A Few Touches

claire wallis kingfischer 430x475 - A Few TouchesHave you seen what crazy, amazing illustrative cane work people have been doing lately? This work has been absolutely amazing the way the canes take on a painterly look beneath the skillful hands of these particular artists.

The Kingfisher bird in this brooch is a cane by Claire Wallis. Mind-blowing isn’t it? She applied it to a painted background but she didn’t just leave it as a cane blended into a background layer. She was very thoughtful about how it would appear and applied a thin layer of translucent clay to give the edges a soft focus.

She also scratched in a pale border along the edges of the beak and some of the feathers to further blend the cane’s edge. This has the added effect of making the bird image sit on a more definite foreground plane as well as separating the abundance of cool colors in the background and bird feathers which would otherwise visually meld, making the edge of the bird’s head a bit nebulous. These little touches have really made the difference between it just being an amazing cane and creating an overall amazing image and brooch.

Claire’s cane work keeps getting better and better, even when you don’t think it could. You can check out her polymer journey on her Facebook page and Flickr site, and see her finished items in her Etsy shop.

Veneers are Tops

bridget derc table3 430x878 - Veneers are TopsI had not planned on going off on a cane-focused week but here we are with more canes. I couldn’t resist sharing this fabulous tabletop created by the very exploratory Bridget Derc.

Primarily I wanted to share the process photo. Don’t you love peeking in on people’s studio tables? In the Creative Spaces themed Spring 2012 issue, we peeked into a handful of people’s studios. That was the quickest selling issue we’ve ever had which makes me think we need to do some more of that in the future. For now, we’ll peek in on Bridget,  who shows us here how she lays out her beautifully constructed canes to cover tabletops. She also tends to the size of the tables as shown in the last photo that I couldn’t resist adding because it’s just such a beautiful pattern and color palette.

She takes process shots of that white table nearly step-by-step, and not having room enough to show that here, I posted this to entice you to jump over to her Flickr photostream where you can see it all. That table and all the process photos are on her second page of Flickr photos. The one you see the process for here is on her first page. But take some time to peruse it all. Not only are her pieces lovingly finished, but you get to see how she puts it all together. Does it give you any ideas?

If you want to peek in on a few other artists, open up your spring 2012 issue of the Polymer Arts and go to the website to download a digital version at www.ThePolymerArts.com It is only available digitally but if you’re curious, go to our website and you can get an immediate download.

Tiny, Tiny Patterns

11prune cane 430x399 - Tiny, Tiny PatternsThe most common polymer veneer in the community has got to be canes. Although caning seems to exist in a category of its own, it is surface design and cane slices are veneers, albeit tiny, often of a singular image and usually repeated over and over on a piece.

Cécile Bos probably doesn’t identify as a polymer clay artist in a strict sense but she does some of the most amazing detailed canes for her small, delicate jewelry. Originally a biology researcher, she left the field to be a jewelry designer. Her focus is pattern and her primary inspiration is plants. As stated in her online biography, she creates intricate canes which are “then worked in the manner of a textile or thin layers of paper to shape [beads] or other original elements. After curing, these elements are mounted on silver 925 or bronze to form the final piece.” She also adds glass beads, ceramics, wood, metal, and cotton.

You will have to go to her website to see these small jewelry elements she creates from these tiny patterned canes. You can also follow her on Instagram.


A Green Phase

planet isis greens beads 430x414 - A Green PhaseThe 100 Day Project challenge is in full swing and it is already trying the resolve of many of us. Maybe, as Cynthia Tinapple said, calling me out on my proposed challenge in her Studio Mojo newsletter this past weekend, I might be a bit ambitious, creating something in polymer and a poem every day to create a composite image for Instagram. But it’s a darn good excuse to make me create every day. Mind you, I’m usually doing it at midnight but that’s the only way I don’t find myself lost for hours at the studio table not getting magazine work done. A lot of people have been coming up with creative ways to make this challenge work for them and keep it manageable at the same time.

Planet Isis, a.k.a. Dayl Goulsbra-Jones, decided to break her challenge up by color. This first week her color was green. The bars of this Day Three collection of textured gradient green and canes are my favorite. The inner glow that this kind of gradient appears to have adds a nice bit of energy to the simple forms, while the calming effects of the green color give contrast to the busy black-and-white canes.

Dayl didn’t pick the green arbitrarily, either. She started this whole challenge by posting her “color generator” which is a bag of cute little colored beads that she dips into to pull out the color for the week. Follow her Instagram account to see her green week and her upcoming projects. You can also find more of her work on her website.

And remember, if you are doing #the100DayProject or any challenge or you just regularly post your creations, let me know. You can chime with a comment on any of our posts @thepolymerarts or on my personal page @the_sage_arts. I’d love to follow your creative journey.

Fuzzy Feelings

chifonie cat and kitten pin 430x563 - Fuzzy FeelingsHappy Valentine’s day to you all! Here is a little Valentines from me to all of you out there who follow and read my babbling posts and keep me going with your kind words and stories.

I don’t know if you realize this, but I only get to do this because of you all, especially those who help me keep the lights on by subscribing or buying The Polymer Arts magazine. I know that not everything in the magazine is for everyone but it is THE reason I am able to spend the time scouring the web and researching the artwork I post here. The blog is wholly a labor of love so if you appreciate this, please consider supporting the magazine and/or our advertising partners you see here as their contributions cover the maintenance and service costs, without which I could not justify doing this.

