A Many Layered Thing

jess kirkman 430x518 - A Many Layered ThingTo wrap up our week of looking at the effect of gathering a multitude of things, I thought I’d share an example that shows not just a collection of many things but also the proliferation of negative space.

This wall piece is the work of alcohol ink artist Jess Kirkman. Although the multiple layers are the physical aspect of the work, it is the many holes–the absence of material–that brings about the energy and texture of this piece. The negative space allows you to see past each layer and multiplies the colors and texture. The “cells” as Jess calls them allows for full participation of each layer in the composition. They create both shadow and light as well as density, in the texture, and airiness, with all the open negative space. It is a wildly enticing set of contrasts.

Jess has a whole series of these, scattered in among the more traditional 2-D work. But the colors and textures are all lovely to look at. Take it in on her Instagram page or her shop.

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - A Many Layered Thing    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Riotous Floral

zafrika flower bracelet 430x358 - Riotous FloralA meadow full of spring blooms or a wall adorned with thousands of roses becomes a thing of beauty, quite beyond what any one flower could create. Using many small flowers tightly set on a piece of jewelry also moves it beyond just being flowers. The texture and variation in the surface creates energy even among the tranquility so often associated with flowers.

Irina Dzhalilova who watermarks her photos with the online name Zafirka favors this effect in almost all her work. Working in variations on a floral theme, she creates very romantic yet energized pieces. It is the small but crowded compositions that allow for this. I chose this piece as an example because the colors are subdued and not commonly associated with flowers so you can see, even without the colorful presentation we usually see in florals, the gathering of so many small petals creates an inviting and relatively riotous texture.

If you are up for more riotous floral, you can find Irina all over the web from  Twitter to Facebook to Vkontakte but you can also simply start on her website and follow links from there.

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Riotous Floral    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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The Proliferation Effect

Hee ang kim proliferation 430x496 - The Proliferation EffectThe thing about many items being packed into a limited space is that you stop seeing those individual items and see them as one thing with a texture, and energy that does not exist in the separate parts. You see it in the crowded stands at a game, a bowl of snacks or even in your drawers full of clay. It is a kind of gestalt effect. You can use this crowding of objects to create wonderfully energetic and highly textured pieces.

This is a piece I found last week that got me thinking about this as an artistic approach. The necklace is by Hee-ang Kim, a Korean graduate student Kookmin University in Korea at the time of its creation in 2014. It is part of an aptly named series called Proliferation, this being Proliferation XI. The super thin polymer petals are stitched together to create these feather-like beads, which collectively flutter and wave in a very touchable looking texture.

Hee-ang works in a variety of materials including other types of plastics, metal and, it seems, just about anything at hand. Regardless of material, collecting multiples of objects into energetic, intriguing and often strange never-before-seen organic forms dominate Hee-ang’s collections. You can take a look at the many ways this effect can be used with thin bits of polymer on Hee-ang’s Instagram and website.

 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - The Proliferation Effect    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Forest in a Bowl

heesoo aspen shell bowl 350x346 - Forest in a BowlWhen I saw this delicately shaped aspen forest on such a pale and yet luminescent bowl, I just kind of sighed. Such a balance of light colors and strong forms takes a very intentional and intuitively passionate hand.

I saw this on the Colossal newsletter, which is a little collection of interesting art and artists dropped into my mailbox weekly. At first, I thought this was a shallow shell shape but a closer look shows it to be a bowl and not all that shallow, with the aspen trees growing up from the inside of it. Ceramic artist Heesoo Lee actually creates this complex and delicate look by creating separate leaves and placing them carefully by hand, building a very dimensional and shimmering look for these trees which, in real life, shimmer with the constant flutter of their leaves in even the slightest breeze. It made me a little homesick for Colorado actually. The aspens will be a brilliant gold turning to russet red about now.

Well, i can’t get out to the Rockies right now but we can all enjoy these Rocky Mountain forest-inspired creations by visiting the Montana-based artist’s work online both on Instagram and Etsy. Here is the link to the Colossal article on her as well.

And don’t forget to work out time to come see the Into the Forest installation in Pittsburgh in November. Here is the link again so you can work on those plans to join fellow polymer artists that weekend.

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Forest in a Bowl    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Growing More than Plants

amy scuplts dragon floral 350x352 - Growing More than PlantsI love the integration of the real world with artistic imagination. Finding this garden dragon hit all my buttons as I have also always been a bit of a dragon-loving nerd. The creator, Emily Coleman, creates all kinds of fantastic creatures made to blend in with natural settings.

Her inspiration for this comes from nature itself, of course, but it is driven by, in her words, “… a very strong passion for the environment and the protection of the world’s forests. As I began showing my tree dragons, I realized they could help me spread this passion.”

I have to agree. Anything that draws people to nature, takes them outdoors, and encourages them to plant in a garden or a pot, helps keep us close to nature and the earth which engenders an appreciation for them and, usually, some level of drive to do right by these things we find ourselves communing with. Putting a little something fantastical in among the plants is a fun and relatively novel way of displaying and celebrating creativity and the substance of human imagination.

Read a bit more about Emily and her inspirations on this Bored Panda article and see her other creations on her Instagram account and her website.

 

 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Growing More than Plants    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Heading Into the Forest

I am heading Into the Forest in November! The huge installation project put together by Laura Tabakman, Julie Eakes and Emily Squires Levine will be a monumental event for the polymer art community and I, for one, can’t imagine missing this. It is being installed into a gallery in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania with a gallery opening and party on November 10th followed by a Saturday forum on related topics. Coming down off the high I got being around so many amazing folks at Synergy in August, I am looking forward to a little creative recharge in November along with getting to see the work of 300+ polymer artists, all in one huge piece of global art.

