Polymer clay inspirations

Nepali polymer clay enthusiasts

An email from the other side of the world changed my fretting, procrastinating week. Wendy Moore, who describes herself as an Australian polymer clay junkie living in eastern Nepal wrote:

These photos are of amazing ladies who I think are the first polymer clayers in Nepal. They are survivors of violence (usually domestic but some trafficking) and among the most resilient people I know. They are looking at ways of generating an income for themselves and their families.

There are all sorts of challenges such as clay supply, existence of ovens, electricity, but no lack of enthusiasm. My main reason for sharing with you was my excitement about the healing and practical capacity of clay, the “we’re all in this together” nature of it, and to share the phenomenal spirit of friends who are helping and the ladies themselves. Loving supportive vibes from readers would be good.

Melanie Dilday and the Australian guild are marshalling their resources to help. Others are pitching in and we’re talking about strategies for supplies and marketing. I’ll let you know more about Wendy’s story and what you might do as the project develops.

I can’t leave you without some inspiring art! Drink in the color and the designs on Tory Hughes’ new brooches page. Have an inspired weekend.

Grueso’s treasures and another technique

Barcelona’s Cristina Grueso (CristinasTreasures) is a bit of a mystery and if you look at her artwork, you can see that mystery appeals to her. Cristina’s polymer clay sculptures are wistful, pensive characters.

Her descriptions of her work are as restrained and elusive as the quiet expressions on her characters faces. Cristina’s work is at Etsy and Flickr.

More technique buzz

The “Sutton Slice” is another technique that’s been enjoying some buzz lately. Polymer clay is shoved into a rubber stamp to fill the depressions and then trimmed to expose the stamp. A contrasting sheet is pressed onto the remaining clay to grab the design. Here’s Lisa Pavelka’s version of it on HGTV. Julie Eakes’ example is shown here. Pete Sutton developed the technique.

Usually I don’t talk about techniques here but I love to try new techniques when I’m avoiding other work. Procrastinated for two days this week.

Surprises from Gourley and Katz

I was ready to check airfares to Vancouver when I looked at this beach photo of sand dollars from Rachel Gourley. I must find that beach!

Upon closer inspection (click the image), I was surprised to see that these are Rachel’s polymer clay sand dollar canes. Clever, colorful aliens. Rachel brings a delightful sense of humor and curiosity about the natural world to all her polymer clay work.

She’s not on the web yet but mark your calendar, Rachel’s been selected for a July-September 2010 exhibit at the Craft Council of British Columbia.

Play-doh surprise

There’s quite a buzz in the polymer community this week about using Play-Doh to wrap an irregularly shaped cane. Israel’s Idit Fischer Katz (Idit Zoota) developed the technique and it’s translated to English on Naama Zamit’s site. The theory is that once the wrapped cane is reduced, the Play-Doh can be peeled away and even washed off the polymer.

If you don’t have Play-Doh on hand or are allergic to the wheat in it, you can use this recipe according to Yonat Dascalu who sent the link.

Friesen, Alibert, Belchi – old is new

I’m not sure that I could successfully integrate the bits and bobs from the corners of my junk drawer into polymer clay jewelry but that’s what Christi Friesen aims to do with her new “foundpunk” line of brooches. Her impulse for reusing and recycling may be just right for our times.

France’s Christine Alibert (Xtine) combines fun fibers with her polymer brooches.

If, like me, you’ve admired these yarns but couldn’t envision a use, Christine’s work may have you heading to your fiber stash.

Combed polymer clay beads like Christine’s and this second one by Spain’s Ana Belchi have grown in popularity recently. I created combed polymer faux tiles for my stairway years ago and am happy to be back in fashion.

Charuau carves and backfills

France’s Céline Charuau (GrisBleu) has taken her polymer clay beachball bead (see last week’s post) a few steps further and again shared her methods.

She explains how she carves baked striped beads with linoleum cutters and backfills the carved designs with acrylic paint. She sometimes embellishes the base beads with canes as in this Spring Snowflake necklace.

Celine uses polymer and wire in unexpected ways and with dazzling results. Her galleries and Flickr pages provide great inspiration to start your week. Here are earlier features about her.

Banyas’ mermaid

Debra Banyas‘ fabric and polymer clay mermaid looks just like me! I’m home from the beach with my fish and shells and renewed self.

If you’re in need of a vacation, Debra’s happy flying creatures may help. Just looking at the accommodations Debra and her husband are building on their Riverdog property relaxes me.

Laundry’s started and the desktop computer is fired up. The best thing is that I have the weekend to play in the studio, catch up on email and troll the web. Have a grand weekend.

Where Benzon takes it

Benzon's stone garden brooch

Jana Roberts Benzon has tidied her website and added new polymer clay works that draw upon her past life as a florist.

Dustin pod earrings

Inspiration from a post in the DailyArtMuse got her started. A picture from BlockPartyPress moved her further. It’s a perfect example of last week’s buzz about source materials. You can read more about where Jana took it from and see where she’s taking it to on her site.

And speaking of new things, DaMuse also found some wonders in Kathleen Dustin’s new pod series on Kathleen’s site.

Beach-inspired tidbits

beach bead

This French polymer clay bead from Céline Charuau at Parole de Pate reminds me of a beachball. There’s a companion tutorial that shows a clever way of making these and I’m intrigued by the necklace. Though the round beads are all the same size, the random combinations of extruded colors make the resulting beads randomly striped.

It’s hard to explain but you’ll get the idea from the pictures.

I abandoned my husband at the beach to find a McDonald’s internet connection. He’s fishing. He won’t notice that I’m gone but I’d better get back. We’re heading home tomorrow.

Did you see Tina Holden’s link to Joan Tayler’s sand dollar cane tutorial?

McCaw’s falling polymer leaves

McCaw Falling Leaves Brooch

Sandra McCaw‘s new stunning falling leaves series hasn’t been posted on her web site yet and I couldn’t wait to share this lovely work. Her slideshow on the Crafthaus site includes Sandra’s new polymer clay pieces exquisitely photographed by Hap Sakwa.

The balance and symmetry perfectly mimic leaves floating on a breeze. Sandra pairs the tight geometric canes for which she’s known with shibori-like washes of color.

Judy Dunn gave me a shout out about the new pictures.

Powers sells polymer seashells

Powers urchin necklace

Heather Powers and I are in the same “seashells by the seashore” state of mind. A weekend at the beach will do that to you. Her polymer clay urchin beads captivate me and I finally have a chance to take an impression from the real thing here in Florida.

The seashell beads by Norway’s Flowermouse and more sea creatures from Tina Holden caught my eye as well.

Powers urchin bead

This is not the work I “should” be doing but I’m on vacation and going with the flow. Perhaps this is the start of a go with the flow week for you too. Here’s Heather’s Etsy site.