Variation on Time

pieces clock 430x823 - Variation on TimeI spent a lot of time looking for differently constructed clocks in polymer and couldn’t find much that really illustrated the point I was hoping to make. What I wanted was to show that a clock does not have to be on a flat surface. It can be made of many parts, attached or not, and fully dimensional. As long as you have something that can house or hide the clock mechanism while holding out the hands, the rest is wide open. You can have the hour markers designated by any form and attach them with sticks or wire or be free floating–whatever suits the piece and your inclination.

These two examples are commercial designs rather than polymer art but I think they give you the basics of this idea of moving beyond the flat clock face. Not only do these kinds of clocks make for really interesting wall pieces, they give you the freedom to use pieces you may already have such as large hollow beads, faux stones, unhung pendants, small figurines, flowers, etc.

As a gift, giving a clock that has separate pieces might be best attached to something that can be hung as one piece, like a backing of Plexiglas or painted plywood. Or include instructions for a template to mark on the wall where each piece goes. There is little to no construction to deal with but you will have to make concessions in the design for how the individual pieces will be hung. Alternately, go for a design where the elements are attached like the flowers you see here.

The sky is the limit with these kinds of designs. For more ideas, try searching “DIY clocks,” which was the keyword set that brought me to these two pieces. I hope these sparks some ideas and I look forward to seeing inventive clock designs this month!

A Spooky Peek

forbidden forest kael mijoy 430x426 - A Spooky PeekBeing that tomorrow is Halloween, I could not help but get in one last spooky bit of polymer creativity. The thing that makes something truly scary is the stuff you can’t see, or so I have always felt. The bogeyman under the bed, the creature in the closet, the shape of some beast in the bushes … just the hint that something is there allows our imagination to run wild. And in the dark and the shadows, our imagination comes up with some pretty scary stuff!

So, seeing the pair of eyes staring out from the forest in this polymer illustration by , what are you thinking is in there? You know I was thinking those eyes need to be glow in the dark and then I would so want this to be a light switch plate because how freaky would that be in a shadowy room to have to reach into that to get the light on and banish the very fears it invokes? Can you hear your inner voice saying, “Don’t do it! You’ve seen this seen in the movies and someone always loses a hand!”

Okay … enough with trying to spook you all. Especially since I think I am very much spooking myself in the process. But isn’t it neat how our imaginations can add so much to what we look at? And isn’t it great that polymer clay allows us to create any such thing our imagination comes up with?

For those of you who celebrate this holiday in which we face and often embrace our fears, have a very safe and happy Halloween.

 

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Snakes in the Shadows

ellenjewett snake 430x509 - Snakes in the Shadows‘Tis the time to think creepy and ghoulish … if you’re into that kind of thing. And, yep, I am! I love Halloween, in large part because it is that one time of year the majority of our society looks at the darker side of life and has an appreciation for it, even embracing the scary and dark. I have always believed that you can find as much beauty in the dark and frightening things as you can in the sunshine. Mind you, I do love my sunshine, but I am very much drawn to the beauty of the night. So let’s greet the season with some dark beauty to set the mood.

And if anyone can pull off not just dark and beautiful but also elegant and enthralling, it would be the likes of Ellen Jewett. Her work, created in a variety of craft clays and hand painted, spins and swirls and teems with life but not just the life of the animal that the sculpture is centered on. Many of her sculptures also include other smaller signs of life, from insects to birds to flora that seem to be as alive as the creatures themselves. Her coloring fades from one shade to another, often giving the illusion of shadow and thus a bit of mystery.

The snake of this piece is accompanied by crows and wreathed in a vine of that hovers between death and life, black in places and blooming tiny white flowers in others. You can see by her detail shot on her website that photos are just not going to do it justice. There are shimmering greens and blues with dashes of copper among them as well as silvery and maroon scales along its length. And I’m just gleaning that from the photos. I can only imagine how intriguing this is in person.

Looking through Ellen’s galleries is always a treat. Treat yourself to a bit of that today by heading over to her website. 

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Riotous Floral

zafrika flower bracelet 430x358 - Riotous FloralA meadow full of spring blooms or a wall adorned with thousands of roses becomes a thing of beauty, quite beyond what any one flower could create. Using many small flowers tightly set on a piece of jewelry also moves it beyond just being flowers. The texture and variation in the surface creates energy even among the tranquility so often associated with flowers.

Irina Dzhalilova who watermarks her photos with the online name Zafirka favors this effect in almost all her work. Working in variations on a floral theme, she creates very romantic yet energized pieces. It is the small but crowded compositions that allow for this. I chose this piece as an example because the colors are subdued and not commonly associated with flowers so you can see, even without the colorful presentation we usually see in florals, the gathering of so many small petals creates an inviting and relatively riotous texture.

If you are up for more riotous floral, you can find Irina all over the web from  Twitter to Facebook to Vkontakte but you can also simply start on her website and follow links from there.

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The Proliferation Effect

Hee ang kim proliferation 430x496 - The Proliferation EffectThe thing about many items being packed into a limited space is that you stop seeing those individual items and see them as one thing with a texture, and energy that does not exist in the separate parts. You see it in the crowded stands at a game, a bowl of snacks or even in your drawers full of clay. It is a kind of gestalt effect. You can use this crowding of objects to create wonderfully energetic and highly textured pieces.

This is a piece I found last week that got me thinking about this as an artistic approach. The necklace is by Hee-ang Kim, a Korean graduate student Kookmin University in Korea at the time of its creation in 2014. It is part of an aptly named series called Proliferation, this being Proliferation XI. The super thin polymer petals are stitched together to create these feather-like beads, which collectively flutter and wave in a very touchable looking texture.

