A Bevy of Bezels

spirit necktar 430x433 - A Bevy of BezelsThe other thing about looking beyond the standard bezel for stones is that you are opened up to using stones and shiny bits of all kinds of shapes and sizes. It is one of the reasons we love polymer clay so much! It is so amazingly flexible.

You can see just how wonderfully it can hold onto and embellish already very interesting stones and crystals in this array of examples from Canada’s Martina Gutfreund. Not only can you get really creative with the bezels and caps, you can combine all kinds of stones, even with wildly disparate forms.

Some visual relationship between the stones should be present in deciding what stones to pair up, such as similar or complementary colors or textures. (Do you see how the most satisfying designs here are the ones with a very evident relationship between the stones?) After you have that, the clay can help you bring them together physically with all kinds of room for creative design work.

See more of Martina’s stone (and shell) setting designs in her Etsy shop and on Instagram.

 

Variation on Time

pieces clock 430x823 - Variation on TimeI spent a lot of time looking for differently constructed clocks in polymer and couldn’t find much that really illustrated the point I was hoping to make. What I wanted was to show that a clock does not have to be on a flat surface. It can be made of many parts, attached or not, and fully dimensional. As long as you have something that can house or hide the clock mechanism while holding out the hands, the rest is wide open. You can have the hour markers designated by any form and attach them with sticks or wire or be free floating–whatever suits the piece and your inclination.

These two examples are commercial designs rather than polymer art but I think they give you the basics of this idea of moving beyond the flat clock face. Not only do these kinds of clocks make for really interesting wall pieces, they give you the freedom to use pieces you may already have such as large hollow beads, faux stones, unhung pendants, small figurines, flowers, etc.

As a gift, giving a clock that has separate pieces might be best attached to something that can be hung as one piece, like a backing of Plexiglas or painted plywood. Or include instructions for a template to mark on the wall where each piece goes. There is little to no construction to deal with but you will have to make concessions in the design for how the individual pieces will be hung. Alternately, go for a design where the elements are attached like the flowers you see here.

The sky is the limit with these kinds of designs. For more ideas, try searching “DIY clocks,” which was the keyword set that brought me to these two pieces. I hope these sparks some ideas and I look forward to seeing inventive clock designs this month!

The Complexity of Time

Natalya Polekh clock 430x411 - The Complexity of Time

In my search for clock inspiration, I veered a bit off the polymer path, but then again, I kept running into pieces that I thought were polymer but were not. Of course, pieces like this splendid celestial clock by Natalya Polekh could be created in a very similar fashion with polymer. Large textured sheets and fun with alcohol inks and mica powders could produce similarly stunning results so I took a  closer look.

Natalya looks to be a well-known mixed media artist in Eastern Europe and Russia and when I say mixed, I mean all kinds of things. Her primary materials look to be various types of acrylic paint, dimensional and pearling paints, 3D gel, embossing paste, and glass and metal accents of different types. She works in texture, mosaics and layered media that is applied in such a way that knowing the materials is rather superfluous. She creates a beautiful complexity of texture and motif with shine and shimmer applied in abundance but always in a tasteful and often intriguing manner.

She does much more than clocks although she has done quite few of them. Take a look at her shop for more clock and textural ideas as well as very well priced tutorials on how she creates this work.  Her VK.com page has more images.

 

Covering Time

mira pinki krispil clock 430x412 - Covering Time

Well, it’s that season again. While everyone else is shopping, crafters and artisans like yourself are working madly away on the stock that your audience demands to make their gift giving season the best one to date. For some of us, that audience is a retail account but for many more of us, it’s the far more intimidating circle of friends and family that we fret over. What do we do this year for gifts and surprises that we haven’t already done? Asking myself this question, I came up with a couple of ideas and in researching, clocks really hit a note for me. Any clayer of any level and any specialized set of techniques can create a clock that is both personal and expressive and everyone of every age can appreciate a lovingly created handmade clock.

Cane-covered clock faces are an easy project for clayers of any skill level. You can buy old clocks at the thrift store, or inexpensive ones at the big box store, or just a clock kit from a craft or hobby store that you put into your cane-covered clay sheets. Here is a fun and colorful, slightly off from the norm, cane-covered clock face for some initial inspiration. Mira Pinki Krispil is quite fond of cane covered decor but she always takes it one step beyond.

I like this piece because of the slight off-centeredness and the imagery in the center. It is more than decorated. The image in its center is intriguing with energetic lines bouncing back and forth through intertwined imagery. It’s just a great visual piece to start with. The fact that it’s a functional clock is a bonus.

Mira creates her colorful piece in south Israel and sells her work on Etsy. You can also see more of her designs by checking in on her Flickr photostream.

Quality of Line

wild onion art lovers pendant 430x563 - Quality of LineI thought I’d continue to keep it simple this week and still talk a little about line, the theme of the latest issue of The Polymer Arts that came out last weekend.

This simple pendant by Yuliya Zharova uses two elements to tell a story—line and dots. The form of the people here is nothing more thank tall lines with a variation in thick and thin. The dots on the top of this line make up the heads, and the small dots and large gold one somehow become stars and a moon. It’s quite amazing how much can be shown with so little detail. But lines, in particular, can do that. It is a nice reminder of how little we really have to put down to get our viewers to see what we have to convey.

