Colors of the Subtropics

gen williamson subtropical 430x542 - Colors of the Subtropics

Creating variations on a theme is one very good way to really understand and perfect a design, plus you often end up with a lot of work to sell!

This set was one I was actually going to talk about the week before last, as another example of how to work paint into polymer in a way that polymer alone can’t accomplish. Yes, Genevieve Williamson uses an antiquing process but instead of just trying to give the work an antique look, the technique really feels like it is more about softening the colors and bringing out the scratched up surfaces that are her signature texture.

The look is a bit grungy but definitely sophisticated. The effect transcends the materials used so that the look is all about the color and style and what they are made of is of no consequence. The quiet affinity Genevieve shows for the organic is rather remarkable in that all that her shapes are primarily geometric, however loosely cut and carved. Her colors are usually more subdued as well but these subtropical colors are a pleasant departure, still keeping all her signature marks and shapes but giving the work a sunny and fun look and creating variation within her own style as well as this line of subtropic earrings.

Genevieve’s style is unique as is how much she shares about her life and process online. If you read her blog, you do really feel like you know and understand where her work is coming from. It’s a pleasure to read her posts, however few and far between they are. You can find those posts and a gallery of her work on her website as well as work for sale in her Etsy shop.

Circling Back Around

judamani 430x555 - Circling Back AroundWith its prevalence in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism and decorative elements, the circle and symmetrical designs like mandalas are probably a natural thing to gravitate to when you live in India.  of JudaMani, is a Delhi-based artist creating contemporary east Indian jewelry with metal, stones, and polymer clay.

I’ve been watching her Instagram posts with interest as the designs feel both familiar and refreshing. There is an abundance of pattern and lively color in her work, as demonstrated by the earrings here. The busy surface design and contrast in color and shapes makes the symmetry of its circular design dynamic.

For more on Jaishree’s work, check out her website, Instagram or Facebook pages.



Circling Off-Center

Nakit up Ayahuasca 430x546 - Circling Off-Center

Because circles are so symmetrical, variation within the circular design or asymmetry in the placement of the circles can be employed to add interest and energy to a piece.

In these enticingly textured earrings, Ursa Polak includes variation in not only the placement but the color and pattern of the background, and she even changes things up between the two earrings so they aren’t an exact match. Even the circular impressions, which at first glance might appear to be the same stamp treated differently, do not have the same patterning. But because the stamps are all radiating circular patterns and the form of the beads are the same on both sides, they are easily seen as a pair.

This asymmetry in conjunction with symmetrical elements is a common theme in Ursa’s work. You can see what I mean by heading over to her Flickr photostream, Instagram page, or her DaWanda shop.




Painterly Sticks

Patibannister fish sticks 430x449 - Painterly SticksI thought these pieces were a good reminder that adding paint to a carved or textured piece doesn’t mean antiquing or otherwise pressing paint into the recesses, something we see a lot of and for good reason. It does create a wonderful effect. But paint can be added to the raised areas as well. This will highlight (in a more dramatic fashion than the way the favored mica powders can always accomplish) the pattern or imagery, as Pati Bannister does here.

Pati calls these “Fish Sticks”. Pretty cute name to go with the fun, loose, painterly feel of these earrings. The polymer tiles are apparently very small as well—all of 1 5/8 (40mm) long so the paint is able to jazz up a tiny space quite a lot with its varied color while adding a subtle texture.

Pati uses paint quite regularly on polymer as well as creating paintings on more traditional painting surfaces. Pati also stays busy with a well-rounded online presence on Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr along with selling her work on Etsy.



Searing Color

mountain pearls seering color set 430x323 - Searing ColorSaturation is the color characteristic that defines how pure a color is, how far it is from its base hue, with full saturation being a pure hue. Most colors in nature have contrasting colors or black and white mixed in, toning them down. But when the color hasn’t been toned down at all, it can be really striking, or really garish, depending on how the colors are combined.

Here, Natasa Hozjan Kutin has managed to create a palette with full saturation and using very bright colors without any garishness. In fact, it looks quite sophisticated as well as just stunningly beautiful. It’s like a sunny day and the best colors of a sunset, all rolled into one piece.

The Skinner blends help with the harmonious feel because we aren’t cutting quickly from one color to the other but rather we get all the other colors in between in a gradual transition. This is how light works in nature as well so it feels soft and organic instead of jarring.

Graduated color dominates much of Natasa’s work. You can see more of her softly sophisticated pieces on her Flickr photostream and in her Etsy shop.

The Eclectic Artisans

Jolanta Bromke green butterfly 302x450 - The Eclectic ArtisansSome of the most fun I’ve been having on Instagram is how easy it is to find other great art outside of polymer. I love my Pinterest but my pages are stuffed with polymer art, which is wonderful, of course, but there is so much to be seen and inspired by outside of our community and Instagram is delivering a wonderful variety of it.

One of my favorite collector type accounts so far is “The Eclectic Artisans“, a curated showcase of all kinds of art jewelry. That is where I found this stunning piece by Poland’s Jolanta Bromke. Can you tell what the material is that makes up the green portions of the butterfly and leaves? Would you have thought it was embroidery at first glance? How clever and how beautifully done.

