Bags Bedecked


LPavelka purse 430x451 - Bags BedeckedSo far this week, we’ve looked at clutches covered in sheets of colored and patterned polymer but that is not, by far, the only way to create a dazzling handbag with polymer. Not all of us are caners and many of us lean toward sculptural elements and tactile texture and a handbag is a great place to lay down such touchable techniques.

You may have seen this handbag in our Spring 2015 – Diversity issue of The Polymer Arts, where Lisa Pavelka shared some of her thoughts and ideas on embellishing with polymer and crystals. This very tactile bag, with a limited cool palette of greens and blues, effortlessly rides that sometimes difficult balance of being both fun and sophisticated. The crystals make it appropriate for a dressy evening but the roiling mix of paisley shapes and abstracted leaves adds that touch of whimsy that makes it work with a pair of jeans when one is just out and about in the afternoon.

This is just one more way you can create an accessory that your customer (or yourself) can use and cherish all throughout the year. If you want more idea on purses a la Lisa Pavelka, take a look at her Pinterest pages as well as shopping on her website where you can get the materials you need to create your own great handbag.

Summer 2016 issue Cover … Movement!

16P2 Cover v4 web newsletterWe interrupt this week’s looking at the ground for inspiration to being you the latest cover of The Polymer Arts magazine!

This issue is not out yet, and although we would usually get this out to you by the end of May, it looks like it will be the first week of June, but we are moving along as quickly as we can while still ensuring you have wonderful quality content and beautiful pages to enjoy.

So, what do we have coming up for you in a few short weeks? Some truly energizing articles! As you can see, the theme is Movement, so we have really fun and dynamic articles for you including …

… Randee Ketzel  sharing her beautiful new faux bakelite in a flowing bracelet design.

… Lisa Pavelka shares secrets on using illusion and juxtaposition for dynamic and vibrant color.

… Loretta Lam gets you thinking about how to create visual movement in your compositions.

… I’m sharing  a mulit-piece kinetic earring and pendant tutorial set as well as a tutorial on creating balanced mobiles.

… my staff is going to give you some ideas on creating dangles as well as putting together truly wonderful PDF tutorials to sell.

… Shannon Tabor talks us through looking at the big picture to move your business forward.

… Tory Hughes has a fascinating discussion with long time polymer supporter Robert Liu of Ornament magazine.

… Anke Humpert has dug up secrets and plans in her interview with the amazing Georg Dinkel.

… and much more! Sheesh. I need to catch my breath!

While I’m catching my breath and polishing your next issue, enjoy this cover with this intense wall piece by Bonnie Bishoff and J.M Syron. It’s mesmerizing and wholly moving besides being completely enthralling just trying to figure out how it was made. If you need to get your subscription up to date, you can do so on the website at I apologize, we don’t have single issue pre-sales yet, but I hope to have the site updated by next week so we can do that.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Pick up an old copy of The Polymer Arts (or any craft magazine or book) and spend some time with it on your work break, over coffee, or to wind down tonight. Our old magazines and books are a treasure trove of inspiration.  Find something you had wanted to try or find yourself wanting to try now, and do it. Make a goal of attempting of accomplishing a new technique, form, or approach by this weekend, no matter how busy you are.


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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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Goodies, Giveaways and Friesen on the Brain

We sort of kinda interrupt this art blog to tip you off about a chance to grab a bundle of goodies, get some special discounts and have your opinions and wishes heard! Then we’ll talk art.

072415 goodie giveawayReader’s Wish List Survey

Take a little survey and let us know what you want to see on the blog, as well as in the magazine and in our upcoming projects as we plan for the rest of 2015 into 2016. As a thank you for your time, you’ll find these discounts and a Goodie Giveaway at the end of the survey:

The Polymer Arts 10% off code for subscriptions and back issues on our website.*

– 10% off code for your entire purchase at (featuring Lisa Pavelka and Christi Friesen products.)*

–A chance to win one of two Goodie Boxes that will include a variety of tools and supplies from Polyform, Staedtler, Jacquard, CF Originals, and more (each valued at $40+).* **

The Fine Print:  *Discounts and entering for the Goodie Box giveaways end at midnight PDT on August 2nd, 2015. Your promo codes will pop up on a Thank You page after you submit the survey. **Due to the unpredictability of out of country shipping times and circumstances, we will substitute clays and other sensitive materials with durable items for winners living outside the US.


cf mechanical botanicalsOkay … now for some art to end our week. Summer colors and summer fun had been the theme, but I have Christi Friesen on the brain so we’re going to try to combine this all with some “Mechanical Botanicals” by CF herself.

