Polymer Clay Miniature Feast

It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner and this 1/12th size polymer clay feast from Norway’s Christel Jensen makes it look easy. Check out the bananas in her fruit tarts. And her bread dough looks absolutely edible.

Christel has a new DVD out if you’d like to learn to make miniature teapots. Don’t miss her detailed flowers and inviting room settings.

Susan Lomuto reminds us that the 2008 polymer clay Niche Award finalists have been named and there are statements from each of the finalists on the NPCG site. The pictures of the entries are frustratingly miniature. Congrats to the finalists.

I’m off to grocery shop and tidy the house for guests. And of course there’s the OSU/Michigan game. Go Bucks.

Polymer Clay and Ephemera

I had to smile at the bevy of polymer clay beauties that arrived in Tuesday’s email…among them these vintage spice tin women and light bulb ladies.

Israel’s Naama Zamir builds sculptures over discarded lightbulbs and each character comes with her own story. Ohio’s Diana Cundall has a penchant for spice cans with personalities and she collages ephemera onto polymer clay pendants.

You may want to revisit some former PCD recycling favorites as well – Barbara Lang, Dayle Doroshow and Jean Comport come to mind. Keep those suggestions coming in. Thanks to Susan Lomuto for the spice can link.

Polymer Clay Recycles

With the big move toward eco-friendly products, polymer clay artists are once again apologizing for their plastic material. Let’s not be too quick to abandon our craft. Polymer clay is nothing if not adaptable…and we must be too.

We’re experts at recycling! We cover and reclaim tins and glassware. We combine polymer with fibers and found materials. We alter and reuse books.

I’ll be searching out artists who move with, rather than against, the tide of public sentiment and ecological sensitivities.

These recent assemblages from California’s Dotty McMillan illustrate the point. (I love the titles, "Too Much Time on Her Hands" and "Life Has You Nailed Down.") Here’s a recent interview with Dotty.

Mertz’ New Work

Online photo galleries give us the added benefit of tracking how a polymer clay artist’s work is developing. I was startled by the changes in Austria’s Bettina Mertz’ work.

Her June class with Sarah Shriver must have struck a chord and her work became much more detailed and controlled. Next she shows crocheted beads where again she takes to the technique with ease.

Bettina’s combination of new skills are helping her find her voice that shines through her new pieces. Her "blackberry" beads are crocheted combinations of polymer and seed beads that look just like their name. Her polymer clay sand beads are shown here. Her earlier work is shown on her guild’s site here.

Wilfrid Wood Works

England’s Wilfrid Wood sculpts 4" to 12" polymer clay interpretations of people, animals and creatures from his own personal perspective. His pieces may make you laugh or squirm or blush. Part caricature, part fantasy, their unflinching honesty is sure to elicit a response and as Wood says, "…they’re straight from the heart." He talks about his work here.

Wood starts with a pencil drawing then makes a wire armature which he covers with polymer clay. He paints and varnishes the baked clay. Some characters are duplicated in vinyl editions.

Thanks to Susan Lomuto for getting us off to a thought-provoking start this week.

Zilliacus Tapestries

Maryland’s Carol Zilliacus has been a pioneer in polymer clay. Early on, she replicated tapestries, needlework and fabric in clay, cutting and reassembling sheets of clay in unusual ways. Then she began incorporating watercolor and painting techniques into her polymer works.

I still refer to Carol’s article “New Ways to Think About Polymer Clay” that appeared in the April 2001 issue of Bead and Button. She was one of the first artists to play around with Skinner blends, adding colors and shapes in surprising ways. And she continues to play.

Carol’s teaching a class November 18 at Artway and has a video available through the store. Have a playful weekend.

Chandler’s West Coast Muses

Canada’s Gera Scott Chandler is getting ready for her holiday shows with a bevy of new polymer clay beauties. You can follow along and pick up some great tips (check out her unusual vessel price tag design).

She’s about to unveil the redesign of her booth.

For a closer look at Gera’s work, visit her Flickr site. It’s filled with the west coast seaside muses that inspire her.

Cookie Cutter Canes

It’s turning cold. Nearly time for snowflakes. As a kid I loved folding and cutting paper to reveal an endless variety of snowflake patterns.

Sandy from Canada is having a grand time doing the same thing in polymer clay with a simple cane pattern she’s developed. She calls it "cookie cutter caning." I found this post on her site in August.

After a class with Marla Frankenburg in September, Sandy started creating her flakes in translucent clay. This almost makes winter look like fun.

Polymer Clay in Baskets

Another move away from canes and colors. Here’s a polymer clay, waxed linen and acrylic paint basket by California’s Victoria James, her entry in the Great Basin Basketmakers show at the Nevada State Museum this month.

Pawing through Victoria’s site, I found the new website of the Clayville (yes, it’s a real place) guild and had fun looking at their members’ works and sites. A little Tuesday dalliance.

Antique Jewel Replicas in Polymer

Need a break from creating canes and mixing colors? Take a look at the regal bezels and Roman settings that London’s Kotomi Yamamura fashions from gold polymer clay. Her fall line of antique replicas includes a Tudor and a Roman series that retain the chunky, mystical appeal of ancient jewelry.

Though there’s not much information on her technique in English, Yamamura’s sketches give you a good idea of how she works.

Every once in a while I thumb through my copy of "Creating Your Own Antique Jewelry" which is full of photos of antique jewels and ideas on how to replicate them using polymer clay.