Secret sauce finishes

Adriana Allen's bumpy, bubbly, bold finish on

Texas’ Adriana Allen (adrianaallenllc) has concocted a secret sauce for her new Nebula and Sunset earrings. She adds very bumpy grunge over great colors and amplifies the effect with a dash of gold.

Polymer artists continue their tradition of camouflaging the material with finishes that beg to be examined more closely. The trend is exciting and encourages lots of experimentation. Seems we’re getting bolder.

StudioMojo (the weekend newsletter) offers 6 tips for talking about our work. We look at the latest products that will help us mix up our own signature finishes and refine our personal aesthetic. Join us!

Fish for the rainforest

Ann Kruglak creates fish for the rainforest, a win-win project on

Colorado’s Ann Kruglak (MysticDreamerArt) has helped save thousands of acres of rainforest with her polymer art. She has donated 100% of her earnings since 2010 to the Rainforest Trust.

The project allows Ann to put her money where her mouth and her heart are. At the same time, her art has taken leaps forward as she has created hundreds of pieces of wall art and jewelry. Her colors have grown brighter and her textures deeper on clearly defined shapes to match her energetic retro patterns.

Ann is passionate about both her art and her service project. She sends each piece off with prayers of peace. It’s a win-win use of time and talent. Here she is on Instagram. Thanks, Ann.

Hitting the sweet spot

Pondering how Carol Beal works without supervision on

Kansas’ Carol Beal (beadunsupervised) hits a sweet spot with this layered pendant. What grabs you? The glowing color? the intersecting lines? The overlapping shapes? Note how the cording color is repeated in a slim sliver on the edge of one layer.

The red stripe finds its way to very small bead at the bottom. Distress on the edges adds an allure too.

Don’t you love the idea of working “unsupervised” with only your very arty self suggesting what to try next? It works for Carol as you can see on Instagram and Flickr.

Mash-up of memory

Jana Roberts Benzon taps into her floral design past on

Utah’s Jana Roberts Benzon can’t stop carving polymer and now she understands why. Jana explains.

This newest mash-up of my carving and murmuration techniques has been rewarding, As I was making these small arrangements I realized that something felt very familiar. For 20 years, I had my own floral design company! Assembling these new little gardens woke up some old muscle memory from my floral work. There it was, ready for service! The body doesn’t forget. Those things we practice lie in wait for later use.

Textiles, illustration, painting, cooking and other crafts we’ve loved can imbue works with our history. What echoes from your past reappear in your designs?

Polymer that changes

Christine Harris' Transmutation looks at change on

Virginia’s Christine Harris has built a growing body of work about change, including this Transmutation which is one of her works on exhibit at Lemon Tree Gallery.

Being both a sculptor and an art therapist, Christine welcomes change and has a strong interest in art as a vehicle that makes growth possible. As a child, she was deeply affected by her trips to the cemetery every week with her great-grandmother.

That helps explain why she is drawn to mythology, nature, the animal world, and scary movies. Learn more in this YouTube video, on Facebook and her blog.

As you approach spring, are ideas of growth and the changes it brings appearing in your work?

Circling back to simple

Anouk Stettler bends simple clay into charming shapes on

Switzerland’s Anouk Stettler (Habetrot) looks like she’s having fun as she bends and twists ropes of polymer into earrings like these.

She explains, “I make costume jewelry. I do not use gold, silver, and gems. I am not a goldsmith. My works are made of polymer clay, leather and brass –  beautiful to look at and memorable for its wearer. Its value lies in the individuality, the creative process and the time I invest in each piece.” Get Anouk’s full effect on Instagram.

After pushing ourselves toward increasingly complex shapes and techniques, it’s good to circle back to simple and delightful ideas.

If you’re looking for more info about the quirky and weird paths your fellow artists are taking, join us at StudioMojo on Saturdays where we gather the most interesting ideas, tools, and trends I run into so that you can round out your polymer education. Join us!

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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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