My faux slate sleight of hand

As a way to get myself off the computer and into the studio more, I’ve decided to post about my own work every week or so (blush, blush). Hence my Friday faux slate switchplates.

A local woman’s expensive kitchen renovation with slate backsplash fell flat because first things that caught your eye were the generic switchplates. She read about my faux stone and we decided to give it a try. All six plates are different colors and configurations. You can read more about how I made them here.

Cozzi’s polymer hearts

I hadn’t caught up with Louise Fischer Cozzi for a while and somehow I missed her Etsy store where she sells her latest polymer clay creations and a line of heart pendants for charity. The story behind the hearts is a touching and uplifting one.

Her website had some new additions that I hadn’t seen and a very nifty catalog.

Louise shuttles between Stresa, Italy and Brooklyn, NY and has pioneered a number of polymer clay metallic, silk screen, and image transfer techniques.

Color winners and Simmons’ jeweled beads

Three polymer clay artists were named in the top 10 entries in the Step by Step Beads Colorworks Contest that was limited to works in the purple-green-orange triad. The other finalists are seed bead artists.

Lindly Haunani, Maureen Thomas and Carol Simmons were among the finalists. Carol entered the beads pictured above that use an extruded cane process she’s been refining. See the complete necklace here.

Carol has resumed teaching after an 8-year hiatus, hitting the road to teach her new jeweled technique that exploits the properties of metallic clay, producing patterned surfaces with extraordinary depth and luminosity. See her jewel eggs from an earlier post.

Carol is a researcher and scientist at heart and you can be sure that she’s discovered some entirely new processes that will change the way you think. Her fall classes are full. She’ll be teaching at the Phoenix guild in March (I’m signed up) and is setting up her 2010 schedule.

Kulakova’s polymer canvases

Russia’s Mariya Kulakova (pterdaktell) doesn’t just take a painterly approach to her beads, she uses polymer clay as her canvas!

The twenty year old produces polymer Picassos, Klimts, Warhols, Van Goghs and her own flowers and scenes on bead canvases.

Check out the Flickr site of this St. Petersburg artist’s dazzlingly bright colors sometimes mixed with caned spirals and traditional onion dome beads.

Treasurefield’s fee fi faux

This sunny Rosa Amarilla polymer clay necklace and enamel-look swallow pin from Alisa Treasurefield look sunny and just right for the first post of the week.

Alisa specializes in unusual faux effects – wood, enamel, bakelite, ceramic, metal and more – in the items in her Etsy shop.

It takes a keen eye and a deft hand to use the clay so convincingly. In an earlier post we looked at her faux faceted wood gems and now there’s much more to look at.


Here are two tutorials I found this weekend as I tried to distract myself from other chores that were calling me. Both the faux agate cane and the twisted wire/polymer ring look interesting and need little translation. If you experiment with them, I can get back to work.

Wilkes’ wonky pendants

These wonky polymer clay chrysalis pendants from Lori Wilkes made me smile with their colorful, lopsided messages. And I read that she’s in a show in my area this weekend.

I’ve seen her scarabs in the June Bead and Button magazine, she’s had her wearable icons, story lockets, and windows in Belle Armoire. It’s about time I saw Lori’s work in person.

“Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of works that incorporate trash. Redeeming used up, throw away items is a great spiritual metaphor. It’s these stories and ideas that keep me working into the wee hours. Pushing for something new,” she says.

Here’s her blog and her flickr site. Have a lovely weekend.

Krohn’s hot colors

Several people told me to look at the polymer clay work of Denver’s Valerie Krohn (NovaFolia) and I’ve been lurking in the web weeds waiting for the right day to feature her bright, hot colors.

Valerie’s only been working in polymer for a year and a half and already she’s made her mark with a distinctive color palette and graphic style made more complex with mica shifts. If you don’t mind a little more summer heat, check out her Etsy site.

Thanks to Janice Abarbanel and Dede Leupold for pointing me in Valerie’s direction.

Hughes’ article in Ornament

The Path from Nothing to Something is the title of an article on Tory Hughes in this month’s Ornament magazine. Tory’s path usually leads to new levels of play, experiment and expansion and it should be a good read.

If the article and the delicious photos aren’t enough, you may want to consider Tory’s creativity retreat, Perception and Play, in France this fall. The two basic concepts of the retreat are:

    1. What you perceive leads directly into what you create and teaches you who you are as a creator.
    2. How you play teaches you to experiment, learn, integrate, expand and express without risk.

      Doesn’t that sound enticing? Find all the details here.

      Memorial face cane

      Today I had my own private meditation on Michael Jackson as I quickly built one last polymer clay face cane of him based on an illustration in the New Yorker magazine.

      Years ago, I remember my son feeling sick after celebrating his birthday with a black cake decorated with one white sequined glove made of frosting. Jackson’s music is entwined in our family’s growing up stories.

      I made a Thriller cane in the early 90’s, my black and white phase, and still have a chunk of it left. It’s still useable and the image still resonates. His death marks the end of an era. Have a look at my process here.

      Vanden Broeck’s metal techniques in polymer

      This colorful bangle by Belgium’s Moïse Vanden Broeck traps extruded canes between two polymer clay plates. Moise brings a metalworker’s eye to his polymer work as in this additional bracelet design and these rings.

      He also explains how to create a cutter tool using rotary blades which is an update on the original tube bead cutter by Elise Winters.

      Nice to have a few mental exercises to get us in shape for the studio week ahead.