Benzon shifts to surfaces

Spring blooms have prompted a change in Jana Roberts Benzon’s polymer clay work.

She’s shifted her focus from canes to surfaces. Her crumpled brooch series has a luxurious fabric look and her new beads shaped from flat sheets have gone all organic.

I like to think she was working on a crane for Judy Dunn’s project and gave up in frustration only to discover a great new look. Perhaps she’ll let us in on how and why she was able to work in this new loose style. Thanks to Ronna Weltman for the link.

  • reply Bettina Welker ,

    whew, Jana! I love that new style very much – the bead shapes are awesome as are the crumpled brooches. this work is definitely right down my alley:)


    • reply Dee ,

      Wow! Something completely new and different. Sophisticated, unique designs, executed to perfection. I am in awe of these new pieces.

      • reply Judy ,

        I love these!! Great job Jana!

        • reply Susan Turney ,

          Wow! These are fabulous. So new and different from anything we’ve seen from her or anyone else. I so hope she tells us what led her down this path!

          • reply Melanie West ,

            *Jumps up and applaudes wildly* Brava, Jana! Stunning new work, my dear friend!! I especially love the curly-cue thingys-beads. Delicious!! I’m am VERY excited about the new direction your work is going, Jana. Don’t stop! 😉

            • reply Jana ,

              Cynthia…tried to post this message (below), but it wouldn’t “take”..can you put it up for me? Thanks, thanks, thanks (you made my week!):

              What a surprise….I just posted these new pieces yesterday; you’re on the ball, Cynthia!

              Nope, no crane making for me…..years ago I began doing some fabric folding (or “fabric origami”), and so it was a natural course to want to try it in clay given I could combine three of my loves, fabric, patterns and clay. My early attempts were lessons in frustration, so I set it aside only to pick it up this past winter and my “Crumpled Brooches” evolved from that (I can’t count the number of times I’ve *thought* I had a great idea, but upon trying to execute it, ran into problems. So, I set the pieces aside and kind of forget about the whole idea, only to have the lessons and broad scope of that style/technique come back nearly perfected when I’ve attempted something even remotely similar and with ‘fresh’ eyes. Very strange but it happens all the time. Lesson is, don’t give up on a new experiment or idea just because it didn’t pan out…..set it aside and forget about it. You may be surprised when the lessons learned in trying to create it later erupt and allow you to execute flawlessly…it’s so cool to watch happen).

              As I’ve been working on folding clay, I’ve been using fabric and napkin folding techniques over origami techniques as the clay is too thick to sometimes fold like paper (unless you’re Judy Dunn (g). I’ve watched Judy’s crane evolution with interest as I’ve been simultaneously working on my own type of clay folding (still need to see her video…congrats on that Judy; hope it’s going well). I have a few folded pieces nearly “finished to perfection”, but really got sidetracked when I chanced upon this ‘crumpled’ look! It’s out there, but what a kick to work with “negative” space (as opposed to my intricate patterns) and to focus on the shape, dimension, and design of a piece. I’ve felt like a kid in a candy store!

              ah, the possibilities are so endless with this stuff! Someone, please give me more hours in the day….

              Thanks again, Cynthia..I’m so honored to be featured on your fantastic site…

              • reply Jill ,

                Cynthia, could you post this as well? Like Jana, my submission wouldn’t “take!”

                Absolutely loving the beads and crumpled brooches Jana! And for those of you looking to see more of Jana’s work, be sure to check out the upcoming July ’08 issue of Art Jewelry magazine ( — Jana has a great brooch project article I know you’ll enjoy. As an Associate Editor at AJ mag, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jana on a number of her articles.

                Thank you Cynthia for keeping us all up-to-date. Cheers, Jill Erickson

                • reply Libby Mills ,

                  Jana’s new work is so cool. It’s a treat to see her explore a new concept. The crumpled brooches are wonderful. Jana has a real talent for dimension! And she’s got all sorts of other wild new ideas going too. I loved seeing some of them at Synergy. Thanks for sharing Cynthia & Jana.

                  • reply Julie Picarello ,

                    Crumpled brooches…how cool is this?! Jana’s skillful manipulation of clay combined with her lovely colors & embedded patterns have resulted in pieces that grab you and draw you in. And I especially like the formed “shell” beads! What an unexpected and completely wonderful surprise they both are…huge kudos to Jana on her latest work…she should definitely keep visiting the candy store!

                    • reply Kathryn Ottman ,

                      Ooh, Jana…you eluded to this on our last call…really unique and interesting colors! Terrific!

                      • reply Edward Riall ,

                        Dee described Jana’s work as “Sophisticated, unique designs, executed to perfection”. For those of you who have not had the chance to meet Jana I feel that this is a true description of the artist herself. If you ever have the opportunity to meet her or take a class from her please do. You will come away with a whole new look of polymer clay and what fun it can mean. An experience clayer will have a new zest and a beginner will just be hungrier for the experience. She knows that she is my “Lady of Polymer Clay” and I hope she will always be my friend.

                        • reply debra aka goober ,

                          Jana YOU ROCK !! I really would love to meet with you! I wish Icould spend time with you just to clay ! It would be a blast for me ! You are absolutly being put in my bucket list! You are somebody I would really love to get to know!

                          Debra in Bakersfield Ca.

                          • reply Annie Hooten ,

                            I’m a little behind the 8-ball because I’ve been so darned busy, but as always, your work is fabulous. The thing that makes your work even more special is that you are one COOL CHICK!! love, Annie

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