Rough Derivation …and HUGE sale –$5.20 magazines, $13 books!

dEbby Wakley 430x552 - Rough Derivation ...and HUGE sale --$5.20 magazines, $13 books!Before we get into the last of our rough stuff this week, how about something that is really easy? Super inexpensive publications!

We have a MOVING SALE (I’m finally moving the business to California from Colorado) so to reduce my packing … everything printed prior to 2017 is 35-40% OFF our base retail price in my Etsy shop. Most print magazines are $5.20 and Polymer Journeys is only $13. Just click here!

You can also get similar deals on which is a great option if you want to stock up on Lisa Pavelka and Christi Friesen products too.

To wrap up this week of rough stuff, I am going to do something I usually avoid and show you what is essentially derivative work but definitely with an effort to create one’s own version.

The piece here is by Debby Wakley but the texture was derived from Eva Haskova’s “Earth Layers” series in which Eva created punched and tooled layers on domed lentil style beads. I choose to show Debby’s version because I think it shows a fairly direct translation of what we can see in Eva’s work, but the changes Debby made give her work a different feeling.

Eva’s work is very cleanly finished. Even when the edges are rough, you get a sense of control over the material that makes every element and every tool mark feel deliberate. Debby’s adaptation is a lot looser with freeform shapes instead of Eva’s balanced circles and then there is the imperfectly removed paint used to bring out the texture. Although Eva’s work shows a mastery of the material that is deservedly admired, I think Debby did justice to her inspiration but going with a loose, organic approach that looks to be more in line with Debby’s work as a whole.

It is obvious that Debby takes a lot of classes and most everything she posts can be linked back to a well-known master and teacher of polymer. But you can see her efforts to break out and create her own work. I find that promising and hope, in time, to see her process all the techniques she has learned into her own vision and expression. As you may have heard me say before, I am not an advocate of posting working one did in a class but if you are working towards your own variation, there may be some merit in showing how you translate what you learn, especially if one has the long-range goal of finding their own voice down the line.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Let another person’s work be your jumping-off point. Don’t copy but rather adapt what you like in any one piece by an admired artist into your preferred forms, colors, and techniques. You can emulate them as closely as you need to at first but set aside these exercises after a few runs and create something that is definitely and purely your own.


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

Neverknead 052217 - Rough Derivation ...and HUGE sale --$5.20 magazines, $13 books!   The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Arrangements in Layers

Another collection of work for your consideration of examples in variety are these brooches by Betsy Baker. She takes similarly treated sheets with variations in color and texture, cuts them in an assortment of shapes and layers them to create compositions with different effects and impact.


You could do the same thing with some standard pieces you have been making. Vary the form, imagery,  combinations and composition to see what you can come up with. Betsy actually does this quite a bit and shares her results in collages and close-ups on her Stonehouse Studio Flickr pages.


If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

14-P2 CoverFnl-blog   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-5   Damask Ad

Devising Variation … in Crackle!

I’ve been lining up some ideas for this week’s posts about variation, as requested. In the process, it occurred to me that we actually should write a full length article for the magazine on this subject–it’s really broad and very important to expanding an artist’s repertoire and skill. But I thought we could go over the basics and maybe get you thinking more about how to push what you already enjoy doing until we can put an in-depth article together for you.

I thought we’d used crackling as an example of how to start working out variations. Crackling is one of my favorite techniques because of the varied texture it creates as well as the wide possibilities in color, shimmer and ways it can be applied.

The basic process for working out variations starts with getting a handle on what the core concept is behind the technique, form or approach you want to expand on. In crackle, the core of the technique is based in how crackling works. Polymer is an elastic material that can be moved and stretched without breaking apart. If you adhere something that is not elastic on the clay and then stretch the clay, the non-elastic material has to break to move with it–this is what we call crackling. So any material that is non-elastic, can be laid on and adhered to raw polymer in a continuous sheet and that that will break relatively easily can be used for crackling.

Gold leaf is very common for crackling texture because it meets all the criteria plus its shiny surface contrasting with the non-reflective surface of the clay makes for very pretty effects. Tempura and other non-elastic paints (note: acrylics are quite elastic so they just stretch with the clay) can be laid on raw clay and, once dried, will also meet the non-elastic and easy to break criteria. Paints greatly broaden your options for color and texture as how the paint is applied (thickly, thinly, with gaps, etc.) controls the type and subtlety of the crackling. And additions to the paint including mica powders, alcohol inks, glitter–whatever material can mix into the paint and keep it non-elastic–allows you to change the color and visual impact.

Here are beads by Janice Abarbanel showing several variations on her crackle technique in different shades applied in a variety of ways to lentil beads.  Some of the crackling is very subtle while other variations on it are quite bold. In this case, the biggest variation is in the choice of background clay color.

3271230357_dda4d166ce (4)


So with just this idea that you can use anything non-elastic, you have a huge treasure trove of possible variations for crackling. Then add in changing how you use it such as going from stripes to wide swathes of it like in the beads above or applying bits as accents, borders or cut up in shapes to create specific imagery, moving from just using crackled clay in jewelry to using it on home decor or even sculpture … the possibilities are really endless.

This same process–figuring out the basic premise of a technique then pushing yourself to think beyond what you usually do–can be applied to any technique or approach. Try it out–play with crackling or any technique you are into. In the meantime, if you like Janice’s subtle crackle technique, she does sell a tutorial in her Etsy shop for it. That could be a fun way to start experimenting with variations on crackle!

Do you have an unusual way of working with crackling? Drop us a comment below (if you’re getting this by email, click on the post’s header and it will take you to the page where you can leave a comment–it won’t be share-able if you just respond to the email.)  If you have photos up of your crackle work, leave us a link so we can go check it out. Seeing a wide variation can help us all expand our ideas about what to do with crackling!

%d bloggers like this: