Ronnie Kirsch clutch - In Our Clutches

In Our Clutches

Ronnie Kirsch clutch 430x286 - In Our ClutchesAt the end of this week, I will be heading off to Pittsburgh to see the opening of the Into the Forest project. I am intensely excited about that (go here if you are in the area and want to join for the opening on Friday and the talks on Saturday.) But even more exciting is that, at long last, my beau and I get to go on our honeymoon! So this week and next, I may be a bit quieter than usual but I’ve lined up some eye candy for you that my faithful little helpers will ensure you get while I am off gallivanting about.

Putting together a wardrobe for this trip got me thinking about new accessories. Although I don’t have time to make anything new for this excursion, there are the holidays to get dressed up for. So I was thinking, what kind of new polymer accessory would really wow at the next holiday soiree? Then it hit me … a polymer purse! An unusual handbag is always noted and often gets conversations started where no particular subject has yet made itself known. A polymer handbag is certain to be quite the icebreaker.

So let’s look at polymer purses this week and see if I can’t inspire a few of you to make your own. Of course, at the mention of polymer purses, many of us will raise the image of our favorite Kathleen Dustin purse in our minds but she is not, by far, the only one to create purses. She is one of the few that makes them almost exclusively out of polymer but any other variation–covered, embellished, or accented with polymer–can still be a most wonderful example of our art.

Ronnie Kirsch was making quite the fashion splash with her clay clutches in the early 2010s. Full of color and pattern, they were sold at high-end stores for a very pretty penny. She used a lot of canes but would also apply stripes of colors. This red one here would be visible from across the room. And I think that was the thing about these–they were for women who don’t mind a lot of attention.

Although I could not find news of Ronnie’s recent work, I did find her website with a gallery available if covering a nice metal clutch is sounding like a great holiday project. Just take a look here.

Clearly Shimmering

Helene Jeanclaude resin braceletSo, this week we recover from Christmas, get gifts returned and exchanged (if we are brave enough to stand in those long customer service lines!), and prepare for the New Year. It’s quite a shift from the family-focused holidays the rest of the season. New Year’s eve is usually for our friends more than our family and the parties or dinners out or drinks at the house are what’s on our mind about now. What to wear?! I know that becomes an overriding concern for many, so I thought I’d look for some blingy-ness that could help dress up any basic outfit. With the right jewelry, you can skip buying a new dress and just have everyone transfixed by your adornment, second only to your vivacious self, of course.

I was looking for shimmery and sparkling when I came across this lovely resin dominant bracelet. Hélène JeanClaude is a polymer artists who is big on transparency, but I am unsure just how much of this is polymer, if any. Not that it matters too terribly. The colors and reflection she is getting off the fabric texture buried in the resin and the shimmer of the colors make it quite eye-catching. You can see how, even with a lot of shadow around it, the colors and resin reflect and magnify any light that hits it. The flat space and angles of the resin help with this effect as well as distorting the pattern beneath, which adds to the variation of the blended and bleeding colors.

Hélène has been experimenting with this technique for the last two years, creating pendants and earrings with a more obvious use of polymer. If you could get your hands on either or both, that with the bracelet would be all you’d need to dress up a little black dress or even a shirt-and-jeans outfit. I know there isn’t enough time to get a hold of one of Hélène’s pieces, but maybe these can inspire some new pieces of your own you can whip up in the studio this week; bury shimmering clay treated with mica powders or foil leaf under translucent clay, liquid polymer, or resin if you have that on hand. There’s still time!

For further shimmery and translucent inspiration, you can find her other pieces using this technique and her explorations with translucent clay on her Flickr photostream and here on her blog.


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