Textured Color

Ruth Issett textile - Textured ColorTo wrap up this period of bold color, I just had to draw upon my next favorite medium, fiber. Oh, the things people are doing with quilts and mixed media textiles these days are mind-blowing! The textures, colors, and energy in modern textile art rival the best paintings of our time.

This intensely colorful and richly textured piece is by one of the true masters of the medium, Ruth Issett. Ruth’s work, although it can be elegantly simple, is always vibrant and emotional. It is, however, her intensely intricate pieces that are likely to stop any admirer of the arts in their tracks. I can only imagine the time I would lose standing in front of one of her pieces like you see here.

Not only is Ruth an accomplished artist in her field, she is a well-known and prolific writer and teacher.  I know of a half-dozen books she’s published on textiles and color over the last couple decades and they are so beautiful, you don’t even need to be interested in the techniques she teaches to enjoy them, but as polymer artists, I think there is quite a bit of inspiration in those pages.

I could not find an actual website for Ruth but she’s all over the web. Here is one link with an interview, lots of images and a list of her books so you can investigate further.

 

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Go bold with color! That will mean different things for each of you. Perhaps you stick with the same half dozen colors … work with colors quite opposite of those. Perhaps you work in mostly neutrals or earth tones … try something bright and heavily saturated. Just push yourself with color when you get into the studio and see where it takes you.

 

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Tenderly Organic

viola leather 430x700 - Tenderly OrganicWe are going through the final stages of emptying the family home this weekend and I must rush off to get working on that but wanted to leave you with one more organic and unusual piece to contemplate.

I suppose you can’t really say that this composition is so unusual. The side focal thing in necklaces is nothing new but can you tell that the flowers in leaves are neither real nor made of anything like polymer? These are actually created from leather which is certainly part of why it has such a soft look to it, one that might be hard–although not impossible–for polymer to recreate.

The leather work is so realistic, however, and the palette restricted to a very realistic leaf green and pale peach makes for a beautiful and tender look. I was thinking this even before I saw that  Viola of the Viola Wizard shop on Live Master named it “Tender Age.” Just seems very fitting for the stroll down memory lane that will sure to be a large part of my weekend.

So off to join the family. But you can enjoy more of Viola’s work in her Live Master shop.

 

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Give yourself permission to make something personally meaningful, something that you put time and effort into that has nothing to do with making a sale, creating the perfect gift, or impressing others. Make it knowing no one else will see it and the only person you are trying to impress is yourself.  See where your personal passion takes you.

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Adorable Holidays

jackalopeLike many of you, I will be traveling this week so I am going to keep things light and brief but stay with the feel of the upcoming season by featuring a few simple but surprising pieces.

This adorable jackalope (as we call these rabbits with antlers in the Southwest) was created in ‘velvet clay’ by Evgeny Hontor with such an endearing look. Decorating the likeness of animals with symbols and marks appears in many cultures throughout the ages with no reason to stop the tradition in modern days. We do still like to celebrate the animal spirits that capture our attention and inspire us.

Although not a reindeer, this little guy felt very wintry and celebratory so I thought it was a great way to start out a Monday. Back to wrapping things up for our little holiday trip but if you want to immerse yourself in more cuteness jump over to Evgeny’s Etsy store for more adorable and beautiful creatures.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: We’re going to take a break from challenges this week as for many of us there will be little time. But let the post inspire you as you see fit if you get yourself some studio time.

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Encouraging Stories

agozonar-encourageOur profiled artist for the Winter 2016 issue is the delightfully enigmatic and poetic Alev Gozonar whose work is far less defined by the material than by the stories she has such an overwhelming desire to tell. She works predominantly in polymer if you are looking at the last few years but she takes many detours and one may even wonder if she’ll be wandering back this way at moments.

In the article we feature and discuss her pointillistic cane wall pieces but that is only one part of this ever exploring artist. The work you see here is water-color on paper with little wire and polymer people pushing up the painted shapes to reveal the white and words behind the painting. There is an obvious metaphor of revealing the ideas behind the work but the struggle of the little guys also brings to the forefront the idea of just how hard it is to convey one’s meaning. And, if you know Alev’s work, you know there has got to be a story in this — probably something personal or close to her. In any case, the muted color palette is just beautifully harmonious each open shape just begs you to examine it. I find it an irresistibly intriguing piece and did so wish we had room to discuss some of her pieces like this. But that is both the beauty and the shortcoming of a magazine format –you only have so much time to delve into the most interesting subjects.

Think of the articles as an introduction to subjects and ideas that serendipitously fall into your lap and do go investigate the most interesting ones further. If Alev’s stories and inspiration sparks your interest, go take a look at her beautiful website, especially the section on her book which you can read online (the English is next to the Turkish so don’t let the show of foreign words turn you away).

