Plants in Disguise

lish jellyfish 430x261 - Plants in DisguiseSo … did any of you come up with your own idea for air plant vessels? Did you think about turning them upside down? I know I didn’t but I have to agree that once you do that, they are going to look like live creatures. Perhaps that is how one crafty lady came up with the creative creatures you see here.

On her Etsy site, Jellyfish Kisses, Lish Jellyfish (I’m thinking that is not her real name … just a guess) integrates air plants with sculpted vessels off all kinds of creatures. Some are so well-integrated, you might now know it’s a plant tucked in there, at least not right away. It’s just fun stuff and I thought these images might push you aspiring air plant vessel makers to thinking beyond upright containers and into other realms. I mean, that is the advantage of air plants … they can be situated in any direction, as long as they have a spot to tuck their toes in and hold on.

For more creative ideas for vessels, just plug-in “air plant” and other key words like “vessel”, “clay”, or “holder” into Pinterest, Google Images, Instagram or other favorite visual site and just immerse yourself in all the possibilities!

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Dedicated to Zen and Stones

mandala stonesThis week, we’ve looked at work that showed a couple of artists pushing themselves in form and repetition. The use of repetition can have an exciting and energized look or it can be calm and grounding. But for the artist creating it, it is often a doorway to the sometimes elusive state of what is often referred to as flow. It’s that time when you are so enthralled and engrossed by what you are doing that you completely lose track of time, of where you are, and sometimes what exactly you are doing. It’s a fantastic state to reach because it means that the work you are doing is satisfying your many sides. This kind of work is challenging enough to keep your attention, interesting enough to basically mesmerize you, but is not frustrating or tedious so you can relax and enjoy the process.

This little bit of insanity you see here is just such a process for Elspeth McLean, an Australian living in Canada and a self-proclaimed “Dotillism” artist. According to an article published on the Mother Nature Network, creating art is her form of meditation and these mandala stones are at the heart of that process for her. The joy and dedication she gets from her work is so readily apparent that the poor girl is overrun with requests for these beautiful stones.

Images of these stones went viral recently, and now Elspeth has been forced to do something rather different from most Etsy sellers–she releases the sale of her stones only on certain days and during certain hours, just a couple of times a month, with many selling instantly and all selling out, it appears, within the day. What a problem to have! The colorful and zen-like beauty of the stones can also be found in her dotillism paintings. However, there is something to the centered patterns of the mandala stones that really draws your eye and pulls at something deeply rooted in all of us. And for those of you that cane, does this not spark some ideas?

To see the short article and all the wonderful photos of her stones, go to this page on MNN.com. You can admire her illustrations and photographs of her work artfully placed in nature on her website and, of course, in her Etsy shop.

http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/dotted-mandala-stones-reveal-artist-vibrant-life

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Capturing Deepening Light

Angee Chase sunset farm painting

We have another scene picked by Ginger Davis Allman today, this one by miniature sculptor Angee Chase. This is actually an older piece but it was kind of hard to pass by for someone with a love of painting and light like myself.

If you’ve ever taken a painting class you probably heard a lot about capturing the quality of light?  Light is what visually defines everything we see but it has variable qualities, especially sunlight throughout the day. I found dawn and dusk to be two of the hardest but most interesting types of light to capture as you are working with growing or diminishing light coming from a low angle. The deepening shadows and richness of a darkening scene at sunset are well captured in Angee’s Sunset Farm Painting. This includes determining the right shades of color, choosing the right value for the background behind the foreground objects and varying the value of the layers of scenery. I’m not sure if the orb in the sky was intended as a sun or a moon but the lighting on the mountains are perfectly portrayed as a full moon rising on the tail end of sunset. And that is quite an inspiring scene if you’ve ever been able to see that over wide open country. This piece is only 3 .75″ x 4.25″ (95mm x 107mm) by the way. Great detail for something so small.

Angee is still doing scenes these days but the ones I found on her Etsy shop are 1″ (25mm) square. Now we’re talking tiny! Her newer shop is called WonderWorks and has a presence on Facebook as well. Her Flickr photostream displays her older pieces if you want ideas that are more like what you see here.

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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Stringing a Story in Color

During our search for random design last week, we came across a lot of very colorful pieces, many using the entire rainbow and getting away with it beautifully. It’s not that easy to make a piece with every hue in it. That wide variation in color calls for cohesion in other elements, be they characteristics of color itself, or in the form and other elements of design.

In Margit Bohmer’s necklace here, she comes very close to chaos with so much color, a large variety of shapes and many different motifs. So does it work? I’d say. Quite delightfully.

