Tips and Tricks

Nurturing tangents

Lynn Yuhr let herself go off on a tangent on PolymerClayDaily

Lynn Yuhr (theFlyingSquirrelStudio) went off on a tangent and developed a new line of spontaneous jewelry.

“Tangents,” Lynn explains, “a completely different line of thought or action. When you least expect them, when you can’t afford the time for them, knowing you can’t control them, they happen anyway.”

This lovely gradient topped with succulent petals Lynn named Hazel. Read about how Lynn decided to nurture her tangents and follow wherever they led.

Do you allow yourself to go off on a tangent from time to time?

Step by step with Loretta Lam

Loretta Lam steps us through a necklace to start the week on PolymerClayDaily.com

There’s nothing juicier than a step-by-step from Loretta Lam to kick off the week. First, the sketchbook magic pulls us in. Then the jumble of companion canes brings color into the equation.

“I spend a lot of time on the palette. I know the feelings that I want to convey and it has to be just right. In this case – fresh, vibrant and youthful but still sophisticated,” says Loretta.

Loretta Lam steps us through a project to start the week on PolymerClayDaily.com

The naked bead forms seem dark before she brightens them with slices of patterns.

If you go to her Facebook page, you’ll find a slideshow in which she arranges and completes the necklace plus lots more pictures to encourage you to trot off to your workspace.

Loretta will be teaching her Designing with Distinction methods in Durfort, France in October and in Monza, Italy in September.

Polymer flattery

Claire Wallis rolls polymer into shells

The UK’s Claire Wallis builds a cane pattern, backs it with white and shapes it into an imitation cone shell. A bit of weathering with paint and sand paper completes the effect.

Claire Wallis rolls polymer cane slices into shells

Claire loves to simulate nature. PCD has featured her water cane, her faux agate, her polymer knitting and now shells.

Mother Nature must be flattered with all Claire’s imitations.

Nicking polymer

Juliya Laukhina nicks a net of pattern on PolymerClayDaily.com

Moscow’s Juliya Laukhina refines her carving with this newest batch of beads on Instagram. Long nicks of clay dramatically reveal contrasting layers underneath in an almost net-like pattern.

On Etsy, you can see her trying other shapes and sizes as well.

Cuticle cutters are great for carving raw polymer. Could that be what she’s using? I’m adding one more must-try to my studio list. Yours too?

Terrazzo canes

Nikolina Otrzan's tutorial updates the spattered look with a new cane technique

Just as I was admiring the speckled heishi beads in yesterday’s post, Croatia’s Nikolina Otrzan unveiled her new terrazzo cane tutorial for what she calls a Pixie Cane.

Artists from Pier Voulkas to Angela Bahrenholtz to Alice Stroppel and others have come up with methods of making multicolor terrazzos.

Nikolina’s variation is tighter, neater, more intense. I ran to my studio to see if I could do it. My first effort was satisfying even though I was working with too-soft clay. These blocks will make great veneers. Nik is planning another tutorial that will cover projects made using the patterns.

Caners will be pleased to achieve a random pixelated look that goes beyond a surface effect. Yesterday’s spattered beads from Marina Rios were created with what I’m guessing were low-fire enamel powders. You know how it is when you hit upon a method that’s right up your alley? I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm.

Faceted heishes

Chicago’s Marina Rios (fanciful devices) made some very cool heishi beads by covering faceted tubes of polymer with acrylics and enamel paints.

Marina Rios low-fire enamel-painted heishi beads on PolymerClayDaily

“At all hours I find myself crouched over tiny, crusty treasures found in my home country of Uruguay, or in midwestern flea markets, or culled from the brilliant artisans of Etsy” says Marina, “I am madly in love with crafting, altering, assembling little bits of wearable art.”

Look at more of Marina’s rustic, tribal, mixed media assemblages on Instagram.

These beads have already sold on Etsy so we’ll have to make our own versions. I plan to make facets on long extruded tubes, then color them and chunk them up.

Sometimes simple ideas grab me and won’t let go so I post them on PCD as a way to remind myself to try them.

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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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