A Spooky Peek

forbidden forest kael mijoy 430x426 - A Spooky PeekBeing that tomorrow is Halloween, I could not help but get in one last spooky bit of polymer creativity. The thing that makes something truly scary is the stuff you can’t see, or so I have always felt. The bogeyman under the bed, the creature in the closet, the shape of some beast in the bushes … just the hint that something is there allows our imagination to run wild. And in the dark and the shadows, our imagination comes up with some pretty scary stuff!

So, seeing the pair of eyes staring out from the forest in this polymer illustration by , what are you thinking is in there? You know I was thinking those eyes need to be glow in the dark and then I would so want this to be a light switch plate because how freaky would that be in a shadowy room to have to reach into that to get the light on and banish the very fears it invokes? Can you hear your inner voice saying, “Don’t do it! You’ve seen this seen in the movies and someone always loses a hand!”

Okay … enough with trying to spook you all. Especially since I think I am very much spooking myself in the process. But isn’t it neat how our imaginations can add so much to what we look at? And isn’t it great that polymer clay allows us to create any such thing our imagination comes up with?

For those of you who celebrate this holiday in which we face and often embrace our fears, have a very safe and happy Halloween.

 

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Giving Floral a Little Teeth

teeth floral 346x1024 - Giving Floral a Little TeethAlong with hitting up a number of museums, I got to chat with a lot of artist friends, including my crazy circle in Colorado who seek out, as well as create, really wild and fantastical work. And whenever they find polymer related work, they bring it to me.

My old roommate and the instigator of my own polymer journey, Kyle Kelley, introduced me to this unusual artist, Anastasiya Khramina of NooboSlowpokoPanda. The polymer flowers you see here may have beautifully painted petals and lots of natural detail but take just a little closer look and you’ll see they also have teeth! And some crazy but realistically textured tongues. There is even one embellished with a cat’s snout, complete with bared teeth.

These beautifully creepy, ready-for-Halloween creations are made into brooches, pendants and hair clips, per the customer’s request. She actually makes other things besides flowers but they all have teeth and tongues. If you’re getting into the Halloween mood or are looking for some creepy inspiration, jump over to Anastasiya’s NooboSlowpokoPanda Facebook page for short videos on her pieces and process and her Etsy shop for a look at her present offerings.

And don’t forget … tomorrow is the last day to get half off all available print editions of The Polymer Arts and Polymer Journeys. Head to our Etsy shop to pick up any publications you don’t have yet!

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Halloween Calls for Fun

rich-webberI love Halloween. So much of it is about imagination and creativity in how we celebrate it. I also like that there is a day we recognize what scares us and face the darker things in life because the shadows in our world are what makes us see the bright times for the blessings that they are. And Halloween is just so darn fun!

So is this guy: Rich Webber. I need to thank Anke Humpert for bringing his work to my attention. I am not sure most or any of his work is created in polymer clay but it really doesn’t matter. It’s the artist’s imagination and humor that makes the colorful clay come alive. Enjoy this collection of his playful and sometimes morbid creatures but do jump over to his Instagram page or watch some Shaun the Sheep TV shows or the movies to see his directorial work or DC’s Worlds Funnest episodes for which he was the creator.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Go enjoy the holiday. Do something fun and silly and enjoy your child side!

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In the Halloween Spirit

Alright … I have failed at finding creepy cute thus far, but I do have a good candidate for this weekend. Must research further!

In the meantime, here is something tastefully cute and in the Halloween spirit for today. I think from a distance you might not see much more than pleasant color combinations and enticing texture, with a hint that something else must be going on and you should get a closer look. Because of that and because they’re so darn cute, I’m not sure I’d want to save these to wear for just this holiday.

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These earrings were created by the clever hands of Deirdre Dreams (I’m thinking that’s not her actual last name, but that is all she has on the half dozen sites her work is presented on) from the south end of the Netherlands. She works with tiny polymer details, exploring romantic, hippy, fantasy, and a wide variety of imaginative imagery. If you like the earrings here, check out more of her work on her website or her Etsy shop.

 

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Halloween Bookmarks

Today and tomorrow, we’ll be sharing the cute and creepy-ish in honor of the more lighthearted side of Halloween. Today we’re skipping the design lessons and such for just a bit of fun.

Here we have some easy to make items you can whip together if you have need of a few little gifts for the crew at the office  or party favors for your masquerade bash. This black cat bookmark tutorial is by Finland’s Nelli Kivinen. Cute, functional, and in the spirit of the season.

