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.

Slow Loading

The site’s been loading slowly since I added new bells and whistles. I’ll be streamlining this week in hopes of making your experience faster and smoother. Forward one step, back two.

Following me?

I’ve been trying to get hip to Twitter and Facebook and such. I hope I haven’t offended those who wish to be my friend or follow me. I have little idea about what I’m doing and following me is probably pointless…unless you’re as lost as I am.

Polymer clay and Earth Day

As I considered which polymer clay artist best captured the spirit of Earth Day, Cynthia Toops‘ work came to mind….because she uses so little clay in her fine micromosaics (pictured here). I was thinking small and I laughed at my knee-jerk reaction to our environmentally incorrect medium. Many art supplies fall into the same shunned petroleum-based category.

Using less clay shouldn’t be the sole criteria for being sensitive to the environment. Using the clay carefully and wisely is important. Kathleen Dustin has posted an article about thinking big that is more to the point both for Earth Day and for our own artistic growth.

I’m also reading more and more articles about the development of biopolymers and I look forward to the day when we no longer have to make apologies on Earth Day.

Xana and Te’s inro

After a hectic spring weekend, a splash of Portugese color in this inro from Xana and Te (Alexandra and Teresa) is just what I need to start my week. What sets this work apart is the attention to detail and the way the onlay pieces are carefully positioned and applied. I particularly like the subtle Skinner blend in the background. Have a happy, colorful Monday.

Chandler’s frieze frenzy

Gera Scott Chandler has been on a polymer clay roll! She’s posted 35 new works, most of them 3D friezes, to her gallery site this month. These framed compositions are full of lively colors and shapes. It’s been fun to watch from the sidelines as she goes on a creative blitz, learning along the way.

She found that her larger all-polymer wall pieces tended to slump and bend a bit. She shares her source materials…old books, illustrations, fish catalogs, her guild buddies, and her Vancouver surroundings…but you’ll have to guess how she achieves her painterly effects.

Have a colorful spring weekend.

My studio is on the local artists’ tour this weekend and I’ve got some cleaning to do. I’ll also be trying to fix some of the blog bugs. Thank you, dear readers, for your patience.

Helm’s Auntie and tools from trash

While I shy away from new tools for polymer clay, I can’t resist tools repurposed from items found in my junk drawer. Donna Diseker, a newcomer to clay, sent this link to Edith’s Bijoux blog which is filled with pictures of all kinds of household junk turned into terrific tools.

Tania Zakharchenko‘s (Russian, I think) uses the bottom of beverage cans to form nice brooch shapes. Of course, why didn’t I think of that?

And since we’ve steered off course, you need to see what Sarajane Helm is up to with her Aunt Acid, a polymer clay puppet with a purpose. Sarajane calls her “a tie-dyed tempest with a teapot and a wicked sense of observational humor whose satirically sharp wit goes along with a soft heart and a hard head.” Auntie even has her own myspace page.

Auntie says she prepares her web posts attired in a blogging suit and blogging bra. I’m still chuckling.

Fresh looks from Europe

Looking for a little “April in Paris”? Here are a couple of fresh european (France and Belgium) sites for you to explore.

On the left we have Cecile (no last name) whose posts are filled with consistently good work and lots of experiments with a flair (many of them inspired by Nanetta’s book).

On the right we have Adaya’s bracelet, polymer pushed through filigree metal which was inspired by Susan Rose a while back.

Adaya’s site contains a treasure trove of links and great stuff. Susan Turney is responsible for our travels today.

Haunani’s spring pod

One of my favorite polymer clay pieces for spring is this pod/sprout from Lindly Haunani. It’s quintessentially spring with natural colors and shape. The texture comes from sand mixed into the clay. You can read about Lindly’s inclusions here.

But even better than the pod itself is the memory of the Shrine Mont conference perhaps ten years ago when lots of us wore them in celebration of the season and for the fun of it. Wearing it today brings the celebration back again and makes me smile.