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The answer is in the color of course. Margit uses fairly saturated colors but they are all shaded or tinted a bit which subdues their impact. Many are also semi-transparent which further tones down the potential brilliance. It’s this slight but consistent understatement that allows these hues to harmoniously co-exist in one piece.

Looking at Margit’s work on her Flickr pages and in her Etsy shop, you’ll find one bold artist unafraid of lots and lots of color!

 

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I Can’t Believe It’s Not Polymer

Going for something a bit different this week. I have a collection of items that I thought originally were made from polymer, that were often listed on Pinterest boards or other sites as polymer, that were not. But they are  beautiful pieces that could definitely be done in polymer. So let’s look at these and determine how we would create it in polymer.

Pictured here is a piece of Plumevine’s Faery Jewellery by Lorianne Jantti. These whimsical pieces are made from hand painted resin clay and embellished with chains, hooks, ribbon, and the like. They could easily be crafted in polymer and similarly embellished with crystals and Pearl Ex powders. If you’re into PMC or Art Clay, you could make part of the piece with metal clay and embellish with polymer accoutrements.

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Take a look at some of Lorianne’s work on her Etsy site and deconstruct it to see how you could make similar objects in polymer with other mixed media.

 

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Jumping into Spring

I know it’s still the middle of winter but there are definitely a lot of thoughts of Spring being bandied about. I caught sight of these little flowers by Etsy’s MyCraftGarden in Bangkok and thought they would be a delightful way to start the week. Who doesn’t like flowers on a Monday?

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These 2″x 4″ (5 x10 cm)  flower baskets wouldn’t take up a lot of desk space but what a nice way to brighten up a work area. For more day brightening flowers, miniature blooming bonsai, and colorful baskets of mini fruits and vegetables take a look at MyCraftGarden’s Etsy’s shop.

 

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Tribal Trends

In our recent perusal of items that people are posting, commenting and otherwise bandying about online, we’ve noticed there is quite a bit of tribal influenced designs and color palettes. So this week, we thought we’d look at tribal tendencies and see how our fellow clayers are using this type source for inspiration in their work.

Liz Hall has previously put out a lot of work reminiscent of the American Southwest. (She’s from Maryland and lives in Virginia so I’m not sure how that happened.) I never really thought about it, but the southwest imagery and patterns are not so different from what we generally think of as tribal. Ancient art, whether from Africa, Australia, Europe or the Americas, tends towards natural and raw edged work, heavy with patterning in motifs particular to their area and culture. So it would not be difficult to move from the Southwestern aesthetic which draws from the Native American Indian culture to colors and patterns closer to an African influence as Liz has done here in these bangles.

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These bangles are one of the final entries for the polymer clay category of the Niche awards. You can see the other entries on the Niche website. Take a look at more of Liz’s work on her own website and Etsy store.

 

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Something Different This Year

The New Year is just about here. Many of us are thinking about what we will be doing in 2014 including new projects, new shows and maybe even a new direction in our craft work. This week I’ll throw out a few ideas about how to push your work while we enjoy some pretty polymer pieces.

Many of us cover objects with clay. Often it involves canes or sheets of clay, but what if you used the object more like a canvas and added many small elements to create intricate patterns an texture. I think this can really bring that kind of work up a notch or two. Just look at these wedding toast glasses by Inara Kirhenstein from Riga, Latvia.

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Inara’s description of her glasses: “Luxury wedding flutes decorated with more than 50 polymer clay flowers, Swarovski rhinestones, seed beads and faux pearls. Small Czech Preciosa seed beads are appliqued one by one.” This kind of application would certainly take a bit of patience but the detailed work certainly pays off. It’s very eye-catching and impressive.

All of Inara’s work is similarly detailed. She does jewelry as well as these kinds of glasses. You can see more of her beautiful work in her Etsy shop.

 

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Sparkle on the Tree

One area glitter and sparkle can comfortably reside is on the holiday tree and in holiday home decor. Jainnie Jenkins was making these ornaments a couple years back but they certainly have a timeless quality about them.

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These ornaments are polymer clay overlaid over glass bulb ornaments. Jainnie creates this almost antique effect by layering Pearl-ex powders on the clay. After curing, she scrubs off a lot of the Pearl-ex leaving enough powder to accent the textures and shapes. She has also created similar effects by layering on metallic paints. She found that metallic paints make her work feel a little more loose or organic. Now how often do you hear the words metallic and organic together?

Have a look at more of Jainnie’s work on her Flickr photostream and her blog.

 

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