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You could do basically the same thing (keeping a space at the bottom to slip a card into) with ghost shapes, skulls, witch hats, or anything else you would like to fit the season. You gotta love little gifts that can be given to anyone of almost any age, are gender neutral, and fun to make to boot.

I might make a few suggestions to make things easier and quicker for creating these. One, don’t remove the cardboard from the cat legs when you bake them. In fact, use the exact same card material you will use for the bookmark itself so it fits well and the two sides of the cat legs don’t by chance droop and cure together in the oven. Second, smooth the clay as much as you can before baking so that you won’t have to sand or finish the finished pieces. If you use an acrylic block or other flat, smooth item to roll the cat’s body and head before bending the body shape and pinching out the ears, you should have few if any fingerprints to deal with. Just a few thoughts from a clayer who is all about making it easy!

Beautiful Nightmare

Artist Valeria Myrusso specializes in unsettling imagery. I can’t quite put my finger on why this piece below gives off a sense of eeriness, but there is definitely something vaguely creepy about the creature melded with the violin here. It makes me think of being trapped, that this might be something I’d see in a nightmare–and yet it’s just really beautiful.

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A large part of its beauty is in the abundance of detail. All the tiny details, the faces and filigree and even the little floating orbs around the character’s neck come together to give this piece an otherworldly quality. This photo alone doesn’t show half of it, either. Take a look at her page with detailed shots of the piece here. If you like her work, she has more, both in polymer and in other materials, on her website.

Classy Creepy Week

With Halloween on the way and myself with a healthy admiration and appreciation for the darker side of things, I thought a week of creepy but classy art might be in order. Can something be classy and creepy? I definitely think so. I might even have some cutesy creepy to toss in for levity.  Which also brings up the question–can anything really be cute and creepy at the same time?  I guess we’ll see what I can come up with!

I am traveling today, making my way home to Colorado from the Kentucky retreat, where I stayed a little ways outside Nashville with a fellow retreat attendee. My mind has been trying to take in and sort all that I saw, learned, and experienced the last four days, but visually I keep thinking of one artist’s work in particular. Since her art also fits the theme this week, I thought I’d share a little Leslie Blackford with you today.

Leslie’s work is pure expression and very original. One of the talks I gave during the retreat was on developing a personal artistic voice, and Leslie came up as a prime example of what it is for an artist to have that particular voice that is a direct reflection of oneself. Funny thing is, although her work is a bit dark and even disturbing at times, Leslie is this adorable, generous, very kind and lively person. However, her work reflects something not on the surface but underneath. As one attendee said, there has to be a story behind each thing she makes and you just want to sit down and hear it.

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There is a simultaneous reaction to these–they feel somehow both cute and disturbing. On her DeviantArt page this photo is titled “Off with Your Head,” not to refer to it in the macabre sense but rather because the heads are interchangeable. But between the title and the slightly off and mostly unfathomable expression of the various heads, one gets the feeling that all is not well in Wonderland, or wherever such creatures might reside. I know her work is not for everyone, but there is something about it that draws you in, especially if you get to see it in person. There is just so much personality, emotion, and raw expression in her work. Her artistic voice is one of the strongest I have had the pleasure of seeing in person, particularly in polymer.

For more expressive classy and beautifully dark work, take a look at Leslie’s CraftArtEdu classes, her Deviant art pages or her website, Moodywoods.

Obsessed with Day of the Dead

Of course, I had to look for something in theme with my favorite holiday today. I find Halloween, the Day of the Dead and similar observances so very intriguing. Our passing is as much a part of life as our living and an acceptance and even celebration of it can so very much help be at peace with it as well as helps us appreciate each day we have to live, love, create and share.

I am not, however, a year round observer but I think Tamra Kohl of Sacramento, California may be. She has the most varied presentations of the Day of the Dead theme I think I’ve ever seen. With a well honed sense of humor about it, she has been making dolls, dioramas and cake toppers with the well known skeletons and flowers motifs of the holiday. Only she doesn’t stick with just the famous Fall holiday. Her skeletons can also be found lounging in a bubbly tub for Valentines and in Santa suits. Others are out getting tattoos, having acupuncture, flirting with a playboy bunny while seated at a slot machine and even skeletons dogs can be found surfing as you can see here.

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There seems to be no boundaries for these Day of the Dead spirits. And why should there be?

You can enjoy Tamra’s many renditions of the Day of the Dead motifs on her Flickr page and website.

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