A Lovely Surprise

katya bo burden pendantsI don’t know what happens online but there have been long spells lately where nothing really jumps out at me as I wander through Pinterest, Flicker, Etsy, Google images, and the many blogs and art sites I keep bookmarked to look for amazing and inspiring work. Maybe it’s just me, but then, all of sudden, pieces are jumping out of the screen to charm me into digging further. This week, I want to share a few that have done that recently but for which I haven’t devised any themes to work them into and I’m just a bit too excited to wait to share them.

These pendants made me stop, not just because they are beautifully designed, but I thought certainly that these were one of the many pieces found on Pinterest that had been mistakenly marked as polymer. Looking into the artist further, I found that Katya Bo does, in fact, make these out of polymer. Only the findings they hang from and the stones embedded in them are not. I’ve done my share of raised thin lines in polymer and they are not at all easy to keep neat and even. It takes a lot of patience and a steady hand. Katya must have those in spades because, according to process photos I found, these are not stamped or cast as they might first appear to be.

Her art deco look sometimes crosses into renaissance and other times takes a whiplash swing into space age styles, but there is always that delicate design reminiscent of enamel using faux granite clay for the base. Her pieces are gorgeously conceived, beautifully detailed, and quietly balanced in design; a combination that seems fairly rare in art jewelry these days.

I spent way more time flipping through her Flickr pages than I had when I first saw her work, then I dug deeper and found her LiveMaster shop as well as her VK.com ‘workroom’ which has the process photos that reveal that, no, those lines are not wires or formed through a more precision method, but are all formed polymer. What a lovely surprise.

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Lining Up Your Own Dots

ukrasheniya-kulony-dvuhstoronnie-quadSo, all this talk of lines and dots has you wanting to try out your own dot-line compositions, right? Well, being the cheerleader that I am, I’ve gone out and found a little something that might get you playing with some of those dots and lines regardless of how enthralled you are with the subject. Just try out this easy and rewarding application technique.

Svetlana Belova generously shares her process for creating these lovely pendants on LiveMaster. The types of patterns you can create this way are endless. It really lets you explore the possibilities without committing to a block of mokume or being limited by a stamp or texture sheet. This kind of work is very meditative and can be a fantastic way to relax or get yourself into a creative zone before working on something else.

Svetlana shares her techniques on her blog and sells her work through her LiveMaster shop where you can see other examples of this and other pretty compositions.

 

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Outside Inspiration: Little Silver Box

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As I was picking out work for this week and looking at inros, box pendants and purses, it crossed my mind that someone needs to make purse necklaces that are functional. I don’t like carrying around a purse (I’m too likely to put it down and forget it!), so wouldn’t it be great if we had something we could just hang around our necks to carry the essentials? Well, that’s probably not practical because we all we carry so much these days, but it did lead me to search for a crossover type piece, which then led me to Terry Kovalcik and these amazing metal clay box pendants. Most of his necklaces are containers of some sort with all different forms and approaches. His passion for this kind of work is evident in these couple lines from his artist statement:

“I’ve become passionate about making boxes that allow me to work on both the inside and outside designs—with the mystery of its interior and the secrets that can be hidden inside. These little surprises are special gifts to the wearer that they can choose to share with others.”

So true. That mystery, not knowing what is hidden within adds a whole other dimension to the impact these pieces will have on a viewer. And, the wearer gets to carry around a little something they can keep as a secret or share with others. With forms like this one, I see an easy transition to polymer clay for those inspired by his forms.

Drop in on Terry’s website to see the other boxes he’s made. If you’re really intrigued, there are few more that can be found if you search Google images. You will see photos of pieces both closed and open.

 

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Giving Your Piece Purpose

nicolas nora box pendantCovering containers is not a new concept for clayers, but how small would you go? There are all kinds of small boxes, tubes, and cases out there that can be transformed into interesting polymer container adornments. This pendant by Cyprus’ Nicolas and Nora is just one such example I dug up. They’ve given the container a very specific purpose as well, which is just about as interesting as this charming pendant.

They label these ‘prayer box necklaces’ in their Etsy listing. They go on to describe in detail what a prayer box is and how to use it by saying these are “used by religious faithful to help them focus on their specific prayer needs and to facilitate contemplation on one’s faith … most people stuff notes of prayer items into the boxes. Think about what you truly want and write it down. Writing your desires out give them energy and increase the likelihood that your wishes will be answered.”

