Creative Embroidery

magadelna africa 430x356 - Creative EmbroideryOne primary subject I wanted to hit in the Spring issue was fine detailed work done with little bits of clay. I was so excited to get a closer look at what is often referred to as polymer embroidery. I spent time off and on for a couple of weeks experimenting with the different forms and approaches I saw and soon realized we were not going to be able to do justice to this technique. But I did get in an article showing all the little approaches I discovered and have a gallery full of one such artist that gratefully shared her unusual version of it with us.

But there are so, so many talented artists out there doing this kind of work, and with more than just flowers, which is the most common type of imagery found in this type of art, it seems. One of my favorite pieces I discovered in my research is by Magdalena Pavlovic. Not only is this not particularly floral but it is perfectly patterned in an African-inspired color palette and form. The gradation of color from the top makes it look like flames are creeping in over densely filled-in focal sections. It is smartly laid over filigree in a similar form, giving it such cohesiveness that you really don’t think about the fact that these are two very different materials.

See more of Magdalena’s work, both traditional and unusual, on her Flickr photostream. And if you haven’t purchased your copy of the Spring issue or have an active subscription, you can get it on our website.

Creative Composition

bellou denim 430x504 - Creative CompositionAnother great contribution to the Spring issue was in our artists’ gallery. All of our artists are unique in their approach but it is Isabelle, known online as Bellou, whose designs are really standing out.

Isabelle creates bold, contemporary adornments that are polished to a glass-like shine. Her work often has a centered focal point but the balance of the components are set in asymmetric arrangements or are all shaped differently with different treatments. However, in all the disparity there is a common element that brings it together.

This is one of the pieces she sent us that we couldn’t work into the gallery pages. On the one side, there are wide, solid pieces, dense with texture, but on the other side, the space is opened with a series of cut-out shapes that have the same mica shift texture as the other side. The rest of the center piece brings in a grounding energy to the movement of lines and shapes that play across the necklace.

To see more of Bellou’s work, take a look at her shop pages here.

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.


Searing Color

mountain pearls seering color set 430x323 - Searing ColorSaturation is the color characteristic that defines how pure a color is, how far it is from its base hue, with full saturation being a pure hue. Most colors in nature have contrasting colors or black and white mixed in, toning them down. But when the color hasn’t been toned down at all, it can be really striking, or really garish, depending on how the colors are combined.

Here, Natasa Hozjan Kutin has managed to create a palette with full saturation and using very bright colors without any garishness. In fact, it looks quite sophisticated as well as just stunningly beautiful. It’s like a sunny day and the best colors of a sunset, all rolled into one piece.

The Skinner blends help with the harmonious feel because we aren’t cutting quickly from one color to the other but rather we get all the other colors in between in a gradual transition. This is how light works in nature as well so it feels soft and organic instead of jarring.

Graduated color dominates much of Natasa’s work. You can see more of her softly sophisticated pieces on her Flickr photostream and in her Etsy shop.

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!

Versatile Nature

sandrinearevalo pinklily tube 430x417 - Versatile NatureIs this pattern from cobblestones, beehives, bubbles on the surface of sudsy water, or the mash of cells under a microscope? I have no idea, but I do know this kind of pattern is all over the place in nature. I cannot be sure which, if any, of those guesses inspired the surface design of Sandrine Arevalo Zamora’s tube here but what I do know now is that you can take that fun natural pattern and add a great color palette and you have the formula for a piece of adornment that the eye will gravitate towards.

I think I gravitated towards this not just because of the color and pattern but because it is just a tube. And I wondered what she created this for. I was thinking napkin ring (we’ll blame that on a recent visit to Ikea), which, I think, you still could use it for but she is selling this as a versatile scarf and necklace component. It really does make a great scarf piece and is very easily tossed onto a chain or leather thong for an eye-catching necklace. Click the image to get to her Instagram string of images for how she suggests this is used.

I tried translating the French commentary she posted with this and got something about balloons so perhaps she was not inspired by nature but being Google was translating, one just doesn’t know. Nonetheless, if you look, you’ll see this pattern all over. Sandrine plans on teaching this technique in Provence Easter week at the Polymériades event along with Christine Dumont, Karine Barrera, and Mathilde Colas. Check out Sandrine’s Instagram and Facebook page for more of her work.

The Pattern of Nature

Sburroughs branches necklace 430x418 - The Pattern of NatureIt’s been freezing or wet or muddy or blistering hot this last week, depending on where you are in the world, but the crazy weather does not stop us from getting out and seeking inspiration in nature. Well, maybe for a day or so here and there. Nature’s patterns are the most beautiful and amazing visual and tactile textures that will ever be created and regardless of the crazy weather, they seem to be on the mind of many artists lately. So here is a week of pieces translating patterns we find in nature.

This necklace really caught my eye because it is not a version of nature’s beautifully organized or symmetrical patterns we are so often in awe of but rather it’s the chaotic fractal pattern of weather-dependent growth in the form of tree branches. The reaching arms of tree branches are a history of the climate, too complex to decipher but I think we recognize the intentional rhythm of this chaotic order nonetheless.

I can only assume that instinctual recognition was at least, in part, behind Samantha Burroughs‘ choice of pattern here. Because even though the pattern doesn’t repeat, it does look intentional while remaining natural. She does add a bit of her own organization with the consistently angled wider branches, adding a regular beat on top of the beautiful chaos. The variation in the browns also adds variety but within that limited, natural range of color.

Natural patterns are dominant in Samantha’s work as you can see in her Etsy shop. Her pieces are sold under the moniker Jessama which is a mash of her name, her sister Jessica’s and ma for her mom, as the running of the business is a collaboration between all three although Samantha is the artistic powerhouse behind the designs. She offers tutorials, technique advice, and other information through her website Jessama Tutorials.

Petrujitka blue green peek e1509917754926 - Peeking Through Layers

Peeking Through Layers

Petrujitka blue green peek 430x419 - Peeking Through LayersA lot of the peek-a-boo designs you see peer in at just one contrasting surface although there are a few out there who add in a little charm or an additional focal point. But I really like what Czech Republic’s Jitka Petrů did with this opening in her pendant’s surface.

The many overlapping layers look like they are moving back, one depth at a time and seem like we will soon see the inner surface although it stops at just giving us the tiniest of peeks. But that effect really draws your eye in. When you pull back, it even has a bit of an optical motion effect, in part because of the angling of the layers but also because of the very slight change in color value and hue which makes for a gradual transition to the center.

Jitka plays around with this peek into layers in a number of ways as you can see in her shop here.



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

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


A Peek at a Letter

lost letter JessamaDesign 430x421 - A Peek at a Letter

Since we started out this week with a spooky something or other peeking out at us, I thought I’d try to make a theme of it and the idea of peeking into things is always intriguing. Spaces that allow us to look into things beyond is like the revealing of a tiny mystery, a look into a place that we might otherwise be shut off from. When this is part of a design, I think it automatically will draw the eye. Whether you can keep a viewer looking is up to the rest of your design.

The idea of a partly revealed letter that Samantha Burroughs chose for this beautifully textured pendant is certainly alluring. Who doesn’t get a little bit of thrill from the possibility of seeing the inner thoughts of another person? We are also very drawn to text in general as our brain wants to immediately read and decipher it so it was a good choice for the interior content of the holes here. It also creates a contrasting texture to the organic surface of the piece.

Samantha has honed her skills in a variety of established techniques and looks to be fully exploring quite a few of them. You can find her work on Etsy.


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

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


%d bloggers like this: