Kitten Cute

lynx chibi dragon spirit by lisatoms d8tcih3 1 430x618 - Kitten Cute

I’m actually taking the day off today. I know it doesn’t look like it but I couldn’t leave you all hanging without a little something to check out this weekend.

So here’s one more curious polymer and fur creations. I apologize but I just couldn’t resist dropping in a kitty on you. I mean, there has to be some reason cat videos are so wildly popular–people love the felines, especially those with really big eyes.

A feline with big eyes and a mischievous nature seems to be the recipe for a hit cat video and although this is not a video I think Lisa Toms got the formula just about right. Now to figure out the breed!

Go ahead and have fun with this Lisa’s cuties and curiosities on her Deviant Art pages.

 

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Fuzzy Comfort

swap spirit art doll ooak by furrykami creatures d9xk9yd 430x619 - Fuzzy ComfortYou know when you have those days, or weeks (or years!), that just drain you, sometimes the only thing you want is something or someone cute and comforting to curl up with. I do have a particularly cuddly, loving German Shepard so I can get that most days but today I wanted to find something comforting and cute to post. You just have to do that sometimes.

Now, my version of cute is usually a little off from the standard cute of kitties and puppies (not that I am at all immune to their devious cuteness) but tell me that this little mom and her, well, baby creature, aren’t just heart-meltingly adorable. Dyagileva Marina specializes in furry and polymer mixed media creations with a little bit of creature and cute all rolled up into her sculptures. The contrasting softness of the fuzzy soft body next to those polymer faces with their big eyes probably helps, plus it is a combination you don’t see too often with polymer. I do find the combination of soft fabrics works quite well with polymer, even in jewelry, although I don’t know if I have seen furry and polymer on any necklaces but I think I’m going to go look for some!

If you are up for a dose of slightly off the norm cuteness, you can see more of Dyagileva’s creations in her Etsy shop and Deviant art pages.

 

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Going to the Dogs

IC pupToday, let’s look at when cute works. Because cute stuff is, of course, a legitimate form of art which, like any contemporary or statement piece, still needs to follow basic design guidelines, along with that touch of artistic inspiration, to work well.

This adorable cane covered pup, fighting the chill of a spring morning on a distant northern European coastline with a little neck muffler, has been in my queue for some time. It was created by France’s Isabelle Chatelain. I don’t know what I had in mind when I grabbed it and even after looking it over, mostly what I can say is that it just makes me smile.

It does work design wise though. There is a limited hue palette made up of various greens and a splash of orange and the eye and button have you playing a bit of eye tennis as you glance back and forth between these two obvious focal points but you’ll still stop to admire the patterns and the overall ‘cuteness’ of this guy with his little neckerchief. Isabelle has a whole set of these guys on her Flickr page but this one, by far works the best. Why is that?

I think it’s very, very simple. The button. The button is a darkest point against the lightest background which creates the most contrast aside from the eye. That makes it the primary focal point and gives us a very calm but certain spot to rest between checking out all the pattern. Is there anything else that you think really makes this one work so well? I have a couple other thoughts but I’d love to her yours!

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Go back to basics. Create something without worrying about pushing the design. Chose classic color combinations you enjoy, basic shapes, and easy finishes you find attractive. Don’t reference anyone else’s work though and don’t worry about what others might think. Follow your own whim on this classic creative road.

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Adorable Holidays

jackalopeLike many of you, I will be traveling this week so I am going to keep things light and brief but stay with the feel of the upcoming season by featuring a few simple but surprising pieces.

This adorable jackalope (as we call these rabbits with antlers in the Southwest) was created in ‘velvet clay’ by Evgeny Hontor with such an endearing look. Decorating the likeness of animals with symbols and marks appears in many cultures throughout the ages with no reason to stop the tradition in modern days. We do still like to celebrate the animal spirits that capture our attention and inspire us.

Although not a reindeer, this little guy felt very wintry and celebratory so I thought it was a great way to start out a Monday. Back to wrapping things up for our little holiday trip but if you want to immerse yourself in more cuteness jump over to Evgeny’s Etsy store for more adorable and beautiful creatures.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: We’re going to take a break from challenges this week as for many of us there will be little time. But let the post inspire you as you see fit if you get yourself some studio time.

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A Little Bit of Cute

count-blue-animal-ringsAfter a really long and exceedingly full week, just brimming with ups and downs, I am quite in the mood for a fun and light-hearted week. How does that sound?

Cutesy craft does not get a nod to its artistry quite the way that contemporary craft usually does. But that doesn’t mean there is any less talent, skill and self-expression in it. It’s just less serious. Which is great! Life is rough enough as it is. Let’s admire work that makes us smile. Like these meticulously detailed and unquestionably adorable animal rings from our Japanese colleague Jiro Miura who sells under the moniker Count Blue. These adorable rings are a fantastic idea. Now you can take your prized polymer cuties out and about with you instead of just keeping them to yourself on a shelf at home.

Jiro does create sculptures that would just sit on a shelf but he also creates tiny earrings of his creatures. Small in size is the most common feature along with being very detailed. You can find more of his work on this translated-to-English link to his Count Blue website.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create something cute, playful, or at least not serious today but use your usual techniques. Let your child side out and enjoy creating joyful things with familiar processes.

