Riotous Ripples and Purple Koi

koi coverAt my new house we have a big koi pond just outside my studio door. The waterfalls on it are a most wonderful sound to work to but I had never dealt with any kind of yard garden feature before and we were left with a murky mess so it wasn’t so lovely to look at. We knew there were fish in there but we could hardly see them so we weren’t sure what we had. I did a ton of research and finally, last week, hit upon the one thing that cleared it up (it was a pea gravel filter, in case there are any pond owners out there struggling with algae bloom as well) and now I’ve been gazing at my clear water and six beautiful koi including two that are as big as a loaf of bread. They are amazing.

This purple journal cover by Wojciech Chowaniec is as amazing as the fish it glorifies. I wish I had a purple colored koi but the look on this fish reminds me of the large one in our little school. Although the purple next to the shimmering blue is half the drama, the curve and active arrangement of the fins along with the riotous ripples of the water add a lot of energy to this as well.

Did you notice that the fish is not all purple? There is actually more silver than purple and the fins look to be bronze. But it’s the purple that pops. However, like our piece yesterday, the other colors around the purple is what gives the color so much liveliness.

Creating dramatic and energetic covers in polymer is what Wojciech does. He actually tends towards the macabre and fantasy based themes but this certainly shows off his skill with both bas-relief sculpture and color. You can check his other work out in his Etsy shop.

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Balancing Silkscreens

HBreil Radiating Rays silkscreenAs mentioned yesterday, silkscreen is great for adding pattern to a piece but you want to be careful that you don’t lean too heavily on the pattern to carry your design. As fun and novel as silkscreening can be for the maker, it is still just a visual texture. Something else has to come into play.

So, of course, I had to check out Helen Breil’s silkscreened pieces because I knew she’d have a fabulous example for us. This gorgeous bracelet gets energy and an interesting texture from the silkscreen but if it weren’t for the color choices of gold against a rich red and the undulating form, the pattern would not be overly interesting. But with texture, color and form combined, we have a very dramatic and energetic piece. Let’s not forget the anchor of that black focal point. Without it, all the movement and energy might be a bit much but the button in the middle gives the eye a place to rest before heading back out to take in beauty of this great combination of elements.

Of course, Helen’s shop is an excellent source of silkscreens as well as instruction on how to use them. You can find both on her website here and her Pinterest board of examples here. Also take a look at her video classes, including her new Magnetic Pendants class, all on her website.

 

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Pile it On

kim detmers dragonfly gardenI do like to keep busy, but I have to say the last few weeks have been beyond what any normal human should do to themselves. And I do say, I am doing this to myself because I am fully capable of saying no to some things but I have a very hard time doing so! So I’ve been piling it on and have to-do lists to keep track of my to-do lists and yet, I am a pretty happy camper.

Bringing lots of parts of things together can feel like chaos but with a little organization and stepping back to see the whole picture, it can look pretty good. I’m using this concept as a way to step into the things I want to show you this week … pieces made from pieces, in layers and repetition, doing the whole gestalt thing whereby the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Following me still?

This charming pendant is an example of bringing together a lot of little things to present a pretty nice picture. It is a series of simple cane slices put together with a bit of texture and an embellishment here and there, creating this little scene. Kim Detmers  has made a number of these dragonfly garden pins but this is the most eye-catching, I think. Whereas the others are nearly all greens and blues, keeping the range all on the cool side of the color spectrum, this one has a dragonfly with yellow-orange wings which makes it stand out and creates a strong focal point. The many diagonal lines in the composition adds to the energy and drama, but just a little. It’s still pretty idyllic which has as much to do with the calming blue and green color dominance as the subject matter.

Kim tends to keep things light and bright with a penchant for fantasy-esque themes as you can see in her Etsy shop. I don’t see any Dragonfly Gardens here but there are a few to compare by doing a Google image search.

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Leaves Dropping

b00d89c9ae2c0faa047cd0a2298469ebTo wrap up this week, we’ll look at a last echo of Fall with a little Asian flair.

This delicate imagery was created by Galina Milusenko of Ust’-Ilimsk, Russia. A simple palette of grays  are brought up to a dramatic level with the brightness of scattered red leaves. The leaves that come off the end of the pendant create a beautiful flow into the space beyond the primary canvas. I love when a piece does this, breaking the boundaries of the canvas so it becomes part of the space outside it. It just gives a piece  an extra bit of life.

I’m going to keep this short today. Its been a very busy week and there are a few things left to wrap up the Winter issue. The Winter 2016 issue, themed On the Surface, will be released December 4th. It’s a beautiful issue to finish out a great year. You can pre-order your copy or get a subscription on our website today.

If you want to see more of Galina’s work, take a look at her VK posts.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dramatic Open Space

2013-03-07 20.31.19Dramatic focal points don’t need to be shiny, bright, high contrast, busy or have anything much at all. In fact, negative space – the space between, around, or within elements – can create very elegant and dramatic focal points. Here is one such example by the talented Mathilde Colas.

The necklace uses a ring of combined textures to frame the negative, which is accented with a heavily textured bead. Although the bead sits in the center, the focal point here is the empty space itself. The ring and bead just define it and assist in drawing your eye to it, as well as bouncing your focus around the center composition and back out towards the beads on the rest of the necklace. I couldn’t find a straight-on shot that offered a more dramatic image, but I think you get the idea, right?

Empty space is actually one of the more dramatic focal points you can use because humans do have a thing for empty spaces–we tend to want to know what was there, why it’s empty and what might fill it. Enclosed negative spaces like this are reminiscent of windows looking out on the world, of welcoming open doors, of caves, boxes and tunnels with dark, unseen interiors. Open space is a mystery and an opportunity. Who wouldn’t be intrigued?

Mathilde does drama in bold and curious forms with many little surprises in her combinations and accents. Have fun buzzing around the spaces on her website!

 

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Drawn to the Drama

radada centered whatShimmering and shiny or high contrast are not the only way to make a focal point stand out. Texture and lines can bring our focus to the prime point in a piece as quickly as anything else. In this very curious brooch/necklace piece, Russia’s Radada combines pieces of paua (abalone) shell and textured polymer in such a way that it’s hard to distinguish which is shell and which is polymer. But from the lines on the bordering form to the dense texture in the center, all the elements are drawing us to the large center piece.

This focal point is not a well-defined gem or form, but its lack of contrasting definition doesn’t work against it; quite the opposite. I think it will make most, if not all, viewers step in for a closer look. There is a lot going on here, and the more time you spend with it, the more you’ll see. The piece is very dramatic even without any heavy contrast. But, I think that is where the balance comes in. It feel so dramatic, but even more so for its bold form and heavy texture. The colors and the way the textures blend keep it from going overboard.

Radada’s LiveJournal photostream is full of these organic and amorphous forms. And felted bunnies among other curiosities. It’s a bit of a crazy mix, but a fun bit to explore.

 

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