Variation on Time

pieces clock 430x823 - Variation on TimeI spent a lot of time looking for differently constructed clocks in polymer and couldn’t find much that really illustrated the point I was hoping to make. What I wanted was to show that a clock does not have to be on a flat surface. It can be made of many parts, attached or not, and fully dimensional. As long as you have something that can house or hide the clock mechanism while holding out the hands, the rest is wide open. You can have the hour markers designated by any form and attach them with sticks or wire or be free floating–whatever suits the piece and your inclination.

These two examples are commercial designs rather than polymer art but I think they give you the basics of this idea of moving beyond the flat clock face. Not only do these kinds of clocks make for really interesting wall pieces, they give you the freedom to use pieces you may already have such as large hollow beads, faux stones, unhung pendants, small figurines, flowers, etc.

As a gift, giving a clock that has separate pieces might be best attached to something that can be hung as one piece, like a backing of Plexiglas or painted plywood. Or include instructions for a template to mark on the wall where each piece goes. There is little to no construction to deal with but you will have to make concessions in the design for how the individual pieces will be hung. Alternately, go for a design where the elements are attached like the flowers you see here.

The sky is the limit with these kinds of designs. For more ideas, try searching “DIY clocks,” which was the keyword set that brought me to these two pieces. I hope these sparks some ideas and I look forward to seeing inventive clock designs this month!

The Complexity of Time

Natalya Polekh clock 430x411 - The Complexity of Time

In my search for clock inspiration, I veered a bit off the polymer path, but then again, I kept running into pieces that I thought were polymer but were not. Of course, pieces like this splendid celestial clock by Natalya Polekh could be created in a very similar fashion with polymer. Large textured sheets and fun with alcohol inks and mica powders could produce similarly stunning results so I took a  closer look.

Natalya looks to be a well-known mixed media artist in Eastern Europe and Russia and when I say mixed, I mean all kinds of things. Her primary materials look to be various types of acrylic paint, dimensional and pearling paints, 3D gel, embossing paste, and glass and metal accents of different types. She works in texture, mosaics and layered media that is applied in such a way that knowing the materials is rather superfluous. She creates a beautiful complexity of texture and motif with shine and shimmer applied in abundance but always in a tasteful and often intriguing manner.

She does much more than clocks although she has done quite few of them. Take a look at her shop for more clock and textural ideas as well as very well priced tutorials on how she creates this work.  Her VK.com page has more images.

 

Covering Time

mira pinki krispil clock 430x412 - Covering Time

Well, it’s that season again. While everyone else is shopping, crafters and artisans like yourself are working madly away on the stock that your audience demands to make their gift giving season the best one to date. For some of us, that audience is a retail account but for many more of us, it’s the far more intimidating circle of friends and family that we fret over. What do we do this year for gifts and surprises that we haven’t already done? Asking myself this question, I came up with a couple of ideas and in researching, clocks really hit a note for me. Any clayer of any level and any specialized set of techniques can create a clock that is both personal and expressive and everyone of every age can appreciate a lovingly created handmade clock.

Cane-covered clock faces are an easy project for clayers of any skill level. You can buy old clocks at the thrift store, or inexpensive ones at the big box store, or just a clock kit from a craft or hobby store that you put into your cane-covered clay sheets. Here is a fun and colorful, slightly off from the norm, cane-covered clock face for some initial inspiration. Mira Pinki Krispil is quite fond of cane covered decor but she always takes it one step beyond.

I like this piece because of the slight off-centeredness and the imagery in the center. It is more than decorated. The image in its center is intriguing with energetic lines bouncing back and forth through intertwined imagery. It’s just a great visual piece to start with. The fact that it’s a functional clock is a bonus.

Mira creates her colorful piece in south Israel and sells her work on Etsy. You can also see more of her designs by checking in on her Flickr photostream.

Quality of Line

wild onion art lovers pendant 430x563 - Quality of LineI thought I’d continue to keep it simple this week and still talk a little about line, the theme of the latest issue of The Polymer Arts that came out last weekend.

This simple pendant by Yuliya Zharova uses two elements to tell a story—line and dots. The form of the people here is nothing more thank tall lines with a variation in thick and thin. The dots on the top of this line make up the heads, and the small dots and large gold one somehow become stars and a moon. It’s quite amazing how much can be shown with so little detail. But lines, in particular, can do that. It is a nice reminder of how little we really have to put down to get our viewers to see what we have to convey.

It is also a nice reminder that line has characteristics and qualities of its own. They do not always have to be even. The way the line is formed can convey imagery, as we see here, or emotion. The articles on design and the technique tutorials on using lines and dots and soutache to create emotion and texture will help fill in more on those ideas when you get to reading our latest issue.

