Mentoring as Art

Wilbanks on PCDaily

Washington silversmith Sarah Wilbanks says that the jewelry in her current show contains the most polymer she’s ever used in her pieces. The backs of the silver bezels on her necklace of pods are as interesting as the polymer fronts.

Two other features kept me prowling through her Etsy, Facebook, and Pinterest pages — her series of carved translucent pieces (she documents her process in photos) and the title of her current show at Water Works Gallery in the San Juan Islands.

Called Mentoring as Art, the show highlights the artists who have studied in Micki Lipp’s studio over 27 years. It explores the role of mentor and mentee in the hopes of creating a new generation of mentors. What a smart idea!

Add drama with paint

Atwood on PCDaily

Polymer artists like Texas’ Shelley Atwood continue to show us what you can do with textures and paints. Shelley bends the textured ribbons of polymer for additional movement on these dangling earrings.

The red of the bottom medallions is a surprise. Gold paint unifies the look which is topped off with the big loops of the earwires.

Look at her Flickr pages to see how Shelley pumps up the drama of her work.

Complex simplicity

Niese on PCDaily

Michigan’s Sandra Niese (DandyBeads) eases us into Monday with a simple pendant. On its own, the spiral would have been too simple.

By embedding those metal pins into the edge of the design, Sandra makes us stop and take in the texture and the metallic finish and ponder the piece.

The dance between complexity and simplicity is a tricky one. See more of Sandra’s organic and slightly grungy works on Facebook, Pinterest and Etsy.

Cutting loose with scraps

Beal on PCDaily

Is it the reminder of another way to use scrap clay that attracts us to Carol Beal’s (BeadUnsupervised) newest marbled domes? Or is it Carol’s unsupervised, no-holds-barred approach to jewelry-making that pulls us in?

No matter. It’s inspiring to see how she turns bits of fall colored scrap into stripes and then drags a stylus in zigs and zags across the surface to marble it. Carol’s good at messing things up in delightful ways and this is a great example of how effective cutting loose can be.

See more of Carol on Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest and Etsy.

Cut loose with me in a class at Creative Journey Studios in Georgia, October 7-9.

Bobblehead bounty

Blackford on PCDaily

It’s not often that inmates can send art home to their families. When Leslie Blackford offered to mail their sculptures to families, students in the Ohio prison classes put extra effort and humor into their Bobblehead creations. Leslie and Tammy Dye are two of their favorite visiting polymer artists.

Just look at this prison cat named Fendor (short for Offender, I’m sure). There are more examples on Leslie’s Instagram. Tammy’s cone beads were also a big hit.

One very devoted friend from rural Ohio prints each PCD post which she mails in a weekly package to incarcerated artists who study and share them. They’ll be seeing this in next week’s delivery so shout a big virtual hello!

Few tools, no internet, no air conditioning, lots of rules! A pretty stripped down studio setup but a terrific learning experience for both teachers and students. There’s nothing better than when a student says, “For an afternoon, I felt free.”  Where could you teach and brighten someone’s day?

Bits and pieces

Isola on PCDaily

There’s so much energy in this series from France’s Caroline Cornic Isola (Klick-Art) that it’s hard to know where to focus. Your eyes dance between shapes and colors and land intermittently on black and white bits.

Thin lines lead you between elements. When you dive in for a closer look you’ll see that the colors aren’t solid but mottled and graduated. Each pendant is a little Miro-like composition.

Caroline bounces between comic illustration and painterly compositions in her polymer work. Look at her exuberant pieces on Facebook, Etsy and Pinterest.

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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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