Muted Veneer

haunani veneer brooch 430x440 - Muted VeneerIn perusing #the100dayproject on Instagram these past couple weeks, I’ve noticed that veneers are quite the thing to be experimenting with right now. Whether you call polymer sheets you work with surface design, surface treatments, or polymer veneers, it does feel like the clay surface is having a renaissance of exploration.

One of the first of these explorations that I’ve noticed in recent weeks was this piece by Lindly Haunani, which she posted on Facebook. Of course, the queen of color is going to have a showstopper based on her color choices alone, but the subtle texture and the composition of the layout of the veneers, for all the energy of the color and lines, has such a satisfying sense of calm and rightness. There is that obvious sense of intention and deftness of skill that brings refinement to such unquestionably masterful work, even in a piece the artist claims is exploration.

Explore more of Lindly’s work on her website and Facebook page.

 

Swirling Watercolor Clay

nevenka sabo bowl 430x405 - Swirling Watercolor ClayAlthough this is not part of #the100dayproject, Nevenka Sabo stopped to show us what she does with the sheets she has been creating on her challenge so far.

Nevenka has been working with the torn watercolor technique that Maggie Maggio created. In this small bowl, she uses these surface treatments to create vibrant color and variation within the swirling and crackled lines of the nautilus shell design. The movement and energy of this combination of line and color have made for quite the eye-catching piece as can be seen in the long list of comments about it in the post.

To keep an eye on Nevenka’s challenge and what she does with her watercolor polymer studies, follow her Instagram page. Also, don’t miss out on her tutorials found in her in her Etsy shop.

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.

An Orderly Spring

Mervat Radwan 430x410 - An Orderly SpringFirst … we are doing a bit of Spring cleaning ourselves this week with our big Annual Damage Sale. Our stack of imperfect, slightly dinged up, but perfectly read-able issues and books are available on Etsy as of today. Just $4 for imperfect magazines and $10 for imperfect copies of Polymer Journeys! And we took off up to 35% on our other back issues (discount good through April 3rd). We do this only through my Etsy shop–it’s a first come kind of thing, so hurry. Half of the imperfect issues will sell out today if tradition holds.

Part of spring cleaning is spring organizing, right? Well, maybe this piece will inspire your organized side. Mervat Radwan put some of her organizational talents into this well-arranged pattern of brilliant color and tantalizing texture a few years back but I only recently spied it on Instagram. The simple shortened bib style of the necklace allows us to focus on the intricate patterning and color but as a clayer, you can’t help but admire the carefully consistent and skilled placement.

I imagine she laid out this pattern before starting—how else do you get such even lines and spacing? My recent exploration of techniques for tiny bits of clay has made me come to appreciate this type of work even more than I did before. You can read about my adventures and learn a number of techniques, like you see in Mervat’s work, in our latest magazine, the Spring 2018 – Big and Small issue, which you can get on our website here: www.thepolymerarts.com.

I was not able to dig up a lot of information about Mervat, quite likely because I can’t search her Arabic text online. The image came to me through the Polymer Clay Tribe Instagram account. I also found this Google plus page and this YouTube video in which Mervat is interviewed on TV, but if anyone has more information I will add it to the posts. Just write in the comments or reply to the blog email if you get that.

 

Colors of the Subtropics

gen williamson subtropical 430x542 - Colors of the Subtropics

Creating variations on a theme is one very good way to really understand and perfect a design, plus you often end up with a lot of work to sell!

This set was one I was actually going to talk about the week before last, as another example of how to work paint into polymer in a way that polymer alone can’t accomplish. Yes, Genevieve Williamson uses an antiquing process but instead of just trying to give the work an antique look, the technique really feels like it is more about softening the colors and bringing out the scratched up surfaces that are her signature texture.

The look is a bit grungy but definitely sophisticated. The effect transcends the materials used so that the look is all about the color and style and what they are made of is of no consequence. The quiet affinity Genevieve shows for the organic is rather remarkable in that all that her shapes are primarily geometric, however loosely cut and carved. Her colors are usually more subdued as well but these subtropical colors are a pleasant departure, still keeping all her signature marks and shapes but giving the work a sunny and fun look and creating variation within her own style as well as this line of subtropic earrings.

Genevieve’s style is unique as is how much she shares about her life and process online. If you read her blog, you do really feel like you know and understand where her work is coming from. It’s a pleasure to read her posts, however few and far between they are. You can find those posts and a gallery of her work on her website as well as work for sale in her Etsy shop.

