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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Organic Support

Randee Ketzel bra 430x618 - Organic SupportFantastical and fun as well as fundraising, this amazing polymer bra was Randee Ketzel‘s entry into the annual Art Bra event in Austin, Texas. The chosen pieces are showcased during a one-night event by local models, all of whom are breast cancer survivors. The huge event raises money for the Breast Cancer Resource Center which assists Central Texans affected by breast cancer in overcoming obstacles related to accessing treatment and confronting the issues that affect quality of life, all for free. What a cool event!

And what a beautiful piece Randee created for this very noble cause. The composition, with the leaves coming up to cradle the mix of flowers as they flutter off towards the straps, is nicely balanced by the composite cane flower beads that ground the upward sweeping cups on their centered, drop placement.

For more on Randee and her other work, go to her Flickr photostream or her Etsy shop. For more on the organization and event this was made for, go to the Art Bra event site.



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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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Just the Clay

It’s certainly not going to be news that if you want to create variation in a piece, it can be done by strictly using the clay itself. Polymer is perfect for creating all types of color and textures! Here’s a straight-forward example by Nora Pero using various colors, translucency, visual texture, and color blending to create variations in her pinched petal form.

Lining up all these necklaces together leads us to another idea we can explore that we don’t see here, and that is the combination of the various petals into one necklace. Maybe those blues and greens together on one necklace, or a trio of the red, gold and fuchsia/yellow petals that alternate across around the neck. That sounds kind of yummy!




Although Nora has been wonderfully focused on some glass and beading options of late, her Flickr pages have plenty of images showing further variations in mokume, crackle, and extruder cane decorated beads. In addition, you can get a tutorial on how to create these various petals in her Etsy shop. Fun stuff!


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Focusing on the Floral Form

When we think floral, we tend to think of colorful arrangements. But a large part of the beauty of flowers and all types of nature’s decorative plants is the form they take–the slim stems, the folding leaves, the delicate thinness of a flower petal. Even colorless, they would be beautiful.

These lotus flower interpretations by Zuzana Liptáková of the Slovak Republic have such an elegant complexity to them, with a focus almost wholly on  form. I think holding back on the colors is exactly what was needed here to show off the carefully crafted, folded, and layered petals.


When it comes to flowers, going a little wild with the color is a natural inclination, and rightly so; but sometimes, pulling back will allow us to further appreciate the beauty in the other characteristics of Mother Nature’s masterpieces.

The Many Shapes of Petals

Components of springtime art work often include the pretty petal. There are, of course, many variations in petals, which might make one conclude that many a cane must be made to build a decent collection of possibilities. But this is not necessarily so.  This display of both traditional and not so traditional petal forms and patterning is a sample set by Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg. This image was put together for a class in which Lynne put students through what she called “petal mania”.


Her photo note on Facebook says the canes are “reduced, shaped, torqued, and recombined to make a seemingly endless array of elements that can be used to make all sorts of wearable art. Hearts and spirals, complex petals, wisteria and lotus blossoms are all found along the petal path.”  Apparently in the class, students also exchanged canes so they could continue working on variations. Just imagine what you could do with just a handful of canes in your own studio!

I couldn’t find word of any upcoming classes Lynne is conducting for this; but if you push yourself, maybe using some of the ideas above, I bet you could come up with a dozen new petal ideas of your own. So go shape and torque away!

Pushing the Inchies

I mentioned inchies as an option for exploring variation a couple days ago but have been thinking maybe a brief word on breaking out of the inchie tradition of minimal variation was worth a post. If you aren’t familiar with inchies they are simply one inch square tiles of artwork. They are often made for swaps and exchanges at events, somewhat like art trading cards but tiny.

As a means for exploring variation, the use of this concept is hard to beat. Inchies give you a limited space to work in but no limitations on what you do with it. And for those of us who have limited time and resources, creating them while exploring variation means we get to build a stock of exchangeable tiny samples of our art for the next inchie exchange while pushing ourselves artistically.

Although most inchies are created to be quickly produced, don’t rush or limit your exploration of variation through inchies. Here are a few inchies by the Philippines’ Donna Cruz-Comia that obviously took some time but what wonderful results.


The consistency that makes these inchies related are that they are all petals and are built off a corner. Beyond that, that couldn’t be more different. But its this kind of work, pushing a limited idea such as the many ways one can create a petal and build the form of a flower from it that will result in new discoveries for you.

And how impressive will your inchies be at the next exchange if you created such involved work as this? Isn’t exploration wonderful?

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