The idea of flight and delicacy is so nicely done in the way the components are attached at only one point, as if they will all get up and flutter off at any moment. And the variety of bright greens in the subtle texture of the embroidered threads contrasted by the smooth surfaces of the stones creates a fine balance of texture in a nearly monochrome piece.

The Eclectic Artisans is not only a curator of fantastic contemporary and innovative jewelry, but it’s also a store. And what a store! The Australian-based company showcases, at this time, Australian-based artists, with primarily clean, contemporary designs at exceptionally reasonable prices. You can peruse their shop online here and for more of Jolanta’s work, go to her Facebook page where you can also find amazing leather work that looks like porcelain in other inspiring designs.

Hopefully, I’ll be seeing quite a few of you now on Instagram (find us under “thepolymerarts” if you haven’t already, and I’ll follow you back) but in the meantime, let me wish you a happy holiday as we go into the Christmas weekend. Be safe if you are traveling and I’ll catch up with you all next week after Christmas day.

Rainbow Color Contemplation

ChrisDamm Sea Cave earromgs 430x475 - Rainbow Color ContemplationI’ve talked a lot in the past about monochromatic and restricted palettes and, sure, I’ve had weeks with just explosions of color to cheer us up and to just drool over but we’ve not really talked about how to use a full spectrum of color. This week, I thought I’d delve into the idea of rainbow colors from a couple different perspectives.

For one, I notice that when I post super colorful art, our reads and view statistics shoot up. (Yeah, I have people who make me look at that boring stuff. Thank goodness they do!) Obviously, humans love color but isn’t it funny that very colorful work is often not respected the way similar work in more subdued or restricted color palettes is? Personally, I think that misconception likely stems from so many pieces that lean on color without consideration for other design elements. As I always try to drill into people’s heads, successful design considers all aspects of the work.

So, I thought I’d make it one of those weeks where I’m going to ask you all to do a little contemplation of the pieces presented this week. I’ve chosen some very colorful images and I’d like you to say whether you think the piece has more than color carrying its attractiveness. Does it look to you like the creator considered more than just color in the design?  If you are up for commenting, please go to the blog page (click the header of the post here to be sure you are on the web page where you can comment) or have a conversation with another willing soul or just yourself. Don’t worry about being right or wrong. I just want you to be considering the whole and then see what you come up with. It’s a good habit to have.

This first piece is by Christine Damm. It was a recent post I saw on Facebook and the colors just grabbed me. I know her style is not popular with everyone but I think her approach is one of the bravest in our community. Her rough, organic and thoroughly heartfelt work just sings with energy and with this rainbow of color here, it is singing quite loudly.

Now ask yourself about the design. What works, what doesn’t and can you see design decisions that support good design or do you think it’s the color that alone carries it? It’s a simple piece so don’t overthink it but do consider some of the basics of design including form, line, balance, rhythm, texture, and composition.


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - Rainbow Color Contemplation    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Bevy of Blues

bevy of blue Helen Backhouse 430x416 - Bevy of BluesIn my search for popular blues, this person’s work that you see here kept popping up, only it seemed to be attached to different people all the time. As it turns out, this is an artist that sticks with making amazing beads and elements that bead artisans can then assemble rather than creating a lot of finished work herself.

Helen Backhouse is her name and her beads and elements can be found scattered throughout Etsy and on various Facebook pages. Her pieces look to be impressed clay colored primarily with mica powders and, I’d guess, some kind of patina and weathered effect techniques, perhaps dyes or paints. Her blues are straight from the back yard, reflecting the brilliant blues found in a butterfly’s or bird’s wing as well as the dusty teals and blues leaning into greens that appear in natural metal patinas. The shapes are simple, the textures organic, and the coloring coolly dramatic. That makes for really eye-catching elements.

The best place to check out her pieces is on her Facebook page where the designers that use her pieces tag her in their photos alongside the stuff she does post.


Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Explore your favorite color. Spend just a couple of minutes writing down what you like about this color, what it reminds you of, and where you notice it most often. Look back at what you wrote and see what kind of work, forms, textures or other ideas these thoughts bring up and let those guide you in the creation of new pieces.


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - Bevy of Blues    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Light-Hearted Blue

teal waves earrings 430x415 - Light-Hearted BlueThe primary reason for blue being such a favorite is its ability to sooth our spirits. Blue is the color of peace and contentment as well as reliability and security. Those are things we all need to feel on a regular basis. So designs that include blue will give off those kinds of feelings.

I thought this simple pair of earrings by Warren and Robbin of Bali did that in spades. The sky-blue background of the drop part has rippling lines much like you would see on a peaceful body of water and what is more peaceful than sitting by a rippling pool or pond filled with the reflection of a blue sky?

I find the white sections above interesting in that the wobbly circles are energetic but reserved on their steady canvas of white. That little tick up in energy contrasts the bottom half just enough to emphasize its peacefulness plus the circles feel like they are floating, maybe on water, bringing that peaceful water idea full circle.

Robbin and Warren don’t always work in polymer but their designs are always interesting to process. Find more of their work in both natural materials and polymer on their  Flickr photostream and on their website.



Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - Light-Hearted Blue    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


%d bloggers like this: