Giving Floral a Little Teeth

teeth floral 346x1024 - Giving Floral a Little TeethAlong with hitting up a number of museums, I got to chat with a lot of artist friends, including my crazy circle in Colorado who seek out, as well as create, really wild and fantastical work. And whenever they find polymer related work, they bring it to me.

My old roommate and the instigator of my own polymer journey, Kyle Kelley, introduced me to this unusual artist, Anastasiya Khramina of NooboSlowpokoPanda. The polymer flowers you see here may have beautifully painted petals and lots of natural detail but take just a little closer look and you’ll see they also have teeth! And some crazy but realistically textured tongues. There is even one embellished with a cat’s snout, complete with bared teeth.

These beautifully creepy, ready-for-Halloween creations are made into brooches, pendants and hair clips, per the customer’s request. She actually makes other things besides flowers but they all have teeth and tongues. If you’re getting into the Halloween mood or are looking for some creepy inspiration, jump over to Anastasiya’s NooboSlowpokoPanda Facebook page for short videos on her pieces and process and her Etsy shop for a look at her present offerings.

And don’t forget … tomorrow is the last day to get half off all available print editions of The Polymer Arts and Polymer Journeys. Head to our Etsy shop to pick up any publications you don’t have yet!


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A Past Controversy

polydogz 021712 350x273 - A Past ControversyHere is a post with some food for thought as you go through your weekend. This post was one of my most active. The discussion in the comments revolved around whether to consider this polymer art because although it is mostly polymer, the focus and all the color is painted on. I found it very interesting to hear people’s thoughts on defining polymer art and the idea of polymer purity. You can return to the original post here. There was also a follow-up post a little later that revived the conversation a bit, which you can read here.

If you want to put in your two cents, just comment at the bottom of this post at the post’s page (click the header above to be sure you are on the page) or look for the most recent post on our Facebook page.

The original post was from February 17, 2012:

I fell for the colors when I saw this brooch, then I looked at the bezel. Then at her gallery and all her really creative bezels … and the pretty colors. Artist is Susan Waddington of Polydogz.

You can find more of her work on Flickr and Etsy.


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Translucent Play, in 3 parts. Pt.2

melanie-west-trans-cane-pinOk … back to our regularly scheduled program here. Here is a touch more on translucents this week since I started last Monday with a  piece that was stated to be “in 3 parts” but got sidetracked the rest of the week. It’s rather hard to not complete the promised trio so here you are.

Here is a most magnificent brooch using translucents to create a visual illusion that will trip you out  almost as much as the post-election mayhem. It looks absolutely three-dimensional but also, compounded by the organic placement and directional lean of the cane’s illusion, you could swear these open pod forms are alive. This piece so wonderfully illustrates the illusory possibilities of translucent clays.

The brooch comes from the genius of Melanie West who has been playing around with familiar themes and applications but with some fantastically unexpected results. I know this will get some of your imaginations just reeling but for even more fun and mind bending beauties, take a look at Melanie’s website and her latest creations posted recently on her Facebook page.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Use directional line to create a very intentional sense of movement. Create texture or line up motifs or forms to show strong direction in whatever interests you. If you like orderly, create orderly designs but try it in different orientations to see how it feels. If you want more organic or chaotic movement, be more random. If you want soothing, try flowing line.


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Fall Glass

sabine-spiesser-glass-shardsHere is a little more autumn color for the week. I think this is a brooch although it doesn’t say. I did have something else in mind from the ever-exploring Sabine Spiesser but then I alighted upon this little experiment while enjoying her Flickr photos and a couple of things about it caught my eye.

I find this interesting not only because it’s a faux textured glass technique and yummy colors but also because of a comment Sabine made in regards to it:

“Unfortunately I noticed that alcohol inks fade in bright light in Pardo clay. I left an old piece in a bright spot where it gets some sunshine and after about 4 months all colours except for red were gone. That was quite a shock. I have to rethink what I am doing.”

It makes me wonder if this is just a problem with Pardo, or all translucents or alcohol inks in general. I’m going to do some research and then my own tests. I’ll post my results in our newsletter, where all such tips usually land in my world. If you aren’t on our twice monthly newsletter list, you’re missing out on tips, community news, first sales announcements, and some of our magazine news. You can sign up on the left hand side of our website’s home page. In the meantime, enjoy a view of Sabine’s work on her Flickr pages and website.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Try something different with a faux technique you like to do. If it’s faux stone, create forms you don’t usually see them in or texture them in a way that would be near impossible in a real stone. If it’s metal, create something organic-looking, like a silver flower or a copper pod. Just because we can mimic nature’s material doesn’t mean we need to recreate it only in the forms that nature presents it. Let go and try something different.


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Swirling Density

beloved beadwork swirlA denseness of elements that forms a texture can obviously be quite beautiful in a random pattern. The randomness gives it a bit of frenetic energy but that doesn’t mean a dense collection of elements can’t be beautiful and energetic when well-organized.

This brooch is one such example. Not only are the elements strictly organized, but they are all organized in the exact same way, with a circular motion lined up next to other lines of beads also following the same swirling motion. This emphasizes the energy of each line. As you know, lines, especially those with unfailing direction, can create a feeling of movement which is where the energy comes from. So as you can see, multiplying lines that are already energized by the sense of motion makes for some very dramatic energy.

