In Need of a Rainbow Coalition

DKassel rainbow coalitionNothing like a “Rainbow Coalition” to start the week off and that is what we are fortunate enough to be enjoying today with this enchanting little gather by the ever whimsical Doreen Kassel. The colors of these characters are just so juicy and combined in a most delicious way. Marks were scratched into the surface after painting to energize the forms of this little gang’s broad torsos. Although their body shapes don’t leave room for much movement everything else is in motion from the dancing gestures of the arms to the expressive facial gestures.  It is hard not to smile in their presence.

Speaking of which… I could use an energized rainbow coalition of my own as we have lost a couple of contributors for the next issue of The Polymer Arts and could use some imagination and talent to fill in the spaces. The next issue’s theme is ‘Color!’  Would you want to be a part of this delightful next issue? I could use help fleshing out a “ways to design colorful beaded necklaces” article or maybe you have a color-centric or just colorful technique tutorial such as painting with or on polymer.

We also really could use a short personal story, that may or may not have to do with color but would inspire and make people smile, for that last page, the Muse’s Corner section. Do you have any splendid ideas the readers of The Polymer Arts might want? You’ll never know unless you write us!

Please send your article ideas to me using the link on our submission page or write me directly at sbray(at) Avoid replying to this post if you get it by email as it won’t go to me, taking a day or two to get forwarded, and I would love to see your ideas as soon as possible!

In the meantime, for more color and smiles, take a look at what Doreen is up to on her website or follow her on Instagram.


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Charming Collection

DKassell creatures BLOGA little view of the charming world of Doreen Kassel who delighted us with her little characters while in the south of France. She set them up on this great wall on the back porch of the place we stayed at. Her child-like joy in creating her critters and other objects is so evident in the expressions of these pieces. She adorns them with such cheerful colors and fun details.

I wish I could write more, but I am packing to catch a train so I must be brief. I will go through my images from EuroSynergy on the train and choose some to share with you in the blog next week and in the newsletter that we’ll get out to you this weekend. For now, au reviour!







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Creatures from the Deep

AHumpert deep-sea-creatures-10As artists, we think of our imagination as a major muscle, if not the primary one used when we’re creating. But how much do you stretch that muscle?

In craft art, because we also have to create steps, a process, and consider function and durability, our minds spend a lot of time in the purely logical, problems solving sections of our brain. Not that the imagination and problem solving are not connected; they absolutely are. But pure imagination is something we don’t always practice. So, here is a little something to push you to do so.

These fun bracelets are the work of the ever creative Anke Humpert. Using translucent clay in a unique design and decorating it with sea creatures she made up is just the start here.

As she explained to me, “The bracelets have a design that glows in black light! That is why they are called deep-sea creature bracelets. You would not normally notice the night side of them, only if you go to a night club or something similar. They also have a special hinge. Most of it is made with polymer only very little metal involved.”

These bracelets, as it turns out, are the centerpiece for one of the three classes she will be teaching at the Cabin Fever Clay Arts Fest next month. In describing the class for prospective students, she says, “Since we do not know much about the deep seas, we will have fun and let our imagination run wild creating plants (or even animals?) as we imagine them.” And that freedom and use of the imagination is what inspired me to share this today and create a bit of a different challenge for those following along.

By the way, I do have a Flickr page for sharing the results of the challenges I’ve been posting, only I haven’t had time to snap pics of what I’ve done, so there’s nothing on it yet really. But if any of you want to get on while I catch up over here, I would love to see what you’ve been up to. Go here to join in!

Does Anke’s class intrigue you? She is also teaching her Big Beads and fun hand tool texturing techniques. She’s joined by a slew of amazing talent including Lisa Pavelka, Maureen Carlson, Dayle Doroshow, Lindly Haunani, Doreen Kassel, Jana Lehmann, Ann and Karen Mitchell, Nan Roche, Lynne Anne Schwarzenberg, and more. There is still room in almost every class, so, if you are interested, jump in while you have your pick of classes still. You can find the classes on this PDF and registration on their webpage.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Let your imagination run wild and recreate an image, motif, shape, or a faux effect you might otherwise recreate as it is seen in nature or as we expect it to be, making your own version. A rose with black petals, a plaid cat, turquoise in pink, purple leather, a square pendant with a chunk missing in the corner, or a peace symbol with Mickey Mouse ears. Just change it up and make it your own.


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Polymer Takes Flight


We’re going to keep going in the trend of award-winning art this week. This is another Niche Award finalist for this year.

This intricate sculpture is both constructed and sculpted, plus it has a touch of paint added. There is so much detail here, but all you initially see is a beautiful, lively bird. This is not something I might have expected of Doreen Kassel until you look at the expression of this piece and realize that the subtlety of color comes from her judicious and light painting techniques.

Her work always has such character and the paint she applies doesn’t look like paint at all. All you notice is the imagery she has brought to life. And it really stands out among the polymer finalist in the Niche awards this year. It’s rather nice to see non-jewelry making the final cut. In fact, out of the 5 polymer pieces in the Niche finalist list, only two are jewelry. You can see all the finalist on the Niche finalists page.

