Spring as a Work in Progress

Bischoff wall art 2018 430x303 - Spring as a Work in ProgressSpring has sprung, and we are seeing all kinds of colorful, foliage-focused artwork as well. Bonnie Bishoff just completed this wall piece called Murmuration. We see leaves moving like water in a series of flowing, organized lines. Behind it, the more conventional colors of water swirl and rush in opposing directions to further energize the composition.

This is just another example of Bonnie’s penchant for movement. It’s why she made the cover of our movement-themed issue in the summer of 2016. Get a copy to check out her gallery page and short biography as well as to take in all the articles about adding movement to one’s designs if this is of interest to you.

I look forward to seeing what she will do with the framing and hanging of this piece. But for right now we’re just privileged to get this sneak peak. You can follow Bonnie on Instagram and the work she does with her partner, J.M. Syron,  on their website.

A Bead Cubed

sshriver cubed - A Bead CubedHow about just a little bead beauty from the consistently wonderful Sarah Shriver today while I amble down the road?

Six canes constructed into a cube that is both turned on its side and has had its corner’s tweaked makes for a beautiful simple bead design. Just those two changes to the upright and steady cube has created movement due to its relative instability, facing the world with but one point down, and direction since the slight sweep of the sides slides our eye out to the point of the cube corners and beyond. And let’s not forget the lovely lines of the canes themselves that add to both the movement and directing of the viewers eyes beyond the constrains of the cube.

Apparently, Sarah will be teaching this Celtic cane on the Alaska Polymer Clay Cruise, the “Clayditarod” coming up next month. I was not able to discern if spaces are left for what is certain to be an amazing polymer adventure but you can check out the details and query as needed on the cruise website here. And for more splendid Sarah Shriver work, jump over to her website here.


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Translucent Play, in 3 parts. Pt.2

melanie-west-trans-cane-pinOk … back to our regularly scheduled program here. Here is a touch more on translucents this week since I started last Monday with a  piece that was stated to be “in 3 parts” but got sidetracked the rest of the week. It’s rather hard to not complete the promised trio so here you are.

Here is a most magnificent brooch using translucents to create a visual illusion that will trip you out  almost as much as the post-election mayhem. It looks absolutely three-dimensional but also, compounded by the organic placement and directional lean of the cane’s illusion, you could swear these open pod forms are alive. This piece so wonderfully illustrates the illusory possibilities of translucent clays.

The brooch comes from the genius of Melanie West who has been playing around with familiar themes and applications but with some fantastically unexpected results. I know this will get some of your imaginations just reeling but for even more fun and mind bending beauties, take a look at Melanie’s website and her latest creations posted recently on her Facebook page.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Use directional line to create a very intentional sense of movement. Create texture or line up motifs or forms to show strong direction in whatever interests you. If you like orderly, create orderly designs but try it in different orientations to see how it feels. If you want more organic or chaotic movement, be more random. If you want soothing, try flowing line.


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Halloween Calls for Fun

rich-webberI love Halloween. So much of it is about imagination and creativity in how we celebrate it. I also like that there is a day we recognize what scares us and face the darker things in life because the shadows in our world are what makes us see the bright times for the blessings that they are. And Halloween is just so darn fun!

So is this guy: Rich Webber. I need to thank Anke Humpert for bringing his work to my attention. I am not sure most or any of his work is created in polymer clay but it really doesn’t matter. It’s the artist’s imagination and humor that makes the colorful clay come alive. Enjoy this collection of his playful and sometimes morbid creatures but do jump over to his Instagram page or watch some Shaun the Sheep TV shows or the movies to see his directorial work or DC’s Worlds Funnest episodes for which he was the creator.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Go enjoy the holiday. Do something fun and silly and enjoy your child side!


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Summer is Here! (The 2016 issue) and a Closer Look at Georg

GeorgeDinkel TV ShrineHurrah! The Summer 2016 issue went out on Saturday, so if you were waiting on a digital edition, check your inbox (or spam folder if it’s not there). We started mailing the print edition out on Thursday and the last of those (for subscribers with active accounts and pre-orders prior to Friday) will get packed and off today. We’ll do another mailing for recent orders in a couple of days, so if you haven’t subscribed, renewed, or ordered your copy, you’ll want to be sure to have this for your summer reading and plane rides to vacation destinations. Not to mention in the studio!

Because there is a lot going on in this issue, this week and maybe next we’ll be highlighting art that we just couldn’t fit in. The first article in the Summer 2016 Movement issue is an interview with the amazing Georg Dinkel. Of course, all his work involves movement, even this TV shrine that looks like a beautifully ornate shrine in classic ecclesiastical styling when closed but opens to reveal a modern Apple TV and what looks like religious portraits until you get a closer look. I had wanted to get these portraits in the article but they just wouldn’t be printable if we made them large enough to show the detail. Because at closer inspection, you see that they aren’t cardinals and priests but rather iconic TV and movie characters dressed up like them. Click on the image below to get a bigger picture and see who you can identify.

For more images and information on this and Georg’s many other intensely detailed pieces, visit his website and read the article which gives so much insight into why he creates these, how he creates and constructs them, and the interesting story about how he moved from wood to polymer in his work. Get your copy of the issue at www.thepolymerarts.com.

