Bevy of Blues

bevy of blue Helen Backhouse 430x416 - Bevy of BluesIn my search for popular blues, this person’s work that you see here kept popping up, only it seemed to be attached to different people all the time. As it turns out, this is an artist that sticks with making amazing beads and elements that bead artisans can then assemble rather than creating a lot of finished work herself.

Helen Backhouse is her name and her beads and elements can be found scattered throughout Etsy and on various Facebook pages. Her pieces look to be impressed clay colored primarily with mica powders and, I’d guess, some kind of patina and weathered effect techniques, perhaps dyes or paints. Her blues are straight from the back yard, reflecting the brilliant blues found in a butterfly’s or bird’s wing as well as the dusty teals and blues leaning into greens that appear in natural metal patinas. The shapes are simple, the textures organic, and the coloring coolly dramatic. That makes for really eye-catching elements.

The best place to check out her pieces is on her Facebook page where the designers that use her pieces tag her in their photos alongside the stuff she does post.

 

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Explore your favorite color. Spend just a couple of minutes writing down what you like about this color, what it reminds you of, and where you notice it most often. Look back at what you wrote and see what kind of work, forms, textures or other ideas these thoughts bring up and let those guide you in the creation of new pieces.

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Looking Back for Inspiration

A quick note on the Polymer Journey 2016 book … we’ve been able to extend the introductory sale through Friday, so if you haven’t reserved your copy or were waiting for payday, this is your chance!  Go to the website today before the price goes up this weekend.

TLilin deco butterflieshere are timeless techniques as well as timeless art. This easy but impressive looking technique, painting with mica powders on molded clay, was posted by Lilin in 2008. This particular construction harkens back to the art deco style with the enameled look of the butterfly wings against the stylized faces. It gives them an antique air. Lilin credits Donna Kato as her inspiration although she doesn’t say if that was from a book or class. But she gives her own brief instructions and tips, enough for you to get some ideas and run with a new design of your own.

The instructions for these are on this blog post. Lilin hasn’t posted since 2009 and I couldn’t find any reference to her moving her work to somewhere else. I am always curious how an artist progresses. It’s both encouraging and fascinating to see people improve their skills and to see what directions they chose. So I am curious. If anyone knows what Lilin is up to now, let me know and I’ll post an update here.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Find a new way to apply an old technique. Look through your older project books, back issues of magazines, or your favorite tutorial sites and find something you haven’t done in a while or never tried and use it with your present forms and color palettes. What do you do differently today that you didn’t when the tutorial was published or when you first used it? It’s interesting to see how your approach has shifted.

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Inspiration Coming Down the Line

We work in a very considerate community. There is much credit given to the artists who inspire us, and on Flickr and various blogs, clayers eagerly list the artists whose techniques they are practicing or who they drew their approach from.

This pendant, by Zuzana (Verundela on Flickr) of the Czech Republic, looks to be a combination of influences as well as materials. I would not call the liberal use of mica powders, embedding watch gears and wire into clay, and topping off a piece with resin unusual, but these approaches all came from somewhere else. Or at least they do not often come to us in a moment of pure, uninfluenced flash of genius. Even when we are not aware of it, other artists bring their influence to us by creative osmosis.

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Here, however, we get a glimpse of the influential creative trail. Zuzana gives credit for this piece to Sabine Spiesser of Australia for the rather celestial looking faux enamel and wire work. But if you wander off into Sabine’s Flickr pages (papagodesigns), you’ll find she credits her faux cloisonne work to Eugena Topina of Maryland here in the US. Eugena’s wire bordered faux cloisonne enamel was one of the first tutorials I ever attempted to follow back in the days when I was expanding myself beyond the basics. The technique has been around for a while, but credit is still being considerately passed on. I also really like how global this influence can be … bouncing across the globe from the US to Australia to Eastern Europe. That is the wonderful thing about being an international community and a community very big on sharing and helping each other grow.

 

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