Trilateral Glow

Levarry beaded triangles 430x555 - Trilateral GlowWhile I was deciding on a final soft triangle example for this week, I spotted this piece and, when seen as a small image, it looked like it could be polymer but on closer inspection, it obviously is some serious seed beading. Still, what an inspiration this could be for an avid caner who likes to create glowing, blended canes!

The piece was created by Anastasia Ilyashevich who seems to create in all kinds of materials, not just, or even primarily, beads. But even though she is not a wholly devoted beader, this is certainly a well conceived and skillfully accomplished piece. In her blog post about it, Anastasia admits she really didn’t like it until the end. I can’t imagine doing all that and not liking it at least halfway through. But we can see how perseverance can pay off.

I have to acknowledge that a large part of the impact of this image is that it is shot on a black background, making the glow pop even more. But still, this is all triangles, creating pattern as well as being the basis for the focal shapes with those severe straight-edged triangles, giving it a very powerful visual feel. It is also huge–the lowest triangle hits somewhere around the waistline, as you can see in this blog post where it is modeled.

By the way, you can brush up on the kind of canes and color combinations that would work really well for this kind of thing in the article by Meg Newberg we published in the present Summer issue of The Polymer Arts. Get your copy on the website, or drop in on my Etsy site and get that and a few other print edition issues you might be wanting. Our HUGE MOVING SALE ends tomorrow, July 15th.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Look at your work. What shapes do you most commonly use? Pick just one and play with what you can do with it, changing it up and creating new shapes through little tweaks. Do the new shapes inspire you? Create something using the new shape you made up.


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Dramatic Blends

MNewberg - Dramatic BlendsOne of my personal favorite articles in the new Summer issue is the “Blended Beauty” article on creating dramatic color and light in canes, written by Meg Newberg. I have been trying to get a really good article for our caning enthusiasts but for some reason, it’s been a struggle getting anything submitted beyond specific cane patterns. Which are cool, yes, but not quite in line with the technique driven and skill building objective of The Polymer Arts

This article, however, is amazing. Meg gives concise and clear instruction on how to create the type of clay blends that give her canes that beautiful inner glow and dramatic color. But these ingenious Skinner type blends are for more than just caners, as you’ll see when you read it.

Meg’s focus on canes has allowed her deep and intense exploration into what can be done with canes. If you want to work on your caning skills or just want to create more interesting and colorful Skinner blends, read the article but also consider signing up for Meg’s monthly tutorial subscription (the mandala cane you see on the bottom here is this month’s tutorial) or buy one of her tutorials posted in her Etsy shop.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Let’s recharge this weekend! Sit back with a favorite beverage and take in your latest copy of The Polymer Arts or another magazine or book and let you mind process the art and ideas you find. Keep a sketchbook nearby to record any “ah-ha!” moments and if you feel charged up when done, go to the studio and have some casual play time, exploring what inspired you.


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The Summer Cover … Thank you Mr. Anderson

TPA 17P2 JSA bull cover border web72 430x562 - The Summer Cover ... Thank you Mr. Anderson

Today, I just want to share the newest cover of The Polymer Arts. We are so very lucky to have Jon Stuart Anderson gracing the cover with a wonderful close up of his Raging Bull sculpture. The article on Jon’s art and life is alone worth getting this issue for.

Jon had previously not talked much about his work and yet it is absolutely unforgettable. His process, his thoughts on creating, on color, and on living as an artist are from the heart and he minces no words. The interview conducted, and article written by, the equally amazing Ron Lehocky was a dream for us. Ron had so much material, there really could have been a book. Ron was just the person to pull from Jon the stories and details that allow us a rich and colorful glimpse of the man and his work like we’ve never seen it before. I am so thrilled about this issue. Can you tell?

 The whole Summer 2017- Color issue will be a great reference for color exploration now and in the future with the talent and knowledge of some of our best artists including Tracy Holmes, Christine Dumont, Lindly Haunani, Meg Newberg, and Anke Humpert, along with Ron and Jon.  Here’s some of the articles you can look forward to:

  • Color Theory – Simplified!
  • Creating Relatable Color Palettes
  • Fixing our Brains’ Flawed Color Perception
  • The Wild & Colorful World of Jon Anderson
  • Dramatic Color Blends for Canes
  • Painting with Polymer clay
  • Color Guided Necklace Designs
  • Re-Thinking Your Artistic Identity
  • Funding a Guild or Group
  • Color Spotlight on Christine Dumont
  • New Ways with the New Liquid Clays

… and much more!

​Don’t miss out on this essential issue. Be sure your subscription is up to date by going to your account page or start your new subscription. It’s easy … just click here!

If you are jonesing to see more of Jon’s work or want to purchase his work, you can find it on his website.


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

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On the Ball Beauty

gold-butterfly-ornamnet2Things are finally starting to settle down here in Sage land although it is always a whirlwind. Even so, I do like to stop and put up a touch of holiday cheer but I like things to be a bit beyond the norm. I have quite a few of the standard glass ornaments in my box that are really asking to be spruced up. But how to do it? I thought maybe we could get a few clever ideas from the very talented sorts out in the polymer world, and I certainly did!

I know black ornaments are probably not what you think of when think ornaments but just look at this beauty! The black background makes the colors of the cane slices just pop with such glamorous results. The ornament is by caning extraordinaire Meg Newberg. She actually created this a couple Christmases ago but left us with some instruction on how to get this effect. Find all the links to what she has for you on her blog post from that time. Then pop over to her home page for even more cool cane ornaments. She has a ton of ideas for these things. And check out her Etsy shop for a slew of cane tutorials.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Grab a basic holiday decoration and do something completely unexpected with it. Use unusual but festive colors, add texture where there usually isn’t and in general, put your kind of beauty on it. Celebrate with your style.


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

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Get Caning!

So my request earlier this week to have people send in caning links for this week’s theme resulted in more questions from people just getting into it. Since there were so many queries, I thought I ought to take a moment to address the basic question these emails had in common … how does one get started or work on moving on from the basics? (For those of you who are quite advanced, this list and links might be helpful as a list for your website [I imagine you get these questions too!] or to recommend before a caning class to get your students to work on the basics.)

So here’s what I would recommend if you are starting out caning …

1. Take a class. So much of what goes into caning, especially reducing, is rather difficult to explain without hands on demonstrations. Check with local guilds, bead stores, the IPCA website, and The Polymer Arts resource list to see what is going on near you. A keyword search using your state/country, “polymer” and “classes” or “workshops” might bring up a few things as well.

2. Get a book. A book with a lot of detail and variety of projects to try your hand at could get you far. Some of the better ones I know of are Sue Heaser’s Polymer Clay Jewellery for Beginners: Book 1 – Millefiori Canes
Donna Kato’s The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques and Patricia Kimle’s Exploring Canework in Polymer Clay: Color, Pattern, Surface Design.

3. Search the internet for caning tutorials. This will give you a broad variety of techniques and approaches to explore. If you’re a self-starter and really motivated, this is usually the least expensive option as many of the beginning cane tutorials are free. Once you get more advanced, you may want to invest in some of the tutorials sold on Etsy and CraftArtEdu.

One of your fellow readers, Meg Newberg, sent along this link of free cane tutorials which she also regularly posts on her very active Facebook page, Polymer Clay Workshop. Here is a post photo from her Facebook page a few months back that I thought was just a beautiful collection of kaleidoscope canes with nicely chosen color schemes that she was working on.


As I am admittedly not the caning expert and so many of you are,  please do add your thoughts in the comment section if you have further ideas for those new to caning. Many thanks!


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