Back When We Were Young

angela garrod 350x257 - Back When We Were YoungOkay, maybe we weren’t so very young still just five years ago but man, it sure feels like a very long time ago. What Angela has done between then, as wonderful as the work is, and now, is really incredible. Here is the post from May 15th, 2012:

Angela Garrod is an emerging artist from the UK. She’s featured in our galleries in the next issue (order yours at Her newest piece here is not in the issue but it’s just fantastic–cool, light, springtime polymer. Her new website just went up, too:

You can, of course, jump over to Angela’s website as above to compare old and new but I like doing so on her Flickr photostream where a clear timeline is shown as you move through the pages.



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Translucent Play, in 3 parts. Pt.3

eva-haskova-braceletHere is one more day of autumnal translucent beauties. Eva Haskova actually created these last April but they seem an appropriate homage to our quickly fading Fall season.

These bracelets are fairly simple in concept but so intriguing with their gradation of luminous colors and the short open tubes that allow a glimpse of the soft white of their translucent base. The color selection, similar to the piece by Jan Montarsi we saw last week, wisely includes a touch of cool color among all the rich warm hues to balance the intensity of the palette.

Holes and spaces seem to be dominating Eva’s explorations lately. You can see the evidence of this on her Facebook page as well as admire her other work on  her Flickr photostream or her website.



Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create something in either a completely cool palette or a wholly warm palette. Once you have most of the design planned or executed, try inserting colors of the other temperature. How does that change the feeling of the piece when you add just a little of the opposing color temperature? How about if you add a lot? Play with the contrast until you have something that speaks to you.


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Creatures from the Deep

AHumpert deep-sea-creatures-10As artists, we think of our imagination as a major muscle, if not the primary one used when we’re creating. But how much do you stretch that muscle?

In craft art, because we also have to create steps, a process, and consider function and durability, our minds spend a lot of time in the purely logical, problems solving sections of our brain. Not that the imagination and problem solving are not connected; they absolutely are. But pure imagination is something we don’t always practice. So, here is a little something to push you to do so.

These fun bracelets are the work of the ever creative Anke Humpert. Using translucent clay in a unique design and decorating it with sea creatures she made up is just the start here.

As she explained to me, “The bracelets have a design that glows in black light! That is why they are called deep-sea creature bracelets. You would not normally notice the night side of them, only if you go to a night club or something similar. They also have a special hinge. Most of it is made with polymer only very little metal involved.”

These bracelets, as it turns out, are the centerpiece for one of the three classes she will be teaching at the Cabin Fever Clay Arts Fest next month. In describing the class for prospective students, she says, “Since we do not know much about the deep seas, we will have fun and let our imagination run wild creating plants (or even animals?) as we imagine them.” And that freedom and use of the imagination is what inspired me to share this today and create a bit of a different challenge for those following along.

By the way, I do have a Flickr page for sharing the results of the challenges I’ve been posting, only I haven’t had time to snap pics of what I’ve done, so there’s nothing on it yet really. But if any of you want to get on while I catch up over here, I would love to see what you’ve been up to. Go here to join in!

Does Anke’s class intrigue you? She is also teaching her Big Beads and fun hand tool texturing techniques. She’s joined by a slew of amazing talent including Lisa Pavelka, Maureen Carlson, Dayle Doroshow, Lindly Haunani, Doreen Kassel, Jana Lehmann, Ann and Karen Mitchell, Nan Roche, Lynne Anne Schwarzenberg, and more. There is still room in almost every class, so, if you are interested, jump in while you have your pick of classes still. You can find the classes on this PDF and registration on their webpage.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Let your imagination run wild and recreate an image, motif, shape, or a faux effect you might otherwise recreate as it is seen in nature or as we expect it to be, making your own version. A rose with black petals, a plaid cat, turquoise in pink, purple leather, a square pendant with a chunk missing in the corner, or a peace symbol with Mickey Mouse ears. Just change it up and make it your own.


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Going Half Round

Бижутерия своими руками мастер-клаThis week, I have pieces to share with you that have unexpected additions or changes. I think it is fantastic to mix things up, not only in our own world and work, but to step outside the expectations of what we think certain types of pieces should be. For instance, does a bead really have to be round? No, of course not. But should it at least be three-dimensionally symmetrical? Not really.

