A Translucent Memory

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Easily the all-time favorite cover and one of the best-selling issues since 2012 was the Fall 2013 – Organics issue. I think this was, in large part, due to this fabulous cover art by Kathrin Neumaier. Kathrin was the most prolific and arguably most interesting artist working in translucent polymer clay. She created hollow forms in both the solid and the liquid forms of polymer with stunning results.

I remember getting this image from her and I knew it had to be the cover art for the issue. I didn’t even make any other covers or put it to a vote with the staff as I usually did. I laid this out while on “vacation” with my family on the Oregon coast and while they were off playing on the beach, I got to play with making this piece shine. I remember finishing it and just stepping across the room to look at it from a distance and it was just gorgeous, no matter how you looked at it.

I dug around to see what Kathrin has been up to but there haven’t been any postings since the end of 2016 so it’s not the most up-to-date news on her. I do hope she resurfaces, but in the meantime, enjoy the inspiring collection of work she has created and shared with us on Flickr.

If you don’t have a copy of this beautiful issue, I have only about a dozen copies left in print although they will always be available in digital. Grab your copy of this memorable issue on our website here.

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New Book Cover and Very Special Pre-Sale Offer for You!

PJ2016 Cover frontWe set aside our usual art discussions today to announce the first big book project for TPA and the associated book publishing arm, Tenth Muse Publications–Polymer Journeys 2016 is just about ready for you! The release is set for April 14th.

This retrospective and peek-behind-the-scenes book is in its last phase of preparation for printing! Now that we have a publication date, we are offering you very anxious and enthusiastic folks a steep discount and a bonus to thank you for your patience and to give you the opportunity to get your copy straight off the press and into the mail!

We have an exclusive pre-sale price for just this one week. If you purchase the book on our website by March 30th,  you get 30% off the cover price of $22.95! That’s all of $15.95 plus shipping.

It is also available in a digital format, which will be $12.95, but this week you can reserve your copy for just $9.95.

But wait … there’s more! (I’ve always wanted to say that!)  I also worked out a way to reward our most enthusiastic supporters … be one of the first 250  people to pre-order a print copy and get a companion digital copy for FREE! Just put both a print and digital copy into your cart, then use this code to discount the digital copy: 1st250. (You’ll know others beat you to it if you get a note saying the discount is no longer valid.)

Want more info on what this book is? Go to the website here. In the meantime, enjoy the gorgeous cover art by Kathleen Dustin (top) and Jon Stuart Anderson (bottom).

We’ll be here if you have any questions for us. Otherwise, have a beautiful Spring and Easter weekend!

 

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Beauty in Transluscence

If you read our wonderful Fall 2013 issue of The Polymer Arts, you no doubt remember the cover piece by Kathrin Neumaier. That translucent glass look has been quite popular in the polymer community so when I saw these simple but elegant earrings, my first thought was that it was polymer. But no. And it’s not glass either. What’s your guess?

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The artist here is Barbara Fernald.  These are actually vintage Lucite beads, sometimes referred to as acrylic glass. Perfectly proportioned design transcends mediums. See more of Barbara’s elegant work on her website.

 

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Hot Stuff: The Polymer Arts 2013 “Organics” Cover

Today’s usual Outside Inspiration is being displaced by a truly hot polymer item  … the latest cover for The Polymer Arts, featuring the amazing work of Kathrin Neumaier … her Pepper Necklace! Now that is hot stuff! This issue is due out August 19th and is quickly turning into my favorite issue to date!

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Kathrin Neumaier has been on my personal favorites list since I first saw her faux glass work a few years back so I was thrilled at the opportunity to highlight her work on the cover of the Fall 2013 “Organics” issue due out August 19th. Isn’t this necklace just gorgeous!! SHARE it if you like it!

So what will be inside? We have beautiful organic and nature inspired artwork as well as some truly inspiring ideas for creating outdoors and translating the work that inspires you through your own artistic voice. You may find yourself seriously motivated by the ideas we have for you for creating a polymer exhibition or art show and running your own first class workshops. There are also reviews on the latest books, color tips from Laurie Mika, the lowdown on the best stringing materials in the new Polymer Jeweler’s Workbench section and the inside scoop on a great artist’s online photo course.

