Colors of the Subtropics

gen williamson subtropical 430x542 - Colors of the Subtropics

Creating variations on a theme is one very good way to really understand and perfect a design, plus you often end up with a lot of work to sell!

This set was one I was actually going to talk about the week before last, as another example of how to work paint into polymer in a way that polymer alone can’t accomplish. Yes, Genevieve Williamson uses an antiquing process but instead of just trying to give the work an antique look, the technique really feels like it is more about softening the colors and bringing out the scratched up surfaces that are her signature texture.

The look is a bit grungy but definitely sophisticated. The effect transcends the materials used so that the look is all about the color and style and what they are made of is of no consequence. The quiet affinity Genevieve shows for the organic is rather remarkable in that all that her shapes are primarily geometric, however loosely cut and carved. Her colors are usually more subdued as well but these subtropical colors are a pleasant departure, still keeping all her signature marks and shapes but giving the work a sunny and fun look and creating variation within her own style as well as this line of subtropic earrings.

Genevieve’s style is unique as is how much she shares about her life and process online. If you read her blog, you do really feel like you know and understand where her work is coming from. It’s a pleasure to read her posts, however few and far between they are. You can find those posts and a gallery of her work on her website as well as work for sale in her Etsy shop.

Creative Composition

bellou denim 430x504 - Creative CompositionAnother great contribution to the Spring issue was in our artists’ gallery. All of our artists are unique in their approach but it is Isabelle, known online as Bellou, whose designs are really standing out.

Isabelle creates bold, contemporary adornments that are polished to a glass-like shine. Her work often has a centered focal point but the balance of the components are set in asymmetric arrangements or are all shaped differently with different treatments. However, in all the disparity there is a common element that brings it together.

This is one of the pieces she sent us that we couldn’t work into the gallery pages. On the one side, there are wide, solid pieces, dense with texture, but on the other side, the space is opened with a series of cut-out shapes that have the same mica shift texture as the other side. The rest of the center piece brings in a grounding energy to the movement of lines and shapes that play across the necklace.

To see more of Bellou’s work, take a look at her shop pages here.

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.


Circling Off-Center

Nakit up Ayahuasca 430x546 - Circling Off-Center

Because circles are so symmetrical, variation within the circular design or asymmetry in the placement of the circles can be employed to add interest and energy to a piece.

In these enticingly textured earrings, Ursa Polak includes variation in not only the placement but the color and pattern of the background, and she even changes things up between the two earrings so they aren’t an exact match. Even the circular impressions, which at first glance might appear to be the same stamp treated differently, do not have the same patterning. But because the stamps are all radiating circular patterns and the form of the beads are the same on both sides, they are easily seen as a pair.

This asymmetry in conjunction with symmetrical elements is a common theme in Ursa’s work. You can see what I mean by heading over to her Flickr photostream, Instagram page, or her DaWanda shop.




Painted Parts

leanne fergeus paintedparts 430x407 - Painted PartsToday, I would like to bring up the subject of painting polymer. Although the attitude is changing, there is still some unwritten rule out there that you really shouldn’t have to paint polymer because all the colors and possible inclusions to create variations in color and texture are already in, or can be added, to the clay. But like any material, the way polymer presents color and inclusions is quite a bit different from the way other materials will do it. And sometimes it’s a lot harder to accomplish. This is art, not some kind of skill challenge, at least not for a lot of us. I am all for challenging our skills and seeing how far we can push the clay but sometimes, you just want to have at it with some form of pigment that you can spontaneously and freely brush, dab, draw or drop onto the clay.

Take these beauties, for instance. It looks like, from the edge of the treated clay sheet in the back, that Leanne Fergeus did a bit of splashing about, in a rather linear manner, with maybe some alcohol inks on a sheet of pale colored clay.  Then she dashed either metallic inks (I got myself a selection of these from Poly Clay Play but have yet to play with them!) or metallic acrylics. And the effect is just stunning. Very painterly, kind of sunset-like but mostly it’s just a great energized and confident-feeling color palette and texture. And you could not achieve this kind of look with clay alone. The clay allows for shaping the painted surface and so is integral, just not its inherent color.

Leanne is partial to alcohol inks and does lovely loose work with them on, primarily, simply shaped pendants. You can see more of her work on Instagram and on her website.

Painterly Sticks

Patibannister fish sticks 430x449 - Painterly SticksI thought these pieces were a good reminder that adding paint to a carved or textured piece doesn’t mean antiquing or otherwise pressing paint into the recesses, something we see a lot of and for good reason. It does create a wonderful effect. But paint can be added to the raised areas as well. This will highlight (in a more dramatic fashion than the way the favored mica powders can always accomplish) the pattern or imagery, as Pati Bannister does here.

Pati calls these “Fish Sticks”. Pretty cute name to go with the fun, loose, painterly feel of these earrings. The polymer tiles are apparently very small as well—all of 1 5/8 (40mm) long so the paint is able to jazz up a tiny space quite a lot with its varied color while adding a subtle texture.

Pati uses paint quite regularly on polymer as well as creating paintings on more traditional painting surfaces. Pati also stays busy with a well-rounded online presence on Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr along with selling her work on Etsy.



Lit from the Inside

lit heart 430x270 - Lit from the InsideHere is a neat little idea for hollow pendants of all kinds and we get to stick with the heart theme started last week as well.

The translator couldn’t decide on the artist’s name but I think it is spelled out as Lena Yolka, a Russian architect who likes to play with whatever she can get her hands on, it seems. And she really likes her Dremel. So after creating the hollow hearts, she thought a few holes would make for great texture, which it does. The crowning touch, though, was adding the tiny LED inside. That certainly makes it eye-catching.

Lena hasn’t had a recent entry in her LiveJournal and I couldn’t find other links to her work but you can admire her holey work and other pieces here until I or someone else dig up more on this creative soul.

Happy Accidents

CMcGee torn mosaic 430x430 - Happy AccidentsAlthough they are not always pretty, not at first, happy accidents can lead to wonderful techniques and inspiring design. I keep bumping into pieces recently that came from just such incidents, such as this ripped mosaic technique Cindi McGee happened upon.

This feels like the beginning of a foray into this approach to mosaics for Cindi and I am hoping we’ll see more of what she does with this. I think if larger pieces or more intricate pieces were created, you could have some really amazing visual textures not to mention using up lots of scrap clay!

Have you had any happy accidents lately? I find with polymer that nearly every accident is an opportunity to not just learn about how the material and one’s approach works but to find more techniques and effects. Take a close look at the present Winter cover of The Polymer Arts and Emily Squires Levine’s vase. Do you see the “accident” it had? It got scorched in the oven but you hardly notice because it makes for a natural coloring of the organic color palette. Not that I recommend trying to burn your polymer (burning polymer gives off toxic fumes) but before you get upset that something didn’t work as you wanted it to, ask if it is just leading you down a new path with new ideas.

You can find more of Cindi’s adventurous work through her blog pages and her Instagram account.

Celine Crushes It

Ccharuau leaves steel 430x562 - Celine Crushes It

Another artist with a bunch of new images posted recently on Flickr is  Celine Charuau. Her alien-like plant forms an interesting combination of materials and forms have taken on a sparkly and crumbled texture, maybe from crushed shells. I’ve seen a similar product used in acrylic nail art although she doesn’t list that.

Here she balances the texture polymer forms with steel leaves. Although the beads are more dimensional, I like the echo of the leaf shapes with the pod shapes. They are basically the same shapes but contrast in dimensionality and texture. It is also the quieter of the pieces she created with this intriguing new texture.

You can see the rest of this collection to date on her Flickr photostream.

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