Polymer and ceramic

Some polymer artists aren’t content to just wear polymer, they have to live with it. New York’s Joan Israel and Germany’s Mareike Scharmer are two who surround themselves with color. They revel in bright patterns in quirky flavors.

Joan is partial to bottles and paintings. Give her a shapely bottle and she’ll give you back a masterpiece. This encrusted small ceramic pot is a current example.

Recently Mareike Scharmer has been adding polymer slices to vessels too. She’s added wildly colored canes to a mailbox, her toilet seat, a lampshade and a bunch of ceramic vessels. And she jumped into the granny square craze! Mareike designs interiors aimed at sparking children’s imaginations.

Hang on to your hat as you cruise through Joan and Mareika’s Flickr sites. These artists embrace color and believe that more is better.

Crocheted polymer

Polymer artists keep telling me how important play is to their art. In interviews for my book and video chats for StudioMojo, the topic surfaces repeatedly. I squirm a bit because I know I don’t often play in the studio. I fixed that today. No deadlines or pressure! Just fun with clay.

The granny squares that keep popping up online (see Lisa Clarke’s post) intrigued me. I bought this sweater to try to get over my new obsession. Rather than invest in yarn and crochet lessons, I decided to try making the squares in polymer.

An inexpensive online tutorial from Meg Newberg headed me in the right direction. My handy, dandy extruder set up made the process easy.

The patterns improved with each cane as I improvised and experimented. While this afghan bead won’t keep me warm at night, it warms my heart to have played today…and to have shared it with you.

Monday mind-benders

When you take a close look at this new Encrusted polymer bracelet from Jana Roberts Benzon are you as mesmerized as I am? The colorful texture is sumptuous and mystifying. How could you possibly make such a multi-dimensional pixel-like construction? It’s a Monday mystery.

Jana admits, “Honestly, when I finished it, I was just like dang, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”  More pix on Flickr and Facebook. Jana’s teaching in Philadelphia in April.

Polymer-covered pasta machine handle

Can a pasta machine handle survive the heat of the oven? Lisa Pavelka tested hers and the answer was yes. The next step, of course, was to cover it with a base layer of scrap clay and start adding cane slices.

She’ll never lose her handle in a class! Lisa’s theory is that you make better art with artistic tools.


Beach property

A bit of sunshine and the UK’s Pippa Chandler is already envisioning a hamlet of beach hut beads.

Her tiny polymer cottages measure 2cm high x 1cm wide with caned doors and windows and textures accentuated with acrylic paint.

With the kids back in school and the house quiet, Pippa’s muse hid for a while. Read her blog to see how she coaxed inspiration out of hiding for this little seaside adventure.

Travel tips

Travel to Australia via France! Isa07 (no real name) revisits a trip to Australia with this Melbourne necklace. She reproduced the colors as she remembered them. Then she built canes and stacks of mokume gane which she combined into a series.

The playful, carefree juxtaposition of the beads take you on a wonderful trip. Travel sensitizes your eye to the color and patterns of a place. These Australian beads from a French perspective seem right on target.

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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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