Hee-ang works in a variety of materials including other types of plastics, metal and, it seems, just about anything at hand. Regardless of material, collecting multiples of objects into energetic, intriguing and often strange never-before-seen organic forms dominate Hee-ang’s collections. You can take a look at the many ways this effect can be used with thin bits of polymer on Hee-ang’s Instagram and website.

 

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Forest in a Bowl

heesoo aspen shell bowl 350x346 - Forest in a BowlWhen I saw this delicately shaped aspen forest on such a pale and yet luminescent bowl, I just kind of sighed. Such a balance of light colors and strong forms takes a very intentional and intuitively passionate hand.

I saw this on the Colossal newsletter, which is a little collection of interesting art and artists dropped into my mailbox weekly. At first, I thought this was a shallow shell shape but a closer look shows it to be a bowl and not all that shallow, with the aspen trees growing up from the inside of it. Ceramic artist Heesoo Lee actually creates this complex and delicate look by creating separate leaves and placing them carefully by hand, building a very dimensional and shimmering look for these trees which, in real life, shimmer with the constant flutter of their leaves in even the slightest breeze. It made me a little homesick for Colorado actually. The aspens will be a brilliant gold turning to russet red about now.

Well, i can’t get out to the Rockies right now but we can all enjoy these Rocky Mountain forest-inspired creations by visiting the Montana-based artist’s work online both on Instagram and Etsy. Here is the link to the Colossal article on her as well.

And don’t forget to work out time to come see the Into the Forest installation in Pittsburgh in November. Here is the link again so you can work on those plans to join fellow polymer artists that weekend.

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Growing More than Plants

amy scuplts dragon floral 350x352 - Growing More than PlantsI love the integration of the real world with artistic imagination. Finding this garden dragon hit all my buttons as I have also always been a bit of a dragon-loving nerd. The creator, Emily Coleman, creates all kinds of fantastic creatures made to blend in with natural settings.

Her inspiration for this comes from nature itself, of course, but it is driven by, in her words, “… a very strong passion for the environment and the protection of the world’s forests. As I began showing my tree dragons, I realized they could help me spread this passion.”

I have to agree. Anything that draws people to nature, takes them outdoors, and encourages them to plant in a garden or a pot, helps keep us close to nature and the earth which engenders an appreciation for them and, usually, some level of drive to do right by these things we find ourselves communing with. Putting a little something fantastical in among the plants is a fun and relatively novel way of displaying and celebrating creativity and the substance of human imagination.

Read a bit more about Emily and her inspirations on this Bored Panda article and see her other creations on her Instagram account and her website.

 

 

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Heading Into the Forest

I am heading Into the Forest in November! The huge installation project put together by Laura Tabakman, Julie Eakes and Emily Squires Levine will be a monumental event for the polymer art community and I, for one, can’t imagine missing this. It is being installed into a gallery in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania with a gallery opening and party on November 10th followed by a Saturday forum on related topics. Coming down off the high I got being around so many amazing folks at Synergy in August, I am looking forward to a little creative recharge in November along with getting to see the work of 300+ polymer artists, all in one huge piece of global art.

So first … if you are interested in attending as well, you can jump over to the website and get all the details right here. I would love to see you and meet you there!

Alina deer floral 350x341 - Heading Into the Forest

The anticipation of this event has put me in the mood for forest-inspired work. Of course. So I rooted around the internet and found some amazing stuff to share with you this week. Here you see a very curious and delicately beautiful pendant inspired by both the flora and the fauna of the forest. The artist, Alina Sanina, started working in clay eight years ago as a curious teen but now, with a degree in art education behind her, she continues to sculpt and create a wide range of fantastical but rather realistic pieces.

I found this piece to be an eye-catcher at first glance because of its contrast between a skull, representing death, and the green and floral details of Spring foliage that top it off. But if you examine it for a minute, you’ll notice that the skull is not all a skull. The deer has live-looking eyes and fully fleshed-out ears. The contrast of life and death is within the deer head, not just the skull and vegetation here. It looks to me like a little representation of the cycle of life in a forest setting.

I have long been interested in societal views of life and death and how different cultures and even individuals work out how to handle the fact that these complete opposite states co-exist and are an understood, if not readily accepted, part of the cycle of life. I don’t know if that is what Alina had in mind when creating this but there are definitely metaphors on those subjects that one can discuss in regards to this little piece.

Whether you turn away or are intrigued by such difficult subject matter, I think you will want to see more of the beautiful work Alina creates. You can do so in her Etsy shop and on Instagram.

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Giving Floral a Little Teeth

teeth floral 346x1024 - Giving Floral a Little TeethAlong with hitting up a number of museums, I got to chat with a lot of artist friends, including my crazy circle in Colorado who seek out, as well as create, really wild and fantastical work. And whenever they find polymer related work, they bring it to me.

My old roommate and the instigator of my own polymer journey, Kyle Kelley, introduced me to this unusual artist, Anastasiya Khramina of NooboSlowpokoPanda. The polymer flowers you see here may have beautifully painted petals and lots of natural detail but take just a little closer look and you’ll see they also have teeth! And some crazy but realistically textured tongues. There is even one embellished with a cat’s snout, complete with bared teeth.

These beautifully creepy, ready-for-Halloween creations are made into brooches, pendants and hair clips, per the customer’s request. She actually makes other things besides flowers but they all have teeth and tongues. If you’re getting into the Halloween mood or are looking for some creepy inspiration, jump over to Anastasiya’s NooboSlowpokoPanda Facebook page for short videos on her pieces and process and her Etsy shop for a look at her present offerings.

And don’t forget … tomorrow is the last day to get half off all available print editions of The Polymer Arts and Polymer Journeys. Head to our Etsy shop to pick up any publications you don’t have yet!

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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Giving Floral a Little Teeth    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog

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