Not only is it a nice idea, but by giving the pendant a particular purpose is also a smart way to sell. It’s not unlike staging a house. If you can show people just what they can do with what you have for them, they are much more likely to buy because they can imagine, in a very specific way, how they themselves would use your piece. So, if you do make any kind of container adornment or house decor, display and photograph the work with possible things it could contain, not as a primary presentation, but for the purpose of selling such as you would in your online shop or at a craft show. It turns the work from just something beautiful to look at (not that this shouldn’t be enough!) into something the buyer/wearer can customize and use for a more personal and connected interaction with your work.

Nicolas and Nora don’t seem to have any more of these container-style necklaces in their shop right now, but if you like this earthy, bohemian look, or are curious what other personal approaches they use to grab the interest of their potential customers, jump on over to their Etsy shop and take a look around.

 

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Started with Snails

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Kristie Foss is definitely an explorer type of artist. Her blog is full of her exploits in polymer and the many different variations she gets from playing with a technique, surface treatment or form.

In this one post, you can see the progression of playing with shapes starting with the same clay treatment.  She began with nautilus snail shapes then worked it into a leaf type of pendant and then finally into these intriguing horn shapes. Its rather neat to be able to see the progression of ideas. Makes me want to jump into the studio and see what comes of the scraps on my table!

But alas, that is not for me today. And tomorrow I am in LA for a week just checking in on family and having some time away from it all with a favorite person of mine. I’m going to get started finding items for next week’s blog as of today and my tired brain could so use some help. If any of you have any favorite pieces–of yours or of others–you think we need to share with everyone, send me a link to this fabulous work at sbray@thepolymerarts.com or message us on Facebook at The Polymer Arts. You’ll get a warm thank you mention in the post and a link to your site as well as a lot of gratitude from little ol’ me!

In the meantime, treat yourself to some downtime of your own with a cup of coffee or glass of wine and join Kristie on her blog for a bit of polymer adventuring.

 

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A Spot to the Side

Sometimes the surprise found in our work comes incidentally as we create with other intentions. Una-Odd Lynn was fascinated by a collection of moonglow beads and had planned some simple cut pendants in polymer for them but ended up with something just a little different.

“I cut out a hole, not reserving the removed clay, and planned to use a moonglow bead in the middle. Experimenting with a tube to punch out the hole I discovered [the extra clay] would make a nice side bead.” And these sweet little necklaces were born!

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Mrs. Lynn’s pieces and ideas are kind of all over the place but that openness to working with whatever suits a mood is often exactly what is needed to allow for new discoveries. Una-Odd blogs about all the various things she does and ponders on her entertaining blog. Jump on over and explore a little yourself.

 

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Dots in a Field of Blue

So this pendant has been making the rounds on Pinterest lately. The style looks familiar but my attention is so split right now that I can’t think of who it might be and image searches on Google have not brought anything up. Do you know whose work this is?

I just love the combination of a cracked looking surface with the nicely formed and embedded clay dots. The dots give a bit of contrast with the predominant texture as well as adding contrasting color accents. This makes for a sophisticated yet fun little piece.

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As of writing this post up, we still haven’t found the artist for yesterday’s beads. If you didn’t see yesterday’s post, maybe you can jump over there and see if you recognize the artist then let us know. We’ll also take more ideas and thoughts on using Pinterest and sharing images.

 

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From Czech with Love

I have been taking a lot of shots of the art being worn by the attendees, or as we keep noting here, of people’s chests because between pins and necklaces; that is where most of the jewelry is so what choice do we have, right?  It has made for some funny moments. I had a great time with a trio of gals from the Czech Republic during one of our breaks. We couldn’t stop laughing as I tried to photograph their jewelry. I was trying to compare the work and they were standing next to each other comparing, well, other things that were ending up in the shot. They were so fun.

Martina Malaskova
Martina Malaskova
Pavla Čepelíková
Pavla Čepelíková
Dana Phamova
Dana Phamova

My grandmother was from Czechoslovakia and I had learned a few words in the language when I was a child so I do have a soft spot for people from that part of the world which is probably part of the reason I chatted it up with these gals. Their fun and happy demeanor can be seen in the type of work they made and wore this week. Take a look at more of their work on these pages:

Pavla Čepelíková: www.saffron-addict.com

Dana Phamova: www.fler.cz/fruitensse

Martina Malaskova: www.lca-jewellery.com/home_en.php

 

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A Collection of Toggles

Have you been having fun guessing the materials this week and thinking of ways to create these beautiful pieces in polymer? Well, here is a whole array of pieces to take a guess at. We are all on our own here as the Live Journal post doesn’t list what is what or how these pieces were created. This whole post is an interesting collection of inspiration for a polymer contest that revolved around art accessories embellished with the use of texture stamps.

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According to the Russian translation describing these pieces, they are made from ceramics, polymer, and/or metals. To read more about the competition and artwork submitted, take a look at the translated website. Enjoy!

 

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