Tips and Tricks

Hewitt’s cane-inspired fabric

You may be used to making polymer clay buttons to match fabric, here’s an idea that turns the tables. The picture isn’t great but the concept is terrific.

Enterprising polymer clay artist and seamstress Jema Hewitt has begun using Spoonflower, a print-on-demand fabric company in North Carolina, to make fabric from photos of her polymer clay canes.

She explains that, “I just took a photo of my polymer clay slab, tweaked it and cropped it in photoshop and saved a 300dpi jpg. The polymer clay is on the left, the fabric on the right of the photo!” Click on the picture and look closely to get the full effect.

The UK artist is considering producing a line of corsets or waistcoats from her polymer-inspired companion material. While corsets were certainly not the first items that popped into my head, Jema has 20 years experience in the theatre, bridal and costuming business and after a browse through her sites (Kindred Spirits, Steampunk Jewellery, Etsy and her blog SparklyJem) you’ll see how it’s a natural next step for this designer.

It’s an exciting concept to consider at the start of your week.

Carlson’s story necklace

Maureen Carlson’s necklace tells a charming story and invites a dialogue…and isn’t that what we want our jewelry to do?

She tells of her winter trip to a family reunion in simple polymer clay beads. And she suggests several ways that you might use this technique to tell your stories.

I saw Maureen wearing this intriguing necklace and wanted to know more. Now I’m itching to make one of my own. Enjoy this little video of our conversation. Maureen’s new jewelry-sized face molds will make their debut in November.

Campbell’s faux batik buzz

Heather Campbell Faux Batik Brooch

One of the techniques that built a buzz at the IPCA retreat in Chicago was the faux batik method that Heather Campbell demoed. Faux batik fits perfectly with Heather’s complex, gilded and textured style and looks in sync with the approaching fall colors. She’s uploaded some new samples to her blog.

I missed the Chicago event in July so I’ve spent the afternoon trying to research a bit more about the process. The closest I’ve come is Judy Belcher’s method in her Creative Traditions book.

Heather Campbell - Faux Batik 2

I’m not sure that’s how Heather is achieving her effects, but either way my mind is reeling with ideas. Already variations on this theme are popping up on the web. Thanks to Lindly Haunani for pointing out what I missed.

Prophater’s pop cans

Shapes cut from soda cans and covered with polymer clay are the trick behind this playful necklace from Laurie Prophater. The telephone wire used to secure the beads to rubber cord complete this reuse, recycle design.

A complete how-to of Laurie’s process appears in the autumn issue of Belle Armoire jewelry magazine. Laurie’s working on more variations using this technique that you can see on her Flickr site.

Vacation update

Thanks for your help. The network has been repaired. Here’s a picture of Maureen Carlson’s early morning introduction to a magnificent moose in our backyard.

Tinapple upstairs/downstairs polymer

When I told a friend that I wasn’t ready to share my studio work this week, she suggested I show my bedroom instead. I ran upstairs and snapped a few pictures of the polymer clay in my bedroom. No tidying, no photoshopping (ok, I omitted the chair that catches laundry).

I wake every morning to a collection of vibrant colors and patterns created by wonderful friends. Their stories inspire me and their friendships keep me going. Enjoy this peek at some of my inspirations.

Polymer playing, risking

Atlanta artist/illustrator Tammy Durham has begun a blog devoted to her polymer clay illustrations. Her newest 18″x24″ piece, Cardinals and Girl with Red Hair, gives us a colorful and exhuberant start for a creative summer week.

Tammy is developing art for physicians and childrens hospitals. She shares her ambitious plans and goals on her website and blog – a bold and gutsy move. Take a look.

The quote below is from Tory Hughes’ latest post. She makes me want to proclaim this a week to play. Following her own advice, Tory allowed herself to play as she created a mobile of 51 polymer butterflies for the August Sculpting Color show at the Fuller Craft Museum. Reading about her stumbles and obstacles may make you more willing to take chances with your work.

Playing and creating are very close together.
When we play, what do we do? We make something up.
When we create, what do we do? We make something up.
When we let ourselves enter the world of play, we…start to romp around in what might be. In the ‘what if’.

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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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