Organic Waves

kathy mccurry 430x620 - Organic WavesWith all the hot weather we’ve been having lately, I’ve been staying in my cool home a lot more than usual. Missing my time wandering around the property looking at all the cool and unusual plants, I found myself drawn to our organic brethren in polymer as I rummaged through images online and gathered a bouquet of curious and cool pieces that should pique the interest of many a nature lover.

Here we have quite a fantastical interpretation of nature’s forms, colors, and textures. The waves atop the petals would certainly make one want to reach out and run fingers across it, then down through the hanging strings as well. The combination of the old standard primaries is an interesting color palette choice. It gives it a carnival feel. That and the directional lines from the wavy texture and the yellow strings makes this feels like it is on the edge of some riotous dancing.

This is just one of several recent works by Kathy McCurry where she creates her own version of flowers. This looks to be the most ambitious piece so far, taking 40 hours and 8 curing sessions in the oven. As hard as these kinds of pieces can be to create, I think it’s just wonderful when an artist takes a risk, investing so much time in one piece. But what a reward we have in store for us when we spend a lot of time on one piece and have something so wonderful to show for it at the end.

You can see images of her recent work on Kathy’s Facebook page and on her website.

 

 

 

 

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Fragility and Strength

saitok-frost-neckpiece-2006Although New Year’s Eve allows for all kinds of bling and shimmer to be pulled out and showed off, sometimes the most impressive statement is understatement. That’s what I think this strong but delicate piece from jewelry designer Kayo Saito is about.

I imagine this necklace it is quite large so it will show off  size wise for certain, but I think the organic shapes in semi-translucent fabrics draw the eye for its juxtaposition in the fragile look of the forms within their strong directional orientation and dense composition. Both the fragility and strength are unwavering which makes it quite a sophisticated and intriguing piece.

I know … I just posted two items in a row this week that weren’t actually polymer. But in both cases, they could easily have been polymer with the same impact. It doesn’t matter what material a piece is made from, only that it is done well and that it inspires. Right? Art is inclusive, not exclusive. Just go take a look at Kayo’s website to see more inspiring, strong and sometimes frail looking work in fabrics and metal.

I also picked this piece because I think its characteristics represents how many of us feel as we head into 2017. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. We don’t know what our leaders are going to do and we don’t know how the conflicts across the world will play out in the coming months or what it will mean for us. This has left many people feeling frail and exposed. But the issues that have arisen have also given many, many people a new sense of direction as well as a swelling sense of responsibility and need to speak out and be heard. We may feel vulnerable, we may even appear frail, but I think a lot of people today are actually strong and resilient. We have already been through some seriously trying times this past decade and we have, for the most part, bounced back. I think recent experiences show that whatever comes this new year, we can meet it with strength, ingenuity, and compassion. A bit more creativity and beauty in the world won’t hurt either.

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Bright Organic

Jenna WrightThank you to everyone who took part in the Reader’s Wish List Survey. We had 389 people respond, so it’s been taking me some time to get through all your ideas and questions and then compile them, but we’re working on it! I will directly answer some questions and note some of the comments in our next newsletter, so if you don’t get it already, hop on over to the website and fill in the two line form to get that email of news, cool polymer tips and community information sent to you twice a month. www.thepolymerarts.com.

The winners were chosen by a random number generator (your number coming from where you landed on the spreadsheet that your survey responses go to.) The lucky ducks who will be receiving Goodie Boxes this time around are Lorna Slack and Beth Schwartz! Congratulations!

In the meantime, we have fielded so many complements on the Fall cover. Ronna’s necklace is stunning, and that whole organic disks and seed pod theme seems to always turn heads. I thought I’d look for more pieces like that, but something a bit different. I think I found it!

The organic forms are so often created in nature’s muted or darker tones, but I have to say, this shot in the arm of brilliant color works wonderfully with them too. The saturated color and stylized shapes create a fun and joyful version of this kind of necklace. Jenna Wright uses tools she bought from Celie Fago to carve the marks into cured clay. She calls this “Inked Necklace ii” from her Electric series. I am trying to figure out the inked thing—dyeing the carved out spots perhaps? Regardless, it’s a beautiful piece of warm brights and brilliant white that brings organic up to a very cheery level.

If you want more brilliant color and fun ways with organic shapes, jump on over to Jenna’s Flickr page, Boxes of Groxes (what a fun name!) for a bright and cheery break in your day.

 

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Rustic Cups

2014_0814ALLast week, I asked readers to send in images of work they felt should be featured and shared on the blog. That’s what we’re doing this week.

The very first person to chime in was Sue Hammer who sent me a link to Rebekah Payne’s website. I’ve actually had a couple of Rebekah’s images in my files, and it was fun to see that Sue had the same type of wildflower impressed ‘inside out’ beads, as Rebekah calls them, suggested for the blog.