You can find more of Doreen’s charming pieces on her website here. As for me … I’m off for my quarterly multi-state crossing, looking forward to some warmer temperatures on the West coast where I will be through the holidays. See you here on Friday!




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A View of Charm and Color

0_0_0_0_300_259_csupload_62771804I jumped on Pinterest to see what interesting work might have arisen while I was deep in proofing mode for the next issue, and one of the first things that popped up was this bracelet by Doreen Kassel. It delighted me so much, in part due to the section in an upcoming article in this Summer issue where she explains her inspiration for her cute and quirky pieces.

It’s probably best that I save those tidbits for you to read in the context of the article. However, in the process of looking up the image and her website, I also found these odd fruit that I had seen before and just thought they were fantastically colorful and formed. There is a ton of texture to examine as well and not a little bit of hand tooling and form building to divine and try.

0_0_0_0_353_246_csupload_65979618_largeIf you’re enjoying the fun and colors as much as I am, pop over to her website to see her posted collection of new pods, plants and other colorful pieces. For those of us who have been dealing with rain and gray skies for days now, this color is a welcome sight!




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Wrist Scenes

So here is something new for you my dear readers … a week of posts chosen by a guest artst! A little while back I reached out to a number of artists who regularly send me content ideas and asked if they would like to take over the art choices for a week. The idea was to get some fresh views of polymer art that I might not pick out because, even though I try to pull in all varieties and tastes, I just won’t see things the same as other people and vice versa. I am hoping enjoy this little change up and that we’ll get to periodically have a fun and different week like this. Let me know what you think of having a guest blogger as we go through this week or tell me if you’re interested in helping one week yourself by dropping me a note!

Doreen Kassel picture cuff

Our first guest blog partner is Ginger Davis Allman, blogger extraordinaire at The Blue Bottle Tree and creator and author of numerous techniques and tutorials. She’s looking at polymer ‘scenes’ this week. She wrote up this first post for us:

Normally known for her whimsical and cartoon-like character sculptures, Doreen Kassel also makes jewelry with the same recognizable fun and engaging style. This cuff bracelet features a sculpted street scene reminiscent of a quaint rural French village. Can you imagine walking down this street, meeting interesting characters along the way as you gather your shopping at the market?

The individual elements of the scene, each sculpted in polymer clay and painted in bright colors, come together to create a cohesive story. Each element is separate, but still connected by its placement, its color, and its style. Much in the way the the real buildings of a French village would be.

Doreen will be teaching how to make cuffs like this at a workshop in Stamford, CT this coming October.


Ginger Davis Allman lives in Springfield, Missouri with her husband Gary, her three kids and her many craft obsessions. Subscribe to her blog and look around her website for her well-researched and in-depth posts and articles on polymer related subjects. Support her great information and research as well as treating yourself by getting yourself a tutorial or two from this talented lady. 


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Stacking Up Whimsy


A good portion of the articles in our new issue are, at least in part, interviews with multiple artists so you get a well-rounded view of the ideas our contributors have brought you. One particularly insightful as well as fun article is the one exploring the idea of humor and whimsy in art. Contributor Sherilyn Dunn interviewed four amazing artists for this–Christi Friesen, Layl McDill, Doreen Kassel and Maureen Carlson. Maureen Carlson was one of the first names in polymer that I knew since her book Family and Friends in Polymer Clay was one of the first polymer books I ever bought. Along with being a talented sculptor, she has very inventive, fun and thought-provoking pieces and I wish we’d had more room to show off her playful yet seriously expressive side.

This doll for instance, is a wonderful example of mixing whimsy with a personal message. This piece is made up of stackable and mobile elements of polymer enhanced with paints and powders as well as the words and ideas you see on it. Play is evident in the movable parts and the toy like construction but there’s a bit of the serious instilled in it.  I know at one time she taught this as a workshop as a way to explore personal expression. What a fun workshop that must have been.

Don’t miss the insightful comments and observations in the “Art of Humor and Whimsy” article you’ll find in the Fall 2014 issue of The Polymer Arts. And for more fun and thought-provoking pieces, take a look at Maureen’s gallery.


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Progress & Possibilities 2012

We interrupt this week’s Outside Influence installment with an important announcement … If you have not already seen the announcement, the IPCA opened registration for entry into the Progress and Possibilities juried online exhibition. It’s one of the biggest events of its kind in our community so well worth looking into. There are categories for every level of polymer artists too.

If you are unfamiliar with this annual event, you can check out last year’s exhibition art here: Below is the winning piece for the professional category in sculpting. Fox and Grapes is a piece by Doreen Kassel (an artist who was also featured in The Polymer Art’s Fall 2012 Mentor Artist’s Gallery)


Here is the official announcement information:

“Progress & Possibilities 2012,” an online juried exhibition of polymer clay art is open to IPCA members only. The purpose of Progress & Possibilities is to encourage and acknowledge promise, innovation, and individuality in the work of individual polymer clay artists, at all stages of professional development, and to advance public awareness of and appreciation for the fine craft of polymer clay. This official online exhibition of the International Polymer Clay Association will showcase the finest work completed this year by our members throughout the world.

Go to the IPCA’s website for more info and get your work ready!

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