Why so much Friesen distraction? For one, both the discount and the goodie box you can get by taking the survey can help you stock up on CF Originals goods (Have you seen the new little Swellegant Sampler kit! So cool … you can try it all! It’s not in the Goody Box, but you can grab it at with that discount code mentioned!)

Also, I spent part of the day working on the latest article she’s whipped up for us at The Polymer Arts magazine … “Embellishments”! Boy, she can pack a lot of tips and tricks into a handful of pages! And the pictures! She is a generous contributor, I tell you.  (I know … I need to get the line-up for the Fall issue out to you all, but it’s been an interesting wrangling of content this quarter. Next week, I promise!)

The other reason everything seems to be coming up Christi is that, well Christi came up to see me on her way out of town Wednesday. We stayed up way too late and came up with way too many amazing ideas and even more questions. One of them was about how to categorize work. And even whether we should.

Take a look at these oil cans. They’re decorative. And they’re sculptural. There is polymer, but it’s at least half other materials. So is it polymer art? Mixed-media? Multi-media? For shows, books and even on blogs and in articles, we find ourselves looking for categories and labels and ways to put things into a particular box. But do we need to?

Don’t worry. We didn’t come up with the answer to the universe and everything or the definitive answers to these questions either the other night. We did decide that maybe backing off the labels and categories so we stop mentally boxing things in so often could be a good thing though. So, let’s not say that this is polymer art or mixed media or sculpture or decor. Let’s just say it’s bits of the artist that is here for all of us to enjoy. And most of the time, that should be enough.


If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or an issue of The Polymer Arts magazine, as well as by supporting our advertising partners.

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Spring 2015 Cover … Your Sneak Peek

15P1 cover MedWell, the Spring 2015 issue of The Polymer Arts is getting whipped into shape, and we can now finally show you the cover. It’s a bit different, being that we have three instead of our usual one artist on it. But the theme is “Diversity”, so it just seemed appropriate to have a diverse cover!

All three of these amazing artists, Wendy Wallin Malinow, Lisa Pavelka and Celie Fago, kindly gave us detailed insight into how they came to work in mixed media, the role that polymer plays in their art and their own tips and tricks as well as a handful of quick tutorials to get you going in combining these artists’ favorite “other” medium.

This issue also has a multi-artist article on alternate ways of coloring polymer, a crazy-fun “string impression” experiment (you’ll have to read the article to understand what that all means!), ways to diversify your polymer income, ideas for changing up your process to bring about breakthroughs in your design and business, plus inspiration from other mediums including in-depth info on using resin and Kroma crackle and a technique tutorial on translating paper quilling into a polymer art.

There will be, of course, tons of other goodies, eye candy and ideas inside. Keep your eyes peeled for the issue due out end of February. If you need to renew or subscribe for either digital copies or print, you can do so at


If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or an issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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Containers of a Different Sort

We’ve seen quite a number of boxes and containers on this blog. I have a bit of a thing for boxes. They are such mysterious things. In a closed box, there could be any number of surprises–things left behind, trinkets misplaced, treasures hidden, memories buried just waiting to be rediscovered and, of course, emptiness with a wide open invitation to be filled. What is there not to like about a box?

So this week, I thought I’d dig up some boxes that approach the idea of how to construct or cover an existing box-like object in a slightly different way than we might commonly see–approaches and forms that will get you thinking. You know how I so like to get your noodles moving. (Now, I just need something to get mine to stop!)

So how does one go about pushing the idea of how to construct or decorate a box or container? Well, you can try what Lisa Pavelka tried last year and make one container a day. In her case, it was Carmex lip balm containers. Yes, she did actually accomplish this, even with her very busy schedule. And yes, I think she was nuts and I even said as much to her. I seem to recall she agreed. But it certainly will press you to get really creative if you are making a different container every day. At some point, you must lose any kind of careful editing of yourself and just let go. And that can be a good thing.



I don’t think these top views really do justice the level of sheer creativity she applied to this project. Take a moment (it’s only Monday … I’m sure you have a few minutes to spare, right?) to go through her blog pages, where she posted top and side views of them, alongside a few sentences on what she did with each. It’s really a pretty fascinating project, and the many applications are quite inspiring!

Of course, she used many of her own products in making these. Her line is pretty extensive and there is much more than what you might have seen at your local craft store, so take a look at her store for things you might not be aware of yet. And of course, on this Monday we have plenty of time for some important window shopping, right?

And don’t forget … tomorrow (Tuesday, October 22nd) is the last day of our BIG print back issue sale, so get your extra print copies while the price is still really low!

pg collage 13-P3 Fall 2013

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