Rough Derivation …and HUGE sale –$5.20 magazines, $13 books!

dEbby Wakley 430x552 - Rough Derivation ...and HUGE sale --$5.20 magazines, $13 books!Before we get into the last of our rough stuff this week, how about something that is really easy? Super inexpensive publications!

We have a MOVING SALE (I’m finally moving the business to California from Colorado) so to reduce my packing … everything printed prior to 2017 is 35-40% OFF our base retail price in my Etsy shop. Most print magazines are $5.20 and Polymer Journeys is only $13. Just click here!

You can also get similar deals on which is a great option if you want to stock up on Lisa Pavelka and Christi Friesen products too.

To wrap up this week of rough stuff, I am going to do something I usually avoid and show you what is essentially derivative work but definitely with an effort to create one’s own version.

The piece here is by Debby Wakley but the texture was derived from Eva Haskova’s “Earth Layers” series in which Eva created punched and tooled layers on domed lentil style beads. I choose to show Debby’s version because I think it shows a fairly direct translation of what we can see in Eva’s work, but the changes Debby made give her work a different feeling.

Eva’s work is very cleanly finished. Even when the edges are rough, you get a sense of control over the material that makes every element and every tool mark feel deliberate. Debby’s adaptation is a lot looser with freeform shapes instead of Eva’s balanced circles and then there is the imperfectly removed paint used to bring out the texture. Although Eva’s work shows a mastery of the material that is deservedly admired, I think Debby did justice to her inspiration but going with a loose, organic approach that looks to be more in line with Debby’s work as a whole.

It is obvious that Debby takes a lot of classes and most everything she posts can be linked back to a well-known master and teacher of polymer. But you can see her efforts to break out and create her own work. I find that promising and hope, in time, to see her process all the techniques she has learned into her own vision and expression. As you may have heard me say before, I am not an advocate of posting working one did in a class but if you are working towards your own variation, there may be some merit in showing how you translate what you learn, especially if one has the long-range goal of finding their own voice down the line.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Let another person’s work be your jumping-off point. Don’t copy but rather adapt what you like in any one piece by an admired artist into your preferred forms, colors, and techniques. You can emulate them as closely as you need to at first but set aside these exercises after a few runs and create something that is definitely and purely your own.


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Rough Layers

martina Burinova red spot 430x368 - Rough LayersMartina Buriánová takes rough stuff–the theme this week–in an interesting direction for polymer. This unique use of layers in a polymer pendant might remind you of the side view of a warped, long-ago drenched book. Contained within its solid although equally roughed up frame, you get a sense that these layers have been through a few trials but, safely boxed in again, will continue to hold on. The unevenness of the layers gives it a nice texture along with the kind of negative space that allows it to be a part of its environment, not just some adornment in it.

The red spot is a bit of a mystery although I see its role as a contrast, a focal point, and a kind of anchor. I think the pendant could have stood on its own as the focal point, just layers and frame with that upper negative space peeking through the layers. But nonetheless, the red circle still works, it just diminishes the importance of the layers, where I think the real story is. I am like that with movies too, though. I am often more interested in the story of a minor but well-fleshed out character than I am in the heroes and heroines.  The little, unassuming stories are the ones, I think, that really stick with us. Because most people connect with the little guy and that connection is what they will remember.

Martina is really good at rough and weathered-looking surfaces. You can find such works of hers on Facebook, on her website and on her Pinterest boards.



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Neverknead 052217 - Rough Layers   The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Some Like it Rough

blanka prochazkova vintage souprava 430x285 - Some Like it RoughWhat is the attraction to texture that so many of us have? We have such a penchant for it that we find beauty in the cracked and rusted, in the uneven and worn, and generally in all that is breaking down and rough. I personally think it has something to do with our attachment to the past, to history, and to the stories these things would tell if they had actually gone through all that their condition represents.

I am a huge fan of this kind of time-worn texture and noticed that my boards and notes are filled with this kind of work right now so I’m sharing these little beauties with you. Yes, beautifully rough stuff.

This set is by Blanka Procházková. The old wood look and antiqued patterns make for a lovely vintage look with the colors still quite bright in spots and the patterns crisp but carrying a warm aged patina over it all.  The scratched surface, although probably created as faux wood, has the creator’s hand evident in the rough way it was scratched out which, along with the imperfect shapes, adds to the feel of age, primarily because nothing in the clay could be mistaken for machine-made.

A lot of these rough and organic explorations have been showing up in Blanka’s work recently, her hand quite evident and delightfully so. It’s not that she hasn’t edged this way before but there is a kind of evident freedom in her latest pieces which is lovely to see. See for yourself on her Flickr photostream.

Post note: The wood look technique was one Blanka learned from Veronica Sturdy. See the original inspiration on Veronika’s Flickr photostream.


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Neverknead 052217 - Some Like it Rough   The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Adapting Nature

terra planters waste marble 430x638 - Adapting NatureIn my search for other creative planter ideas, I came across these amazingly lovely upright planters, of sorts. The work is by sculptor Jamie North. They are made of cement, marble waste, limestone, coal ash, organic matter and various Australian plants and stand about 5 feet(165cm) high. This scale is a bit bigger than what we usually work with in polymer but the planter could be scaled down if one is so inspired.

I mean, who says that we must create large, open-mouthed vessels for plants to live in? Out in nature, they creep and poke out of just about anything that will catch a couple of grains of soil and a spot of moisture. I have only to step into the yard of my house in Colorado where high desert plants grab every open opportunity. Over here in California, they are not quite so desperate but they still perch in the oddest places. So, when making vessels, why not head out and see what kind of pockets of opportunity nature has provided that plants take advantage of as inspiration for your own vessels?

You might also look to Jamie’s work for how to translate what nature has to inspire us with. Jaime was first inspired to make these structures when considering “the way in which our native Port Jackson fig (Ficus rubiginosa) sprouts from the cracks of building mortar in Sydney.” Contrasting the straight and geometric sides with rough and tumble sides, he makes us aware of how well nature will adapt to whatever structures we throw in its path.

These were created in 2014 but since then, Jaime has made quite a number of other forms. Enjoy a trip through his projects on his website and check out this interview for more on his inspiration and ideas.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Let nature dictate a piece. Go out and explore whatever natural world and formations you have close to you. Borrow forms, textures, lines, or even observed relationships between nature and man and bring those ideas back to your studio to inspire a new piece.


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Neverknead 052217 - Adapting Nature   The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Rough Elegance

When you think of elegance, you probably think of clean lines, understated brilliance and a certain level of delicacy. But elegance can manifest in a number of ways. It can be found in any number of graceful and dignified elements and compositions even those whose other elements are on the rough side. I’ve found this to be true in a number of pieces I’ve seen in the past few weeks. So let’s look at that this week and ask, how can elegance be juxtaposed with a rough, rustic, or less refined approach?

Here is a piece I think embodies that idea wonderfully. There is certainly a lot of the less refined here in the texture of the cracked foil and rough edges. But the centered swirl and skillful application of the overlapping layers along with the limited navy palette gives it a calm and dignified air. This could easily be worn with an evening gown or a dressy business suit or be used to add a touch of elegance to a more casual outfit. That versatility is part of the advantage for a piece that works with two seemingly disparate concepts.

Belarus’ Evgeniya Andreeva is the creator of this lovely necklace. Most of her work tends towards the rough and rustic in a tasteful and well-considered way. Look through her LiveJournal entries and Facebook page for more pretties of hers.


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