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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Autumn Stone

Avgust 20151 Klavdija crystal stone tehcniqueIs it just me, or do the dark colors of autumn seem so much more dramatic than any other season? I’m not knocking the spark of those first Spring flowers or the brilliance of a sunny mid-summer meadow, but the brightness and purity of those colors are beautiful and cheerful while Autumn’s palette speaks of deep emotion and, well, drama. At least to me. Life is not all bright and cheery and I think that is something we actually need. The tempered days of troubled thoughts and the rough patches we experience are what truly make us appreciate the good times. Life is for living and it’s one bumpy ride. But even the bumpy times can be beautiful.

Similarly, days like those in Autumn, with the foliage falling away, plants returning to the ground, and the days getting shorter, have their own wonderful beauty. The idea of beauty even in the process of decay has always interested me, so it’s no wonder Klavdija Kurent‘s liquid crystal stone caught my eye as I scoured for more Autumn palettes. The technique itself is gorgeous with the translucency of the shuffled layers, but also the colors in those reds, rusts, oranges and creams are so vibrant when juxtaposed. The play of this almost monochromatic palette is where the drama comes from. The many textures of this piece add to its drama and impact as well.

This image is from a promotion for a class Klavdija had last month in which she taught this liquid stone and a liquid rust technique. Hopefully she’ll teach this again in some fashion that might allow us in on her secrets. In the meantime, you can look at more drama and fun pieces on her Flickr and her blog.

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Fabulousness on the Wrist

barbFajardo barnacles braceletsSo, I didn’t do well at thinking up a succinct theme for this week. I just grabbed a handful of great pieces that all make me think ‘fabulous’! So, we are just going to have a week of fabulousness. Is that okay? My tired brain, worn down by working on the last bits for the next issue, which is also fabulous, would love that.

So, how about this piece first. Honestly, there is little that Barbara Fajardo does that doesn’t make me think ‘fabulous’ when I see it. She freely experiments with all kinds of techniques and forms, but they all come together under great color palettes, nice balance and fine finishing. I was originally going to share a necklace of hers with you, but when searching out the source for it I landed on her Flickr page and saw these Barnacle Bracelets, and I had to change it up!

A bowl she created using the same forms was on Polymer Clay Daily last, but I hadn’t seen these. Fabulous right? Fantastic colors, did I not say? The textures are tantalizing, and the complex organic treatment of the barnacles is inspired. I think I would be playing with this all day if I had it on my wrist! And staring. Definitely, staring at them a lot.

See the rest of her barnacled collection and tons and tons of other eye candy on her Flickr page or her website.

 

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Exploring Ripples

Vickie Sixsmith ripples

Although shibori is a fantastic source of inspiration in polymer, adding the liveliness of rippling lines and textures can be achieved in a myriad of ways. Just consider what rippling is and how it works in a design.

Ripples are lines and like any lines, they create movement. However, unlike the forcefulness of straight lines or the gentle leading of curved lines, ripples usually portray a calm but steady energy making them an eye catching element in any design.

Here are multiple examples of this all in one necklace as created by Vickie Sixsmith. We can see the energy in the rippled edges of clay discs, not unlike those on Kim’s bracelet we talked about yesterday, along with the subtle movement in the snakes of wound clay as well as in the soft visual sway of the feather canes covering the focal and side beads. The energy is slightly different in each approach, showing the varying levels of energy and d movement that can be achieved with rippling lines.

Besides explorations in ripples, Vickie and her mother Jean Twigg, who together are Fusion Jewellery Designs, explore a variety of form and texture but movement and energy is a primary focus. You can see more of their collective work on their Facebook page and Vickie’s postings on her Flickr photostream.

 

 

 

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Ripples in the Works

Kim CavendarFirst of all, apologies for nothing showing up over the weekend. We had some glitch that wasn’t letting us post. It took all weekend to get it figured out so we had to just abandon our Saturday post. I’m aiming to make up for that with a Sunday post this week.

This week we’re going to look at rippling and related visuals. Inspired by Shibori and Shibori like items on Pinterest, my editorial assistant Paula Gilbert, sent me a number of links to Shirbori like pieces. Shibori, according to the entry on Wikipedia, is a Japanese tie-dying technique. There are an infinite number of ways one can bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress cloth for Shibori, and each way results in very different patterns.”

