Working on the Inside

margit boehmer disk necklace 430x377 - Working on the InsideAnother way to push the disk element in strung jewelry design is to create designs on those inside surfaces. This might push you to design the disks in such a way as to open up space between them so that the work on the inside could be seen. That might present a bit of a challenge but it will likely present some interesting options for added accents and forms.

Margit Bohmer did just that. Her solution to show off the intricate and highly colorful faces of her disks was to slightly dome them and have them stacked in pairs with the concave sides in, allowing an angled view to all the beautiful color and textures she worked into them. It looks like quite a bit of work too. I just love seeing this kind of dedication and commitment to a piece. Each bead face is different and could stand on its own but all together, they create an engrossing piece that will probably take the owner years to become familiar with all its varied surfaces.

A riot of color and texture is a signature of Margit’s and she never leaves us wanting for more of either. See her latest work on her Flickr photostream.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Choose a basic or commonly used design and push it. By sketching, planning, or just playing with your materials, change the form or the way this basic design is constructed as far as you can until you come up with something that intrigues and excites you then create your own original work from the ideas you came up with.


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Holes Throughout

doolittle fan carvedAs a decorative elements, holes, more than anything else, reveal things. In some work, there is literally something that would otherwise be hidden, within or behind a layer the artist has cut a hole in. But sometimes, especially with a collection of holes, it reveals space itself.

I have presented work by Mark Doolittle once before but I look in on his work regularly. His work is very hole-y. He carves gourds and wood full of holes to reveal space not just inside his pieces by around it. Sometimes his holes break into the surrounding space, feeling unfinished and maybe even a little broken. But that there is a great metaphor for most of our lives. We gather these holes as we go through the years and maybe they widen or their borders break off but there is beauty even in the damage we endure, especially when we can embrace it for the experiences they represent.

I apologize for waxing a bit on the poetic and abstract this week and appreciate that you allow me to match my writing to my mood. It is hard not to have life creep in on our work some times but in talking about art, I can always find joy, especially when I get to share what I find.

I think you will find further joy in taking a moment to go to Mark’s website and see the huge variety of stunning pieces.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Explore holes or what you can take away from the pieces you are working on. See how they give you functional opportunities as well as added design interest. Try some pieces with and without holes. How does having those open spaces change how the piece feels?


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Holes in our Lives

StaciLouiseSmith beadsFirst I must apologize that I didn’t get a blog out on Saturday. My father took a turn for the worse on Friday and that same day most of my siblings along with my kids and grandkids arrived to help me celebrate my recent marriage. After much deliberation, we went ahead with the celebration as there was nothing we could do and it could be weeks before the inevitable with dad. We toasted to dad at my house Sunday only to find out that as we toasted, he passed away. I’m not sure how I feel yet. We did not have a good relationship most of my life but we were friends in the end. I think that makes this easier to take but harder to navigate as I don’t know what emotions may surface as the days go by.

I almost took the week off from blogging but decided it wouldn’t matter much. Work and art is what often keeps us going through the many ups and downs that life throws at us. Art is also, for me and many others, a very honest thing, and I think, when you have a complicated relationship with a person who figured hugely in your life, art can be a refuge, an exploration, and a comfort as one figures things out when they are suddenly no longer there.

Right now, I am not sad, rather, I am relieved as he’d been through so much the last few years. But there is a hole that I will have to figure out how to fill or to live with. I don’t mind holes … you can see things through them, revealing layers and depths and you can’t help but notice them. So this week, my posts might be short, I just don’t know yet, but I’ll post pieces where holes and spaces play a large part. And maybe we can all look at what these spaces mean to us.

So today, with holes and cracks and imperfections that I think all come together as pure beauty, I have a selection of focal beads by Staci Louise Smith. The various textures could symbolize the complexity of our lives and our emotions. I love the way the central swath of crackle looks like a horizon and is also the point at which the holes appear. There is a lot of metaphor we could pull out of pieces like these. That is the wonder and beauty of art, that the best of it let’s us read what we need to from it.

For more of Staci’s work, you can wander over to her website or spend some time on her blog.


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The Landscape of Space

Landscapes aren’t just about land. Or maybe I should use the term only when talking of land, and should rise to the suggested use of such terms as waterscapes, skyscapes, and moonscapes for other varieties of terrain. But what about vast stretches of scenery for which we don’t have a term? The necklace below is a “scape” of some sort. Maybe a spacescape?

Silvia Ortiz de la Torre always amazes with her ingenious designs and fearless colors. The fitted design of these hanging beads steps just outside of what she commonly does. Silvia is a master of the dramatically sophisticated through highly saturated color and heavy repetition, but here she’s gone a little darker in color and has added all kinds of variation, while still keeping it anchored through the repetition of the mirrored base shapes arranged around that “A”-like center bead.



There is less of a connection between the pieces here than the dragon-scape you saw yesterday, but they are all still related and make up an appropriate scene with the randomness of points we see in the stars.

Enjoy a bit of time on Silvia’s Flickr photostream or her Etsy site for a nice blast of color this Tuesday.

Building out the Box

With my connection (and faith) in the internet restored, we will resume chatting about boxes and ways to expand on the popular form.

For our weekend peek at lidded containers, I saved a piece by Kim Detmers. The concept here simply stretches the way that you can use your ‘canvas’. Even though a canvas is a flat space to begin with, that doesn’t mean you need to create your work based on that kind of two-dimensional space. Consider possible ways to build up, build out, and work into the space around the vessel, not just the ‘real estate’ that is the surface of the vessel. Kim builds up on the lid, and out into the space above the container. She has also made the lid the unmistakable focal point, which is a bit unusual since it would seem that the tendency is to make the lid an accent or compliment to the body of the box. In fact, with the lid on, it may not look like a container at first, but rather more of a sculpture. And in essence, what should an artistically formed box meant for a bit more than function be but a sculpture?



I know the concept of building into space, considering design and composition in terms of the form, and then using the space around it can sometimes be daunting to ponder. But it is great fun and quite visually impressive when something as simple as a box has been grown into a sculpture that lives in the space around the container, not just on its surface.

If you want a little more information on how to use the space surrounding your pieces, check out the article “Create With Space” in the very popular Spring 2012 issue of The Polymer Arts about this very subject. (Said issue which is just about sold out in the print format, so if you want this or the Summer 2012 issue, you might want to order them soon before we run out.)

And if you like Kim’s work, take a look at her engaging blog and her Etsy shop.

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