The South African cooperative company, Beloved Bead, is credited with this creation, although Anna Richerby looks to be the designer and primary force behind the group of 12 women creating these gorgeous beaded works. There are dozens of variations of this brooch on their website along with many other beautifully designed beaded adornments. The company, collectively owned by the twelve women, also has a strong sense of purpose in both promoting bead art as well as “a keen interest in economic justice” which is represented by the way the company is slowly turning over ownership to all 12 participating women. It’s an interesting idea. You can read more about what Anna is doing with her group on their website and on her blog.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Organize  your elements in strong directional lines. These can be beads or marks or the way can slices are laid out. Try to create an intentional level of energy. If you would like a sophisticated but strong energy, straight horizontal or slightly curved lines will work well while meandering lines will convey a more relaxed energy and diagonal will be strong and highly directional. Every line has a specific type of energy, so play around with this to find what you like.


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Complexity in Simple Shapes

bettina welker shape pinsYou do not need a wide variety of elements, shapes, textures, or other complexities to create an intriguing piece. As I mention quite a bit, keeping it simple is often the most impressive and eye-catching approach. The trick is in developing or arranging the design in an unusual or energetic fashion.

With these beautiful brooches by Bettina Welker, there is not an abundance of variation besides size and that one shift in color at the apex of these little stacks. But the variation in position and size creates a swirl that draws you in. Simple but precise shapes, beautifully crafted and finished is all these brooches need, in addition to that visual energy, to go from fairly simple to fascinatingly sophisticated.

Bettina, also a graphic designer, creates a beautiful website as well as wearable art. Go enjoy her pieces and her presenation on her BeadWorx website, or if you want a condensed view of her brooches, check out her albums in Ipernity.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Take a simple shape and repeat it. You can give it as much variation as you like, but it must be the same shape. It can change in size, color, texture, imagery on it, treatment, arrangement, or finish. It can be separate shapes stacked upon one another or constructed into one object, like a necklace or a sculpture. Or work in two-dimension and treat or form your surface with the shape repeated on it in whatever fashion you would like. What can you get a simple shape to do for you?


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Spring is Almost Here …

16P1 Cover v2… not that you can tell by the weather! But we are doing our best to get you a bit of Spring by the end of February. Here is your first peek at the next issue of The Polymer Arts, Spring 2016 – Convergence. The issue is set to come out around March 1st.

Gracing our cover is the fabulous Fabiola Periz Ajates, otherwise known as Fabi. And what a fitting name. These brooches give you an idea of some of the articles and eye candy you’ll see in this mixed media, yet polymer-centric, issue. We’ve been trying for a while to do mixed media again, but we had to wait until we had the best ideas and great artists to share them and we really think we do.

Articles you can look forward to include:

  • Focal Convergence: Composing with Focal Points
  • Converging Clays: Create Metal Clay & Polymer
  • Found Fusion: Working with Found Objects
  • Fold, Cut, Shred, and Clay: Exploring Paper & Polymer
  • All Knotted Up: Polymer & Micro Macrame Designs
  • When is a Technique Ready to Share?
  • The Best Camera for You and Your Art
  • The Perfect Cure: The Final Word on Time & Temperature
  • Training Your Artistic Eye
  • Convergence at Ravensdale, 20 Years Later
  • … and so much more!

I am off today for a family gathering so we are going to get a breather from the challenges today, but I will be back with one on Wed!


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A Bit of Wow Caning

claire wallis caneclaire wallis cane frameHow about we go from intriguing to just ‘wow!’ today? I don’t know what theme this might fall under, but I had to stop and share this regardless of theme.

I was rather floored by the sight of these beauties when they popped up on my Flickr feed yesterday. These brooches were created by Claire Wallis. Not only are they a beautiful likeness of this bird of prey, but the cane has a striking painterly quality to it. Not being a very accomplished caner myself I may be more often amazed than many by what the talented cane clayers do in our community, but even so, I can’t imagine many of you aren’t at least just a tad impressed.

She’s even given us a peek at her work in progress with this work table shot here. I brought that up on my big screen and got lost in the pattern of the chest feathers. There’s just a beautiful flow to it that would be lovely in any medium.

Claire did a wonderful rooster cane last year that was pretty amazing too, but I think this particular image really shows off her approach with amazing results. She’s been creating wonderful bird canes for a while it seems, but these last too, and this one in particular are just, wow! I can’t wait to see what else she does in canes this year.

You can see more of Claire’s canes and other beautiful creations on her Flickr site.


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Drawn to the Drama

radada centered whatShimmering and shiny or high contrast are not the only way to make a focal point stand out. Texture and lines can bring our focus to the prime point in a piece as quickly as anything else. In this very curious brooch/necklace piece, Russia’s Radada combines pieces of paua (abalone) shell and textured polymer in such a way that it’s hard to distinguish which is shell and which is polymer. But from the lines on the bordering form to the dense texture in the center, all the elements are drawing us to the large center piece.

This focal point is not a well-defined gem or form, but its lack of contrasting definition doesn’t work against it; quite the opposite. I think it will make most, if not all, viewers step in for a closer look. There is a lot going on here, and the more time you spend with it, the more you’ll see. The piece is very dramatic even without any heavy contrast. But, I think that is where the balance comes in. It feel so dramatic, but even more so for its bold form and heavy texture. The colors and the way the textures blend keep it from going overboard.

Radada’s LiveJournal photostream is full of these organic and amorphous forms. And felted bunnies among other curiosities. It’s a bit of a crazy mix, but a fun bit to explore.


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