A Bead Cubed

sshriver cubed - A Bead CubedHow about just a little bead beauty from the consistently wonderful Sarah Shriver today while I amble down the road?

Six canes constructed into a cube that is both turned on its side and has had its corner’s tweaked makes for a beautiful simple bead design. Just those two changes to the upright and steady cube has created movement due to its relative instability, facing the world with but one point down, and direction since the slight sweep of the sides slides our eye out to the point of the cube corners and beyond. And let’s not forget the lovely lines of the canes themselves that add to both the movement and directing of the viewers eyes beyond the constrains of the cube.

Apparently, Sarah will be teaching this Celtic cane on the Alaska Polymer Clay Cruise, the “Clayditarod” coming up next month. I was not able to discern if spaces are left for what is certain to be an amazing polymer adventure but you can check out the details and query as needed on the cruise website here. And for more splendid Sarah Shriver work, jump over to her website here.


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Identifying Inspiration

With a single word, we can convey a tremendous amount of meaning including images, emotions, or entire concepts. Names, whether they are given to a person, a place, an event or an idea will often carry all of this. When Sarah Shriver chose to call not just her pieces, but a color palette after a single person, she brought in the full history and all the concepts associated with what each of us know about a woman named Frida. Her Frida palette echos the brilliance often found in the paintings of the renown Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. This also gives us a little bit of insight as to where Sarah finds her color inspirations.

Frida Bracelet

Naming your work after someone or something widely familiar can bring a tremendous amount of character and depth to your work. I have a ceramicist friend who names all his work after people, places and things seen in famous fantasy movies and books even though there isn’t usually any direct imagery on his work from these movies, just a general sense of it. He usually sells out at all the shows he does. It does help that he is a very skilled ceramic artist, and that he knows who he is selling to. Didn’t think naming your work could do much for your sales? I can tell you from my own experience that it can make all the difference.


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Lark’s 1000 Beads

Just got my copy of  Lark Craft’s latest in their fantastic photo book series, 1000 Beads. I am always curious, and a bit apprehensive about books that should include plenty of polymer clay because too often there has not been a great representation of our medium among the older and more readily accepted fine craft mediums. But this book is a huge exception. Polymer is found throughout this collection with a rather wide range of talent as well as technique. I would have lost myself for most of the day Saturday when I got it, if I hadn’t been in the midst of office remodeling and in a rush to get things back in workable order. But this morning … wow! A few hours of doing nothing but pouring over this book and looking up the many talented artists was such a fantastic way to start a Monday!

So I thought this week, I’d focus on and congratulate some of the polymer artists that landed their work in this latest Lark book. We only have a week so it will be but a fraction of the artists represented. But let’s look at great beads, and ones not in the book so you have more to look forward to when you get your own copy! (The official publication date is April 1st but it looks like Amazon already has them in stock.)

I was particularly thrilled to see the work of some of my favorite polymer friends including the enthusiastic and dedicated Cara Jane Hayman. She is one of those artists still exploring a wide range of techniques but her focus on refined skill and creating work not directly derivative of the artists she is learning from is inspiring. These beads were created in a Sarah Shriver workshop but they aren’t readily recognized as Shriver-esque. And they are nicely finished with a wide range of visual textures to draw you in.

caraJane big bead

Cara Jane hails from Bristol in the UK. Her background as a research scientist led her to explore and test polymer and share her findings on her blog. Cara Jane has written for us at The Polymer Arts as well as From Polymer to Art. This year is looking to be a big year for her as well, starting with demonstrating polymer alongside Donna Kato at the Paperworld show in Germany, her appearance in 1000 Beads and her upcoming role as one of our curators for the first Polymer Arts book publication. (What book, you ask? Just stay tuned and we’ll start posting information about this soon!)

You can also see more of Cara Jane’s art on her website and her Flickr pages.


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Clay Carnival in Las Vegas anyone?

You may have read the article in the present Summer 2012 issue of The Polymer Arts magazine and as I promised, we are announcing that Clay Carnival registration is now open! Clay Carnival Las Vegas 2012 will be October 18 – 21st at the Imperial Palace Hotel.

This is 4 days of total polymer clay immersion with 8 instructors and one of the easiest, best laid out set-ups. You get there, get a spot in one of the 3 or 4 workrooms and the instructors come to the room so you get to spread out and play straight through without all the packing hassle at the end of the day. And it’s in Vegas! Play with clay during the day (oh, my that rhymed all too well!) then play out into the lights of the Las Vegas nights.


There is a core group of 4 instructors – Judy Belcher, Kim Cavender, Leslie Blackford and Donna Kato and each year they invite four more. This year they also have Sarah Shriver, Wendy Malinow, Dawn Schiller, and Natalia Garcia. Six of the  eight classes are already posted on the website including information on Sarah Shriver’s Acorn pendants you see here. Clay is provided by Van Aken International for classes. The event is capped off by the Pizza Party Carnival Night of which we had lots of photos in the article so you can see just how much fun this group is. Do consider joining this year if you can.

So are you going?  I’ll be there again (it was too much fun to miss) and bringing my camera and light box to get shots of attendees artwork for the blog and magazine.

Don’t forget to follow the news and announcements on their blog or on Facebook.

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