The Many Faces of Leaves

wmoore red leaves 430x410 - The Many Faces of LeavesPattern in nature is everywhere and not just on the surface but in the groupings as well. I know for certain that Wendy Moore, the creator of this lovely riot of red leaves, is heavily influenced by the patterns and energy in nature. You can hear it in the things she writes on her blog and her focus on repetition of natural shapes in her work which you can find on her Instagram account.

This piece was actually a commission but from one of the people most certainly to be a heavy influence on her as well–her mother. I’m thinking now that perhaps this connection to nature is also one her mother has and maybe she influenced Wendy’s appreciation of the natural world. Or maybe it’s Wendy’s life in Australia and her time in the outback or her years in Nepal and her continued visits there to support the Samunnat women‘s project.

I only ponder this because how much we interact with nature and how connected to it we are has been on my mind lately. I am so immensely lucky to have a wide swath of nature right outside my office and studio here. I have tried to make a point of spending time out there every day. Recent trending reports on “forest bathing” and how short immersive excursions among trees can really help reduce stress has led me to consider how important such moments of connection and relaxation are to creativity.  The more I get outside, the more inspired I feel.

So, weather permitting, try to get outside this weekend. If weather is not being cooperative, perhaps there is a greenhouse or enclosed botanical garden not too far away. Or spend some time tending yohouseplantsnts. Notice the textures and patterns in nature, breathe in the smell of the growing things and just connect to the most constant thing we have interacted with in our history as a species–mother nature. I think you’ll find it invigorating, relaxing and inspiring!

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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In the Midst of Leaves


So after a week of autumn color and a week of mostly translucent autumn, I am moving from Fall colors (I promise I am!) into leaves! There are tons of leaf motifs popping up out there and this beautiful bowl by the one and only Emily Squires Levine was on the top of my list for found leaf motif. (That has a ring to it!)

Emily has been branching out (pun intended … couldn’t help myself!) with some new designs this that are more of an extension of what she’s been doing than a departure. I am sure, with the In the Forest project, more trees and forest imagery will be popping up in her work and many more polymer artist’s pages as well.

I found these on Emily’s Facebook page where you can view more of her latest work. You can also stop by her website while you are off wandering through the leaves and such.

As for me, this will be a particularly busy week with the holiday, house buying paperwork (it’s like a second job!), getting the Winter issue off to the printer and, last but not least … in a non-traditional move that has more to do with logistics, health insurance, and moving residency to California before the end of the year, my beau and I will be tying the knot tomorrow, at least on paper. The official celebration is a month away but the fact that there will be no turning back after tomorrow does give one pause. Unless it’s the guy you should have married 3 decades ago. So yeah, don’t mind me this week. I may be a bit distracted.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Can we just say … get through the week, make time to relax and play, and enjoy your families. Sound good?


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Into the Forest

13576637_10154283234709491_7192967860885552779_oOkay, so this might just be a week of announcements but they are exciting announcements, let me tell you.

During her general assembly presentation at Eurosynergy, Laura Tabakman spoke about her projects, many of which are huge undertakings involving installations of her work and the work of others in anything from organic floor compositions in a gallery to entire bridges yarn bombed by the whole of the local community. So it wasn’t a complete surprise that she has a very ambitious project up her sleeve right now. The difference is that this project can include you!

Laura paired up with the very organized and motivated Emily Squires Levine to work on a project inspired by their time under the aspens in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Living here, I completely get what got their creative juices flowing. I am constantly amazed by the color, variety and just stunning beauty of the mountains here. I honestly have yet to find a place in the world I think is more beautiful than the scenery here. Laura and Emily were similarly impressed and started working out an idea for a large Rocky Mountain forest inspired installation. Later on they got Julie Eakes on board and between the three of them the seeds of the “Into the Forest” project was born. And just hours before Laura’s presentation, the threesome set up a Facebook page to help facilitate what is certainly to be an immense and fascinating project.

So what is “Into the Forest”? The image here is their first assembly based on the project idea and here is their description:

“An international collaboration of polymer artists and enthusiasts inspired by the high altitude aspen groves in the Rocky Mountains, “Into the Forest” is an evolving mixed media international installation organized by collaborating artists Laura Tabakman, Emily Squires Levine and Julie Eakes. Imagine yourself in a forest. On the ground beneath a canopy of branches and leaves, unexpected life exists. Look closely, be amazed at the variety of these organic forms. Be a part of our Forest and help it flourish! Create pieces which will form its life elements. We will combine them into living colonies of varying shapes, colors and sizes. We are looking for 1000s of elements, created by our international polymer community, to inhabit our Forest.”