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Just Terribly Cute

il_fullxfull.663382560_fhu7As I continue to indulge my inner child this week, I decided to just go terribly cute today. I could not stop looking through the fun selection of expertly crafted cuteness in the Etsy shop of , best known online as Fizzy.

Fizzy creates delightful imagery in three dimensions–everything from cake toppers to miniatures to joyful little home accents. I can see these wondrous little fairy homes popping up in potted plants, alongside book collections, hanging from a railing, or sitting on one’s car dash. How fun would it be to stash one of these in the medicine cabinet (might end up being just the kind of ‘medication’ one needs) or have it tucked in someone’s lunch or just suddenly appear on a favorite co-worker’s desk? Items in the terribly cute range seem to be much needed these days. I think the rampant sharing of  cat videos alone is a testament to that.

Cute, like other styles of craft, is not the same as frivolous or low brow. The truly cute takes intent, skill, and finesse to create something that reaches out and grabs us. Fun and cute may not often get elevated into the halls of high craft or fine art, but these are the things that so easily make us smile, make us laugh and bring bright little sparks of joy to our day. Why is that not more readily regarded as a high craft? Is art not there to evoke a reaction from us? And are joy and smiles not some of the best reactions you can aim for?

Add a few more smiles to your day with a jaunt through Fizzy’s Etsy page or her blog.

 

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In the Halloween Spirit

Alright … I have failed at finding creepy cute thus far, but I do have a good candidate for this weekend. Must research further!

In the meantime, here is something tastefully cute and in the Halloween spirit for today. I think from a distance you might not see much more than pleasant color combinations and enticing texture, with a hint that something else must be going on and you should get a closer look. Because of that and because they’re so darn cute, I’m not sure I’d want to save these to wear for just this holiday.

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These earrings were created by the clever hands of Deirdre Dreams (I’m thinking that’s not her actual last name, but that is all she has on the half dozen sites her work is presented on) from the south end of the Netherlands. She works with tiny polymer details, exploring romantic, hippy, fantasy, and a wide variety of imaginative imagery. If you like the earrings here, check out more of her work on her website or her Etsy shop.

 

pg collage 13-P3 Fall 2013

Halloween Bookmarks

Today and tomorrow, we’ll be sharing the cute and creepy-ish in honor of the more lighthearted side of Halloween. Today we’re skipping the design lessons and such for just a bit of fun.

Here we have some easy to make items you can whip together if you have need of a few little gifts for the crew at the office  or party favors for your masquerade bash. This black cat bookmark tutorial is by Finland’s Nelli Kivinen. Cute, functional, and in the spirit of the season.

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You could do basically the same thing (keeping a space at the bottom to slip a card into) with ghost shapes, skulls, witch hats, or anything else you would like to fit the season. You gotta love little gifts that can be given to anyone of almost any age, are gender neutral, and fun to make to boot.

I might make a few suggestions to make things easier and quicker for creating these. One, don’t remove the cardboard from the cat legs when you bake them. In fact, use the exact same card material you will use for the bookmark itself so it fits well and the two sides of the cat legs don’t by chance droop and cure together in the oven. Second, smooth the clay as much as you can before baking so that you won’t have to sand or finish the finished pieces. If you use an acrylic block or other flat, smooth item to roll the cat’s body and head before bending the body shape and pinching out the ears, you should have few if any fingerprints to deal with. Just a few thoughts from a clayer who is all about making it easy!

Classy Creepy Week

With Halloween on the way and myself with a healthy admiration and appreciation for the darker side of things, I thought a week of creepy but classy art might be in order. Can something be classy and creepy? I definitely think so. I might even have some cutesy creepy to toss in for levity.  Which also brings up the question–can anything really be cute and creepy at the same time?  I guess we’ll see what I can come up with!

I am traveling today, making my way home to Colorado from the Kentucky retreat, where I stayed a little ways outside Nashville with a fellow retreat attendee. My mind has been trying to take in and sort all that I saw, learned, and experienced the last four days, but visually I keep thinking of one artist’s work in particular. Since her art also fits the theme this week, I thought I’d share a little Leslie Blackford with you today.

Leslie’s work is pure expression and very original. One of the talks I gave during the retreat was on developing a personal artistic voice, and Leslie came up as a prime example of what it is for an artist to have that particular voice that is a direct reflection of oneself. Funny thing is, although her work is a bit dark and even disturbing at times, Leslie is this adorable, generous, very kind and lively person. However, her work reflects something not on the surface but underneath. As one attendee said, there has to be a story behind each thing she makes and you just want to sit down and hear it.

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There is a simultaneous reaction to these–they feel somehow both cute and disturbing. On her DeviantArt page this photo is titled “Off with Your Head,” not to refer to it in the macabre sense but rather because the heads are interchangeable. But between the title and the slightly off and mostly unfathomable expression of the various heads, one gets the feeling that all is not well in Wonderland, or wherever such creatures might reside. I know her work is not for everyone, but there is something about it that draws you in, especially if you get to see it in person. There is just so much personality, emotion, and raw expression in her work. Her artistic voice is one of the strongest I have had the pleasure of seeing in person, particularly in polymer.

For more expressive classy and beautifully dark work, take a look at Leslie’s CraftArtEdu classes, her Deviant art pages or her website, Moodywoods.

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