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.

Square Benders

cane benders 348x1024 - Square BendersFirst of all my apologies … this post was supposed to go out Wednesday but it got hung up over here. So here’s a surprise weekend post for you!

Okay … so now that we have gotten through the bulk of the gift-buying days, it is time to treat ourselves and spend some of that Christmas money on our creative needs. Well, that is my thought anyhow. Although I could spend a day wandering around a big box store, I really prefer to buy from the little guys, from the people who really understand why we are so passionate about what we do.

The canes on this box were made using a “Cane Bender.” These are long acrylic rods, as you see in the center image, that you can use to quickly manipulate cane designs. I’m showing the square ones (called Square Benders, actually) but the original ones are round rods of varying diameters. The comments I read about these were mainly about how much time they save in reshaping simpler canes to create these complex kaleidoscope canes and other types of patterned canes. I rarely cane and I’m really intrigued!

These, along with other curious supplies are sold by Teresa Salgado and her partner Spike Malone through their Tiny Pandora Craft Boutique shop.

While you’re peeking in on the goodies over there, I’m going to go do some more poking around for other small shops and unique goodies!

Covering Time

mira pinki krispil clock 430x412 - Covering Time

Well, it’s that season again. While everyone else is shopping, crafters and artisans like yourself are working madly away on the stock that your audience demands to make their gift giving season the best one to date. For some of us, that audience is a retail account but for many more of us, it’s the far more intimidating circle of friends and family that we fret over. What do we do this year for gifts and surprises that we haven’t already done? Asking myself this question, I came up with a couple of ideas and in researching, clocks really hit a note for me. Any clayer of any level and any specialized set of techniques can create a clock that is both personal and expressive and everyone of every age can appreciate a lovingly created handmade clock.

Cane-covered clock faces are an easy project for clayers of any skill level. You can buy old clocks at the thrift store, or inexpensive ones at the big box store, or just a clock kit from a craft or hobby store that you put into your cane-covered clay sheets. Here is a fun and colorful, slightly off from the norm, cane-covered clock face for some initial inspiration. Mira Pinki Krispil is quite fond of cane covered decor but she always takes it one step beyond.

I like this piece because of the slight off-centeredness and the imagery in the center. It is more than decorated. The image in its center is intriguing with energetic lines bouncing back and forth through intertwined imagery. It’s just a great visual piece to start with. The fact that it’s a functional clock is a bonus.

Mira creates her colorful piece in south Israel and sells her work on Etsy. You can also see more of her designs by checking in on her Flickr photostream.

Ronnie Kirsch clutch - In Our Clutches

In Our Clutches

Ronnie Kirsch clutch 430x286 - In Our ClutchesAt the end of this week, I will be heading off to Pittsburgh to see the opening of the Into the Forest project. I am intensely excited about that (go here if you are in the area and want to join for the opening on Friday and the talks on Saturday.) But even more exciting is that, at long last, my beau and I get to go on our honeymoon! So this week and next, I may be a bit quieter than usual but I’ve lined up some eye candy for you that my faithful little helpers will ensure you get while I am off gallivanting about.

Putting together a wardrobe for this trip got me thinking about new accessories. Although I don’t have time to make anything new for this excursion, there are the holidays to get dressed up for. So I was thinking, what kind of new polymer accessory would really wow at the next holiday soiree? Then it hit me … a polymer purse! An unusual handbag is always noted and often gets conversations started where no particular subject has yet made itself known. A polymer handbag is certain to be quite the icebreaker.

So let’s look at polymer purses this week and see if I can’t inspire a few of you to make your own. Of course, at the mention of polymer purses, many of us will raise the image of our favorite Kathleen Dustin purse in our minds but she is not, by far, the only one to create purses. She is one of the few that makes them almost exclusively out of polymer but any other variation–covered, embellished, or accented with polymer–can still be a most wonderful example of our art.

Ronnie Kirsch was making quite the fashion splash with her clay clutches in the early 2010s. Full of color and pattern, they were sold at high-end stores for a very pretty penny. She used a lot of canes but would also apply stripes of colors. This red one here would be visible from across the room. And I think that was the thing about these–they were for women who don’t mind a lot of attention.

Although I could not find news of Ronnie’s recent work, I did find her website with a gallery available if covering a nice metal clutch is sounding like a great holiday project. Just take a look here.