Subscibe or Renew to be sure your print issue goes out with the first batch off the press! (Single issue pre-orders will be available no later than Aug. 1st.) www.thepolymerarts.com/Subscription_ordering.html

While Waiting for your Pardo Translucent Clay …

It’s funny how many comments and emails I got on Monday when I mentioned that I had untouched blocks of Pardo translucent clay in my studio. There is such a demand and yet so little available. I have had email conversations with a contact at Viva Decor but I never got a straight answer as to why its in such short supply or when we might expect to see it more readily available. So what’s a frustrated artist to do? As far as actually getting your hands on some, your best bet in the US seems to be getting on PolyClayPlay.com’s waiting list. (Is it any easier getting it in Europe by chance?)

In the meantime, I say go play with our other options. Pardo may be the clearest (so we’ve heard) but only in the clays themselves. The absolute clearest polymer you can work with is Fimo Decorating Gel. Although it can also be tough to locate in some places, it’s not impossible to get a hold of. (See our post last year regarding Fimo Gel and a false rumor; I listed places to find it.) You may not consider Fimo Gel to be a primary polymer to create forms with but with a little outside-the-box thinking, you’ll find you certainly can work with it as something other than an addition to the surface of clay.

Kathrin Neumaier has been playing extensively with both Pardo Translucent Art Clay and Fimo Gel, sometimes interchangeably. Here is a piece in Pardo Tranlucent clay (and what a fun piece!):

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And here are basically the same forms but created in Fimo Gel:

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So, yes, you can form pieces from liquid polymer and get a translucene as good if not better than with the elusive Pardo. And just think … there’s no conditioning!

The easiest way I found to work with liquid polymer as a form is to start out making sheets of cured lpc. You simply drizzle then lightly brush out the liquid polymer on a clean and very smooth, flat surface and bake it like that. A piece of tempered glass or polished sheet metal is an ideal surface. If you don’t have either, you can use a sheet of window glass (you can buy small panes at hardware stores or take the glass out of a picture frame) but you should put untempered glass into a cold oven and wait until it’s completely cooled before taking it out–rapid temperature changes can cause the glass to crack. (And tape up the raw glass edges with masking tape–let’s not cut ourselves!)

If the liquid polymer comes out of the oven still a little milky in spots wave a heat gun over it, keeping the heat a couple inches (50mm) away until it goes clear. (If you baked it on untempered glass, take it off the glass first.) Then you can cut whatever forms you want from that sheet. You can even add more liquid polymer to build it up or add color.

I would say about half the work I did in the first couple years I worked with polymer was created with lpc forms made this way and not just with Fimo Gel. After practicing for a bit, I could get any lpc to got completely clear. It just takes a little patience but its wonderful fun.

Kathrin has made all kinds of forms from liquid polymer including hollow beads and one piece collar necklaces. If you have the translucent bug, you need to take some time to browse through her Flickr pages for some inspiring ideas on what you might try while waiting for your Pardo.

Sophisticated Spiderwebs

Spiderwebs are not usually considered sophisticated. They tend to be used for things related to costuming fabrics, accessories and props. Put a spiderweb on something and it’s not likely to be taken seriously. Which is odd since spiderwebs are some of the most amazing and beautiful creations constructed by any non-human creature on earth. But commercialism may have killed our true appreciation for these incredible weavings.

So when I came across this piece below, I was thrilled to see the spiderweb patterning presented in such a light and sophisticated way.

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Our artist here, Kathrin Neumaier, calls it etching but since she does state that it is made with silver oil paint, I would guess it’s actually done with stamps and a light touch. In any case, it relays the gossamer feel of real spiderwebs on a contemporary tile collar design that is much appreciated by spiderweb aficionados like myself.

 

Crafting with Light: Hollow Faux Glass Beads

Kathrin Neumaier of Germany has been focused on translucents for well over a year now using layered translucent clay and liquid polymer to create a glass effect. Her work has a natural feel to them, like they might be something you would find washed up on the beach. But the simple elegance of the forms also makes me think they could be something you’d pull out of long forgotten collection of odds and ends in an old relative’s attic. Regardless, they are intriguing, not only because as polymer artsits we know this effect is not easy to achieve but because the forms rely on light to create interest.

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The translucent hollow forms bounces light around and through the forms giving pieces like these simple earrings an enticing liveliness. This is the kind of thing we emphasized in The Polymer Arts’ Spring 2012 article “Design Beyond Form” where we talked about using light in the composition of your piece. Using glass (or faux glass), reflective surfaces, and shimmering texture can add that extra dimension that allows your piece to play with the light in the room–an element that changes based on the viewer’s position or, in terms of jewelry and adornment, the wearer’s movement. How cool is that?

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