In the Russia Pages

Polymer clay of RussiaWhile doing my research this week on Russian polymer, I finally  got to see what their polymer magazine looks like. I knew there was one out there but it’s really hard to search for “Russian Polymer Clay magazine” when you don’t have the corresponding keys to type Полимерная глина on your keyboard. The title you see says “Polymer Clay” and in the pink says “in Russia”, at least that is what Google told me. But it took me a while to figure that out since I couldn’t copy it from the image. In other words, there are barriers to us seeing the full range of what the world is doing in polymer because language can get in the way. But some of us are determined … or just plain obsessed with seeing everything people are doing with this wonderful medium!

This cover piece is by Maria Vidova. I feel pretty sure it is not 100% polymer clay but I can’t read it to find out–not yet at least. It is a beautifully laid out piece with the green of the succulents being repeated in the green stones. With both plant and gems being important focal points, having the same green color presents the plants and stones as equally precious objects of beauty, which I have to agree with.

Those succulents look perfectly real, don’t they? Well, their perfection comes from silicone molds and she uses liquid polymer to give it that partially translucent look. The molds look to be of her making and she sells them on her Creative Molds website. You’ll need Google Translate to navigate (if you use the Chrome browser, it usually does this automatically for you) or you can write them for instructions at info@creative-molds.ru.

Now, how about getting our hands on a copy of this beautifully presented magazine? Well, I’m going to! And since they do have this available in a digital format, all of us non-Russian speaking folks should be able to copy out the text and get some kind of translation on Google. But you know you want it for the art, even if it will be a bit more challenging to read.

You can get issues of Polymer Clay in Russia in digital or print on the polymerclay-guild-ru site.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Find work from a region of the world you are not familiar with–and it doesn’t have to be polymer, it could be any medium–and pick out the elements that you like as a source of inspiration for a new piece. Don’t copy what you see; just take the time to determine what makes it work and why you like it then take that knowledge and create an inspired piece of your own.

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Charming Bezels

seahorse-gems2We are going from skilled cute to the clever variety today. These  seahorses are more than just cute pendants, the sculpted creatures are cleverly arranged as bezels for various cabochon stones.

Although the form is not wholly new–stones as the backs or bellies of creatures has been done in every jewelry and most sculptural materials already–I think the way these are created to fit the form of the seahorse is pretty clever. Instead of the stone replacing an expected section of the animal, the animals are expanded to be the framework for the stones, making it a critter bezel rather than a decorative one or an animal form simply embedded with a stone. Agnieszka Wachowiak, the creator, does make other fantastical creatures in the more ’embedded stone’ manner but all of her chosen critters, from dragons to turtles to owls to these seahorses, wear their gems in a very natural looking arrangement. However, the accents and smoothly sculpted forms, as well as the cuteness level, does outshine the stones most of the time. But I like the idea and the execution is nicely done.

You can check out Agnes’ other creations in her Etsy shop  or on her Facebook page.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Integrate sculptural or two-dimensional images of animals, plants, objects or faces into a piece that would normally be abstract or decorated with pattern. Or if you do mostly sculptural work, create a sculptural piece based on its presenting or framing an object.

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Outside Inspiration: Wild Colorful Metal

Rings can truly be made from any material but rings from metal are really the standard due to their durability. Some might say the downside is that we end up with rings primarily created in the limited palette of metallic colors. Granted the accent color of stones can add some amazing hues not to mention the sparkle that draws the eye. So when I found this artist who works in coloring metal, I was entranced.

Jose Marín works in titanium, gold and stones but he uses the heat reactive characteristics of titanium to create jewel tone colors, expanding the metals inherent palette. The colors, form and decorative accents in this ring would be a rather natural approach if this was polymer. This ring leads me into some extensive research on anodized metals–there’s so much gorgeous work out there and such a rich, potential source for polymer inspirations.

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Jose’s inspiration comes from the natural world: “My goal is to make jewellery that, as you look at it, can convey intangible aspects of nature: smell, joy, nostalgia, sensuality …” Don’t miss seeing his other incredible jewelry including some of the breathtaking necklaces and jeweled rings you can find on his website.

 

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A Little Chaos

For our last bit of scattered art, I did want to look at the whole of a design arranged in a scattered and random looking manner. Necklaces lend themselves well to this kind of design being there is a fair amount of space in which to “scatter” the components.

Russian artist Oksana Aleksandrovna Vedernikova working under under the name silverpepper23 on Flickr, looks to have a penchant for a little chaos. This necklace is a great example of not having to engineer your pieces with symmetrical arrangements.

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Chaos isn’t really the right word for most of Oksana’s work. Maybe intricate and definitely busy–but not in the overdone manner–would better describe this jewelry artist’s work. She is heavy into wire wrapping and stones as well as polymer and goes back and forth as well as mixing her materials. But regardless, it is really quite bold just how close she gets to chaos without going over the edge.

 

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Outside Inspiration: Scatter as Contrast

Scattered elements are the opposite of controlled and precisely aligned elements in a piece of art or craft work. If you can put the two approaches into the same piece, you can potentially have some interesting contrast.

Today’s outside inspiration is just that–a juxtaposition of precision and scattered elements. We are quite used to precision in fine jewelry so I really enjoyed seeing this departure from symmetry and exact alignment. This is the work of jewelry designer Etienne Perret.

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The form of the ring is very exact–precise lines and rounded corners keep it classic but the random placement and mix of gems make for a bit more contemporary, even edgy piece. Don’t you love how the diamonds fall down the side as well?

If you like the idea of  scattered elements but are a bit leery to try it, this approach of having a precision base to contrast the randomness of elements may just be the thing.

 

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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