Lyrical polymer from Lombardi and Holler

Rome’s Marina Lombardi (Ali di Libellula) makes lyrical jewelry by pairing delicate polymer clay focal pieces with pearls, filigree, stones and crystals. She coaxes microspheres into just the right spots for hints of color and texture.

Her pieces are often photographed with a bit of reference material in the background – wallpapers, fresoes, illustrations. It’s very effective and there’s more on her Flickr site.

Marco Holler sometimes collaborates with Lombardi. The duo dressed up a swirl lentil bead by adding an image transfer and gold embellishment to produce these beautiful romantic Italian earrings. See more of their collaborations here.

It all puts me in mind of vineyards and villas and vacations. Have a great weekend.

Russell’s polymer/pmc combinations

Maryland’s Kelly Russell has resurfaced on the web with a new blog, Beadfuddled. If you’ve ever been skeptical about combining polymer clay and precious metal clay, Kelly will remove all doubts.

On her blog she prepares for workshops and works through problems and house renovations. She’s a fine craftsman and a fearless experimenter.

Kelly’s new at blogging so leave her a comment to let her know you’re watching.

Tinapple upstairs/downstairs polymer

When I told a friend that I wasn’t ready to share my studio work this week, she suggested I show my bedroom instead. I ran upstairs and snapped a few pictures of the polymer clay in my bedroom. No tidying, no photoshopping (ok, I omitted the chair that catches laundry).

I wake every morning to a collection of vibrant colors and patterns created by wonderful friends. Their stories inspire me and their friendships keep me going. Enjoy this peek at some of my inspirations.

Helm’s secret sources

Sarajane Helm’s site is my favorite source for out-of-the-ordinary polymer clay tools and supplies. This weekend I needed custom made rubber stamps so I headed to the ReadyStamp form on her site.

If there’s a new product (like these inks), she’s researched and compared it. Last month I traipsed all over town looking for varnish and ended up ordering from her online link.

Each time I go to her site, I spend time with her collection of tattooed and Victorian hand beads. They fascinate me and now they’re for sale on her Etsy site.

Thanks to Sarajane for her persistence in finding the best products and for her generosity in sharing with the rest of us. You’ll find lots of treasures buried in her information-rich site.

Wolfe and Peel polymer surprises

Just when you think you’ve seen every version of polymer clay mokume gane, you happen upon River Wolfe’s summer collection which reveals some surprising patterns and designs.

And when you think you’ve seen every earring design possible, you run into Krista Peel’s white collection. Though there’s not much polymer on her Etsy site, look at the way she bends wires in endless ways to produce simple earrings that have class and drama.

Krista is a versatile artist and her website it full of unexpected delights. I was led to Krista via Eugena Topina’s site. Have a surprising weekend.

Farris and Haab – Cuties

This bug from Janet Farris is just too cute. If you look closely there’s a steampunk surprise that takes this design over the top. There are more in her new Etsy shop.

Janet’s added new jewelry to her Flickr site too. Her woven pieces are thick with beads. Janet’s a master at finger weaving.

More Cute

Fifteen years ago, Lisa Clark (and lots of others) were introduced to polymer clay with a few bars of clay and the Klutz Press children’s book by Sherri Haab.

Sherri’s written a new book, Clay So Cute, full of trendy bangles, simple charms, easy rings, and clever ponytail holders. These projects are certain to lure another generation of young artists to the medium. She tells a bit more of the backstory on her blog.

Kruglak’s polymer meditation

Here’s a pleasant approach to consider as I putter and play this week. “As I work, I meditate consciously, imbuing each piece with energy and blessings to benefit the person who will eventually own it,” says Boulder, Colorado artist Ann Kruglak.

Ann first started making masks from natural materials, a service project that raised $9,000 for rainforest charities. Now she’s using polymer clay, natural materials and glass to create masks, wall hangings and sculpture, donating all her proceeds to the World Land Trust – US, a land conservancy charity. “It is my joy to create, and be of service, so I donate all of my time in creating and marketing the art, as well as the cost of materials to benefit the Earth,” she says.

Ann’s Anemone Teapot received first place sculpture honors in the international guild’s 2008 Progress and Possibilities competition. Her work is sold online here.

Thanks to Maureen Carlson for pointing me to Ann’s site. Maureen met Ann at the recent IPCA conference in Chicago and was charmed by Ann’s story (and nobody knows a good story better than Maureen).

Playful experts – Bohmer and Aaron

Taking a playful approach in the studio has drawn me to others’ playful polymer clay works.

For instance, this loop necklace from Germany’s Margit Böhmer is colorful and carefree with a few bead surprises tucked in the centers. Or you could interpret this as a primitive piece made from rainbow steak bones. Either way, it’s unselfconscious and fun. A browse through Margit’s Flickr site reveals more of her adventurous and capricious spirit.

Israel’s Shay Aaron posted a tiny tutorial of his miniature fish cane. You’ve got to be a bit of a kid to make tiny fish. His sandwich earrings, pizza charms and totally believable small foods are big fun.

Note: In response to your requests, I added a couple of “after” pictures to Friday’s post.

Polymer playing, risking

Atlanta artist/illustrator Tammy Durham has begun a blog devoted to her polymer clay illustrations. Her newest 18″x24″ piece, Cardinals and Girl with Red Hair, gives us a colorful and exhuberant start for a creative summer week.

Tammy is developing art for physicians and childrens hospitals. She shares her ambitious plans and goals on her website and blog – a bold and gutsy move. Take a look.

The quote below is from Tory Hughes’ latest post. She makes me want to proclaim this a week to play. Following her own advice, Tory allowed herself to play as she created a mobile of 51 polymer butterflies for the August Sculpting Color show at the Fuller Craft Museum. Reading about her stumbles and obstacles may make you more willing to take chances with your work.

Playing and creating are very close together.
When we play, what do we do? We make something up.
When we create, what do we do? We make something up.
When we let ourselves enter the world of play, we…start to romp around in what might be. In the ‘what if’.