To get involved, request an invitation to the “Into the Forest” Facebook group. There are already over 150 polymer artists and enthusiasts that have pledged to help. I know I’m excited. Jump over to the Facebook page to get more information and follow the project on Instagram (intotheforest17).


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Here’s a simple one … join the project! Make one element a day or at least every other day, to send off to the project. I started on leaves on the weekend and ideas for lichen and other creeping color. We have until April 4th of 2017 which, making one little simple piece a day means you could have a couple hundred to contribute by April!


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Daily Polymer Arts Blog changes & A Rustic Tutorial

First thank you to every one who switched over to the new email post service a few weeks ago. The old service was scheduled to be taken down this week but things are little behind schedule. We are getting back on track and the switch will be done tomorrow. So, if you didn’t switch over and are reading this in an email post that has a long link on the top, click that link and unsubscribe and go here for the new blog emails or you won’t be receiving email notifications any longer as of Monday.

As of this week, the blog will have a few more changes as well. For one, I won’t be posting on Sundays any more. There is a lot going on over here and I need to get a little more time out of my week to get the books going and keep the magazine at the high quality you expect. We will still have a Saturday post which will encompass news, new products, links to great tutorials and anything else that I can find to give you something to look into over the weekend. We’ll continue with polymer and design posts every day during the week.

As part of the “get Sage more time for new and exciting TPA projects” initiative, I am looking for people to guest post and suggest themes. This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to promote products, books, events and classes on the blog in exchange for helping create great content. If you are interested in learning details about this opportunity, write me at

In the meantime, if this week’s rustic elegance has piqued your interest, try this neat little, free tutorial by Ginger Davis Allman (who also has a fantastic tutorial using translucent clay in the present Summer issue of The Polymer Arts magazine) to create shimmery rustic leaves in your own choice of elegant palettes. Here are a couple of examples by Ginger.



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To Cane Well

Most of us, if we’ve played with polymer for any length of time, have tried our hand at caning. Some of us have become obsessed and do almost nothing but canes, while some of us look at our attempts and then the many other great examples out there and decide to enjoy their wonder in the works of others. But no matter where you are on the caning spectrum, you probably use the concept of caning more than you think. The concept is a simple one that can result in immense complexity–lay various colors and shapes of of clay together lengthwise and cut it crosswise to reveal a pattern. In what we usually think of as a cane, the pattern is mapped out to result in a particular design, and the clay has been reduced so the pattern is solidified and spaces between the different pieces of clay have been eliminated. But that isn’t always necessary or desired.

This week I thought it’d be fun to look at what makes a good cane, what crazy things people do with them, and the way the concept is used in other areas. But today, let’s just admire some pretty caning work. Ivy Niles Koehn (pronounced ‘cane’, she says) creates the kind of canes I’m happy to sit back and admire rather than blunder through an attempt of on my own. Ivy’s kaleidoscope canes are richly detailed with recognizable images, like the leaves you can see here, as well as straight patterning. But generally her canes succeed because of color and pattern choices, as well as some decent skill in preserving  the lines while reducing.


In this cane of hers, the palette is reds leaning towards oranges and greens leaning towards blues, so all the colors contrast from opposite ends of the color wheel. There is also consistency in the changes within colors as they are all only tinted or shaded (having white or black added) rather than changing in saturation (brightness or density of color) or moving around on the color wheel. The patterns are also from a rather small range of forms … flowing lines or spot/circles, all organic looking with no hard angles. The consistency throughout of both color and pattern make for a strong design.

Ivy’s collection of available canes for sale in her Etsy shop, IKandiClay reveals other well-planned designs as well as some simple, basic canes that could be building blocks for more complex designs if you want to use her work to give you a good head start.

Have suggestions for other artists this week? I have been picking out canes to chat about, but if you have a favorite cane or caned piece that you think just must be shared and talked about, write me at with a link to this icon of caning as well as your information so if I use your suggestion, I can show my thanks with a mention and a link to your own website, blog, or store!


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Real Leaves, Real Easy

The leaves in the brooches below look deceptively real.  For good reason. They are the result of direct impressions from real leaves. That and a little paint to bring out the veins. It doesn’t get much more real than that. Except for the real thing of course.


The clay used by artist Camille Young here is actually Lumina. It’s a translucent polymer resin clay that air dries. You color it with acrylic or oil based paints. But, this is just as easy to replicate in polymer and there’s no mixing in of paint into the clay. Choose a leaf color or skinner blend a few colors of clay together, then press in a real leaf, bake, apply acrylic paint to get it into the veins and then wipe off the paint on the raised surface.

Camille documents her creation of these leaves in Lumina on her blog here (scroll down when you get to the page … she has a large header). Just follow the steps except bake the polymer where she says “let it dry thoroughly”.

Grand idea!

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