct this once a year sale, and stock up on the cheap! (Shipping is additional but we use the Etsy site because we can best calculate shipping for you there and can easily refund on shipping when we find we have a less expensive option.)

Now onto clay considerations …

Playing with translucent clay and canes, especially those with cells of some sort, has been quite a popular direction for many caners, and one that draws attention from many admirers. I went a’wandering this weekend to see what has been going on in the world of caning and noticed the trend in recent tutorials and in images posted and pinned out in cyberspace. I’ve been enjoying the look because although an experienced clayer would recognize it as caning, it’s not what first comes to mind.

The texture, energy, and illusion of depth is what hits you in pieces like this water cane bracelet by the very talented Claire Wallis. Not only that, the translucent cell opens itself to a variety of cane applications. Here Claire took the cane and created a radiating pattern to get that splashed look. The bracelet was a perfect choice for it too, giving the splash imagery a central form from which to radiate–the wearer’s arm! I can only imagine how striking it must be when worn.

You can learn to create this water cane plus a beautiful lightening cane by grabbing Claire’s dual tutorial on CraftArtEdu. For more on her application of this and some of her other mind-blowing canes, check out her Flickr photostream.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Whether you predominantly work in canes, veneers or sculptural elements (or something else completely), try laying your favorite surface application out in a repeated but energetic pattern. You can take Claire’s radiating pattern from a central point as your inspirational source, or find a pattern out in nature, in city structures, or on decorative art and use the pattern you find there as inspiration for a new way of applying and composing your elements.


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A Collection Kit

il_fullxfull.207091800This fun little set of beads is actually an example of the beads you can make from a kit that Barbara Briggs ingenuously put together. Not that kits are anything new, but this one for beginning polymer beads is pretty clever. She offers wooden bead centers as a jumping off point for shapes and adds mica powders and pre-mixed clays in particular color palettes as designated by the buyer. Along with other basic necessities, she offers plenty of instruction.

I thought this sampler of what her buyers could make was quite lovely on its own.  The colors are slightly muted, and the textures are organic and rounded, so they could easily be paired up on a single necklace string. I’d wear that! And, how exciting for beginners to see the versatility and the ease with which polymer can create lovely components. The hard part is getting away from a kit and making your own color, form, texture and other design choices. But, that is when your own voice comes into play.

If you are unfamiliar with Barbara’s work, she is an insane beader who works in all kinds of beading material. If you are on here because you find polymer fascinating but maybe haven’t tried doing much with it yet, here is a great opportunity. Or if you’re one of our experienced readers, take a look at Barbara’s other beading kits and add some complex beading to your repertoire. These kits and patterns can all be found in her Etsy shop.


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A Fabulous Glow

Moise braceletThis piece is unusual for two reasons–one because, well, look at the way those colors glow! It’s pure color illusion, but they look like glass at first glance. The colors are a kind of candy luscious, and I think the space between the little blocks assists in the illusion that they glow because the little blocks of gradient color are not overly competing with neighboring color sets; our perception of colors changes depending on what other colors are sitting next to them. The second reason this is unusual is that the artist is one of those rare creatures in our community… a guy!

Moïse Vanden Broeck is a dental technician with his own laboratory (you can get quite creative in a dental laboratory!), as well as having a penchant for some really unusual approaches to jewelry. This piece has caught him at just doing something beautiful and fabulous. But, he’s also a pretty funny guy. You have to go read the interview on Parole de Pate where I first found this bracelet. Although, if you are going to read it in English, it will also be humorous due to translation. But it’s both an interesting and entertaining read in any language.

That interview is a few years old, though. To see what Moise has been up to recently visit his website and blog.


If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or an issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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