Polymer clay on wheels

The UK’s Simon Buck and Utah’s Bill Robbins have found most unusual ways to incorporate polymer clay into their vehicles.

Simon specializes in fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark murals as well as polymer clay (glow-in-the-dark, naturally). The picture you see at the right is the sculpture on the steering wheel of his van. You’ll have to imagine it at night. And you can see one of his glowing figures here.

Bill Robbins (aka elmerpresslee) lovingly built the most twisted polymer clay baby car ever for his daughter who seems to truly delight in the madness. Of course his studio, the nerdatorium, is also a trip.

Both artists look like they’re have such fun with their art that it’s easy to look beyond the scarey parts. I scrounged the Robbins link from Kim Cavender who gravitates to the deviant side herself.

BlockPartyPress sells 1000 online

BlockPartyPress’ Tamara Shea is a prolific polymer clay artist, chalking up her 1000th online sale at the end of June. Her cloud nine design is a new one in her series of designs that combine her love of block printing and painting with polymer.

I marvel at her work and at the effort that such volume demands. Look here and here to witness the quality and consistency of her many appealing pieces.

The recent American Craft Council-sponsored conversation between artists from traditional and trendy marketing backgrounds got me thinking about the young savvy marketers in our craft. Names like Meredith Dittmar, Heather Powers, Shannon LeVart, Betsy Baker, Eva Soehjar, and Tamara Shea spring to mind (there are many others). These artists are busy with online galleries like Etsy, Kaboodle, Trunkt, DaWanda, Stylehive, Flickr…to say nothing of the blogs and social networks on which they stay active.

I’ve heard a number of artists my age disparage online galleries but it’s hard to dismiss the numbers. Both camps can learn something from each other and this talk (audio only), though it’s a bit slow in places, gets the dialogue started. Give a listen.

Allard’s life is grand

Melanie Allard is an illustrator/sculptor/animator from Quebec. I was mesmerized by her “Life is Grand” animation (even though it’s probably plasticine). She uses plenty of polymer clay in her work. (Look under “bricolage” which translated to DIY!) Much of her site is in French so I’m guessing again. Here’s her Flickr site and more of her animated work.

Summer living has cut into my research time so I’m happy when artists write in as Melanie did, admiring and linking through to another artist’s work. A bit of summer serendipity.

Darker, rougher polymer art

Monday’s child is full of angst…or at least it appears that way. Here are two young male polymer clay artists, one from Canada and one from Israel, who like our art’s darker side.

Roy Ginat (fimoman) from Israel, based his small man-eating bird at the left on a character in a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The one at the right is a more contemporary monster.

Andrew McCaffrey from Edmonton, Alberta, follows mostly music groups, capturing the intense gestures and poses of his musical heroes in polymer. The muscular stances and intense facial expressions that he builds in his rough style are remarkable.

Both artists express passionate sentiments that may make the viewer uncomfortable. A Monday reminder that polymer clay is not just for pretty.

Thanks to Italy’s Leila Bidler for the link to Andrew McCaffrey.

Winters’ ruffles and ribbons

Elise Winters is all polymer clay ruffles and ribbons! Why is she all dressed up? First, her PolymerArtArchives site got its bugs exterminated. Go visit and read the next installment of the history of our craft.

And second, her work will be represented at SOFA:Chicago. Having a dealer represent her in Chicago frees up her schedule for other shows and ventures. Celebration time!

You’ll find a few samples of Elise’s newest pieces on her site. Those flowing freeform spirals and ribbons that look so effortless are the result of heavy engineering and years of trial and error. They’re a marvel to study.

Congrats, Elise.

Kato rings true

Donna Kato has a new batch of polymer clay rings on her web site. Other sites have already featured them but I didn’t want you to miss these graceful and playful new designs. (Sometimes her pictures load slowly but you know it’s worth the wait.)

Donna’s been working with these signature canes for a while, inspired by Peter Chang’s work. There’s no mistaking Donna’s flawless control of detail in her canes. All-polymer wedding rings tweak the noses of those whose notion of fine jewelry only extends to precious stones and metal.

Kramer’s art in relief

New York’s Pat Kramer says that working with polymer clay art lets her preserve fleeting feelings, "how it feels to see the first flower bloom after a very long winter" and remembering "how warm the sun feels on a crisp cold fall day."

Most of her work is sculptural or in relief as in this pin and tile (right). She began her career as a watercolorist and started selling her polymer clay art eight years ago. Her style is an enjoyable departure from many of the usual techniques. You can see more of her works on her Etsy gallery.

Thanks for the tip goes to super web surfer, Susan Lomuto.

McGlon’s hot sellers

Jenn McGlon is an painter/illustrator/collage artist and creator of funky polymer clay art…women birds, cakes, houses and polka dots…meant to make you smile.

Her line of small houses, Luettes, are wildly popular on Etsy and she does a brisk business in commissioned sculptures.

The best way to view her art is to look at the sold items in her Etsy gallery. Her style is young and optimistic and her sculptures perfectly mirror her drawings. Look out, there are many links on her site that you may find hard to resist. I had to explore her music too.

Lombardi’s polymer bouquets

Italy’s Marina Lombardi’s (Ali di Libellula) polymer clay creations are perfect for a summertime Monday. She bases her designs on floral illustrations and adds wire to simulate climbing vines and tendrils, often adding pearls and stones.

Her wire work style is unusual and distinctive and the combined effect is that of a lush old-fashioned bouquet.

My Italian translation didn’t give me much insight into how she acheived her effects. You’ll have to draw your own conclusions. Enjoy her flowery Italian summer palettes.