The Shape of Owls

Meadow and fawn painted owls 430x370 - The Shape of OwlsI’ll wrap up this week with some adorable creatures that will just pull at your heartstrings.

Alexis is the creative soul behind Meadow and Fawn, crafting in an unspecified clay and painting the most endearing little details in her jewelry, sculpture and shadow boxes. I found the painting on these owls intriguing because it’s not just feathers and texture, there are little scenes on them or other animals. Does the artist feel that the owls embody the wisdom of all types of nature and that is why she is inclined to paint natural scenes on them? Or are their cute little bodies simply a convenient canvas?

For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know I am very big on intention and the relationship between the elements in a piece. Logically, I am not finding an obvious relationship between the owl shapes and the fox, deer and butterflies on them, but somehow it still works and how readily they sell is a testament to how strongly they must speak to people as they are so quickly snatched up. That’s what is intriguing to me. Is it that they are natural images on a natural shape alongside her soft and gentle style of sculpting and painting?

Logic does not always provide the answers, especially when it comes to the heart and art. I think we can just simply look and enjoy and snatch up our own if so driven. You can follow Alexis on Instagram or find out more about her and peruse her shop on her website.


The Many Faces of Leaves

wmoore red leaves 430x410 - The Many Faces of LeavesPattern in nature is everywhere and not just on the surface but in the groupings as well. I know for certain that Wendy Moore, the creator of this lovely riot of red leaves, is heavily influenced by the patterns and energy in nature. You can hear it in the things she writes on her blog and her focus on repetition of natural shapes in her work which you can find on her Instagram account.

This piece was actually a commission but from one of the people most certainly to be a heavy influence on her as well–her mother. I’m thinking now that perhaps this connection to nature is also one her mother has and maybe she influenced Wendy’s appreciation of the natural world. Or maybe it’s Wendy’s life in Australia and her time in the outback or her years in Nepal and her continued visits there to support the Samunnat women‘s project.

I only ponder this because how much we interact with nature and how connected to it we are has been on my mind lately. I am so immensely lucky to have a wide swath of nature right outside my office and studio here. I have tried to make a point of spending time out there every day. Recent trending reports on “forest bathing” and how short immersive excursions among trees can really help reduce stress has led me to consider how important such moments of connection and relaxation are to creativity.  The more I get outside, the more inspired I feel.

So, weather permitting, try to get outside this weekend. If weather is not being cooperative, perhaps there is a greenhouse or enclosed botanical garden not too far away. Or spend some time tending yohouseplantsnts. Notice the textures and patterns in nature, breathe in the smell of the growing things and just connect to the most constant thing we have interacted with in our history as a species–mother nature. I think you’ll find it invigorating, relaxing and inspiring!

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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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - A Spooky Peek    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


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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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Snakes in the Shadows    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


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


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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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - The Proliferation Effect    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


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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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Forest in a Bowl    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


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.




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

tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Growing More than Plants    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


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