Wire and polymer clay

Wire and polymer clay don’t often mix well. But France’s Celine (aka gris bleu) does a masterful job of it. (Please write if you know her last name.)

The wire is well integrated into the pieces in surprising and delightful ways that combine nicely with her strong colors. Her interview on the Parole de Pate blog translates fairly well and may give you a fresh perspective to start your week.

Note: I’m moving the furniture around on PolymerClayDaily and widening the page to three columns. The arrangement isn’t perfect yet so don’t be surprised if you feel a little disoriented as I tweak the type and smooth the rough edges. Pardon my dust. Let me know if I mess up something on your screen in the process.

Dustin receives Smithsonian’s New Direction Award

Polymer clay artist Kathleen Dustin has just been awarded the Smithsonian Craft Show‘s New Direction – Excellence in Design Of the Future Award.

The annual Smithsonian show is one of the most discriminating and prestigious shows in the world for contemporary fine craft. This year, the show will feature the works of 120 exhibitors selected from some 1,400 applicants. Ford/Forlano were chosen for the show as well.

Kathleen was juried into this show several times earlier in her career, and was profiled by Smithsonian Magazine in 2000, but had seen a Smithsonian dry spell in recent years. Returning to that extremely competitive show with a risky and bold new body of work (read more in the current issue of Polymer Cafe) was the culmination of a dream for her.

Her work and the “New Direction” award bring respect and pride to polymer clay artists everywhere.

The photo is from Kathleen’s booth in Ann Arbor last summer. Thanks for the scoop goes to Jan Frame.

Friesen updates, moves forward

Christi Friesen is throwing everything but the kitchen sink into her new book, Polymer Clay and Mixed Media: Together At Last. The spikes on this dragon’s head are fork tines with the full forks running down the back. The book is due out at the end of the year.

Christi’s added a few new things from her books and classes to her website.

For her NYC book signing and workshops this weekend, Christi has invited students and fans to wear their Christi-inspired works (each receives a free raffle ticket for one of her works).

Early in her career, this often-imitated artist and teacher made a conscious decision to treat imitation as flattery and to avoid feeling threatened or to let territorial feelings get in the way of her creativity. “It’s art and it thrives on community,” she says. “I definitely get a kick out of having my work so well appreciated.”

Doering’s Hundertwasser homage

I’m completely beyond my comfort zone as I cruise through a polymer clay German Flickr site and a MySpace page. I need help understanding both the German language and the MySpace culture. I’m convinced I’ll learn something if I persist and I liked Annerose Tulpe’s Doering’s music choice. (I’m not even sure that’s her name. Thanks, Bettina)

I’m loving Annerose’s homage to Austrian painter Hundertwasser and Rene Brault. Their colors and styles are perfectly compatible with ours and Annerose captures their spirit. Her extruded polymer clay string-covered beads are polished to a sheen and have a vibrant unpredictability.

McCaw launches new site

As promised, another new polymer clay site for you. Sandra McCaw launched this stunning showcase of her work last night. It’s refined and sophisticated with a dash of New England style.

“In working with polymer clay, I am able to create complex patterns where lines seem to lose their distinction and blend, and where colors bloom and merge,” she says.

Sandra’s complex and energetic work reflects her spirit well. We wish her much success as she takes off for her first wholesale show.

Take a look at last year’s post (and some archival photos) to see how far Sandra’s come!

Turney, Cormier, Holmes – adventurous combinations

Susan Turney combined leftover sheets of inked and leafed polymer clay with flower canes and came up with a distinctive new look…very Van Gogh. Susan was working color combinations chosen for a friend and not something she was comfortable with.

Nice things can happen when you venture out of your zone. Thanks to Susan Lomuto for the link. Read about how Heather Powers ventured out.

Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes have left their comfort zone to good effect too. Their new web site is up and the sidebar is always open for guests and comments. Drop in on them.

The blogs are blooming this spring. There’s another new site opening tomorrow and you’ll have to check tomorrow’s post to find out where.

Perrin’s Delightful Tutorial

The blog written by France’s proclaimed Queen of Clay, Sylvie Perrin, is perfect for Friday. I have no idea what the text on her blog says (and it’s too late to bother my French connection) but the pictures had me laughing and in awe of her technique. Sylvie has worked in polymer clay since she was a child and she’s still having a grand time.

Be sure to catch the fabulous tutorial that’s on her biography page (click the woman in red at the bottom of her home page)!

I hope the work in your studio is as effortless and productive as Sylvie demonstrates. If you need more, here’s her illustration portfolio.

Dunn’s Peace Crane Project

You may recognize polymer clay artist Judy Dunn for her pods or her shibori beads. Judy also has a passion for origami cranes.

For thousands of years the Japanese culture has treasured the crane as a symbol of honor and loyalty. This strong, graceful, beautiful bird mates for life and is extremely loyal to its partner.

Video 1
Video 2

The Japanese people feel that a person who folds 1,000 cranes will be granted his or her greatest wish. And Judy has a wish.

Judy’s polymer clay crane project is meant to recognize the loss of life in the Iraq war. It is a call for peace and she invites others to join her.

You can learn how to make a polymer clay crane by watching Judy’s new online videos.

Wilder’s stacked slices

Mississippi’s Dee Wilder has been spring cleaning her polymer clay canes. Dee sliced up her neglected canes, varying their shapes and stacking them into great looking bracelets. The lack of uniformity gives them extra personality.

Other slices she’s tucked into wire and metal wrappings. From trilobites to transfers, Dee’s been cleaning out and experimenting to fine effect. See the results of her happy spring chores on her Flickr site.