Begin Within

Pindroh's polymer Begin Within plaque

This 12″ polymer illustration by Paula Pindroh will hang in my studio and it’s a perfect bit of post-conference wisdom. With all those new tools and techniques swirling in my head, this plaque reminds me to gently tune out the noise and listen to my heart.

I feel great about shopping at Trader Joe’s knowing that the store hires people like Paula to create their weekly signage.

Short and sweet post today while I deal with the heaps of email and laundry.

The lure of silkscreened polymer

Arlene Groch's silkscreened polymer

This silkscreened polymer necklace by Arlene Groch and the pendant and earrings that Susan Gross was wearing (pictured below) nearly convinced me to try silkscreening.

Flat or pillowed, densely layered or lightly applied, silkscreened polymer has an elegance that’s hard to match with other techniques.

Susan Gross' silkscreened set

Though the screens can be a commitment of time and money, it was reassuring to learn that good pre-made screens are becoming more readily available through a number of suppliers.

I retreated to rock making when I felt overloaded with new ideas. I’ll head home this weekend and share more pictures with you next week. Have a great one.

Mills collaborates

Libby Mills polymer circle pendant

Libby Mills just pulled this beauty out of the oven and it has comes to you with a story.

The color palette she selected from her Moo cards! She selected 50 Colourlovers palettes that she loved and had a set made to use for inspiration and later to use as jewelry tags.

Mills collage materials

It’s a traveling personal paint sample set. Pick a card from your deck for instant inspiration. (These snapshop colors aren’t accurate but you get the idea.)

Libby’s background textures came from tablemate Laurie Propheter who uses textured fabric swatches to impress into clay. (Laurie has a great selection that she sells on Etsy.) A few extrusions later (see the canes) and Libby’s perked up her palette.

Korringa’s canes

Kim Korringa's flower pin 2
Kim Korringa's flower pin 1
Kim Korringa's flower pin3

Kim Korringa’s pins give me more caning ideas here at the conference. The shaped edges and slice combinations take my thinking in a new direction.

Kim Korringa's necklace parts

I found Kim quietly stockpiling components for a necklace series. Mindless production work is her way of accomplishing something in the midst of creative overstimulation.

Her collection of polymer pearlized, ruffled disks and balls made a beautiful collage.

Maunsell’s connections

Claire Maunsell doesn’t quite know what to call these new hollow polymer beads. I call them fabulous. The way her new “plank” beads interlock opens up a world of possibility. They’re rough and evoke fish or wood. She plans for this species to evolve.

Claire is great at making connections. See how her beads hug each other on her Etsy and Zibbet sites.

Polymer windows

Betsy Baker's window pendants

With her “Windows” series, Betsy Baker gives us a stunning view of a growing trend in polymer (via

Arden Bodol's polymer fobs

The window metaphor is a powerful one. It suggests something not entirely visible and a bit beyond our grasp. Arden Bardol features them in her “Connections” series shown at the right.

Lori Wilkes polymer metaphors

Lori Wilkes gives the design a more literal interpretation with her “Metaphor Doors” and window pendants. “They are glassed-in spaces through which we see everyday life. They also serve as portals to the world within,” says Lori.

Flowers for Mother’s Day

Bonnet's wavy polymer flowers

Laure Bonnet’s polymer flowers scream spring with their intense colors, wavy petals and playful accents.

Bonnet's red flower wire wrapped necklace

Her wire-wrapped necklaces are perfect for a sunny Mother’s Day weekend.

I found Laure via the Parole de pate and gadouille (aka Sylvie).

Low cost extrusion

Breil's vise extruder solution

Helen Breil shares a low-cost polymer extrusion method which also uses a vice and replaces the plunger with an aluminum tube.

Helen explains, “I use the standard clay gun. I purchased an aluminum dowel at home depot. The diameter is 1/2” which leaves a bit of a gap where clay builds up but it’s not a big problem. For easy clean up I put parchment paper into the tube before the clay is inserted (shown sticking out of the tube in this picture) and then I put it all into the vice as shown.”

Easy extrusions

Tinapple's extrusion setup

Look to the right. In preparation for next week’s conference, I dusted off my video camera and shot a bit of footage just to get in practice.┬áPardon my deer-in-headlights look and messy hair. Filming was a spur-of-the-moment decision.

After years of searching for a way to extrude polymer clay I devised a system that works for me. (Here’s my old way.) Small batches, no clean up, easy on the joints – those were my criteria. Watch the video to learn my tricks.

The vise is my new favorite tool. It’s useful even when cranking by hand. Here’s the vise link. Here’s how to contact the Bullens Wullens (adapter) folks.

Chandler’s polymer experiments

Gera Scott Chandler's lantern experiment

Gera Scott Chandler fearlessly fuses polymer clay with digital photography, canvas, silk, inks, acrylics and found objects to create textured three dimensional interpretations of the mood and spirit of her west coast Canadian landscapes. Gera often incorporates beachcombing ephemera into her compositions.

It was her Arbutus mixed media collage on canvas in the Synergy exhibit that helped fuel recent experiments by other artists in combining liquid polymer and fabrics. Her research and development is constant (the lantern at left is a recent example).

Chandler's resin and polymer ring

Gera has moved on to combining polymer and resins and offers the results of her experiments for comparison shoppers. She has a way of bringing remarkable colors to polymer and she’s working to enhance those colors further with resin.

Following Gera’s work is like being on an adventure that leads from the beach to the garden to the studio.

Dutch polymer designs

Els Van Haasen's polymer earring design

New earring designs are rare in our world. Holland’s Els Van Haasen stacks polymer clay beads on a wire for a new and intriguing look. Does the end wire fit snuggly into the tube bead? How do these look on? So many questions.

Els’ Flickr page led me to the Dutch guild’s page and it seems that outside-the-box thinking is the guild’s mission. If, like me, you’re in search of exciting ideas and shapes, wander through their members’ pages.