Dragon in a Season’s Greetings

bGolin dragon candy cane 430x418 - Dragon in a Season's GreetingsAs with many of you, I will be spending the day with my family but did not want to miss chiming in to send you warm good wishes this holiday season. I am so very grateful for your support of The Polymer Arts projects, both the magazine and the blog. Without you, I would not be able to spend my days entrenched in art and creativity nor would I be able to help so many find new ways to create and be inspired, connecting talented artists to readers in the intimate way we get to in our publications.

I’d give you all a little something sweet in thanks if I could but since I can’t reach you all, I am soliciting the help of Becca Golins who creates these adorable dragons and other fantastical beasts. These big-eyed beasties so readily bring a smile to my face and so, I hope they do for you as well.

You can find more of Becca’s cute creatures on her Facebook page and her coloring books inspired by them in her Etsy shop.

Enjoy the season and the chance to be closer to the ones you love. A Merry Christmas to those celebrating and happy holidays to you all.

A Most Beautiful Expression

tiny face 350x343 - A Most Beautiful ExpressionAfter all that reminiscing about my first Facebook posts before the blog, I thought I’d bring us back to the blog itself and unveil the absolute most popular post we ever had. This face resulted in more attention and traffic to the blog by nearly double any other post we’ve done. And this was posted back in March of 2013. It is a most spectacular piece of sculpture, not only because of the talent involved but because of the expression of this beautiful little face.

Here is an excerpt from that post:

The artist of this beautiful face is Poland’s Tatiana Nagrebecka. Her dolls are created without molds, completely by hand in polymer clay, using Genesis paints for the lifelike skin tones and details. If you are entranced by this face, take some time to look over the many photos she’s taken of her works in progress and finished creations on her blog.

 

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Fantastic Faces

virginie ropars castle headed 345x450 - Fantastic FacesWhile still off working out the last details of moving the business to California, we’ll continue looking at past posts in the days before the blog, when I was just sharing daily on our Facebook page.

This piece’s popularity surprised me a little. It is not sleek or colorful, might be slightly disturbing, and it’s not jewelry but the artist, Virginie Ropars, is a huge favorite of mine. Here is the post I put up on March 7th, 2012:

Art dolls are an incredible artistic form and this woman is one of my favorites because she goes way beyond just costuming a form … and the dolls are made with polymer clay! Take a look at the incredible detail of the castle that is the top of the head and the neck and chest decor. Stunning! Tons more to look at here: http://vropars.free.fr/index.htm

You can see more of her amazing and imaginative sculpture and dolls, (which have gotten a bit more disturbing as time goes on–just thought I ought to warn you!) on her newer website here but also on her Facebook page.

 

 

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A Glimmer of Hope. And Jewelry Furniture.

Donna GreenbergLast month was a very long month. So much was going on only now can I see the light at the end of the tunnel, a glimmer of hope, a spark of optimism that all of our special projects will be wrapping up. So in honor of those glimmers and lights, how about a few slightly blingy things this week?

We’ll start with some new Donna Greenberg earrings. Seeing a new piece of hers always brightens my day. And I do love those cool jewel tone shimmers. These are not overly complicated but I am very much for simplicity right now. The shiny side kind of hangs out there like a beacon of some kind.

But I also wanted to share this because look … she made her own stand, or jewelry show furniture, as she calls it. How fun and fabulous is that?

See what else Donna has been up to on her Facebook page, where I found these, and her website.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create your own style of displays for your work, something completely different from what Donna made. Displays can be artistic, but be careful with heavy patterns and colors brighter than your work. You want your work to stand out, not your stands. Search online for DIY display ideas to help you out. These kinds of projects are prefect for dipping into your scrap bin. You can paint or powder mud colored clay displays to bring them back to life.

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The Past Comes to My Door

SSmolka blogSome days, I just can’t believe how insanely lucky I am to be doing what I do. A few days ago I was blessed with these gifts from Germany. These are not just any gifts. If you read the Muse’s Corner article by Anke Humpert in the Winter 2015 issue of The Polymer Arts, or read the blog post about Sigrid Smolka last November, then you know some of this story.

