Blackford’s extruded snakeskin

Not too many artists would see extruded polymer clay canes as perfect snakeskin! Leslie Blackford saw the knot hole in Marla Frankenberg’s turned wooden bowl (from a woodturner at Arrowmont) and this decorative element sprang from Leslie’s fingers.

In rural Kentucky, Leslie is well acquainted with snakes so the piece looks very lifelike. You can see lots of older posts on Leslie’s work here and on her Deviant gallery.

Abrams’ pieces go larger

Pennsylvania’s Lauren Cole Abrams(LaBeana) has returned to polymer clay, making graphically inspired, larger necklaces and brooches. She also makes a line of resin purse handles and buckles using molds of her polymer clay designs.

She explains, "I start by honing my designs on paper, drawing ideas from a lifetime of work in graphic arts and painting. Then I bring them to life using polymer clay, a process I enjoy in itself. From there I make RTV molds of the originals and cast them in resins…tinting them with different colorants, dyes and metal powders. When the pieces are cured, I remove them, sand and polish them and do any hand painting, staining, buffing and finishing they require."

Vacation note: I love looking at what other artists are reading. Here are a couple that I found on friends’ desks.

  • The Gift – Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde
  • The Artist’s Mentor by Ian Jackman

Seaman’s collages, Haddad’s treats

Kentucky’s Daphne Seaman shyly submitted these examples of her polymer clay collages on canvas. Recently I’ve been hungry for new visions and her work hit the spot.

Daphne mixes her media. These two collages combine paint, paper, cork, plaster and polymer clay on canvas. The first is called PolyKlimt and the other Amber Sky. Her latest commission was 50"x52". You need a close view to appreciate her technique and the rich layers of pattern. She’ll be launching her web presence soon.

We’re munching "road food" as we hit the highway for an adventure and these polymer clay Tiny Cravings from Ohio’s Jeanine Haddad look especially mouth-watering. Her tiny delacacies were voted one of last year’s Next Big Things on the fredflare.com site.

Clayman’s quest

Vancouver’s Clayman (Paul Moldovanos) makes a silly end for a busy week. Check out Clayman’s dancing polymer clay chicken. He’s illustrated and sculpted a wide variety of polymer clay work…animation, cartooning, illustration…for a long roster of clients.

I’m getting ready to go on vacation to restore my creative mojo and find my blogging bliss.

Of course I won’t leave you in the lurch. Of course I’ll take my computer along. Getting things done before I leave town with the girls hasn’t left me much time to scour and scope things out. Today’s post was filched from fellow-blogger Iris Mishly.

Last minute find: Love the shapes of Switzerland’s Enkhe’s new wearable vessels.

Should be good stuff next week. Have a silly weekend.

Call’s covers

I ran into this lovely site by Lisa Call as I was wandering the web. It’s good to wander sometimes to see what’s out there and stretch some synapses. The books at the left are her polymer clay post-it note covers.

One of the things that got me to Lisa was PMC artist Marco Fleseri’s question that’s making the blog circuit.

If you suddenly became wealthy and didn’t have to sell your work anymore for income, would you still sell it? Would you still make it? and why?

What a juicy question and that led me to all sorts of wonderful non-polymer blogs including the Sparkplugging site with its "craft-boom" section that’s full of good ideas for marketing. You might also check out All things metal clay. But you’re probably way ahead of me.

Kato clays for hay

Donna Kato is up to new tricks. First, she’s selling some of her polymer clay work on her new “weclayforhay” site to support her equine habit. What a treat for both us and the horses.

She’s also reformulated Kato clay to a greener version, juggled her event calendar (no cruise this year), and put out a new “Tips and Tricks” DVD set.

The DVDs offer three and a half hours of looking over the shoulder of a polymer clay expert who excels at simplifying and explaining the most arduous techniques.

My favorite tutorial is one that’s free on HGTV and in it Donna boils a very complicated design down to a few simple steps. I can’t wait to see what Donna has compiled in this new set.

Meyerhoff’s wayback clay

Riding the polymer clay sculpture theme for another day, look at the work of Illinois’ Jill Meyerhoff (claygirl45) who has been illustrating and designing with clay for 30 years.

Some of her more recent works for sale on Etsy are sculptural reliefs based on polaroid snapshots from the 70s. They’re sweet, sentimental looks at the past celebrating the simple pleasures of life.

Her wax lips and giant candy necklace will put you in the wayback machine. Thanks to Judy Belcher for the tip.

Arkin’s polymer clay commentary

Continuing Friday’s art-as-commentary theme, let’s look at another army of polymer clay figures from New York’s Elliott Arkin whose small people exude a kind of eerie lifelike quality. Mr. Arkin fashions remarkably detailed scale models of exaggerated characters that are designed to provoke close-up inspection.

Early works are represented on Arkin’s web site (many links are broken and it hasn’t been updated recently). His more recent pieces are wry comments on art, society and politics. They can be found on the Artnet magazine site. The link comes to us from Susan Rose.

Leavitt’s art army

Seattle’s Mike Leavitt has crafted an army of 225 polymer clay action figures which he calls his Art Army. The people he immortalizes range from singer Bjork to Chihuly (pictured here) to Vincent van Gogh. “I liked the idea of the art army, of them fighting without violence….It wasn’t just about non-violence, it was about fighting with art, with music, just entertainment, whatever it may be,” he says.

His fully-articulated action figures represent famous artists, each one handmade from Fimo and elastic and standing from 7 to 10 inches tall. Leavitt’s web site chronicles his art that covers a wide range of media and subject matter. It includes an animated feature chronicling “The Art Army vs. The Man.”

One Seattle critic calls Leavitt’s work an antidote to cultural suckiness. Take a look and have an imaginative weekend. Thanks to Susan Rose for the link.

Mokume Gane light fixtures

You’ve probably figured out that I’m scrounging around the house for polymer clay fixtures to show you. The weather’s too nice to spend the evening web surfing.

Here are the lights from my copper bathroom. We made the tub surround from sheets of roofing copper…here’s the sink.

The little pendant fixtures from the lighting stores seemed overpriced so I made my own from translucent clay and copper leaf using Lindly’s “Haunani Gane” method. I first formed a thin cone of translucent, baked that as a base, added thin slices and baked again.

You have to be careful of the bulb wattage but with modern cool bulbs, heat isn’t a problem. These have been up for three years.

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