Tips and Tricks

Ombre

In our recent color workshop we learned the word "ombre" which the dictionary describes as "having colors or tones that shade into each other — used especially of fabrics in which the color is graduated from light to dark." Maggie wanted us to keep running our blends through the pasta machine to reach ombre.

It’s related to the word "umbra" from the Latin for shadow…think umbrella. We thought that it had to do with "hombre"….not.

So if you want to sound erudite, talk about your blend’s hombre. It’s a noun and an adjective. I’m still trying to use it properly.

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.

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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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