The Summer Cover!

ThePolymerArts 18 P2 cover DKacz med border 430x548 - The Summer Cover!This beautiful Monday, I’m sharing with you the latest cover for the upcoming issue of The Polymer Arts, graced by the beautifully balanced jewelry of Dorata Kaszczyszyn.

Summer is soon to be here and the Summer issue – themed “Everything in Its Place” – will be here next month to help you greet the season. You can look forward to such articles as:

  • Looking for Balance with Christi Friesen (part of a new regular section by Christi, called “What Are You Looking at?”)
  • The Art of Meredith Dittmar
  • Remembering Tory Hughes
  • Spilling the Beads: a textural tutorial with Nikolina Otrzan
  • Tiny Tiles: a variation tutorial with Chris Kapono
  • Design Your Own Silkscreens
  • Translucent Silkscreen: a tutorial with Sage Bray
  • Composing Photos for Every Occasion with syndee holt
  • Making the Most of Your Time
  • Lessons from Knitting with Ginger Davis Allman
  • Colors Spotlight with Lorraine Vogel by Lindly Haunani

Renewal notices went out over the last couple weeks but if you’ve not had the chance to renew your subscription or subscribe, you’ll want to be sure to do so soon so you can be on that initial list to get the first copies fresh from the printer (or for digital readers, fresh from our server). We lock down the mailing lists in the first week of May. The release date for the summer issue is set for May 20th.

If you have questions about your subscription, you’re welcome to write us at or, if you get this by email, just hit reply. Sydney, my fabulous assistant and keeper of subscription lists, will get back to you shortly but be a little patient if it takes a day or so. She’s just getting back from a very exciting weekend … she just got married! Congrats and all the best to Sydney and Ben!

100 Days of Clay

Ginger Davis Allman veneer day2 100dayproject 430x422 - 100 Days of Clay

Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree is doing a veneer day. A post of hers on Facebook alerted me to the #the100dayproject challenge she is doing these for and I figured that if Ginger, as busy as she gets, is doing this, then I should be able to as well so we busy women are getting even busier!

#the100dayproject is a general artistic challenge on Instagram to create one something each day for 100 days. The participant determines what they will do and with what medium, if they are even that specific. Some people are doing nothing but doodles while other people are creating completed pieces.

For instance, while Ginger is doing veneers in polymer, I am creating textural pieces and writing poetry to go with it (I’m posting these to my personal Instagram page, The Sage Arts.) The image here is Ginger’s Day 2 project. Her beautiful crackle is overlaid with silkscreen. It looks even cooler when you see it move as Ginger shows us in this little video.

There is nothing like being accountable to 2 million other people to get you back on track! If you want to learn more about the challenge, here is the Instagram page and the website. It did start on April 4, but that does not mean you can’t jump in and start a daily challenge too.

I am going to post highlights from those in the polymer community doing the challenge on our Instagram account for The Polymer Arts, so follow us there for an easy way to stay in the loop. And if you are taking the challenge, comment on this Instagram post and I will be sure we are following you back as I track the community’s involvement.

Silkscreens for Days

ezscreen 430x262 - Silkscreens for Days

Here is another great company whose products you’ll want to check out. The silkscreens seen here are from a new partner of ours, EZScreen. This mother-daughter business has been working with silkscreens for years but recently they have been researching the needs of the polymer community and now offer a line of great silkscreen designs—dozens and dozens of them—ready for you to snatch up. But what is unique about them is that the pre-made screens are not their primary product.

The central product for these ladies is actually a DIY silkscreen kit that allows you to make silkscreens of your own design or, if you prefer, they will make the screens for you, from artwork you send to them. Cool right? Now, that is my kind of thing! There is nothing like having your own signature patterns to work with because you absolutely know no one else is going to be popping up with those same patterns on their work.

I have not yet gone through the process of ordering these custom-made stencils or trying their kit but I’ll be ordering some when I get home to California next week. You can get started by going to their web page here for their DIY kits or here for the custom-made stencil information or this page for pre-made designs.

If you get our newsletter, you may already have seen the discount available there but if you missed it, just punch “PA15” into the promo code box in your cart. Go have fun! Keep in mind, they have a customer gallery on their webpage and there’s no polymer work there yet. Let’s get some up there!


All Out Pattern

LFCozzi belt necklaceOkay … so you know how I’ve been saying all week that you can’t lean on pattern alone. Well, I meant it but there is one kind of exception to that rule and that is, if you are going to do a lot of pattern, go all out with a lot of variation and then be reserved in other design elements so it doesn’t look messy. And this is what I mean by that.

Louise Fischer Cozzi focuses on pattern a lot. She will silkscreen, image transfer, etch, stamp or whatever suits to get the pattern down. I know this would have been made after she got more heavily into silkscreening but I can’t actually say whether any of it is. But that is fairly irrelevant because the idea is that you can see what using a lot of pattern, and successfully, looks like here.

There are more patterns here than I have been able to count but for all that chaos of pattern, there is this very clean collection of circles carrying it all along. Some variation in size and solid versus donut type circles mix it up some, but they are placed at regular intervals to keep everything orderly. A little order in the chaos allows the viewer to enjoy the variety without feeling lost in it. Plus this works as both a necklace and a belt so for those of us that like versatility, this piece has quite a bit going for it.

