My eye can usually spot polymer at 50 paces and when it can’t, I’m delighted. Which is why Claire Maunsell’s latest batch of beads thrills me. There’s a fluidity that may come from her years working with glass. This polymer looks like something more.

Claire added bits of image transfer leftovers to her hollow beads, brushed on some new metallic paints, played with translucent clay, stippled surfaces and drew with inks. It’s her layering of colors and methods and messages that fools the eye and builds up a wonderful story.

Claire also shares her process in ways that I can understand. She reveals that, “Sometime ago I bought a set of metallic paints to use with polymer, but every time I tried them the result was so disappointingly garish that I would throw all the results away and curse my inability to resist temptation in art supply stores.” Who hasn’t been there?

She thoroughly describes her thought processes, her missteps and her techniques on her blog. I like going to her Flickr pages to get an overview of her results. What an inspiration.

Speaking of fooling the eye! I just looked at Judy Belcher’s latest trompe l’oeil polymer canes. You simply must study these!

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  • reply laurie prophater ,

    Fascinating!!! Love the color palette.

    • reply ronna sarvas weltman ,

      Claire is one of those artists who nails primitive perfectly. Her work looks so spontaneous, but you can tell from the incredible design and attention to detail that it’s very deliberate and controlled, from a single bead to a finished piece. Just doesn’t look that way. And her imagination … oh!!! Bravo!

      • reply Lenora ,

        Hi Cynthia,
        I love the photos, but all of the links took my to the potos, not to the blog.

        • reply claire maunsell ,

          Hi Lenora, can you tell I’m excited? You can link to my blog here:

          Thank you so much for featuring my work today Cynthia! I’m finding it is a process that allows a lot of discovery – also possibly, generates the desire to go BACK to the art supply store….

          • reply Cynthia Tinapple ,

            Thanks, Lenora…I fixed the links.


            • reply genevieve ,

              I continue to be inspired/amazed by Claire’s attention to process! She explores thoroughly, doesn’t she?! And I think this is part of the reason why her style is so very distinct.
              (go ahead back to the art store Claire…we’re waiting to see more!)

              • reply Elizabeth Freeman ,

                Truly inspiring!

                • reply JeannieK ,

                  These are extraordinary! They look like fossils.

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                  • I'm Cynthia Tinapple, an artist, curator, and leader in the polymer clay community for over 20 years.

                    On this blog I showcase the best polymer clay art online to inspire and encourage you. I also send out weekend extras in the premium newsletter, StudioMojo.

                    You can find my book, Polymer Clay Global Perspectives, on Amazon.

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