Material Suggestions

Silvia Ortiz de la Torree Paisajes agrestes012116If you read Friday’s post about the fashion illustrators who used what we see around us every day to design their images of women’s clothing, then you might see the connecting thread to this week’s theme. I thought we’d explore the idea of the outcome of a technique suggesting the form and imagery of art work.

Crackle techniques and approaches to treating cracked clay have been rather popular the last few years, but they have been primarily used as surface texture in abstract and contemporary jewelry. I can almost see Silvia Ortiz de la Torre looking down at a conditioned sheet (you know how they get those cracked up edges after running it through the pasta machine) or one she created using a cracked clay technique, and with the sheets edge sitting horizontal on the work table, she saw the suggestion of a landscape. Or perhaps she saw crackle work created by other artists and she saw the landscape come out of those pieces. However it came to her, I think we are looking at an example of inspiration coming from the look of the material.

Just as we might look up at the sky and see animals in the clouds, we do also see imagery in what we are creating, unbidden and often unexpected, but it’s there. It’s hard for our minds not to try to create imagery in what it sees. The question is, do you let it guide your work? It is neither right or wrong to explore the imagery you see in the scraps before you or in the treated surface of the clay. It’s just another way to let the material guide what you create.

Silvia is definitely a texture enthusiast. These pieces are actually quite a departure from her bold and highly saturated colors. but the exploration of texture is certainly alive here. You can see more of her textural explorations and other ‘material suggestions’ on her Flickr photostream.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Take a look at something you worked on but didn’t complete or pull out some scrap and start playing with it. Don’t try too hard, just turn it this way and that and ask yourself what you see in it. Do you see faces, animals, objects, places, or patterns you hadn’t seen before? Find something intriguing and let it lead you in a little playtime or into working towards a finished piece.


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Creatures from the Deep

AHumpert deep-sea-creatures-10As artists, we think of our imagination as a major muscle, if not the primary one used when we’re creating. But how much do you stretch that muscle?

In craft art, because we also have to create steps, a process, and consider function and durability, our minds spend a lot of time in the purely logical, problems solving sections of our brain. Not that the imagination and problem solving are not connected; they absolutely are. But pure imagination is something we don’t always practice. So, here is a little something to push you to do so.

These fun bracelets are the work of the ever creative Anke Humpert. Using translucent clay in a unique design and decorating it with sea creatures she made up is just the start here.

As she explained to me, “The bracelets have a design that glows in black light! That is why they are called deep-sea creature bracelets. You would not normally notice the night side of them, only if you go to a night club or something similar. They also have a special hinge. Most of it is made with polymer only very little metal involved.”

These bracelets, as it turns out, are the centerpiece for one of the three classes she will be teaching at the Cabin Fever Clay Arts Fest next month. In describing the class for prospective students, she says, “Since we do not know much about the deep seas, we will have fun and let our imagination run wild creating plants (or even animals?) as we imagine them.” And that freedom and use of the imagination is what inspired me to share this today and create a bit of a different challenge for those following along.

By the way, I do have a Flickr page for sharing the results of the challenges I’ve been posting, only I haven’t had time to snap pics of what I’ve done, so there’s nothing on it yet really. But if any of you want to get on while I catch up over here, I would love to see what you’ve been up to. Go here to join in!

Does Anke’s class intrigue you? She is also teaching her Big Beads and fun hand tool texturing techniques. She’s joined by a slew of amazing talent including Lisa Pavelka, Maureen Carlson, Dayle Doroshow, Lindly Haunani, Doreen Kassel, Jana Lehmann, Ann and Karen Mitchell, Nan Roche, Lynne Anne Schwarzenberg, and more. There is still room in almost every class, so, if you are interested, jump in while you have your pick of classes still. You can find the classes on this PDF and registration on their webpage.


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Let your imagination run wild and recreate an image, motif, shape, or a faux effect you might otherwise recreate as it is seen in nature or as we expect it to be, making your own version. A rose with black petals, a plaid cat, turquoise in pink, purple leather, a square pendant with a chunk missing in the corner, or a peace symbol with Mickey Mouse ears. Just change it up and make it your own.


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

TPA McGuire blog ad - Creatures from the Deep The Great Create Sept 15 blog - Creatures from the Deep Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog - Creatures from the Deep 2015 12 28 12.16.59 - Creatures from the Deep

PCA Nov 15 Blog never knead july 2015c 125 - Creatures from the Deep Tavoos Blog Nov 2015 ver2 - Creatures from the Deep businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front


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