So, here is a visual image of my love and dedication to all of you. I have always adored Christine Pecaut‘s cats. They always look so happy and adoring, accented with whimsically placed canes and Dustin-inspired translucent slices. But this simple faux ceramic looking pair, momma and baby kitty, just tugs at the heartstrings even if you’re not much of a cat person.  

She actually has a whole gallery of her cats that you can see here. Cats are not, by far, the only thing she creates. Find more of her work in her Etsy shop, on Instagram, and on her blog.


Can’t Miss Ron

RLehocky hearts 430x420 - Can't Miss RonNo technique, no cane, no scrap is safe from the creative machinations of Ron Lehocky. And apparently neither is the admiration of so many, many people inside and outside the polymer community. Ron may have a big focus on hearts and creates them in just a few shapes but he never stops exploring what he can do on his little canvases. Dropping in to see what he has created recently is always a treat and an inspiring reminder of how many little things can make a huge difference in so many people’s lives.

If for some reason you are not familiar with Ron’s crusade to help ailing children, he raises funds through the sale of his hearts for a center that aids in the ongoing education of these children’s caregivers and physicians. Here is a video where he explains how this came about as well as how to make these beautiful hearts.

Ron uses canes and mokume blocks kindly donated from artists from all over to quickly create these little masterpieces, occasionally creating his own surface treatments. In the image here, starting with the iris hearts and going clockwise, he used canes from Jayne Dwyer, Jon Stuart Anderson, and Ivy Niles. The last set shows his own surface designs using metallic powders.

If you have some special people you want gifts for this Valentine’s day, Ron’s hearts are ideal. He doesn’t create special orders as much of his work depends on what he’s been sent but any one of them would be lovely to give or own. You can find a list of the places they are sold as well as how to order them by email by going to this link.

If you want to admire his many pieces, the best places to go are his Instagram or Facebook accounts.

Memories for a Lifetime


IMG 0275 350x421 - Memories for a Lifetime

ellen talk S4 430x256 - Memories for a Lifetime

I know I showed you a bit of the sample “Into the Forest” installation last week, but I didn’t get in this mosaic created by Julie Eakes for the exhibition that will be installed in November. I think Julie gets the prize for the most intense and biggest piece to go into the installation. I uploaded a fairly large image of this so if you click on the photo, it should open up in a browser window and you can zoom in to see all the individual canes that make up the idyllic scene.

I wish you could zoom in on the screens you see here in the main assembly room as Ellen Prophater presented her talk on mokume gane. Oh, the secrets and the great tips and tricks she gave away during this talk! This kind of thing was happening all over and made the price of this event well worth it on that basis alone. The friendships and conversations, however, they make it priceless.

If you didn’t get to make Synergy and haven’t been to any major events lately or ever, keep them in mind. Save up your pennies and plan to get that time off from work for the next big event you can possibly work into your schedule. They are each an experience you’ll keep with you all life long.


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Neverknead 052217 - Memories for a Lifetime    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


A Choir of Angels

barb McGuire faces 3 2017 430x386 - A Choir of AngelsExploring technique and design doesn’t ever end, or at least I don’t think it should. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working with a material, there is always more to learn. Barbara McGuire is a true and long standing polymer pioneer who may often return to signature techniques but she keeps expanding on what she has done, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes in big leaps.

This collection of beads is one of her subtler explorations. Barbara has been making face canes for ages but she keeps changing up what she does with them. The angelic looking collection here gets its ethereal feel from the use of translucent wings and background cane slices. Past variations were commonly surrounded by opaque slices and balanced or radial backgrounds. The more freeform application here adds to the otherworldly feel of these little angels.

Barbara posts most of her recent work on her Facebook page while her products and news can usually be found on her website.



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

Neverknead 052217 - A Choir of Angels    hbreil may 17 1 - A Choir of Angels    The Great Create Sept 15 blog

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Dramatic Blends

MNewberg - Dramatic BlendsOne of my personal favorite articles in the new Summer issue is the “Blended Beauty” article on creating dramatic color and light in canes, written by Meg Newberg. I have been trying to get a really good article for our caning enthusiasts but for some reason, it’s been a struggle getting anything submitted beyond specific cane patterns. Which are cool, yes, but not quite in line with the technique driven and skill building objective of The Polymer Arts

This article, however, is amazing. Meg gives concise and clear instruction on how to create the type of clay blends that give her canes that beautiful inner glow and dramatic color. But these ingenious Skinner type blends are for more than just caners, as you’ll see when you read it.

Meg’s focus on canes has allowed her deep and intense exploration into what can be done with canes. If you want to work on your caning skills or just want to create more interesting and colorful Skinner blends, read the article but also consider signing up for Meg’s monthly tutorial subscription (the mandala cane you see on the bottom here is this month’s tutorial) or buy one of her tutorials posted in her Etsy shop.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Let’s recharge this weekend! Sit back with a favorite beverage and take in your latest copy of The Polymer Arts or another magazine or book and let you mind process the art and ideas you find. Keep a sketchbook nearby to record any “ah-ha!” moments and if you feel charged up when done, go to the studio and have some casual play time, exploring what inspired you.


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

Claysino Banner 150x150 3 2017 1 e1493736956369 - Dramatic Blends   Neverknead 052217 - Dramatic Blends    hbreil may 17 1 - Dramatic Blends

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


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