Doroshow Makes Multiples

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It’s been fun to watch Dayle Doroshow work on several polymer clay projects this week. Here are five mask pendants that she made and embellished with rivets and metal parts.

Whatever creative spark she’s following, she makes in multiples, not just one. Five is her number but it could be any number. Creating five versions of each idea allows her to refine the technique, explore the possibilities of production and decide if the idea is worthy of further exploration.

Dayle will be teaching more about the care and feeding of the creative spark at Synergy.

Santa Fe Toops

“Soul-stirring works” is how Patina Gallery in Santa Fe describes the art they represent and they did not disappoint. You’ll have to look at the detail of this Cynthia Toops polymer clay work to see why it was our group’s favorite.

The gallery doesn’t show any of Cynthia’s work on their new web site but they’re working on it. In the meanwhile, look at the great selection of Ford/Forlano pieces and note this polymer and diamonds brooch.

We spent a lovely day in town, including lunch with Barb Fajardo and her husband and a visit to Lee Kellogg’s great rubber stamp store. This is livin’.

New Zealand’s Keogh

This is not a vacation picture. It’s a witty polymer clay sculpture from New Zealand’s Sonia Keogh.

"My characters are playful, provocative and have an emotional energy. Polymer clay enables me to merge realism and fantasy, to develop a sense of irony by manipulating the natural order of things," says Keogh.

Susan Lomuto uncovered the link to these quirky, satirical pieces and thought you’d enjoy them.

Acres Show Exhibitors

Three polymer clay artists who have never done a major wholesale show have been chosen by the NPCG to share a booth free of charge at the American Craft Retailers Expo in Las Vegas next April.

California’s Meisha Barbee (right), Washington’s Julia Sober, and New Hampshire’s Sandra McCaw (left) were chosen from a large slate of entrants. Thanks to Judy Dunn who headed up the process for NPCG.

Slow internet connection tonight…oh my, you folks with dialup are a patient lot. More news tomorrow.

River Rocks

It’s fun to see polymer clay pebbles from another perspective. Carol Simmons’ river rocks may look like the ones Kim Cavender taught me to make using embossing powders.

On closer examination (click on the image for the big view), you’ll see that Carol’s are made from miniscule versions of her organic pattern canes. They’re a visual trick that looks lovely in a bowl in our vacation hacienda in Santa Fe. Walk out the door and the ground of the nearby arroyo is littered with nature’s version….art and life together on a colorful holiday. Lucky me, I’ll be posting from New Mexico all week.

LoopyBoopy Holidays


Twenty-four guests for Thanksgiving dinner at our house and the power goes out two hours before the meal!

Perhaps I picked up some gremlin vibes from these polymer clay holiday elves-gone-bad by Louisiana’s LoopyBoopy Art Dolls. They’re wonderful characters and her descriptions are great.

We fired up the generator for cooking and got power back 15 minutes before guests arrived! Whew. This year I am thankful for electricity. Angela Gerhard sent the link along.

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Marjorie Schmick Retrospective

My mouth watered (and it’s not from the aroma of turkey in the oven) when I saw works from Marjorie Schick in the latest issue of American Craft magazine. While these pieces may not be made of polymer clay (the site loads slowly and the image link in the left column is worth the wait), we certainly share her love of colors and jewelry as sculpture.

Here’s the schedule of the traveling exhibit , the catalog and a new companion book.

The artist’s work focuses on the body’s relation to form and is simultaneously ornamental, visual and tactile. Included in the exhibition are 64 objects recounting more than 40 years of Schick’s work.

I found a great Smithsonian interview with the artist as well which is great for post holiday dinner reading (or napping).

I give thanks for you, dear readers. Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Falkenhagen Images


A bit of a break to ease into the Thanksgiving holiday. Pause and refresh with these lovely polymer clay mixed media pieces from Texan Diane Falkenhagen. Her compositions often combine imagery, usually transfers onto polymer clay, with fabricated metal forms and a diverse range of art media.

Diane’s work is exhibited widely and has been published in many magazines and books, including the most recent Metalsmith magazine.

As she explains, "My intent is for each piece to express a strong underlying idea and to evoke a sense of preciousness derived from its intimate scale, richness of materials, attention to detail, and heirloom-quality craftsmanship." Thanks to Elise Winters for the link.

Phthalates – Tempest in a teapot?

What energetic and informative conversations we’ve started about the safety of polymer clay. Is this holiday tension or pent-up anxiety about the future of our craft? Or as Lea Hernandez describes it, "…a wave of Booga! Booga! Booga!" Nan Roche suggests that perhaps it’s a tempest in a teapot (teapots courtesy of Karyn Kozak).

Most of you have pointed out that few artists’ materials are without risks if handled improperly. Here are a few excerpts from your emails. Thanks for all the wise comments…and wisecracks.

Judy Belcher says

I also wondered, do those galleries burn lovely yankee candles to make the store smell for the holiday or maybe spritz a little victoria’s secret room spray? Yep, you guessed it, phthalate in the fragrance oils.

Lindly Haunani asks

What happened to all the people who were getting brain tumors from using portable phones?

Nan Roche weighs in

What I tell my students about phthalates is this. Any medical procedure you have involving tubing, saline or blood bags etc are delivering astonishingly high amounts of phthalates directly into your bloodstream. It is excreted in your urine and feces.

Medicine has been using plastics for delivery of vital fluids for over 60 years now. If there was any obvious toxicity from this it would have surfaced by now. Without the use of these plasticizers to soften the tubing and bags used, delivery of safe, sterile and shippable fluids for medical use would have been severely hampered.

Over the past 60 years, average life spans have increased remarkably in part because of some of these advances in medicine. I think this is a tempest in a teapot in that, short of total global catastrophe, we will never abandon this technology. It’s just too practical and important for our modern way of living.

Polymer Clay Safety – Weigh the facts

This sweets bracelet looks good enough to eat…but don’t. It’s polymer clay from France’s Cristalline.

On her Artpreneur blog Judy Dunn provides a clear, cogent article about the fears surrounding polymer clay. Putting her degree in chemistry to good use, Judy takes a logical, scientific approach to the subject.

The same gallery owner who suggests that it would be good to avoid purchasing a polymer clay necklace because of the risks that phthalates pose, carries jewelry made with resin, enamel, and other "toxic" materials in her gallery.

When the customer buys any of these finished products, they are chemically stable and safe, just as a polymer clay necklace would be. But the artists are exposed to potential toxins in the creation of the work. Used intelligently, the risks are manageable with all these materials. There is no real risk to the consumer with any of them. If we want to eliminate risks, let’s do it judiciously, and with consideration of the facts.

Arm yourself with more facts by reading Judy’s entire post. Thanks to Rachel Carren for pointing out the article.

If you’re really into recycling, Lindly Haunani suggests you remember to put organ donation on your list. Recycle yourself!

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