Celine Crushes It

Ccharuau leaves steel 430x562 - Celine Crushes It

Another artist with a bunch of new images posted recently on Flickr is  Celine Charuau. Her alien-like plant forms an interesting combination of materials and forms have taken on a sparkly and crumbled texture, maybe from crushed shells. I’ve seen a similar product used in acrylic nail art although she doesn’t list that.

Here she balances the texture polymer forms with steel leaves. Although the beads are more dimensional, I like the echo of the leaf shapes with the pod shapes. They are basically the same shapes but contrast in dimensionality and texture. It is also the quieter of the pieces she created with this intriguing new texture.

You can see the rest of this collection to date on her Flickr photostream.

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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A Many Layered Thing

jess kirkman 430x518 - A Many Layered ThingTo wrap up our week of looking at the effect of gathering a multitude of things, I thought I’d share an example that shows not just a collection of many things but also the proliferation of negative space.

This wall piece is the work of alcohol ink artist Jess Kirkman. Although the multiple layers are the physical aspect of the work, it is the many holes–the absence of material–that brings about the energy and texture of this piece. The negative space allows you to see past each layer and multiplies the colors and texture. The “cells” as Jess calls them allows for full participation of each layer in the composition. They create both shadow and light as well as density, in the texture, and airiness, with all the open negative space. It is a wildly enticing set of contrasts.

Jess has a whole series of these, scattered in among the more traditional 2-D work. But the colors and textures are all lovely to look at. Take it in on her Instagram page or her shop.

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Giving Floral a Little Teeth

teeth floral 346x1024 - Giving Floral a Little TeethAlong with hitting up a number of museums, I got to chat with a lot of artist friends, including my crazy circle in Colorado who seek out, as well as create, really wild and fantastical work. And whenever they find polymer related work, they bring it to me.

My old roommate and the instigator of my own polymer journey, Kyle Kelley, introduced me to this unusual artist, Anastasiya Khramina of NooboSlowpokoPanda. The polymer flowers you see here may have beautifully painted petals and lots of natural detail but take just a little closer look and you’ll see they also have teeth! And some crazy but realistically textured tongues. There is even one embellished with a cat’s snout, complete with bared teeth.

These beautifully creepy, ready-for-Halloween creations are made into brooches, pendants and hair clips, per the customer’s request. She actually makes other things besides flowers but they all have teeth and tongues. If you’re getting into the Halloween mood or are looking for some creepy inspiration, jump over to Anastasiya’s NooboSlowpokoPanda Facebook page for short videos on her pieces and process and her Etsy shop for a look at her present offerings.

And don’t forget … tomorrow is the last day to get half off all available print editions of The Polymer Arts and Polymer Journeys. Head to our Etsy shop to pick up any publications you don’t have yet!

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The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!

mondongo insidepolyptych 346x450 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!mondongo rgt side polyptych 350x371 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!mondongo detailpolyptych 350x413 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too! Over the last several weeks, I have been traveling and working on moving the business but I was also lucky enough to squeeze in a little museum hopping as well as catching up with a number of artistic friends so I was seeing and talking about a lot of art. I thought that this week I’d share some of what I saw during the last few crazy weeks while I finish organizing the office and warehouse here.

This first piece, Políptico de Buenos Aires by an artist collective known as Mondongo, was found in an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I was accompanied by Christi Friesen and Anke Humpert and when we came to this piece we were initially just entranced by the images and the unusual layered build of the images which were a cross between bas-relief and painting. But then we all stopped at the same time to look at each other and ask, “Hey … is this polymer?”

The description on the wall just listed “clay” as the material but a quick examination showed that it was not ceramic so it was either polymer or another craft clay. It was not until I got home last week that I was able to research the artists and read that they use plasticine. I am not sure it is the same non-drying plasticine many of us grew up on but, yes, they appeared to create this elaborate, nearly 12-foot tall polyptych in modeling clay, using it like paint, with little daubs, thin snakes, and a smeared blending of colors.

The amount of work this must have taken was impressive but it had to be the various stories embedded in their depiction of a shantytown in Buenos Aires in the center sections as well as their own self-portraits and other images on the outside ends that stayed with us. The more we looked, the more we saw and maybe, the more we understood about their sense of frustration with their home country and how people live there.

I could go on and on about this piece but we don’t have the time here. Let me just say this … if you have not visited a museum, gone to a gallery opening, been on an artwalk, or sought out a sculpture garden in recent months, you really should. It is such a shot in the arm for your own creativity and you just never know what you’ll find!

