A Wave and a Tease

DebCrothers PAP 430x282 - A Wave and a TeaseAs of Thursday, I will be out of the country, gallivanting about with my family in Europe for a couple of weeks. Per doctor’s orders, I am trying to completely unplug so I will post something for you Wednesday and then, after that, you’ll have the pleasure of hearing from a number of other well-respected and accomplished artists as they share work by some favorite artists of theirs. It should be a nice, refreshing, change of pace for a couple of weeks, for you and I.

While I am gone, my assistant, Sydney, will be will be working away on our upcoming books we officially announced last week. Her first order of business will be working on the invitation list for the 2018 edition of Polymer Journeys, slated to come out in October. Consideration for inclusion in the book is by invitation only and although we have quite the list going already, we want to make sure we don’t miss anybody because you don’t have the right email or we’re simply not aware of what you’re doing. If you think your work should be included, see the details below.

Sydney will also be orchestrating the continued work on our first Polymer Art Projects tutorial collection – Organics. We’ll share the cover and set you up for pre-sale opportunities soon after I get back in mid-July. But, in the meantime, I’m going to be a terrible person and tease you by sharing a couple of pieces you will be able to make from the upcoming Projects book. Not to get you overly excited too early but I’m excited and dying to share some of this with you.

Here are variations on a pendant necklace that Debbie Crothers will teach you how to make in her tutorial in the book. She shares a number of her lovely surface treatments as well as a creative polymer clasp and other wonderful accents and touches. I asked Debbie to be part of this book because of her colorful, well-designed, but loose-feeling approach to surface design. She shows you how to complete a version of one of these but you’ll be able to easily take from the skills she teaches and create unique pieces of your own.

If you don’t follow Debbie and her blog, you can do so here. She often throws out little freebie tutorials as well as selling her fun and engaging video tutorials on her site here.

Polymer Journeys Invitations: If you were invited to participate in Polymer Journeys last time, you will be in the pool for the initial rounds to choose who gets invitations but please update us with your most recent email if it has changed since then. If you have not been previously invited but would like to be because your work represents some of the best that polymer has to offer and/or are contributing to the polymer community in unique or significantly supportive ways, you can request consideration for an invitation.

To be considered, fill out an invitation request here.  Note that making a request does not guarantee an invitation as we are limited to 250 invitations and so we will narrow down the list in the first round before invitations are even sent out. Invitations go out mid-July.  Submissions of work completed between 2016 and 2018 will be due in early September. If you have questions while I’m out, you can write Sydney at connect[at]thepolymerarts.com. 

Shaking Color

Pavla Cepelikova Summer brooch 430x355 - Shaking Color Imbuing your pieces with energetic color has a lot to do with contrast. The colors do not necessarily have to be bold and bright, although bright colors have an inherent energy of their own, but rather they need to be a mix of warm and cool, bright and muted, or any combination of color characteristics that make the colors vie for dominance, visually.

The colors in this brooch by Pavla Cepelikova have a fun combination of bright and muted as well as cool and warm colors. By themselves, they would give this piece a moderate amount of energy. Applying the colors in stripes adds to the intensity of energy as variation in color alternates up and down those striped strips.

Her use of lines also adds a tremendous amount of energy. Not unlike the way they use lines in animation to denote when something is moving, she has added energetic lines around the petals as if they are shaking on the surface of the brooch. The combination of energetic color and lines makes for a very lively piece.

This combination of line and color energy seems to be a recent exploration of Pavla’s. You can see what she’s done with it so far on her Flickr photostream and in her Etsy shop.



Detailed Color, 10% off Sale, New Books!

jana Lehmann pendant 350x340 - Detailed Color, 10% off Sale, New Books! Things are super busy over here at TPA headquarters polishing up a brand new website. So we thought would make it busier (and because we will need to hold off on doing sales promotions on the new site for little bit) by bringing you a 10% off Everything in Your Cart Sale!  The sale is good through June 14. Use the promo code TPASITE on our website.

