Reality in Miniature

SKilgast ican 430x545 - Reality in MiniatureIt’s been a week since the new Spring issue was released. Reports of print editions showing up in the mailboxes of subscribers in the western state are coming in as well as your comments. So it’s about time we squeeze in the last few bits of content that didn’t make it into our always filled-to-the-brim pages.

For instance, in the article on miniature hyper-realistic sculpting, we didn’t have room for Stephanie Kilgast to explain where her journey in tiny sculptures has taken her. If you have a copy of Polymer Journeys, you probably read a little about what she is doing with her honed skills as a miniaturist sculptor, presenting ideas about our food choices in her daily miniature veggie and fruit challenge, ending in 233 different kinds of miniature plant-based food sources. Seeing how she could present her ideas with her skills she has moved on to explore, in her words, ” celebrating the beauty of nature in a dialogue with humanity, questioning the lost balance between human activities and nature.

I love how her work shows that skills in one area can be used and transformed into something else, something more than one might expect. Her keen, observant eye and understanding of how to recreate natural textures is what has allowed her to express these abstract concepts and no-so abstract views of our world.

This has been the most commented-on article so far. Readers seem to be really diving into the exploration of the miniature and, hopefully, considering how to adapt it to their own unique work. To see more of what Stephanie does, go to her website and check out her online classes and YouTube videos.


Walking Through the Forest

First of all, my apologies for my unsuccessful attempts to post while traveling. My original plan was to have posts all set before I left but technical issues and the need for a last-minute change of service threw that plan out the window. And getting decent internet at hotels is nothing one can depend on! But I will make it up to you this month, I promise.

Now that almost all of you have seen the myriad of photos from the Into the Forest installation that attendees to the opening and talk posted this past week, I invite you to spend some time virtually walking through it. This is a walkthrough of the gallery and installation, from stepping through the front door to wandering from tree to tree, wall to wall, and corner to corner. I apologize that I am no expert videographer and trying to fluidly skirt around the artwork and step unobtrusively through the attendees created a few moments of spinning and diving that might leave some sensitive individuals momentarily dizzy. But all in all, I am thrilled to have captured some of the feel of walking through our polymer forest that night.

In other news … the latest issue of The Polymer Arts, Winter 2017 – Line, has arrived! Digital issues were sent in the wee hours (3 am EST) on Saturday so if you are expecting a digital copy and haven’t seen it, check your spam/junk folder as that is where the errant access emails often land. If you need help, write my assistant Sydney at connect(at) or, if you get this by email, just respond to this email.

Print editions were at the post office as of Thursday so if you are expecting one in print, depending on how far you are from northern Idaho, you will be seeing the new issue in your mailbox in 5-15 business days from then.

If you need to start or renew a subscription or buy the single issue, you can do so at

A Spooky Peek

forbidden forest kael mijoy 430x426 - A Spooky PeekBeing that tomorrow is Halloween, I could not help but get in one last spooky bit of polymer creativity. The thing that makes something truly scary is the stuff you can’t see, or so I have always felt. The bogeyman under the bed, the creature in the closet, the shape of some beast in the bushes … just the hint that something is there allows our imagination to run wild. And in the dark and the shadows, our imagination comes up with some pretty scary stuff!

So, seeing the pair of eyes staring out from the forest in this polymer illustration by , what are you thinking is in there? You know I was thinking those eyes need to be glow in the dark and then I would so want this to be a light switch plate because how freaky would that be in a shadowy room to have to reach into that to get the light on and banish the very fears it invokes? Can you hear your inner voice saying, “Don’t do it! You’ve seen this seen in the movies and someone always loses a hand!”

Okay … enough with trying to spook you all. Especially since I think I am very much spooking myself in the process. But isn’t it neat how our imaginations can add so much to what we look at? And isn’t it great that polymer clay allows us to create any such thing our imagination comes up with?

For those of you who celebrate this holiday in which we face and often embrace our fears, have a very safe and happy Halloween.



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tpa 125x125 sept2017 - A Spooky Peek    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Snakes in the Shadows

ellenjewett snake 430x509 - Snakes in the Shadows‘Tis the time to think creepy and ghoulish … if you’re into that kind of thing. And, yep, I am! I love Halloween, in large part because it is that one time of year the majority of our society looks at the darker side of life and has an appreciation for it, even embracing the scary and dark. I have always believed that you can find as much beauty in the dark and frightening things as you can in the sunshine. Mind you, I do love my sunshine, but I am very much drawn to the beauty of the night. So let’s greet the season with some dark beauty to set the mood.

