Rainbow Redux

Heather moore 430x393 - Rainbow ReduxThis arresting little piece was created by Heather Moore. However, she was not designing but learning as she created this in a class by Claire Maunsell. I recognized the technique immediately but the application of it and the design was far more geometric than what Claire usually creates so I was intrigued. Color wise, she has a very successful piece here, but what about the rest of the design? Or can we even examine it based on design when it was part of a learning process?

Personally, I think design decisions should be part of everything you do when creating. This is not to say that we have to constantly pull ourselves out of the flow of creating to examine and critique the work but rather, we should make an effort to consider all the elements that go into the work.

Whenever we have a halting moment in the creative process, if we are stuck on something that doesn’t look right, or even when we get up to refill that coffee mug or water glass, we should check to see if we have intentionally considered and made specific choices in regards to design. Is this the right shape or shapes? Does the form convey the right feeling? What do the lines in the work do for it? Is there enough color or too much or do any of the colors not work together? Is there anything I can or should do with the texture to make the parts feel more integrated or finished looking?

That may seem overly analytical and I know a lot of you just want to go in and have fun, but if you regularly stop to really consider what choices you are making, after awhile it won’t even be a conscious consideration. You’ll just know what needs to be changed and won’t necessarily know it’s about the line or texture or color choices. You’ll just stop and contemplate how to work it out better and do it. And you’ll be so much happier for it.

So why not use that analytical muscle and see what you find here? I thought it could be interesting, for those of you who are so inclined, to compare Heather’s use of color with Claire’s. Just click on the names here to get to photos of their work and see what you think.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Look through your work and determine what design element you seem most focused on when you create. Is it color? Form? Focal points? Do you possibly lean too heavily on one element to carry the design? Then with the next thing you create, try to focus on making unique or unusual choices for design elements that you don’t consider quite as often like form, shapes, surface texture or whatever seemed to be less considered in your past work.

Colors of Bollywood

Claire maunsell bollywoodWhen I think of Claire Maunsell’s work, I think of her lovely and very organic pods and vessels. Her matte but saturated colors along with those crackle textures and scratches have become identifying characteristics of her style. So when I saw this post in a Facebook group with this work in progress piece, I was surprised to see it was posted by Claire. The contemporary shapes and brilliant colors are a departure from her usual approach, but what a brilliant exploration it is.

Claire says this was inspired by Bollywood films, which was an easy an instant connection for me. Those Indian fabrics and decor are so luscious in color, and Claire’s interpretation is a beautiful collaboration of those colors and her penchant for heavy texture.

Although I can’t point you to the source of this image, you can see more of Claire’s beautiful work on her Flickr photostream and in her Etsy shop.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Relax and watch a movie or show where the scenery, atmosphere, or fashion has a very particular look. Find colors, textures, forms, or imagery that inspires you and design or create your next piece based on this inspiration.


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Unusual Construction

I have to say that necklaces are both my favorite and most dreaded form to create. I love the wide ranging possibilities but because of that I tend to come up with some really difficult design ideas that I then can’t help but try to engineer and probably fail in doing so successfully about half the time. That’s the dreaded part, knowing I won’t always be successful and getting frustrated by that. But, when it works … it’s just such a great feeling of accomplishment!

Pushing necklace designs beyond stringing beads is a challenge we may not all be up for, but I do encourage you to consider trying some challenging designs every once in a while. It can add to your skill set and give you great confidence in your abilities to design and execute each time you do have a great success. So this week, let’s look at a few unusual necklace designs to get you thinking about the ways in which you can stretch your ideas of how to create a neckalce.

This piece is not so far off from the classic multi-strand designs usually created with chain, pearls or other small beads. But rather than working with a flexible set of elements, Claire Maunsell created these continuous organic shapes that, although they will not move and sway the way chain does, do give a sense of soft, flowing movement.



Can you think of other possibilities for necklace design that either incorporates a continuous piece of polymer encircling the neck or that can also convey a sense of flowing movement in polymer that doesn’t require a string of beads? Just something to ponder.

Claire is quite the master of implied and visual movement not to leave out her amazing organic textures and colors. She has a number of websites, shops and blogs to take in her work from. Start with her Flickr photostream to get a idea of the breadth of her work then, go to her Flickr profile page for the list of other sites for more art and information on Claire and her work.



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Crackling Fires

Our association with fire extends beyond the flames and light of it to the affect it has on the materials it burns. Claire Maunsell’s most recent post  on her Flickr page, this hollow red and ocher crackle bangle, really caught my eye due somewhat to my penchant for crackle textures but more so for the rough elegance of this piece.  It captures the colors and beauty that result from the destructive nature of fire. The way the color is applied reminds me of embers, and the way you’ll see bright red light moving back and forth through a smoldering piece of wood.


The bangle actually has a lot more color than you can see in this image.  You really need to go to her Flickr page and see the various close-up photos of this piece, not to mention the rest of her wonderfully aged and weathered looking work.


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Micro beads and Pods

Shiny things … that’s the focus of the latest issue of The Polymer Arts magazine. Having that theme on my mind, I kept my eye out for all kinds of things we might add to or use to treat polymer clay. Due to having seen Claire Maunsell’s pods, shown below, I actually sought out the micro beads that I talk about in the Winter issue.


The judicious use of just a small gathering of the micro beads looks like strangely developed seeds and draws our eye as the focus of the beads (see the article on Focal Points in the latest issue as well). The carved and colored surface is so involved that one could spend long minutes taking it all in as well as return to them again and again to look and touch the delightful little pod, seeing something new or from a new angle each time.

By the way … if you don’t have the latest issue or don’t have a subscription to The Polymer Arts yet, suggesting it as a gift to your significant other, the kids, or your friends this holiday season would be a very good way to acquire your copy and an easy shopping ‘trip’ for the gift giver ;). We have back issue specials, including all of 2012’s issues or all back issues plus a 1 year subscription, for a significant discount. Just forward this blog link and … hint, hint, hint … you might find lots o’ polymer inspiration under the tree this year!


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