Circling Back Around

judamani 430x555 - Circling Back AroundWith its prevalence in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism and decorative elements, the circle and symmetrical designs like mandalas are probably a natural thing to gravitate to when you live in India.  of JudaMani, is a Delhi-based artist creating contemporary east Indian jewelry with metal, stones, and polymer clay.

I’ve been watching her Instagram posts with interest as the designs feel both familiar and refreshing. There is an abundance of pattern and lively color in her work, as demonstrated by the earrings here. The busy surface design and contrast in color and shapes makes the symmetry of its circular design dynamic.

For more on Jaishree’s work, check out her website, Instagram or Facebook pages.

 

 

Painted Parts

leanne fergeus paintedparts 430x407 - Painted PartsToday, I would like to bring up the subject of painting polymer. Although the attitude is changing, there is still some unwritten rule out there that you really shouldn’t have to paint polymer because all the colors and possible inclusions to create variations in color and texture are already in, or can be added, to the clay. But like any material, the way polymer presents color and inclusions is quite a bit different from the way other materials will do it. And sometimes it’s a lot harder to accomplish. This is art, not some kind of skill challenge, at least not for a lot of us. I am all for challenging our skills and seeing how far we can push the clay but sometimes, you just want to have at it with some form of pigment that you can spontaneously and freely brush, dab, draw or drop onto the clay.

Take these beauties, for instance. It looks like, from the edge of the treated clay sheet in the back, that Leanne Fergeus did a bit of splashing about, in a rather linear manner, with maybe some alcohol inks on a sheet of pale colored clay.  Then she dashed either metallic inks (I got myself a selection of these from Poly Clay Play but have yet to play with them!) or metallic acrylics. And the effect is just stunning. Very painterly, kind of sunset-like but mostly it’s just a great energized and confident-feeling color palette and texture. And you could not achieve this kind of look with clay alone. The clay allows for shaping the painted surface and so is integral, just not its inherent color.

Leanne is partial to alcohol inks and does lovely loose work with them on, primarily, simply shaped pendants. You can see more of her work on Instagram and on her website.

Aztec Accents

LVogel aztec accents 430x478 - Aztec AccentsMy forays all over Instagram also got me caught up on the beautifully delicate work of Lorraine Vogel. These last few years, she has really hit her stride, showing off her fine sense of color within a series of signature techniques that focus on surface design with stamped or stenciled texture.

Here she lets the color flow and layer across the surface to create an ancient look using what I think is a version of the raised surface coloration technique which she shared in a tutorial in our Winter 2016 edition of The Polymer Arts. It looks a bit more involved but if you want to try something similar, get the issue on our website.

Her techniques are easy and fun and you can get great results with just a little care. She sells additional tutorials on related techniques in her Etsy shop, along with her wares. You can also take look at the history of her work by dropping in on her Flickr photostream and, of course, her Instagram page.

Charming Scarves

2 good clip on scarf charms - Charming ScarvesAs we get closer to the holiday gift-giving time, fast and easy-to-make pieces that still have a high “wow” factor are likely becoming the focus in craft studios everywhere so I have a few ideas that focus on scarves. Why scarves? Well, you can give them to both men and women and can make polymer pieces to go with them also for both men and women. Although the pieces we show this week will be more like scarf jewelry with a feminine leaning, I know more masculine designs would be pretty easy to come up with. As mentioned in The Polymer Arts Winter 2017 issue’s article on men’s jewelry, more and more guys are looking for cool, decorative pieces to wear around and putting a clip or pin on a scarf to keep it in place is by no means a need that women alone have. So, yes, we are going to talk scarf accessories this week and if any of you know of well-designed men’s scarf accessories, send me a link. I couldn’t find any polymer examples online, which are the kind of pieces one is most likely looking to make.

It would be hard to talk about polymer and scarves without bringing in 2 Good Claymates. Carolyn and Dave Good have tackled the scarf from many sides and make beautiful scarf charms, clips and pins in a wide range of shapes and configurations. The success of their pieces seems to be primarily in keeping the basic construction simple but offering colorful surfaces with a variety of visual and tactile textures for interest. Then they take it up a notch by creating ways to change them by using things like button-on or clip-on charms.

I could go on but really, if you like the idea of creating simply constructed scarf jewelry, just jump over to their blog at 2GoodClaymates and just put “scarf” into the search box. That will bring up tons of ideas not to mention a lot of pretties to ooh and ah over. And if you want to get ahold of clips and those button charm thingies, you can find much of what they use to create these in their new DIY shop.

 

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