Polymer tool holders

My Kemper polymer clay cutters were always running away from me. When I saw someone at a conference with theirs neatly corralled, I decided to do the same.

I never thought of showing this efficient helper off. I’ve seen other artists’ beautifully crafted tools (see this early shot of Celie Fago’s) and this one is no beauty. Recent visitors to my studio thought readers might find beauty in its efficiency.

I’ve since devised similar helpers for other tools (pictured here) that try to elude me. Roll up some scrap clay, press your must-have-handy tool into it, remove the tool and bake. Voila! A studio assistant!

Name that sculpture and win!

ToyCyte interviewed polymer clay illustrator Jessica Fortner this week. They’re offering one of her newest furry sculptures to the person who can name the new series. Catch a good read and a chance to win.

Jackson’s polymer ancients

At the local guild meeting Debbie Jackson brought this great polymer clay necklace she’d made. The mottled beads are done with a sprayed alcohol ink technique that she teaches (she calls them quail eggs). The other faux turquoise and scarab beads are so convincingly done that the entire effect is ancient and artful.

She has a knack for the imitative and the cultural artifact. Her book, Polymer Clay Jewelry, contains many of her best recipes.

I wish I’d taken a picture of Debbie who is growing a new crop of silky hair that looks quite trendy. Thanks to Jeanette Kandray who loaned me her camera at the meeting.

Note: I’m on the road (San Diego). Saw some lovely rocks on our long beach walk today. Great ideas for my polymer versions.

Welker’s inspiration

Polymer clay is often called the chameleon clay since it can simulate many media.

Germany’s Bettina Welker (Beadworx) credits the work of enamelist Angela Gerhard for the inspiration for her new polymer bracelets. Using that as her launching point, Bettina adapted the design and modified it for rings.

Cecile G’s pendant/bail design that I admired yesterday may have begun in a class taught by Bettina! Good designs often ebb and flow across countries and continents and it’s hard to keep up. Take a look at the Euro Clay Carnival’s international showcase to see how our chameleon clay is crossing boundaries.

Thanks to Ronna Weltman for sending the link along. Ronna says that Bettina “manages to combine radical edginess with sublime femininity.” Ronna is someone who knows edgy (see her new book, Ancient Modern).

Cecile’s simplissimes

France’s Cecile G has added some red polymer clay pendants to her site to brighten the season. Even though she’s working from established designs and techniques, her personal stamp on the work is remarkable and she brings her own voice to the pieces.

I’m fond of the way she’s crafted a companion bail on the red pendant. The color composition of these elongated beads is like a painting. Comb through her photos by clicking the links in the right column on her blog to get a good look at her polymer adventures.

Here’s an earlier post.

THANKS to Melody Tallon who spotted the broken email blog feature. If you didn’t get your post via email this week, you can blame my tinkering. Keep your fingers crossed that it works today.

Prophater’s polymer world

Laurie Prophater is the owner of a large trade showroom for interior designers here in Ohio. At work she’s surrounded by a wealth of design and color from around the world.

Laurie’s begun to share how that environment informs her polymer clay work in her blog, Ornamental Elements.

She’s also bravely sharing some of her experiments and works in progress (like the swirls and simulated glass tiles here) on her Flickr site. She’s on the right track and it’s going to be fun to see what develops.

You can see her earlier polymer clay transfers here.

Nowak’s polymer bead clusters

Austria’s Izabela Nowak recently made clusters of thin polymer clay tube beads by attaching each one to a link of chain. The resulting pendant is suspended from a larger chain as you can see by clicking the image.

The mixture of bright colors and companion patterns makes a flowing, sumptuous necklace…like ripe, modern grapes. Simple and effective construction is always a winner in my book. See an earlier post about Izabela here.

Rediscovering Russell and Pavelka

I stumbled on Lisa Pavelka’s spiffy new site as I was looking for the lowdown on the second Cabin Fever Fest (looks like it was a smash). Lisa’s site showcases her growing line of polymer clay tools and products.

I also rediscovered Kelly Russell (beadfuddled.com). Kelly’s first love is precious metal clay and I’d overlooked her dazzling polymer clay work which has been included in many books and magazines.

Start your week with their colorful inspirations and the latest tools and techniques.

Polymer mosaics

These mixed-media pieces by California’s Susan Crocenzi match a bright and downright balmy day (60’s) in Ohio. She combines polymer clay tiles, tempered glass, glass and ceramics in her shimmering mixed media pieces.

See her Flickr gallery here and an earlier post here.

Susan is a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists and part of the SAMA exhibit and conference in San Diego. Another polymer clay mosaic artist, Laurie Mika, will address the SAMA conference. I’ll be in San Diego in a couple of weeks and can’t wait to see their artworks in person.

More mixed media…

A new DVD that explores the passion and the creative process of doll making has just been released. The World of the Doll Artist includes the polymer clay work of the Creagers and other artists who share their approach to craft and design. You can view the trailer here.

Sobrepena’s covered locket

These days it’s especially good to find reuse/recycle ideas for polymer clay when covered Altoids tins and tea lights have become cliche.

Embellishing old lockets never occured to me until I saw Angeli Sobrepena’s (beadladyangeli) tutorial. She updates her locket with a trendy cupcake image but of course many designs would work.

Angeli suggests gluing the clay onto the locket after baking. A thin layer of liquid polymer applied to the locket before adding the clay might be easier and should bond securely.

I’m pulling out my bag of old jewelry with a renewed sense of the possiblities among my castoffs.

Another thing…

If you’re wondering how crafts and the DIY crowd are faring in this economy, check out Rob Walker’s “Happy Medium” column in the New York Times.

A World of Inspiration

Registration for the July 11-14 International Polymer Clay Guild Retreat in Chicago is now open. Read all about it here and register here (you must join to register).

Maggio’s signature polymer

I love wearing this polymer clay gift from Maggie Maggio. All the soft sage green, slate blue/gray and soft brown shapes reverse to reveal more shades of the palette. The wearer can endlessly flip the pieces and change the look. It’s a stunning necklace and an entertaining toy!

The colors look uniform here. On closer examination you’ll see subtle patterning and Maggie’s signature black and white shadow layers. (Note: It’s the same necklace in both pictures…one in sun and one in shade. Her colors are difficult to capture.) See an earlier post here.

Maggie’s site crashed last week just as she was preparing to start posting again. I’ve begun resurrecting the blog for her. Don’t think Maggie’s lost her color sense, the web colors reverted to generic ones. They’ll be fixed and she’ll have new content soon.

Maggie and Lindly’s new book will be out in August. Pre-order now: Polymer Clay Color Inspirations: Techniques and Jewelry Projects for Creating Successful Palettes