Yuliya’s compositions are almost all some variation online and dots and are all lovely in their understated design. See more of her work in her Etsy shop, Wild Onion Art.

 

Following the Lines

anarina anar circles 430x732 - Following the LinesI know this week will be a particularly busy one for many of us, especially in the US where we are kicking off the holiday season with our family-oriented Thanksgiving festivities involving way too much food and way too much shopping to follow it up the next day.

So for today, I thought I would harken to the theme of the just-released issue of The Polymer Arts, our Winter 2017 – Line, with a simple piece that represents a quality of line that I discuss in the article in this issue, “The Language of Line.” The simple circling forms, in the signature wavering organic forms of  Anarina Anar, keep the composition centered and focused with a soft energy that continuously winds around in these soft but warm colors. Although the pendant is three-dimensional, it is the line the forms follow that gives the piece its balance and verve.

For more of Anarina’s colorful and energetic compositions, take a look at her Flickr site or her Etsy store. And to learn more about line, get a hold of your copy of this wonderful issue through our website if you have not seen it already or have it on its way to you.

Walking Through the Forest

First of all, my apologies for my unsuccessful attempts to post while traveling. My original plan was to have posts all set before I left but technical issues and the need for a last-minute change of service threw that plan out the window. And getting decent internet at hotels is nothing one can depend on! But I will make it up to you this month, I promise.

Now that almost all of you have seen the myriad of photos from the Into the Forest installation that attendees to the opening and talk posted this past week, I invite you to spend some time virtually walking through it. This is a walkthrough of the gallery and installation, from stepping through the front door to wandering from tree to tree, wall to wall, and corner to corner. I apologize that I am no expert videographer and trying to fluidly skirt around the artwork and step unobtrusively through the attendees created a few moments of spinning and diving that might leave some sensitive individuals momentarily dizzy. But all in all, I am thrilled to have captured some of the feel of walking through our polymer forest that night.

In other news … the latest issue of The Polymer Arts, Winter 2017 – Line, has arrived! Digital issues were sent in the wee hours (3 am EST) on Saturday so if you are expecting a digital copy and haven’t seen it, check your spam/junk folder as that is where the errant access emails often land. If you need help, write my assistant Sydney at connect(at)thepolymerarts.com or, if you get this by email, just respond to this email.

Print editions were at the post office as of Thursday so if you are expecting one in print, depending on how far you are from northern Idaho, you will be seeing the new issue in your mailbox in 5-15 business days from then.

If you need to start or renew a subscription or buy the single issue, you can do so at www.thepolymerarts.com/Subscribe.html

Bags Bedecked

 

LPavelka purse 430x451 - Bags BedeckedSo far this week, we’ve looked at clutches covered in sheets of colored and patterned polymer but that is not, by far, the only way to create a dazzling handbag with polymer. Not all of us are caners and many of us lean toward sculptural elements and tactile texture and a handbag is a great place to lay down such touchable techniques.

You may have seen this handbag in our Spring 2015 – Diversity issue of The Polymer Arts, where Lisa Pavelka shared some of her thoughts and ideas on embellishing with polymer and crystals. This very tactile bag, with a limited cool palette of greens and blues, effortlessly rides that sometimes difficult balance of being both fun and sophisticated. The crystals make it appropriate for a dressy evening but the roiling mix of paisley shapes and abstracted leaves adds that touch of whimsy that makes it work with a pair of jeans when one is just out and about in the afternoon.

This is just one more way you can create an accessory that your customer (or yourself) can use and cherish all throughout the year. If you want more idea on purses a la Lisa Pavelka, take a look at her Pinterest pages as well as shopping on her website where you can get the materials you need to create your own great handbag.

A Peek at a Letter

lost letter JessamaDesign 430x421 - A Peek at a Letter

Since we started out this week with a spooky something or other peeking out at us, I thought I’d try to make a theme of it and the idea of peeking into things is always intriguing. Spaces that allow us to look into things beyond is like the revealing of a tiny mystery, a look into a place that we might otherwise be shut off from. When this is part of a design, I think it automatically will draw the eye. Whether you can keep a viewer looking is up to the rest of your design.

The idea of a partly revealed letter that Samantha Burroughs chose for this beautifully textured pendant is certainly alluring. Who doesn’t get a little bit of thrill from the possibility of seeing the inner thoughts of another person? We are also very drawn to text in general as our brain wants to immediately read and decipher it so it was a good choice for the interior content of the holes here. It also creates a contrasting texture to the organic surface of the piece.

Samantha has honed her skills in a variety of established techniques and looks to be fully exploring quite a few of them. You can find her work on Etsy.

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

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