Louise does a lot of wholesale and a lot of shows so you don’t see her stuff bouncing around the internet too much. To see her latest work, just pop over to her website or check out what she is selling to us mere mortals in her shop.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Focus on pattern this weekend–bit it silkscreen, stamps, image transfers or even hand made marks. You could pick one pattern and see how many ways you can use it. It could be an accent on a bead or the background on a vase upon which you lay other elements. How does the use change how you see the pattern? Or go for an all out piece like the one here, using as many patterns as you can while keeping the design in check.


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Balancing Silkscreens

HBreil Radiating Rays silkscreenAs mentioned yesterday, silkscreen is great for adding pattern to a piece but you want to be careful that you don’t lean too heavily on the pattern to carry your design. As fun and novel as silkscreening can be for the maker, it is still just a visual texture. Something else has to come into play.

So, of course, I had to check out Helen Breil’s silkscreened pieces because I knew she’d have a fabulous example for us. This gorgeous bracelet gets energy and an interesting texture from the silkscreen but if it weren’t for the color choices of gold against a rich red and the undulating form, the pattern would not be overly interesting. But with texture, color and form combined, we have a very dramatic and energetic piece. Let’s not forget the anchor of that black focal point. Without it, all the movement and energy might be a bit much but the button in the middle gives the eye a place to rest before heading back out to take in beauty of this great combination of elements.

Of course, Helen’s shop is an excellent source of silkscreens as well as instruction on how to use them. You can find both on her website here and her Pinterest board of examples here. Also take a look at her video classes, including her new Magnetic Pendants class, all on her website.



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

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Many Faces of Silkscreen

noelia silkscreenI just realized the other day, as I was admiring a slew of silkscreen work by one Noelia Contreras, that I don’t think I’ve ever spent a week admiring this little gem of technique. So as I keep focused on fixing a couple snags that are in the way of getting the Spring issue off to the printer, let’s admire a some nice silkscreens and look at ways it can be used.

Noelia’s set seen here shows a number of applications for silkscreened clay. It works as a background, a foreground, a peek-a-boo ground (yes, I just made that up) and even to create singular objects to raise about the surface. I enjoy these pieces because they all have focal points, some more subtle than others, but it is more than just a swath of pattern. What I assume are brooches on the right side are probably my favorite designs because of the energy of their shape, just off-center focal point, and the couple of layers there that lead to a small spot of negative space. A bit of the cloth those will be set against will be framed in those negative spaces which integrates the brooch and its background. It’s a nice touch.

The silkscreen and patterns are the primary focus in these pieces, which can be a little tricky. Just using lots of pattern can make for weak design if the artist depends on it to be the sole point of interest. As much as we might like a pattern, it needs contrast and context, at the very least, to create strong design. Here there is a mix of pattern that invites the viewer to find relationships between pattern choices and enough contrast in other design choices, including those bold black outlines, to show the pieces were well thought out. You can see alternate views of most of these pieces on Noelia’s Flickrphotostream and in her website gallery.


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

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A Tower of Giraffes

WJdStJorre Browsing Giraffe bowl #2I know it’s Valentine’s Day and I should be posting hearts or something but I’m guessing you’ve had plenty of that already today. So how about looking at something we are all sure to love because who can resist a tower of cute giraffes (‘tower’ is what a group of giraffes is called, so says Wikipedia) or the amazing precision of Wendy Jorre de St Jorre’s artwork?

I know I couldn’t resist these guys. This bowl just made me smile along with the usual stare of wonderment that accompanies the moment I spy a new piece by Wendy. She is so masterful in her control of her images. This is not, however, one of her canes although I did wonder for a moment. They would be insanely precise canes but she is so amazing, I wouldn’t put it past her. Instead, these are silkscreens but they are not store-bought. She made the silkscreens herself so they are completely original designs.

Her preciseness does give her some grief on occasion, although it looks effortless from here. Here are her words from her posting of the first version of her browsing giraffes:

My newest bowl, I call this one “Browsing Giraffe”. It has been quite a long haul getting this one done. I had to figure out a way to make a silkscreen veneer that would fit around a bowl. With compass and pencil I drew some circles and came up with a template that fit the bowl and also would fit on the “mini” silkscreens I have. It took a few goes to get the sizing right, but eventually I got what I thought would work and made 2 silkscreens that joined together. 3 repetitions of these fit around the bowl just right….whew! I had to wait a few days for the sun to come out so I could make the screens and then It was ready, set, go. Unfortunately the paint I was using was not quite right, so another day gone until I could buy some more, but eventually the silk-screened veneers were done. They needed cutting to shape to fit the bowl, that was tricky business, but patience won out in the end.

Although Wendy has a website, you’ll want to head to her Flickr pages or her Facebook account to keep up with her latest and greatest work.

A very happy Valentine’s Day to you all. You are all my Valentines for reading and supporting my blog and publications. I am a very lucky girl to have such wonderful readers!


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

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