Katerina Sidorova has taken the round bead and literally reshaped it for this bracelet. The beads here were created by making perfectly round balls, cutting them in half, and adding thick cane slices on top that were carefully smoothed in to blend with the cut halves. The result is an off-balance half-round shape, or you might say it’s a ball half smashed, or you might call it acorn shaped even. What it is, though, is an unusual shape for a bead, which makes the gathering of the beautiful blue details quite intriguing. And really, the idea is pretty simple, but just that change makes us look twice because it does go beyond the expected round form.

Katerina has generously shared how she created these in this tutorial. She is the shop owner at Russia’s online polymer and jewelry supply shop KalinkaPolinka, which is also a great website full of articles, free tutorials, and links to other tutorials to explore.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Consider a form you regularly create and consider how you can change it to make it more interesting or intriguing. Sketch, cut, or sculpt your ideas.


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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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Takes Just a Little Twist

Nemravka flip braceletSimple ideas are often the most surprising. When I saw this bracelet as a thumbnail on my screen, I thought it was a cane or inlay, but when I went in for a larger look, I just broke into a big smile when I saw the way Petra Nemravka created this peek-a-boo color.

We have certainly seen the twisted strip in polymer before but maybe it’s the singularly bright bit of color combined with the continuous rhythmic repetition that a bangle bracelet allows that makes this feel so fresh and brilliant. The simplicity of the colors–a high contrast of black and white with highly saturated colors glimpsed between them–is not spoiled by further embellishment but is enhanced by a variation in the length and placement of the cuts. The barely-seen color is reinforced with the bracelet insides, but only the edge would regularly show when wearing it, so even that swathe of color would be doing its share of barely being revealed. I thought the idea was all around clever and well executed.

Petra is from my grandmother’s homeland in the Czech Republic. I do notice that I am often drawn to the work we see from that region and have wondered if it has anything to do with my background. But then there are pieces like this, very contemporary with a sense of design that is not regional but rather feels universal. So, I’m pretty sure there is simply a well propagated sense of good design and color in that part of the world that we are so often lucky enough to see come out in great polymer pieces. Petra is also an entrepreneur, running the online shop along with working on her wide variety of designs as you can see on her Flickr photostream.


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Vibrant Caning

141118142059This tutorial caught my eye, I have to admit, because of all the vibrant color. It’s also a nice form that undulates, not unlike those glowing bullseye canes that make the center of the outside slices.

The tutorial and the finished set you see here were created by Karina Formanova and include a number of simple yet effectively combined canes, as well as a how-to on creating the form and building up the layers it needs. Although you are supposedly just learning to create a bracelet, you learn some further composite caning, forming, finishing and color combining. So, really, it’s a pretty full little tutorial when it comes down to it.

You can find the full tutorial on Karina’s LiveMaster pages. Also, drop by her page of buttons and other fun bits also there on LiveMaster for other fun ideas and color combinations.

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The Look of Burning Embers

il_570xN.660979065_2xvsDon’t you love embers? Those lively, sparking, crawling fires inside a burning log that move in a seemingly choreographed dance? They are mesmerizing and calming and one of the neatest things about sitting in front of a fire and relaxing. I have tried emulating them in polymer. You can even see one of my modest attempts in an article on faux organics in the Fall 2013 issue of The Polymer Arts. But this particular photo of a copper inlaid bracelet created by Adriana Allen really seems to capture the light and liveliness of them.

It doesn’t seem that Adriana intended to create an ember-like appearance with the rubbed-in foil, but it sure gives one an idea about how to go about creating something like this. The way the copper is more rubbed off in the more open indentations and denser in the thinner lines does emulate that variation in the ember of a burning coal. It is lovely, as is the blue clay contrasting the orange of the copper.

Adriana creates beautiful cuff bracelets with a lot of texture, leaning heavily on faux antiquing and patina to get her signature look. Take a look through her Etsy shop for more beauties and ideas, while I go give my lively 8 month old German Shepard some much needed attention. Her name, by the way, is Ember.


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