Anke brought to our attention what must be the very first book of polymer techniques, written in 1974, and I was ever so thrilled that we were able to share Sigrid’s story. But now, I get to actually hold the book in my hands. I am so thrilled and have been just bursting with the implications of what I have so I just had to share.

Sigrid contacted me a couple of months ago and said she wanted to send me her book and a few other things. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I thanked her profusely and patiently waited. Poor Sigrid has been having intermittent health issues so she was not able to get them off right away and eventually employed her friend Theresa to pack the intended items up for me.

Well, not only did she send the polymer book but also her book on air dry clay techniques and three of her polymer pieces from her years creating in the medium. And … she also sent prints and cards with her more recent computer paintings. Note the print on the left has a March 2016 date. Even with her ups and downs these days, she is still creating and sharing her art. I am amazed by this woman.

Since it seems too selfish to keep these to myself, I will be bringing the book and her polymer pieces with me to Eurosynergy in Bordeaux to share. I assume many people in the community are like me and would be thrilled to see pieces of our past in person. That is also why I sent Ellen Prophater and Sue Sutherland at Creative Journeys Sigrid’s contact information, so hopefully her work can be included in their amazing retrospective collection. It just wouldn’t seem complete without this earliest pioneer included.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Can you recall a piece or an artist from when you started in your present medium that greatly influenced your work? Can you recall what it was about their work that inspired you so greatly? Take that inspiring element or your sense of the artist’s work and design or create a piece that pays homage or utilizes what you got from them without copying anything they did.

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Looking Back for Inspiration

A quick note on the Polymer Journey 2016 book … we’ve been able to extend the introductory sale through Friday, so if you haven’t reserved your copy or were waiting for payday, this is your chance!  Go to the website today before the price goes up this weekend.

TLilin deco butterflieshere are timeless techniques as well as timeless art. This easy but impressive looking technique, painting with mica powders on molded clay, was posted by Lilin in 2008. This particular construction harkens back to the art deco style with the enameled look of the butterfly wings against the stylized faces. It gives them an antique air. Lilin credits Donna Kato as her inspiration although she doesn’t say if that was from a book or class. But she gives her own brief instructions and tips, enough for you to get some ideas and run with a new design of your own.

The instructions for these are on this blog post. Lilin hasn’t posted since 2009 and I couldn’t find any reference to her moving her work to somewhere else. I am always curious how an artist progresses. It’s both encouraging and fascinating to see people improve their skills and to see what directions they chose. So I am curious. If anyone knows what Lilin is up to now, let me know and I’ll post an update here.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Find a new way to apply an old technique. Look through your older project books, back issues of magazines, or your favorite tutorial sites and find something you haven’t done in a while or never tried and use it with your present forms and color palettes. What do you do differently today that you didn’t when the tutorial was published or when you first used it? It’s interesting to see how your approach has shifted.

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Tracking Our History

Okay … a couple little notes first …

Thank you to all of you who jumped in and pre-ordered a Polymer Journeys book. It was very heartening to see how many people are interested in this kind of book and I so hope you all enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together. If you wanted to get in on the discounted pricing that we have through the 30th, just head over to the Polymer Journeys website.

Geena mosaicFor those of you who get this by email, you may have noticed a change in the look of your emails the last time or two. We moved to a new, more stable email service for you. You now have “like” buttons, so you can share it on 252 different social networks and online sharing services (Never knew there were so many!). Not all of them will transfer the image, if that is what you want to share, but you can click the post’s title in the email and it will take you to the post where you can share the URL address instead. If you have any questions or comments about the new format, just reply to the email and let us know!

This book has raised a number of discussions about looking at work retrospectively. I wanted to create Polymer Journeys as a series as a way to document what has been going on in polymer art as well as give us a more concrete way to understand where it’s going. The internet has endlessly muddled our sense of what is happening today because if something was posted anywhere at any point since the internet went public, it could pop up on someone’s screen for the first time, and it will seem like something new.

