Petrujitka blue green peek e1509917754926 - Peeking Through Layers

Peeking Through Layers

Petrujitka blue green peek 430x419 - Peeking Through LayersA lot of the peek-a-boo designs you see peer in at just one contrasting surface although there are a few out there who add in a little charm or an additional focal point. But I really like what Czech Republic’s Jitka Petrů did with this opening in her pendant’s surface.

The many overlapping layers look like they are moving back, one depth at a time and seem like we will soon see the inner surface although it stops at just giving us the tiniest of peeks. But that effect really draws your eye in. When you pull back, it even has a bit of an optical motion effect, in part because of the angling of the layers but also because of the very slight change in color value and hue which makes for a gradual transition to the center.

Jitka plays around with this peek into layers in a number of ways as you can see in her shop here.

 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Peeking Through Layers    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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A Peek at a Letter

lost letter JessamaDesign 430x421 - A Peek at a Letter

Since we started out this week with a spooky something or other peeking out at us, I thought I’d try to make a theme of it and the idea of peeking into things is always intriguing. Spaces that allow us to look into things beyond is like the revealing of a tiny mystery, a look into a place that we might otherwise be shut off from. When this is part of a design, I think it automatically will draw the eye. Whether you can keep a viewer looking is up to the rest of your design.

The idea of a partly revealed letter that Samantha Burroughs chose for this beautifully textured pendant is certainly alluring. Who doesn’t get a little bit of thrill from the possibility of seeing the inner thoughts of another person? We are also very drawn to text in general as our brain wants to immediately read and decipher it so it was a good choice for the interior content of the holes here. It also creates a contrasting texture to the organic surface of the piece.

Samantha has honed her skills in a variety of established techniques and looks to be fully exploring quite a few of them. You can find her work on Etsy.

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A Spooky Peek

forbidden forest kael mijoy 430x426 - A Spooky PeekBeing that tomorrow is Halloween, I could not help but get in one last spooky bit of polymer creativity. The thing that makes something truly scary is the stuff you can’t see, or so I have always felt. The bogeyman under the bed, the creature in the closet, the shape of some beast in the bushes … just the hint that something is there allows our imagination to run wild. And in the dark and the shadows, our imagination comes up with some pretty scary stuff!

So, seeing the pair of eyes staring out from the forest in this polymer illustration by , what are you thinking is in there? You know I was thinking those eyes need to be glow in the dark and then I would so want this to be a light switch plate because how freaky would that be in a shadowy room to have to reach into that to get the light on and banish the very fears it invokes? Can you hear your inner voice saying, “Don’t do it! You’ve seen this seen in the movies and someone always loses a hand!”

Okay … enough with trying to spook you all. Especially since I think I am very much spooking myself in the process. But isn’t it neat how our imaginations can add so much to what we look at? And isn’t it great that polymer clay allows us to create any such thing our imagination comes up with?

For those of you who celebrate this holiday in which we face and often embrace our fears, have a very safe and happy Halloween.

 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - A Spooky Peek    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Snakes in the Shadows

ellenjewett snake 430x509 - Snakes in the Shadows‘Tis the time to think creepy and ghoulish … if you’re into that kind of thing. And, yep, I am! I love Halloween, in large part because it is that one time of year the majority of our society looks at the darker side of life and has an appreciation for it, even embracing the scary and dark. I have always believed that you can find as much beauty in the dark and frightening things as you can in the sunshine. Mind you, I do love my sunshine, but I am very much drawn to the beauty of the night. So let’s greet the season with some dark beauty to set the mood.

And if anyone can pull off not just dark and beautiful but also elegant and enthralling, it would be the likes of Ellen Jewett. Her work, created in a variety of craft clays and hand painted, spins and swirls and teems with life but not just the life of the animal that the sculpture is centered on. Many of her sculptures also include other smaller signs of life, from insects to birds to flora that seem to be as alive as the creatures themselves. Her coloring fades from one shade to another, often giving the illusion of shadow and thus a bit of mystery.

The snake of this piece is accompanied by crows and wreathed in a vine of that hovers between death and life, black in places and blooming tiny white flowers in others. You can see by her detail shot on her website that photos are just not going to do it justice. There are shimmering greens and blues with dashes of copper among them as well as silvery and maroon scales along its length. And I’m just gleaning that from the photos. I can only imagine how intriguing this is in person.

Looking through Ellen’s galleries is always a treat. Treat yourself to a bit of that today by heading over to her website. 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Snakes in the Shadows    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Crackle and Glaze

akak crackle spears 430x316 - Crackle and GlazeExploring technique is definitely one of the primary joys of working with polymer. Not only can the material do so many different things but within each technique, there are dozens if not hundreds of ways of applying it.

