Working on the Inside

margit boehmer disk necklace 430x377 - Working on the InsideAnother way to push the disk element in strung jewelry design is to create designs on those inside surfaces. This might push you to design the disks in such a way as to open up space between them so that the work on the inside could be seen. That might present a bit of a challenge but it will likely present some interesting options for added accents and forms.

Margit Bohmer did just that. Her solution to show off the intricate and highly colorful faces of her disks was to slightly dome them and have them stacked in pairs with the concave sides in, allowing an angled view to all the beautiful color and textures she worked into them. It looks like quite a bit of work too. I just love seeing this kind of dedication and commitment to a piece. Each bead face is different and could stand on its own but all together, they create an engrossing piece that will probably take the owner years to become familiar with all its varied surfaces.

A riot of color and texture is a signature of Margit’s and she never leaves us wanting for more of either. See her latest work on her Flickr photostream.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Choose a basic or commonly used design and push it. By sketching, planning, or just playing with your materials, change the form or the way this basic design is constructed as far as you can until you come up with something that intrigues and excites you then create your own original work from the ideas you came up with.


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Of Pencils & Pastels

Sweet willow pastel colorpencil leafOne of the key aspects of the spring issue was in introducing readers to materials that currently are not commonly combined with polymer. In our “Color Diversity” section, we were lucky enough to get primers on using two other art materials that artists Margit Bohmer and Penni Jo Couch have been playing with—that being pastels and colored pencils, respectively. They both had so much information to share that we didn’t have room for a gallery of other examples by other artists. We do encourage all our readers who find themselves intrigued by the colors and possibilities of these mediums to investigate them further. I know we did, and there is some beautiful work being done with both materials.

What is even less common than each of these materials being used with polymer is using the two additional colorants together to punch up the color and texture of a polymer piece. In fact, I only found one such piece by an artist local to me, Maria Clark of Sweet Willow Designs in Lakewood, Colorado. This leaf was crafted in polymer and wire, and then colored with pan pastels (see the article for more on this artist-quality type of pastel.) Then it was cured and further enhanced with Prismacolor colored pencils. The colors are so juicy and intense; the subtle changes in texture just add to this richness. This is not a look or gradation in color you could get with colored clay alone.

Maria explains her process briefly in a post on her blog. She has other work to show on her Flickr pages and tutorials on her YouTube channel.  Although, there does not seem to be any colored pencil or pastel work there … yet. But, if you want even more ideas about the broad possibilities of both colored pencil on polymer and/or pastel on polymer, I first highly suggest you read the very informative articles with technique steps that Margit and Penni generously wrote for us in the Spring 2015 issue of The Polymer Arts, and then hit up Pinterest, Flickr and Google for additional work using polymer + pastels +/or colored pencil for keywords. Then, be ready to get lost in the images you’ll find.


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Painterly Color

margit boehmerAlthough polymer is certainly a wonderful medium for precisely applied or built-in color, I have to say the painterly effects that we are seeing a lot of these days are so intriguing. The approach and application usually involves the inclusion of another medium, which opens the color quality to a wide range of possibilities beyond what the clay itself has to offer.

Margit Bohmer has been playing with pastels and polymer for quite a while. I can’t recall off the top of my head anyone else that has been quite so exploratory with this combination. Much of her work looks like color-stained wood or stone. The way she forms, carves and antiques her beads results in a rough, almost tribal quality; although, contemporary shapes do regularly emerge. Considering those characteristics, I thought this fun and beautifully colorful piece really stood out in her collection on Flickr. The wavy line contrasts rather strongly with the scratched tube beads, but with all the pieces treated with the same painterly color application it all comes together.

Jump over to Margit’s Flickr photostream or Etsy shop for a non-stop painterly color parade.


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Stringing a Story in Color

During our search for random design last week, we came across a lot of very colorful pieces, many using the entire rainbow and getting away with it beautifully. It’s not that easy to make a piece with every hue in it. That wide variation in color calls for cohesion in other elements, be they characteristics of color itself, or in the form and other elements of design.

In Margit Bohmer’s necklace here, she comes very close to chaos with so much color, a large variety of shapes and many different motifs. So does it work? I’d say. Quite delightfully.


The answer is in the color of course. Margit uses fairly saturated colors but they are all shaded or tinted a bit which subdues their impact. Many are also semi-transparent which further tones down the potential brilliance. It’s this slight but consistent understatement that allows these hues to harmoniously co-exist in one piece.

Looking at Margit’s work on her Flickr pages and in her Etsy shop, you’ll find one bold artist unafraid of lots and lots of color!


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