McMillan’s polymer bobbins

Californian Dotty McMillan (here’s her latest book) showed me these bobbin beads she developed using a stash of old sewing machine parts from her fabric store manager daughter. Dotty was pleased to see a photo of Cynthia Toops’ bobbin necklace in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. “We don’t do them the same, but it was good to see someone else had thought about using them and I wasn’t nuts,” says Dottie.

Here are links to four more examples (1, 2, 3, 4). She’s written a how-to article on the beads for a spring edition of Bead and Button magazine.

Dotty reminded me about our original online polymer group on the ancient Prodigy network. What year was that? Does anyone remember?

Van Hemert’s ephemera

Lauren Van Hemert has added a new line of focal beads and pendants like this Eye Chart to her collection. Click on the catalog tab on her new site to flip through her collection. You’ll see her experiments with image transfers onto colored clay and a bit of caning.

Lauren is masterful at incorporating historic, romantic and nostalgic image transfers into her polymer clay pieces. She’s only recently started adding canes to her ephemera. Read more about her evolving process on her blog.

Thanks to Susan Lomuto (DailyArtMuse) for the link.

Friesen’s polymer crowd

Each year this 8″x8″ polymer clay wall piece by Christi Friesen pretty much sums up my Thanksgiving. Today you’d have to add more organic vegetables and a spray of Pacific Ocean surf to get the full effect. Our celebration combines a wild mixture of California friends and family for which I am very thankful.

Of course I’m also thankful for you readers from around the globe. Perhaps that’s who Christi had in mind when she created Just a Face in the Crowd! Happy turkey day.

West’s fantasy creatures

More wings! This time they’re on “Angel”ina, the polymer clay fantasy sculpture of Nevada artist Nicole West (wingdthing).

Nicole has an uncanny ability to imbue her creations, from pin ups to pixies, with hyper real features and emotions. It’s easy to see why she was selected this year’s Most Promising Sculptor by her peers on the Deviant Art site.

I’m in the Hollywood vicinity and couldn’t resist the pull of Nicole West’s sexy creatures. Thanks to Andrea Polite for the link.

Williamson takes wing

Genevieve Williamson (Jibby and Juna) started out to make polymer icicle ornaments and ended up with these cool, fluttery feathers. The ornaments that she stamped and painted and carved may morph into winged pendants. Sometimes our muse leads us off in new directions.

I’m winging off to California today for a holiday visit. My camera and computer have traveled with me, of course, and I’m keeping my eyes open for polymer clay of the west coast variety.

Diffendaffer’s re-entry beads

Grant Diffendaffer begins his new textured tube beads by making blanks. He explains that, “Any time I’ve been away for a while from the practice of making beads, I find I need an easy re-entry to get things moving again in the studio. These beads are perfect. I roll out a batch of core beads to start with. It’s a straightforward task with zero creative demands.” A good Monday tip?

The depth and texture that Grant achieves are the result of texturing and carving the color layer applied to the blank base beads. His style is agressive, sculptural and distinct. You can see more textured tube beads on his Etsy shop and his Flickr stream. Thanks to Leila Bidler of Germany for the link.


Seeing the pictures from Heather Campbell’s show opening put her polymer clay/mixed media artwork in better perspective for me. Judging from the visitors standing beside works in her exhibit, the art is much bigger than you might have envisioned. The pictures are stunning and the show is impressive. Congratulations, Heather.

Dittmar’s 3D polymer

Portland’s Meredith Dittmar reveals some of her process through her Flickr site photos. This fascinating insider’s view shows the scale and complexity of her vision and lets us glimpse her methods of working in 3D in polymer clay.

The piece pictured here is entitled Inter-thinking. It’s a 14″x12″ polymer clay sculpture now at Jonathan Levine, a NYC gallery that exhibits work influenced by illustration, comic books, graffiti, street art and pop culture imagery.


Some of Dittmar’s new pieces are for her December solo show at Upper Playground in Mexico City. Don’t miss her wide-ranging projects, a t-shirt design, clay illustrations for a lingerie company, an animation for a bank, and of course, her guys.

Susan Lomuto at DailyArtMuse sent the link along.

From teapots to fiber

When the Niche Award finalists were posted, I tallied ten polymer clay nominees in five categories including Teapots and Fiber! I’m sure that’s a record.

The photos on the list on Niche’s site are frustratingly small. Guess we’ll have to wait to see them up close.

And our rumor mill missed Wiwat Kamolpornwijit’s entry. (He just sent this photo.) Read about Wiwat on this site as well as on his personal pages. Thanks to Janice Abarbanel for spotting the Niche news.

The metalsmiths now have their own IPhone app, iMakeJewelry, thanks to Victoria Lansford. Can an app for polymer folks be far behind?

Thanksgiving tip: Those turkey baking bags come in handy for baking polymer clay in your home oven in a pinch. No mess, no smell, no oily residue.

Set in stone – Tinapple’s faux pebbles

These polymer clay tab and slot faux pebble beads are a new design for me. In fact, they’re a first effort and I’ve been test driving them to make sure the pebbles aren’t too delicate for wearing in real life. They’ve passed the test nicely.

In the upcoming online class at Craftcast with Alison Lee I’ve promised to tell everything I know about polymer pebble making. That sent me back to the studio to figure out just what I do know. Uncomfortable situations often provide the spark I need for creative solutions.

This is my newest trick and I can see using for lots of non-pebble applications as well. Join me and Alison on December 2.

Toops in progress/Tajvidi’s leaves

You can look behind the scenes at Cynthia Toop’s latest polymer clay work by visiting the Flickr site of her Seattle jeweler/metalwork designer, Chuck Domitrovich.

His descriptions give you a sense of how the two collaborate and design their projects like this Summer Storm brooch which was part of a two-piece series.


Raking the last of the colorful leaves in our yard today made me think of this recent delightful polymer/wood branch by Afsaneh Tajvidi (JooJoo). The piece provides a fall landscaping backdrop for her snail series.