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Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Draw inspiration from your sources of entertainment. What TV shows, movies, books, or music are you drawn to? Choose one and create or design a piece that relates to it somehow. It can embody a concept from the source or could be worn by a character in a show or may just have colors and forms inspired by the emotions it brings up in you.


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Chasing Organic

Whispers-of-Eve_bkThe second artist in the Polymer Journey book’s recognition for the best polymer art of 2014-2015 is Jeffrey Lloyd Dever. Who doesn’t like his colors, soft lines and seemingly flawless finish? His organic forms feel alive, mostly due to the graduation of color and their reaching and opening forms.

I cruised around on his site before writing this up and found that he has a class coming up in Maryland in May. This piece here is one of the ones shown as examples of the type of techniques being taught. The class is called “Botanical Wonders—Miniature Polymer Hollowware for Jewelry” and is for intermediate to advanced students of polymer. It is a technique class not a project class so the focus will be on building skills not creating a particular project … my favorite! This kind of class leaves plenty of room for your own exploration and expression.

How amazing would a class with Jeff would be! I pondered going myself but this is already one crazy year on the travel schedule. If you are fortunate enough to find time in your schedule and can scrape up the pennies to get there, I would highly recommend it. Jump over to this page on his website to get the information and see if slots are still available for you. But just go look at his beautiful site on your next break. Or now. Now is always good.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create a piece focused on graduated colors and/or reaching or opening forms. Do not emulate Jeff’s work but rather look at what you have been creating recently and find where graduated color or more active forms could add life and expression.


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A Bit of a Faux Mix

Sonya GirodonI’ve had mixed media on my mind a lot lately, so my more recent perusals online and within my collection of links have included quite a bit of polymer work integrating other mediums. Using other mediums with polymer or integrating polymer into work primarily of other mediums rather helps the work transcend its narrow category based on the material used, and it helps us as artists stretch our skill and creativity.

If you haven’t done a lot of exploring in mixed media but would like to ‘dip a toe it’, one of the easiest ways is to create connections and jewelry hanging elements with wire, metal or fiber. I have been admiring Sonya Girodon’s interesting polymer and metal pieces the last several months as she has rolled out her new work. This is really only metal and polymer. That wood you see is faux, and some gorgeously done faux wood at that! She uses ball headed rivets to hold it together (see our article in the Summer 2015 issue on how to created riveted polymer jewelry pieces), and then repeats that subtle accent with ball ended wire that comes bounding out of the polymer constructions. The ball motif is echoed in the repeated circles in the textured polymer. It’s quite a beautiful mix of materials, or what looks like a mix of several materials with a joyous little bounce from all the repeated round accents.

The metal work done here is not so very difficult and would require just a few tools you likely already have. Books on simple metal construction jewelry, mixed media and local classes on metalsmithing jewelry can get you a start down that road if you find yourself intrigued.

You can see more of Sonya’s fabulous faux wood and mixed media pieces on her Flickr photostream.


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Clusters of Curiosity

Jan Geisen blue shimmerMonochrome pieces can be difficult to create energy in, simply because one of our easiest and most common elements of visual energy is color and contrast or change in color that creates truly, lively energy. The next most effective element is line. But, here is a piece by Jan Geisen that has a quiet but persistent energy without either of those elements.

It primarily comes from the texture and the use of light in the shimmery clusters that pop out of the rough and crackle surface. And the brilliance of that blue doesn’t hurt at all. I think there is also something to the fact that nothing is well outlined; that you keep wanting to look to see it clearer. The clusters of sparkle suggest something like buried nuggets of precious metal rather than recreating something solid to look at. Normally that lack of definition could too readily detract from the beauty of a piece, but here, it adds a little mystery and piques our curiosity, does it not? Or maybe it’s just me.

If you like this kind of texture, you have to take a look at what Jan has been up to lately. You can find her most recent work on her Flickr photostream and even get yourself a piece from her available collection on Etsy.


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Outside Inspiration: Ruffled Organics in Felt

rudmanart felted scarfWhen talking ruffles, most likely fabric comes to mind first as a source for outside inspiration, but do you think of felt as a particularly ruffled fiber? Instead of flouncy and fluffy, felted ruffles offer substance and a more solid and open canvas for dramatic textures and colors.

This scarf shows some of the potential of using felt to create undulating edges. Felt has been making a bit of a come back in the fashion world and felt crafters are coming out big and bold with it. I thought this work by Irena Rudman would intrigue polymer artists as the composition of the work looked immediately to me like wonderful inspiration for leaf-shaped beads or the facing ends of a curious cuff bracelet.

There is something kind of Melanie West about this scarf. I can also see a thin polymer component with a center of slices taken from stacked circular extrusion canes or mokume surrounded by ruffled Skinner blends or mica dusted polymer. It got my wheels turning. Is it intriguing you?

Irena is really big on the ruffles in her work, which you can see in her Etsy shop. If you are just dying of curiosity as to how she accomplished this or simply have a budding interest in felting (which can and has often been combined with polymer pieces), Irena has a number of tutorials for scarves and collars in her shop, as well.


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