We also have initial announcements about new books and our upcoming new website! But instead of filling up your blog post here with details, I’ll leave you with a link to our newsletter here to get all the news.

I thought we could look at busy color this week but find examples that keep it contained, manageable, and a real pleasure to view. A broad and varied colored pattern can add a lot of interest and energetic detail to a piece without being overwhelming. You just need a few points of keeping it controlled.

This pendant is by Jana Lehmann, part of a newer series of hers involving lots of color, lines and folded clay. Her patterns are further enhanced by her many little details—dots and spots and patterned borders. It is visually energetic as well as making you want to reach out and touch its very tactile surface. But for all its busyness, it is well contained within its borders and thick pendant form.

Take a look at her many variations with necklaces, rings, and brooches found on her Facebook page and Flickr photostream.


A Moment for the Flowers

Anna nel nested flowers v2 430x485 - A Moment for the FlowersSpring is finally here in full force in Southern California. My daffodils have already bloomed and gone for some reason but suddenly everything else is jumping out and it is really hard to stay in the office when just outside my window so much is going on. So I will bring some of the flowers indoors this week by checking out some flower pieces here!

I came by this lovely set of nested trumpet-like flowers by Anna Nel on Instagram the other day and just had to stop and admire. I think it’s really the colors that make this image. I first thought this was a complete necklace and then realized it is two separate ones. My vote, however, is it that these be worn together. Green and purple are always a lovely combination and yellow and purple are opposites on the color wheel so collectively the three bright colors make a very vibrant and eye-catching color palette.

I couldn’t find much about Anna but you can go over to her Instagram account to see what she’s been up to. She looks to be in a rather exploratory phase of her polymer journey but definitely heading in an interesting direction.

Faces Within

Mary Hager scarab beetle 430x452 - Faces WithinHere is the other thing about faces—it doesn’t have to be a whole face to draw our attention. As mentioned on Wednesday, there just needs to be an eye.

You are drawn to the eyes on this interestingly sculpted scarab beetle, aren’t you? I don’t know about you but it took me half a second to realize these big, bright eyes are part of two halves of a face, one that would be whole if the wings were closed. And this isn’t some clever composition by the artist. This is something nature actually does.

Circling back to Monday’s explanation about why we are drawn to faces, eyes and faces on the back of various insects are also based in survival. Any potential predators looking at the face they see on the back of these insects may think they are being looked at and surmise that this may be the face of a much larger creature.

In artwork,  like with this beetle sculpture by Mary Hager, these distracting faces make for delightful little discoveries within the sculpture. Mary works in wood, paper, air-dry clay, wire, beads, fabric, and paint to create her colorful creations. And these are not jewelry. These are good-sized sculptures, maybe one and a half to two feet high (45-60cm).

To see more and read about her process, go to her website here.

When Simple Is Complex

amethyst studio burgundy petal cane 430x360 - When Simple Is Complex

After all that blathering to you on Wednesday, I thought I’d keep it simple today. Let’s just enjoy some relatively minimal but beautiful canes to spark some ideas for your creative time this weekend.

Spain’s Pilar Rodríguez Domínguez creates lovely, dynamic flower petal canes. The soft but dense sets of radiating lines that dominate her designs help to create a sense of complexity with relatively few elements. I chose this one because you can see how much energy is created with the just these brushed-looking lines, three oval marks, and a vibrant burgundy red.  You don’t need a lot of different stuff to create complexity and energy.

She works similarly in almost all her canes although more commonly with highly contrasting colors to create finely controlled finished flower canes. Enjoy a good eyeful of color and pattern in her Etsy shop,  and on her InstagramFacebook, and Flickr accounts.

Also, since you all couldn’t click-through to see the work of Cécile Bos last week, as she went on vacation and shuttered her shop right after I drafted the blog on her work, take this opportunity to click-through to her website now to see her delicately detailed pieces.

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.

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.

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