It is also a nice reminder that line has characteristics and qualities of its own. They do not always have to be even. The way the line is formed can convey imagery, as we see here, or emotion. The articles on design and the technique tutorials on using lines and dots and soutache to create emotion and texture will help fill in more on those ideas when you get to reading our latest issue.

Yuliya’s compositions are almost all some variation online and dots and are all lovely in their understated design. See more of her work in her Etsy shop, Wild Onion Art.

 

Following the Lines

anarina anar circles 430x732 - Following the LinesI know this week will be a particularly busy one for many of us, especially in the US where we are kicking off the holiday season with our family-oriented Thanksgiving festivities involving way too much food and way too much shopping to follow it up the next day.

So for today, I thought I would harken to the theme of the just-released issue of The Polymer Arts, our Winter 2017 – Line, with a simple piece that represents a quality of line that I discuss in the article in this issue, “The Language of Line.” The simple circling forms, in the signature wavering organic forms of  Anarina Anar, keep the composition centered and focused with a soft energy that continuously winds around in these soft but warm colors. Although the pendant is three-dimensional, it is the line the forms follow that gives the piece its balance and verve.

For more of Anarina’s colorful and energetic compositions, take a look at her Flickr site or her Etsy store. And to learn more about line, get a hold of your copy of this wonderful issue through our website if you have not seen it already or have it on its way to you.

Bags Bedecked

 

LPavelka purse 430x451 - Bags BedeckedSo far this week, we’ve looked at clutches covered in sheets of colored and patterned polymer but that is not, by far, the only way to create a dazzling handbag with polymer. Not all of us are caners and many of us lean toward sculptural elements and tactile texture and a handbag is a great place to lay down such touchable techniques.

You may have seen this handbag in our Spring 2015 – Diversity issue of The Polymer Arts, where Lisa Pavelka shared some of her thoughts and ideas on embellishing with polymer and crystals. This very tactile bag, with a limited cool palette of greens and blues, effortlessly rides that sometimes difficult balance of being both fun and sophisticated. The crystals make it appropriate for a dressy evening but the roiling mix of paisley shapes and abstracted leaves adds that touch of whimsy that makes it work with a pair of jeans when one is just out and about in the afternoon.

This is just one more way you can create an accessory that your customer (or yourself) can use and cherish all throughout the year. If you want more idea on purses a la Lisa Pavelka, take a look at her Pinterest pages as well as shopping on her website where you can get the materials you need to create your own great handbag.

Twice the Bag

katy schmidt yellow purse 430x843 - Twice the BagI love reversible items. They give you the option of changing up your look without having to have purchased additional accoutrements. So if you are thinking about a polymer-covered clutch, why not cover each side in a different look for versatility?

Katy Schmitt did just that with two distinct looks on this oval clutch. One side uses a yellow into gray blend with reversed swaths of the graduated color, making the purse look like it is glowing from within. This side is simple, understated and yet sophisticated and eye-catching nonetheless. It would make a great accent for that little black dress or even a long pale one.

The reserve side is more pattern and energy than light and glowing. She has kept the feather-like pattern flowing to the right and downward so that even with all that pattern, it looks calm and flowing rather than frenetic. This side of the clutch looks like it would go with you on a summer day outing or to a garden party, should you ever have the occasion to attend one. The two sides make this a year-round handbag option and so twice the bag for your buck.

Reversible pieces can also be a boon to your business. That would be true especially this time of year when people are looking for that knock-out piece for the big party but are hesitant to spend too much. Create work with both a dressy and a casual side so the buyer can envision wearing it more than once, thus better justifying the purchase. And it is always kind of fun to turn a piece over at your craft booth to show them the other side. People just get a kick out that.

For more ideas on covered clutches and more of Katy’s work go to her her Flickr photostream or her website.

Ronnie Kirsch clutch - In Our Clutches

In Our Clutches

Ronnie Kirsch clutch 430x286 - In Our ClutchesAt the end of this week, I will be heading off to Pittsburgh to see the opening of the Into the Forest project. I am intensely excited about that (go here if you are in the area and want to join for the opening on Friday and the talks on Saturday.) But even more exciting is that, at long last, my beau and I get to go on our honeymoon! So this week and next, I may be a bit quieter than usual but I’ve lined up some eye candy for you that my faithful little helpers will ensure you get while I am off gallivanting about.

Putting together a wardrobe for this trip got me thinking about new accessories. Although I don’t have time to make anything new for this excursion, there are the holidays to get dressed up for. So I was thinking, what kind of new polymer accessory would really wow at the next holiday soiree? Then it hit me … a polymer purse! An unusual handbag is always noted and often gets conversations started where no particular subject has yet made itself known. A polymer handbag is certain to be quite the icebreaker.

So let’s look at polymer purses this week and see if I can’t inspire a few of you to make your own. Of course, at the mention of polymer purses, many of us will raise the image of our favorite Kathleen Dustin purse in our minds but she is not, by far, the only one to create purses. She is one of the few that makes them almost exclusively out of polymer but any other variation–covered, embellished, or accented with polymer–can still be a most wonderful example of our art.

Ronnie Kirsch was making quite the fashion splash with her clay clutches in the early 2010s. Full of color and pattern, they were sold at high-end stores for a very pretty penny. She used a lot of canes but would also apply stripes of colors. This red one here would be visible from across the room. And I think that was the thing about these–they were for women who don’t mind a lot of attention.

Although I could not find news of Ronnie’s recent work, I did find her website with a gallery available if covering a nice metal clutch is sounding like a great holiday project. Just take a look here.

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