Creatures from the Deep

AHumpert deep-sea-creatures-10As artists, we think of our imagination as a major muscle, if not the primary one used when we’re creating. But how much do you stretch that muscle?

In craft art, because we also have to create steps, a process, and consider function and durability, our minds spend a lot of time in the purely logical, problems solving sections of our brain. Not that the imagination and problem solving are not connected; they absolutely are. But pure imagination is something we don’t always practice. So, here is a little something to push you to do so.

These fun bracelets are the work of the ever creative Anke Humpert. Using translucent clay in a unique design and decorating it with sea creatures she made up is just the start here.

As she explained to me, “The bracelets have a design that glows in black light! That is why they are called deep-sea creature bracelets. You would not normally notice the night side of them, only if you go to a night club or something similar. They also have a special hinge. Most of it is made with polymer only very little metal involved.”

These bracelets, as it turns out, are the centerpiece for one of the three classes she will be teaching at the Cabin Fever Clay Arts Fest next month. In describing the class for prospective students, she says, “Since we do not know much about the deep seas, we will have fun and let our imagination run wild creating plants (or even animals?) as we imagine them.” And that freedom and use of the imagination is what inspired me to share this today and create a bit of a different challenge for those following along.

By the way, I do have a Flickr page for sharing the results of the challenges I’ve been posting, only I haven’t had time to snap pics of what I’ve done, so there’s nothing on it yet really. But if any of you want to get on while I catch up over here, I would love to see what you’ve been up to. Go here to join in!

Does Anke’s class intrigue you? She is also teaching her Big Beads and fun hand tool texturing techniques. She’s joined by a slew of amazing talent including Lisa Pavelka, Maureen Carlson, Dayle Doroshow, Lindly Haunani, Doreen Kassel, Jana Lehmann, Ann and Karen Mitchell, Nan Roche, Lynne Anne Schwarzenberg, and more. There is still room in almost every class, so, if you are interested, jump in while you have your pick of classes still. You can find the classes on this PDF and registration on their webpage.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Let your imagination run wild and recreate an image, motif, shape, or a faux effect you might otherwise recreate as it is seen in nature or as we expect it to be, making your own version. A rose with black petals, a plaid cat, turquoise in pink, purple leather, a square pendant with a chunk missing in the corner, or a peace symbol with Mickey Mouse ears. Just change it up and make it your own.


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Triangle Treatments

Triangles, like any other flat form, can be treated like a simple canvas to be filled with all sorts of potential colors, textures, accents, lines and shapes. The thing about triangles though is that you are working with what is visually an arrow so you have this added dynamic characteristic to play with that is not seen in any other shape.

Here, Jana Lehmann demonstrates a variety of treatments on her triangles with no seeming rhyme or reason. However, it works and beautifully so. For all the variety in the color and treatment, all the triangles are the same shape and point in the same downward direction. Plus, they are all working in harmony with the contrast of floating circles against the rigid sides of their triangular boundaries. The disparity in application along with the pointing triangles and floating circles,  especially the one that got out and is now dangling off the point of a triangle, make it a really dynamic piece. And we can’t ignore the consistently perfect application and clean finish of every element that is the hallmark of Jana’s work and a source of awe for so many of us. That kind of craftsmanship brings out the intense beauty of what could have been an overly chaotic design without it.




Jana may be the most exploratory polymer artist when it comes to shapes. Just take a quick look at her Flickr page to see just how she pushes and bends the idea of a triangle as well as squares, circles, and every other shape it would seem.


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Merging Graphic and Organic

Polymer works well for creating almost any look but there are a lot of artists whose work reflects an organic influence while another large portion of the community leans toward more graphic work, heavy into geometric forms and lines. Artists in both camps borrow from the other as well. This week we’ll look at how the two seemingly opposite styles are often combined to create contrast, tension and variation in polymer art.

This is the piece that first got me thinking about this. Jana Lehmann works very heavily in perfectly measured and graphic forms. Her precision can be seen in this necklace but the stylized representation of trees in a kind of spherical landscape brings us back to the idea of a natural scene.



The chosen colors also harken back to the organic in this piece as might the waving hang of the bottom beads. It would be hard to call this geometrically based but there are many concentric circles and the repetition of exact shapes on both sides. It’s a very nicely done reversible piece as well, carrying the same style and sense of precision contrasting organics to both sides.

Jana’s work is quite varied and yet has a signature sense of precision and a flawless finish to all her edges. More of her work can be found on her Flickr photostream and her blog.


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Encouraging Words

A kind word can go a long way on a difficult day. If you had on one of these pendants by Jana Lehmann of Germany you could get that sort of encouragement by just looking in the mirror.


All of Jana’s work is skillfully constructed and meticulously finished. She works in a wide range of forms dominated by a colorful and fun style. Take some time to wander through her Flickr photostream for more eye candy.

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