This mosaic is an example of something that came up while I was doing some research online that I had never seen before this past week. I thought it a beautiful example of how polymer can be used as a material for a traditional art form, giving the artist a bit more latitude and ease in creating the tiles for a traditional mosaic application. However, Geena Bregar, the creator of the mosaic, posted this some 13 years ago. I had never seen it and would have been at a loss as to guess its age if it weren’t for the dating of the blog post.

Of course, the question is, does it matter if we know when something was made? In many ways, no, it doesn’t. The strongest art continues to inspire, draw admiration, or causes someone to stop and ponder years, decades, or centuries after its creation. But I think the history of an art form, an artist, or even a piece of art itself has stories that we can learn quite a bit from or at least find wonder in them. I’ve been talking about how polymer has really reached out and touched so many other forms of art and is being used in conjunction with so many materials, but pieces like this are a good reminder that this influence and creative use of polymer is nothing new.

I think, really, polymer always been that kind of material. It’s just hard to get a good perspective on when and how this reach and influence occurred. If the Polymer Journeys books do well, perhaps we’ll be able to have a clear and educational perspective alongside a great collection of beautiful work to inspire us for years to come.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Look back at your oldest pieces in whatever medium you first created original works. Do you see new and inspiring elements even now? Take an element–a form, the way you used line, a technique, or color palette and combine it with your advanced knowledge and skill in a new design.

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New Book Cover and Very Special Pre-Sale Offer for You!

PJ2016 Cover frontWe set aside our usual art discussions today to announce the first big book project for TPA and the associated book publishing arm, Tenth Muse Publications–Polymer Journeys 2016 is just about ready for you! The release is set for April 14th.

This retrospective and peek-behind-the-scenes book is in its last phase of preparation for printing! Now that we have a publication date, we are offering you very anxious and enthusiastic folks a steep discount and a bonus to thank you for your patience and to give you the opportunity to get your copy straight off the press and into the mail!

We have an exclusive pre-sale price for just this one week. If you purchase the book on our website by March 30th,  you get 30% off the cover price of $22.95! That’s all of $15.95 plus shipping.

It is also available in a digital format, which will be $12.95, but this week you can reserve your copy for just $9.95.

But wait … there’s more! (I’ve always wanted to say that!)  I also worked out a way to reward our most enthusiastic supporters … be one of the first 250  people to pre-order a print copy and get a companion digital copy for FREE! Just put both a print and digital copy into your cart, then use this code to discount the digital copy: 1st250. (You’ll know others beat you to it if you get a note saying the discount is no longer valid.)

Want more info on what this book is? Go to the website here. In the meantime, enjoy the gorgeous cover art by Kathleen Dustin (top) and Jon Stuart Anderson (bottom).

We’ll be here if you have any questions for us. Otherwise, have a beautiful Spring and Easter weekend!

 

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Spring in Surprising Places

Melissa Terlizzi A delicate balanceOnto more thoughts of Spring. We had a perfect Spring day yesterday but today we are in the middle of a blizzard, so I went off to find something cheerful and found some fun sculptures, wall art, and jewelry by Melissa Terlizzi. Her creatures are beautifully sculpted, but it’s the situations she puts them in that really made me smile. This here is not the most unusual place to find a tree frog but it would kind of startle you to find one on your indoor plants. She also has frog peeking out of terrariums, mice in the pantry, and beetles in books. There is a bright playfulness in the faces of her creatures and in the way she sets up the shots. Many of her compositions, like this one here, are predominantly constructed from polymer clay components, but many others use natural settings and common household items to bring out the story.

Take a break from your common or gray day and peruse her Flickr pages for some Spring cheer.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create or adapt a piece of yours to live in an unusual place. Hang charms in the kitchen cupboards, replace blind pulls with beautiful focal beads, put a cute sculpted creature in the medicine cabinet (who doesn’t need a bit of cheer when opening the medicine cabinet?),  glue tiles to the inside of the mailbox  door, etc. Look for the most unusual and surprising place that will delight your family and visitors.

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