And if anyone can pull off not just dark and beautiful but also elegant and enthralling, it would be the likes of Ellen Jewett. Her work, created in a variety of craft clays and hand painted, spins and swirls and teems with life but not just the life of the animal that the sculpture is centered on. Many of her sculptures also include other smaller signs of life, from insects to birds to flora that seem to be as alive as the creatures themselves. Her coloring fades from one shade to another, often giving the illusion of shadow and thus a bit of mystery.

The snake of this piece is accompanied by crows and wreathed in a vine of that hovers between death and life, black in places and blooming tiny white flowers in others. You can see by her detail shot on her website that photos are just not going to do it justice. There are shimmering greens and blues with dashes of copper among them as well as silvery and maroon scales along its length. And I’m just gleaning that from the photos. I can only imagine how intriguing this is in person.

Looking through Ellen’s galleries is always a treat. Treat yourself to a bit of that today by heading over to her website. 


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Snakes in the Shadows    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Growing More than Plants

amy scuplts dragon floral 350x352 - Growing More than PlantsI love the integration of the real world with artistic imagination. Finding this garden dragon hit all my buttons as I have also always been a bit of a dragon-loving nerd. The creator, Emily Coleman, creates all kinds of fantastic creatures made to blend in with natural settings.

Her inspiration for this comes from nature itself, of course, but it is driven by, in her words, “… a very strong passion for the environment and the protection of the world’s forests. As I began showing my tree dragons, I realized they could help me spread this passion.”

I have to agree. Anything that draws people to nature, takes them outdoors, and encourages them to plant in a garden or a pot, helps keep us close to nature and the earth which engenders an appreciation for them and, usually, some level of drive to do right by these things we find ourselves communing with. Putting a little something fantastical in among the plants is a fun and relatively novel way of displaying and celebrating creativity and the substance of human imagination.

Read a bit more about Emily and her inspirations on this Bored Panda article and see her other creations on her Instagram account and her website.




Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

tpa 125x125 sept2017 - Growing More than Plants    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


A Cover to Remember

Nocturnal ISO200Adj 350x295 - A Cover to RememberAs I wind up the final packing of the Colorado warehouse, I have been thinking about some of our more memorable covers and issues and had to stop and wonder what a few of our cover artists have been up to lately. So, I hope you will indulge me, if you are not curious yourself, as we look back at some of the best cover art on the magazine and catch up with some of those artists today.

To this day, one of the most popular covers we ever had was just the third issue of The Polymer Arts back in February of 2012. This is the cover art piece, without the layout. Raku Inuoe just blew everyone’s minds with his fantastical sculptural winged moths and butterflies. The intensity of the color and the boldness of the forms and lines were certainly attention-grabbing. We got tons of comments and emails about this cover and it was shared all over. It was immensely gratifying for a fairly new magazine to get that kind of attention.

If you read that issue, you would have learned that Raku does not swear allegiance to any one medium but swims from one to another, depending on his curiosity and need for expression at the time. Although it doesn’t look like he’s steered completely clear of polymer, he has certainly made another mark on the visual art world with his floral built creatures, recently featured in Colossal. Take a look at his Instagram page for a ride through his wild imagination.

If you are interested in getting a copy of the Spring 2012 – Creative Spaces issues, you will have to be content with a digital copy as the print copies sold out within a year of its publication. It was an amazing issue with a peek into the studios of Raku, Christi Friesen, Bettina Welker and Swirly Designs, as well as other great articles focused on your creative space. Get your copy here.



Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

tpa 125x125 sept2017 - A Cover to Remember    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


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.



Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - A Most Beautiful Expression    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Alluring Interpretation

joyce jrb piece 350x330 - Alluring InterpretationGoing sculptural in a jewelry direction, this piece really caught my eye back when and I never forgot it. There is something very alluring and even a bit Georgia O’Keefe about this piece. Here is the original post in which I was promoting the popular Summer 2012 – Recycle and Reuse issue:

With our focus on finishing the next issue (Recycle & Reuse theme with TONS of ideas for using scrap clay, canes, old pieces & parts, etc.) I’ve been attracted to work with this theme. This piece from the mysterious Joyce (JVL on Flickr) uses scrap from a prior class and a broken glass bead. It feels so alive, like a strange new anemone. Some things just come together, even better for not being planned.

As is turned out, the mysterious Joyce was Joyce Ramdan who created this piece during a class with Jana Roberts Benzon back then. Joyce seems to have wandered off into other crafts since then but has several examples of her reinterpretation of the technique, all of them quite beautiful, as you can see here on her Flickr. photostream.



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


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:

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.




Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

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


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