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Pick up a magazine or scroll through Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram or whatever you have handy. Find something that really grabs you and do a bit of investigating. Keep a notepad or sketchbook nearby and start making notes on what you find inspiring. After you’ve done this, go play in the studio and let that inspiration help you start on your next project. If you detour from the inspiration, that’s fine. Just let it get you started and see where it takes you.

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Close Color Calls

lindly13Our Color Spotlight section of the Winter 2016 issue of The Polymer Arts was graced by Donna Kato, interview by Lindly Haunani. How amazing is that combination?! Donna let us in on her colored pencil experiments and her reasoning behind her approach. Although colored pencil on polymer is not new, it is always fascinating to see into the workings of an artistic mind and since this section focuses on color choices and inspiration, we got a peek at how this master choose colors for her explorations.

One piece that I was sent to consider including was this beautiful necklace you see here. We ended up focusing so much on the pencil work that there really wasn’t a place for this in the article but it certainly deserves a bit of attention. Each section of the necklace deals with one basic hue in two different values. The disparate placement offsets the regularity of each hue showcased in the same shape and the relative dark to light hue being basically the same within each color set. The delicious saturated colors don’t hurt it at all either.

The most active page to see what Donna has been up to in her own art looks to be her Facebook page although you can see some of her more honed work and learn from her wisdom by going over to check out her classes on CraftArtEdu.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Let’s play with color hue. Pick 2-3 colors–they can contrast, be analogous (next to each other on the color wheel) or simply be your favorites.  Choose two variations of each color–different saturation (how pure a hue it is), values (dark or light), or tints/shades (additions of white/black.) Now use just these to create a new piece.

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Layering on the Holiday Cheer

quilted-ornamentLet’s look at some slightly different ball ornaments today, ones not done in polymer but in an application that could certainly inspire polymer variations.

This beautiful collection of  ‘quilted’ ornaments were created by Angela Sofy of Angels Handmade Craft on Etsy. The layers look to be ribbons, rather than fabric, which has been carefully pinned down onto a styrofoam ball to create the mesmerizing patterns. I could imagine doing something similar with cut shapes of clay layered in carefully set patterns. I even thought I might try this following a mandala like application (see the Fall 2016 issue of The Polymer Arts for an article creating polymer mandalas.)  How fun  that would be and how relaxing during this crazy time of year.

Angela also uses decoupage to add old-time images on the other side of many of these which brings up another point … an ornament doesn’t have to be the same all the way around. Two different techniques (or three or four!)  or images can adorn parts of a piece. It’s a round blank canvas so you can do whatever you like.

Angela creates many, many wonderful versions of these along with silk flowers and folded paper decor. Take a look at her Etsy site and dig up some new ideas, if not buy a few of her beauties for yourself. She is in Romania so I am not sure how long it would take to get here but, personally I would love to get these in my mailbox any time of year!

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Try a patterned ornament or other festive decor. Cut out a bunch of shapes and then just let intuition take over and enjoy the process.

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On the Ball Beauty

gold-butterfly-ornamnet2Things are finally starting to settle down here in Sage land although it is always a whirlwind. Even so, I do like to stop and put up a touch of holiday cheer but I like things to be a bit beyond the norm. I have quite a few of the standard glass ornaments in my box that are really asking to be spruced up. But how to do it? I thought maybe we could get a few clever ideas from the very talented sorts out in the polymer world, and I certainly did!

I know black ornaments are probably not what you think of when think ornaments but just look at this beauty! The black background makes the colors of the cane slices just pop with such glamorous results. The ornament is by caning extraordinaire Meg Newberg. She actually created this a couple Christmases ago but left us with some instruction on how to get this effect. Find all the links to what she has for you on her blog post from that time. Then pop over to her home page for even more cool cane ornaments. She has a ton of ideas for these things. And check out her Etsy shop for a slew of cane tutorials.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Grab a basic holiday decoration and do something completely unexpected with it. Use unusual but festive colors, add texture where there usually isn’t and in general, put your kind of beauty on it. Celebrate with your style.

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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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A Little Bit of Cute

count-blue-animal-ringsAfter a really long and exceedingly full week, just brimming with ups and downs, I am quite in the mood for a fun and light-hearted week. How does that sound?

Cutesy craft does not get a nod to its artistry quite the way that contemporary craft usually does. But that doesn’t mean there is any less talent, skill and self-expression in it. It’s just less serious. Which is great! Life is rough enough as it is. Let’s admire work that makes us smile. Like these meticulously detailed and unquestionably adorable animal rings from our Japanese colleague Jiro Miura who sells under the moniker Count Blue. These adorable rings are a fantastic idea. Now you can take your prized polymer cuties out and about with you instead of just keeping them to yourself on a shelf at home.

Jiro does create sculptures that would just sit on a shelf but he also creates tiny earrings of his creatures. Small in size is the most common feature along with being very detailed. You can find more of his work on this translated-to-English link to his Count Blue website.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create something cute, playful, or at least not serious today but use your usual techniques. Let your child side out and enjoy creating joyful things with familiar processes.

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