Tips and Tricks

More than one way to Skinner…

What is a "Skinny Skinner" you ask? Lots of polymer artists attribute this variation on the Skinner blend to Dorothy Greynolds (shown here at a 2004 Columbus, Ohio workshop). Instead of the typical triangle blends, narrow rectangular bands of color totalling the width of the pasta rollers are laid side-by-side (look on the table in the picture).

Folding and rolling them through the pasta machine gives you a marvelous blend. In Santa Fe, Lindly and Maggie showed us how to refine and control this blend further. One trick is to keep the very light and very dark bands quite narrow, allowing stronger colors to prevail.

Back from Santa Fe

Light, dark and middle tone Skinny Skinners from Lindly’s palette.

A few polymer friends spent a week in Santa Fe being guinea pigs for color theorists Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio. Be prepared to learn heaps in their upcoming workshops.

We began with collages of our favorite colors and vaulted into color mixing, limiting ourselves to just three colors plus black and white. We then careened through value and contrast and hue and composition. We "skinny skinnered", created color relationships and considered simultaneity. All of this we did in a lovely Santa Fe setting.

It may take me a while to process and pass it on to you in bits and pieces. Check back tomorrow.

Library of Tips

Usually the Carol Duval show aims at the polymer clay beginner and hence the tips are too elementary to be interesting. Sometimes you find something simple and elegant, however. Browse through the list of "how-to’s" in the HGTV library. Their online tips are usually well photographed and documented (click on the tip photos for larger versions).

Donna Kato’s tips are far and away the best. Donna relies on her hands and her design skill rather than gadgets. And Donna’s genius comes from her ability to synthesize a technique, boil it down to its simplest steps. Here are some of my favorites.

Tip 1 | Tip 2 | Tip 3 (you’ll never find a simpler ikat technique).

Donna has a new segment coming up November 4.

Future Me

Since I’m completely grown and my parents are gone, there’s no one to nag me, coax me and support me except myself. Oh yes, I have a husband and children but those are different sorts of relationships.

Sometimes I need someone who understands me on a really basic level, who is in tune with my creative urges and artistic temperament. Who knows better what I need than me?

Hence I was glad to stumble upon this "Future Me" link which allows me to send emails to my future self. "Remember, you said you wanted to have this done by today," is a great way to keep myself on track. Today I can send the email to myself and it will be delivered when I need that prodding in another month.

There are other "to do" lists and reminder programs but none quite as clever (and free) as this. Take a look. (The heart is by Karyn Kozak.)

Faux Drusy

Marie’s faux drusy
Natural drusy

Marie Segal started it at Shrinemont this year. She credits/blames Judith Skinner for starting the faux drusy craze.

Druse refers to a rock surface covered with tiny crystals such as are found inside geodes. Drusy has become popular in the gem world of late.

Drusy materials slowly appeared in the work of noted gem carvers and jewelry designers and, as a result, gained space in gem and jewelry publications.

Marie’s necklace pictured here is made by extruding cord and then making lanyards…like in girl scouts. The end pieces were made separately and baked and then glittered. The lanyard is then attached to the end pieces. The clasp in the center of the flowers is made from 20 gauge wire. Marie recommends glitter from Art Glitter.

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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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