These beads get their texture from tiny wildflowers molds. I am not certain how she developed the hollow cup with the texture on the inside, but I sure am curious. An outside mold and an inside mold used at the same time to impress the clay? That’s one idea.

No matter how it’s done, it’s wonderful to see such rustic and organic texture in a complex, but also very organic, looking shape. It feels completely natural that this texture should appear on such a form. This is true of much of the work Rebekah does. You can see this on her blog and in her Etsy shop.

I’m still taking suggestions for this week’s posts and maybe, next week’s as well. If you have a piece you’ve seen that you think we really need to share, it’s reader’s choice! Send links or images directly to me at sbray@thepolymerarts.com.

 

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Bubbles, Dots and Cupped Flowers

After a week of studying dense and mostly random repetition of elements, I thought some of you might be looking for some ideas to play with using this design concept, so today I brought you a few ideas.

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Ponsawan Sila has an easy mokume gane tutorial using bubble-like elements to create a dense surface texture. She flattens hers, but I was thinking, just keep the raised spots, and maybe create a denser bubble pattern then indent the middle of each bubble for additional dimension. I think that would look interesting.

http://polymerclaybeads.blogspot.fr/2007/02/blog-post.html

 

 

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If you want just some simple, fun repetition that could get you in the zen mode dot after dot, try this tutorial from Marina, known as Paper World Mary on Blogspot.

http://bond-mary.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post.html

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If you were admiring some of the cupped shapes and flowers we saw, how about this cupped flower tutorial by Olga Fufygin.

(Click on the image for a larger view. There seems to be a problem with the image coming up on the blog page it’s from.)

 

Here’s to hoping you get some time for clay play! Have a great weekend.

 

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Crowded Elegance

tubeNecklace1I knew it was not likely that I would get through a week about repetition and crowded aesthetics without bringing in Cynthia Toops. I tried, but of all the artists I can think of, no one really beats her degree of repetitious elements that is a portrayal  of beauty rather than something that tips into chaos or excess.

This tube necklace really drives home the idea that no matter how machined and perfect the elements, the crowded disorder of their assemblage is going to read as organic. Every element here was created with a precision tool or skill set, from the extruded tubes to the carefully chosen gradation of colors, and then to the elegant high-sided bezels the polymer tubes are packed into. It is easy to sense the care in the craftsmanship, but the precision may be hidden. You see this and still think of bunches of flowers, a meadow dense with wildflowers or the flowering of yarrow plants and the like, don’t you? It’s that very slight variation in color and height of each standing tube that sways our thoughts to the natural settings. A simple idea, but the results are complex, rich and rather intense in a quiet, elegant way.

From their amassed tubes to dense string of pods, and on to micro mosaics, Cynthia and her collaborator, Dan Adams, really crowd it in and continue to awe and delight us along the way. If you’ve never visited their website, take a a little trip through some of these beautifully packed spaces. 

 

 

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The Attraction of Many

helen p on EtsyThere has been an aesthetic concept I have been thinking about ever since I posted Dorothy Siemen’s wall piece, Colony two weeks agoWhy is it that we find beauty, comfort or some kind of attraction to items that have repeated and crowded patterns? They make wonderful, energy-filled compositions, and they are filled with texture and richness by the way they thoroughly fill the space. Let’s contemplate this thoroughness as we enjoy some gorgeous art this week.

This piece, by Greece’s Helen P. of Eleins Kingdom on Etsy, is pretty typical of the look I am talking about. Such an approach can carry a piece with little or no color. It does not need any particular order or structure, and there is no pattern or set of lines to follow. Just the same kind of shapes repeated over and over. Why do we like this?

My initial theory is that it harkens back to very common natural formations like lichen, fungus, barnacles, etc. We recognize something organic and inherently beautiful in the abundance and growth of such formations. Or do we?

Let’s start this week by you telling me what you think. Do you find you have an especially strong attraction to this kind of artwork and/or this kind of thing in the natural world and maybe that is why we are attracted to it? Or do you have another theory? Put your thoughts in the comments at the end of the blog post (if you are getting this by email, click on the header of this post to get to the post page), and I’ll aim to use those thoughts to steer the discussion this week.

See more of this crowded, repeated type of work in Helen’s Etsy shop. This type of approach is her primary thing, so you’ll have a chance to ponder it in quite a few more iterations.

 

 

 

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Organic texture, Graphic Form

Black and white is rather a standard when it comes to creating a graphic look. One can assume that was the basic idea behind Debbie Carlton’s little pieces here. I assume they are earrings–created using mokume in black and white, and what looks to be a little red underneath but then this crackling of gold and the imprecision of the square shapes bring a more organic feel to the pieces. The contrasting textures within the colors and the negative space and scale add energy to the small surface area she has to work with here.

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Debbie enjoys combining precious metal clay with colorful polymer in her pieces. She has been exploring the compatibility of these two mediums as seen in her work on her Craft Central and Flickr pages.

 

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