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

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

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Arieta’s Colorful World

Arieta vessel 430x396 - Arieta's Colorful WorldFirst of all, my sincere apologies for the wonky email situation with posts going out last week. Took a while to resolve as it turned out to be the collision of two different services throwing our smooth-running world into chaos. (Just kidding … our world is often not running as smoothly as we’d like!) We are still trying to work out how to prevent it from happening again so if it gets silly again on any level this week, chalk it up to repairs, but I am told it really should all be fine.

Since so many of you weren’t seeing the rainbow-focused posts last week, I do urge you to jump over to the blog and read up on work by Christine Damm, Cecilia Leonini, and Heather Moore. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep at it this week with wonderful work that just isn’t afraid to use all, or nearly all, the colors in the rainbow.

This vessel is by Arieta Stavridou who a lot of people first got to know in the pages of The Polymer Arts last summer. The difference between her work then, which was absolutely stunning and dominated by intricately patterned plates created with cane slices, is amazing. She seems to be getting more and more bold with her colors and, apparently, no decor item or vessel is bound to be safe from being adorned by her hand if in reach. This image is actually from a brief video that shows it from a few different angles. It still can’t possibly do it justice and must be awe-inspiring in person.

Just take a look at what she’s been up to since she was last in our pages and on our blog by visiting Arieta on her Facebook page.

And a little aside … come join me and my fellow trouble makers for a some crazy fun, September 2nd in Los Angeles–The Triple Trouble Creative Play Day. If you are in the area for Labor Day Weekend, join Christi Friesen, Anke Humpert and myself (a very rare appearance for Sage this year! ) for 6 hours of non-stop creativity. We’ll each be teaching several of our signature techniques as well as divulging many a tip and trick. And, yes, there will be chocolate. (Sign up by August 9th and get a free Christi Friesen book and a signed copy of Polymer Journeys!)

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

Neverknead 052217 - Arieta's Colorful World    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Organic Support

Randee Ketzel bra 430x618 - Organic SupportFantastical and fun as well as fundraising, this amazing polymer bra was Randee Ketzel‘s entry into the annual Art Bra event in Austin, Texas. The chosen pieces are showcased during a one-night event by local models, all of whom are breast cancer survivors. The huge event raises money for the Breast Cancer Resource Center which assists Central Texans affected by breast cancer in overcoming obstacles related to accessing treatment and confronting the issues that affect quality of life, all for free. What a cool event!

And what a beautiful piece Randee created for this very noble cause. The composition, with the leaves coming up to cradle the mix of flowers as they flutter off towards the straps, is nicely balanced by the composite cane flower beads that ground the upward sweeping cups on their centered, drop placement.

For more on Randee and her other work, go to her Flickr photostream or her Etsy shop. For more on the organization and event this was made for, go to the Art Bra event site.

 

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

Neverknead 052217 - Organic Support    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Trilateral Glow

Levarry beaded triangles 430x555 - Trilateral GlowWhile I was deciding on a final soft triangle example for this week, I spotted this piece and, when seen as a small image, it looked like it could be polymer but on closer inspection, it obviously is some serious seed beading. Still, what an inspiration this could be for an avid caner who likes to create glowing, blended canes!

The piece was created by Anastasia Ilyashevich who seems to create in all kinds of materials, not just, or even primarily, beads. But even though she is not a wholly devoted beader, this is certainly a well conceived and skillfully accomplished piece. In her blog post about it, Anastasia admits she really didn’t like it until the end. I can’t imagine doing all that and not liking it at least halfway through. But we can see how perseverance can pay off.

I have to acknowledge that a large part of the impact of this image is that it is shot on a black background, making the glow pop even more. But still, this is all triangles, creating pattern as well as being the basis for the focal shapes with those severe straight-edged triangles, giving it a very powerful visual feel. It is also huge–the lowest triangle hits somewhere around the waistline, as you can see in this blog post where it is modeled.

By the way, you can brush up on the kind of canes and color combinations that would work really well for this kind of thing in the article by Meg Newberg we published in the present Summer issue of The Polymer Arts. Get your copy on the website, or drop in on my Etsy site and get that and a few other print edition issues you might be wanting. Our HUGE MOVING SALE ends tomorrow, July 15th.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Look at your work. What shapes do you most commonly use? Pick just one and play with what you can do with it, changing it up and creating new shapes through little tweaks. Do the new shapes inspire you? Create something using the new shape you made up.

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

Neverknead 052217 - Trilateral Glow    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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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.

 

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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

businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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