So first … if you are interested in attending as well, you can jump over to the website and get all the details right here. I would love to see you and meet you there!

Alina deer floral 350x341 - Heading Into the Forest

The anticipation of this event has put me in the mood for forest-inspired work. Of course. So I rooted around the internet and found some amazing stuff to share with you this week. Here you see a very curious and delicately beautiful pendant inspired by both the flora and the fauna of the forest. The artist, Alina Sanina, started working in clay eight years ago as a curious teen but now, with a degree in art education behind her, she continues to sculpt and create a wide range of fantastical but rather realistic pieces.

I found this piece to be an eye-catcher at first glance because of its contrast between a skull, representing death, and the green and floral details of Spring foliage that top it off. But if you examine it for a minute, you’ll notice that the skull is not all a skull. The deer has live-looking eyes and fully fleshed-out ears. The contrast of life and death is within the deer head, not just the skull and vegetation here. It looks to me like a little representation of the cycle of life in a forest setting.

I have long been interested in societal views of life and death and how different cultures and even individuals work out how to handle the fact that these complete opposite states co-exist and are an understood, if not readily accepted, part of the cycle of life. I don’t know if that is what Alina had in mind when creating this but there are definitely metaphors on those subjects that one can discuss in regards to this little piece.

Whether you turn away or are intrigued by such difficult subject matter, I think you will want to see more of the beautiful work Alina creates. You can do so in her Etsy shop and on Instagram.

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Heading Into the Forest    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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Finding Enlightenment

chulily chandelier 319x450 - Finding Enlightenmentchulily chandelier detail 350x450 - Finding EnlightenmentWhile in San Diego a couple weeks ago, I finally made it to the Mingei Museum which exhibits folk art, craft and design. The news of Mingei’s purchase of a number of polymer pieces a handful of years back was how I first learned about this little museum and I have been hoping to go there ever since. They did not have any polymer works out in the exhibitions when I was there but upon ascending the staircase to the upper floor, I was stopped in my tracks by a very unusual chandelier above me.

For those of you who have made it to one of the Chihuly installations popping up all over the globe these last few years, you may have already recognized the signature glass work of this master artist, Dale Chihuly. This ten-foot-tall, seven-foot-wide chandelier I saw hanging above me was a 2005 creation titled Enlightenment. The wall card for it said it has 498 pieces of clear, cream and gold blown glass.

It looks like the more opaque and colored glass was concentrated at the center so that the clear glass on the ends gives the illusion that the writhing mass is expanding, as if any solidity it has is turning to smoke, which was pretty fascinating to walk around.

The most intriguing thing to me was as beautiful as the glass work: the complex and beautifully textured shadow it cast. Just look at the wall to the right of it in the first image. The detail image shows just how complex the glass work is in each of the pieces that make up the chandelier. The detail image is where I thought some polymer inspiration might come from. A little work with pure translucent clay and veined with some tinted translucent, on a smaller scale of course, could render a similar feel, I’d think. It certainly did get me thinking.

If you have not had a chance to see these wonderful glass works of Chihuly, he certainly does have a lot of pieces installed in various places all over the world. You can see if there is an exhibition of a permanent collection or installation near you by going to his exhibition page.

 

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Finding Enlightenment    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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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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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Giving Floral a Little Teeth    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!

mondongo insidepolyptych 346x450 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!mondongo rgt side polyptych 350x371 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!mondongo detailpolyptych 350x413 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too! Over the last several weeks, I have been traveling and working on moving the business but I was also lucky enough to squeeze in a little museum hopping as well as catching up with a number of artistic friends so I was seeing and talking about a lot of art. I thought that this week I’d share some of what I saw during the last few crazy weeks while I finish organizing the office and warehouse here.

This first piece, Políptico de Buenos Aires by an artist collective known as Mondongo, was found in an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I was accompanied by Christi Friesen and Anke Humpert and when we came to this piece we were initially just entranced by the images and the unusual layered build of the images which were a cross between bas-relief and painting. But then we all stopped at the same time to look at each other and ask, “Hey … is this polymer?”

The description on the wall just listed “clay” as the material but a quick examination showed that it was not ceramic so it was either polymer or another craft clay. It was not until I got home last week that I was able to research the artists and read that they use plasticine. I am not sure it is the same non-drying plasticine many of us grew up on but, yes, they appeared to create this elaborate, nearly 12-foot tall polyptych in modeling clay, using it like paint, with little daubs, thin snakes, and a smeared blending of colors.

The amount of work this must have taken was impressive but it had to be the various stories embedded in their depiction of a shantytown in Buenos Aires in the center sections as well as their own self-portraits and other images on the outside ends that stayed with us. The more we looked, the more we saw and maybe, the more we understood about their sense of frustration with their home country and how people live there.

I could go on and on about this piece but we don’t have the time here. Let me just say this … if you have not visited a museum, gone to a gallery opening, been on an artwalk, or sought out a sculpture garden in recent months, you really should. It is such a shot in the arm for your own creativity and you just never know what you’ll find!

Don’t have time to get out just yet? Well, you can find additional inspiration in the pages of The Polymer Arts magazine. Through the end of the month, hard copy editions of the magazine and the Polymer Journeys book are on sale in our Etsy shop for 1/2 OFF. Help me slim down the inventory as I set up the newly moved stock and get your hands on those precious few issues you’ve missed or want a copy of in print, not just digital for your bookshelf.

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

tpa 125x125 sept2017 - The Buenos Aires Polyptych and Our Half-Off Sale, Too!    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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