Don’t have time to get out just yet? Well, you can find additional inspiration in the pages of The Polymer Arts magazine. Through the end of the month, hard copy editions of the magazine and the Polymer Journeys book are on sale in our Etsy shop for 1/2 OFF. Help me slim down the inventory as I set up the newly moved stock and get your hands on those precious few issues you’ve missed or want a copy of in print, not just digital for your bookshelf.

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Fantastic Faces

virginie ropars castle headed 345x450 - Fantastic FacesWhile still off working out the last details of moving the business to California, we’ll continue looking at past posts in the days before the blog, when I was just sharing daily on our Facebook page.

This piece’s popularity surprised me a little. It is not sleek or colorful, might be slightly disturbing, and it’s not jewelry but the artist, Virginie Ropars, is a huge favorite of mine. Here is the post I put up on March 7th, 2012:

Art dolls are an incredible artistic form and this woman is one of my favorites because she goes way beyond just costuming a form … and the dolls are made with polymer clay! Take a look at the incredible detail of the castle that is the top of the head and the neck and chest decor. Stunning! Tons more to look at here: http://vropars.free.fr/index.htm

You can see more of her amazing and imaginative sculpture and dolls, (which have gotten a bit more disturbing as time goes on–just thought I ought to warn you!) on her newer website here but also on her Facebook page.

 

 

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Emerging Explorer

DebCrothers flowers 350x279 - Emerging ExplorerAh, some things never change. Debbie never does something just once. Instead, she does it over and over until she has extracted all the secrets and possibilities of a technique. Here is a post from March 3rd, 2012:

“My Aussie friend Debbie Crothers has been going flower crazy for the past month. This pic in particular is mesmerizing–blow it up so you can see the detail. And check out her Flickr page of pretties: http://www.flickr.com/…/…/72157629312332777/with/6874124869/”

Today Deb has technique after technique she has thoroughly explored and lucky us, she shares all over and most generously. She will be teaching in the US in October so if you can make the Clay Carnival in Las Vegas or will be in Denver in mid-October, you can enjoy her enthusiasm and joy in what she does in person. Her website will give you all the details as well as being the place to follow her and all her many adventures and experiments!

 

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Organic Waves

kathy mccurry 430x620 - Organic WavesWith all the hot weather we’ve been having lately, I’ve been staying in my cool home a lot more than usual. Missing my time wandering around the property looking at all the cool and unusual plants, I found myself drawn to our organic brethren in polymer as I rummaged through images online and gathered a bouquet of curious and cool pieces that should pique the interest of many a nature lover.

Here we have quite a fantastical interpretation of nature’s forms, colors, and textures. The waves atop the petals would certainly make one want to reach out and run fingers across it, then down through the hanging strings as well. The combination of the old standard primaries is an interesting color palette choice. It gives it a carnival feel. That and the directional lines from the wavy texture and the yellow strings makes this feels like it is on the edge of some riotous dancing.

This is just one of several recent works by Kathy McCurry where she creates her own version of flowers. This looks to be the most ambitious piece so far, taking 40 hours and 8 curing sessions in the oven. As hard as these kinds of pieces can be to create, I think it’s just wonderful when an artist takes a risk, investing so much time in one piece. But what a reward we have in store for us when we spend a lot of time on one piece and have something so wonderful to show for it at the end.

You can see images of her recent work on Kathy’s Facebook page and on her website.

 

 

 

 

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Canes Gone Wild

olga-perova-flickr-2014While researching the translucent canes last week, I came across a lot of amazing cane pieces. Some were delicately beautiful, some extraordinarily skilled and some were just wild. This vase is a case in point.

To be honest, I am not sure what Olga Perova did to this but it completely sucked me in because the details are tremendous. I believe the work is a combination of extruder caning and extruder mokume with micro beads and maybe some post cure carving going on. Not absolutely sure but what a lot of work this must have been. A part of me wants to see the form itself more controlled–straighter upper edges and cleaner openings in the body–but then I am not sure that the feeling of complete abandon would be quite as strong and that could diminish it overall. Maybe my eyes and mind just need a place to rest that is simple and ordinary while looking at this. Of course, bedlam and a riot of color and texture may very well be Olga’s intention. In which case, she certainly did that.

To really appreciate the detail and intensity of this piece, you need to pop over to Olga’s Flickr photostream and see all the shots. Then look through the rest of what she has. You’ll see that most of her work is very well controlled but she doesn’t shy away from being experimental either.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create chaos. Work completely intuitively for at least 15 minutes. Let chaos rules the work that comes from your hands. If you are itching to put order to your chaos after 15 minutes, do so. Otherwise keep at it and see what comes of pure intuition.

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