Biting Floral

warm Rain Art Ali 430x444 - Biting FloralI told you we will be doing a bit more floral but I bet you didn’t expect to have teeth. However, this floral piece does and yet it’s quite feminine and beautiful.

We can thank Ali of Warm Rain Art on Etsy for giving us this enchanting but slightly uncomfortable view of a floral necklace. The success of this piece is in large part because of the contrast between the light and calm pinks and lavender, and the very sharp teeth set dead center in them. It would still be a pretty piece if there was something else as the focal point, but I don’t think anything else would get quite the looks, comments, and double takes that those teeth will bring. You could take it as a reminder that nature has teeth, or that even the sweetest young lady can hold her own when needed. Or, probably more to the point, that beauty and danger are not mutually exclusive.

Floral work is not actually what Ali primarily creates. Animals, both realistic and fantastic, dominate her shop. Peek in on her very detailed and realistic looking work on Etsy and find her latest art on Instagram.

A Moment for the Flowers

Anna nel nested flowers v2 430x485 - A Moment for the FlowersSpring is finally here in full force in Southern California. My daffodils have already bloomed and gone for some reason but suddenly everything else is jumping out and it is really hard to stay in the office when just outside my window so much is going on. So I will bring some of the flowers indoors this week by checking out some flower pieces here!

I came by this lovely set of nested trumpet-like flowers by Anna Nel on Instagram the other day and just had to stop and admire. I think it’s really the colors that make this image. I first thought this was a complete necklace and then realized it is two separate ones. My vote, however, is it that these be worn together. Green and purple are always a lovely combination and yellow and purple are opposites on the color wheel so collectively the three bright colors make a very vibrant and eye-catching color palette.

I couldn’t find much about Anna but you can go over to her Instagram account to see what she’s been up to. She looks to be in a rather exploratory phase of her polymer journey but definitely heading in an interesting direction.

Polymer Faces

Valeria Belova Gamayun 430x604 - Polymer FacesDid you know that faces will always be the most prominent element in any work of art? Yes, our eye will always go to the face or faces in any artwork, photograph, or space that we walk into. It is ingrained in us to look at the faces of people or creatures that we see before us. Survival dictated that we look at and read those faces to assess potential danger or to otherwise understand, as best we can, their purpose for being present. So if you have a face in your work, it is going to be a focal point.

This also makes the use of faces rather dramatic so if you choose to put a face in your work, just keep in mind that it will have a very strong draw for your art and will diminish the importance of everything else that goes with it.

This lovely, intricately decorated necklace is one such example. It generally takes a while for the eye to be drawn away from the face and move around the rest of the piece. Initially, you take in everything else but the face all at once. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t have all kinds of complex and busy work around the face while the face acts as a resting point. That is what Valeria Belova has done here.  The Labradorite and colorfully metallic feathers do their best to compete but the eye is always drawn back to the face.

This is actually one of her less detailed pieces but you rarely see a three-quarter view of the face in jewelry so I just had to share it. Not being straight on makes it a less dramatic presentation of a face, pushing us to think more about the possible story behind it. I don’t know that this is polymer because she talks about the technique more than the material, but it absolutely could be. If you like this, you should take a look at the rest of her work and her LiveMaster shop, where faces from all positions are intricately set in jewelry pieces.



New and Shiny

BBaker bluing 1 430x415 - New and ShinyThank you to all you readers who cleared out our damaged stock this past week. We sold out of nearly everything in the first 24 hours but there are a few books left for $10 each and the regular back issue sale of 35% off the cover price is still going on in my Etsy shop through tomorrow, April 3rd. Jump on over to get a great deal on our print edition back issues and book.

In looking around at what people have been creating recently, I’ve noticed a lot of shiny, new work. This piece by Betsy Baker, although recognizable in her grungy but still elegant surface texture, has some added bling not commonly seen in her work.

The luscious variegated green texture is in heavy contrast to the shiny green gems but the consistency of the green color palette inevitably brings it all together. The simple circular form and symmetrical layout of the gems do much to bring calm and serenity to the highly textured composition.

If you’re not familiar with Betsy’s work, you can see many of her lovely pieces on her website and on her Instagram page.


A Spring Shift

svetlana Parenkova 430x416 - A Spring ShiftThe colors of spring bring a refreshing dash of brightness to the end of winter with its leafless trees and stark landscapes. Svetlana Parenkova embedded the new season’s brilliant palette into her clay with mica shift and an enamel-like technique that looks to be mokume to create these eye-catching elements.

Note how the black outline around the metallic clay makes the bright background colors just pop around it.  The black adds a more severe contrast between the colors so they appear brighter than they would if the metallic and the colored background met without that dark buffer.

Svetlana works primarily in textures and metallics with a sophisticated, classic and old world style.  Find more of her work on Instagram, Facebook and in her LiveMaster shop.


An Orderly Spring

Mervat Radwan 430x410 - An Orderly SpringFirst … we are doing a bit of Spring cleaning ourselves this week with our big Annual Damage Sale. Our stack of imperfect, slightly dinged up, but perfectly read-able issues and books are available on Etsy as of today. Just $4 for imperfect magazines and $10 for imperfect copies of Polymer Journeys! And we took off up to 35% on our other back issues (discount good through April 3rd). We do this only through my Etsy shop–it’s a first come kind of thing, so hurry. Half of the imperfect issues will sell out today if tradition holds.

Part of spring cleaning is spring organizing, right? Well, maybe this piece will inspire your organized side. Mervat Radwan put some of her organizational talents into this well-arranged pattern of brilliant color and tantalizing texture a few years back but I only recently spied it on Instagram. The simple shortened bib style of the necklace allows us to focus on the intricate patterning and color but as a clayer, you can’t help but admire the carefully consistent and skilled placement.

I imagine she laid out this pattern before starting—how else do you get such even lines and spacing? My recent exploration of techniques for tiny bits of clay has made me come to appreciate this type of work even more than I did before. You can read about my adventures and learn a number of techniques, like you see in Mervat’s work, in our latest magazine, the Spring 2018 – Big and Small issue, which you can get on our website here:

I was not able to dig up a lot of information about Mervat, quite likely because I can’t search her Arabic text online. The image came to me through the Polymer Clay Tribe Instagram account. I also found this Google plus page and this YouTube video in which Mervat is interviewed on TV, but if anyone has more information I will add it to the posts. Just write in the comments or reply to the blog email if you get that.


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.


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