France’s Karine Barrera, like so many of us, has spent a fair amount of time exploring crackle techniques. This necklace, created for her mother, a painter, shows a slightly different variation of crackle along with a faux ceramic look. She is also working in a brighter array of colors than she normally does, taking inspiration from the more saturated colors she says her mother prefers. The exploration of all these elements resulted in a piece that, although presented in a balanced, symmetrical composition, has a lot of energy and intrigue to draw a viewer in.

To see Karine’s other work, which tends towards more muted colors and a tribal style, take a look at her Akak blog.

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Crackle and Glaze    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Exploring Points

helene jeanclaude dots 430x291 - Exploring PointsLast week I had the very fortunate opportunity to spend a couple days chatting and exploring Los Angeles with Christi Friesen and one of my oldest polymer pals, Debbie Crothers. We definitely did more talking than anything else and one of the subjects that kept coming up was exploration. Exploration of a technique or of a design element in your work can reveal much about what you personally prefer to do in your work not just what the technique or element offers.

One great way to explore is to make a lot of elements using the same technique or the same design element. In this bold neckpiece by Hélène JeanClaude there are several variations on the dot. The dot as a colored accent, as repetition defining the structure of a visual pattern, and as negative space are joined together, linked by that same color of blue and the coppery brown. The curve of the shapes, as well as the colors and the dots themselves, create a cohesive whole of these three very different explorations of the way a dot can be used.

Hélène’s work often appears to be an exploration of a particular design element or perhaps she is simply not satisfied with an element being presented in just one way. Regardless, it presents a high level of sophistication and energy to her tribal-leaning aesthetic. You can explore the fruits of her explorations on her Flickr photostream and here on her blog.

 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Exploring Points    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Riotous Floral

zafrika flower bracelet 430x358 - Riotous FloralA meadow full of spring blooms or a wall adorned with thousands of roses becomes a thing of beauty, quite beyond what any one flower could create. Using many small flowers tightly set on a piece of jewelry also moves it beyond just being flowers. The texture and variation in the surface creates energy even among the tranquility so often associated with flowers.

Irina Dzhalilova who watermarks her photos with the online name Zafirka favors this effect in almost all her work. Working in variations on a floral theme, she creates very romantic yet energized pieces. It is the small but crowded compositions that allow for this. I chose this piece as an example because the colors are subdued and not commonly associated with flowers so you can see, even without the colorful presentation we usually see in florals, the gathering of so many small petals creates an inviting and relatively riotous texture.

If you are up for more riotous floral, you can find Irina all over the web from  Twitter to Facebook to Vkontakte but you can also simply start on her website and follow links from there.

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Riotous Floral    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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The Proliferation Effect

Hee ang kim proliferation 430x496 - The Proliferation EffectThe thing about many items being packed into a limited space is that you stop seeing those individual items and see them as one thing with a texture, and energy that does not exist in the separate parts. You see it in the crowded stands at a game, a bowl of snacks or even in your drawers full of clay. It is a kind of gestalt effect. You can use this crowding of objects to create wonderfully energetic and highly textured pieces.

This is a piece I found last week that got me thinking about this as an artistic approach. The necklace is by Hee-ang Kim, a Korean graduate student Kookmin University in Korea at the time of its creation in 2014. It is part of an aptly named series called Proliferation, this being Proliferation XI. The super thin polymer petals are stitched together to create these feather-like beads, which collectively flutter and wave in a very touchable looking texture.

Hee-ang works in a variety of materials including other types of plastics, metal and, it seems, just about anything at hand. Regardless of material, collecting multiples of objects into energetic, intriguing and often strange never-before-seen organic forms dominate Hee-ang’s collections. You can take a look at the many ways this effect can be used with thin bits of polymer on Hee-ang’s Instagram and website.

 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - The Proliferation Effect    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Forest in a Bowl

heesoo aspen shell bowl 350x346 - Forest in a BowlWhen I saw this delicately shaped aspen forest on such a pale and yet luminescent bowl, I just kind of sighed. Such a balance of light colors and strong forms takes a very intentional and intuitively passionate hand.

I saw this on the Colossal newsletter, which is a little collection of interesting art and artists dropped into my mailbox weekly. At first, I thought this was a shallow shell shape but a closer look shows it to be a bowl and not all that shallow, with the aspen trees growing up from the inside of it. Ceramic artist Heesoo Lee actually creates this complex and delicate look by creating separate leaves and placing them carefully by hand, building a very dimensional and shimmering look for these trees which, in real life, shimmer with the constant flutter of their leaves in even the slightest breeze. It made me a little homesick for Colorado actually. The aspens will be a brilliant gold turning to russet red about now.

Well, i can’t get out to the Rockies right now but we can all enjoy these Rocky Mountain forest-inspired creations by visiting the Montana-based artist’s work online both on Instagram and Etsy. Here is the link to the Colossal article on her as well.

And don’t forget to work out time to come see the Into the Forest installation in Pittsburgh in November. Here is the link again so you can work on those plans to join fellow polymer artists that weekend.

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

tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Forest in a Bowl    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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