In polymer, folding or fitting together sections of blended clay can readily emulate the look of shibori. This beautiful bracelet was created by Kim Cavender, and looks to be inspired by a common folded and stitched technique used with silks in Shibori. Her notes on Flickr do point to dyed silk ribbons as the inspiration.

If you want to see the wide variety of Shibori techniques out there, just punch the term into Google images, Pinterest or Flickr and you will find yourself just drowning in all the luscious textures and colors shibori artists’ offer. And for more Kim Cavender, take a look at her Flickr pages and her blog.

 

 

 

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Scenes in Micro

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Ginger really wanted to share a micro mosaic piece with you this week and I’ve gone back and forth on options for us. The thing is, micro mosaics in polymer were really established, and I think are still best done, by Cynthia Toops. But I’ll be breaking a rule of mine to not feature an artist that was on the blog within the last 6 months–I like to spread the love around so to speak and Cynthia was featured last month. Well, here’s to breaking rules now and then!

The image of this bracelet is actually from Chuck Domitrovich’s Flickr pages. Chuck, an accomplished metal smith, partnered with Cynthia to create this bracelet some years back. This gorgeous bangle has two scenes actually–one side with an underwater scenario on the right and a land scene on the left. They work together because of the similar color palette and the styling of the imagery. I didn’t think it was too hard to imagine how these were created but the timing issue was not something I would have expected. Here is Cynthia’s process in Chuck’s words:

“Each mosaic is made by rolling tiny Fimo/polymer threads out of each color, and then baking those threads to harden them. Then the threads are cut into small pieces and these are used as the basis for the mosaic, with each tiny cut piece of thread pushed into soft polymer lining the bezel. She only has a limited amount of time to set all the threads before the polymer clay dries out and the threads begin to curl. In some of the larger mosaics she has done, Cynthia has had to rework entire sections that have dried too fast. Each mosaic takes many, many hours, and it is not unusual for her to spend a week of working almost constantly to finish one. Once all the threads are in place the entire piece is baked once again, hardening and setting them.”

There is more detail in this bracelet at the hinges and a closer look really is needed to appreciate all that went into this. You can see great detail shots by clicking the image here or this link and then clicking the right side arrows on Chuck’s Flickr page to see them all.  And you can find more of Cynthia and Chuck’s micro mosaic collaborations in this Flickr photo album.

Our guest blogger partner, 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 purchasing a tutorial or two from this talented lady.

 

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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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.

 

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Fondness for a Place

Joan Israel cityscape israelGinger’s pick for today is a bit of lovely wall art by  New York’s Joan Israel.  Like yesterday’s post, this polymer clay landscape scene consists of individual elements that are arranged to tell a story although I think this one is more about the artist than the town.

Although scenes and stories in polymer are most often literal imagery, the dimensionality and playfulness of the material lends itself more readily to symbolism and metaphor rather than realistic illustration. In this piece, the size of the various components relay a hierarchical importance between the images. The river, the sun, and the bird are the largest, most active and contrasting of the elements here. Light, freedom and a gentle meandering from these along with the bright and rich colors gives the viewer a sense that this is a very happy place, one the artist must be very fond of. The position of the menorah top and center helps in identifying the place if you didn’t see the title of the piece to start with. The title is “Israel” by the way, one of Joan’s favorite places, she confesses in her Flicker comments. Her love of the place does shine right through.

Bright colors and stylized imagery is Joan’s trademark from her jewelry to her covered decor to wall pieces like this. For a bright and sunny break in your day, take a look at Joan’s work on her Flickr photostream.

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.

 

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Rings Working in Pairs

Here is a fun and cool concept … two different rings worn together as a set. This set is by artist Lourdes López. She uses these same components in a necklace as well. Why not?  There really aren’t very many components you can’t turn into a ring. With tandem rings like this, there is a changing relationship between the two pieces as the wearer moves their fingers. Even though there is a quite a difference between the patterned half circle and the wide space of graduated color on the other side, their proximity and mirrored shapes connect them and increases the simple beauty of each half far more than than if they stood alone.

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Lourdes likes to play with metals, resin and other mixed media as well as polymer clay. See more of Lourdes’ work and the way she plays with her designs on her Flickr pages.

 

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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