Are you a scaredy cat?

Portland’s Gesine Kratzner been sculpting squiggly polymer creatures for as long as she can remember.

If you’re feeling scared and tentative about your own work, take a look at the bio of this talented illustrator and see how she’s turned silly squiggles into an impressive career.

Gesine’s been an an animation professional for 18 years, lending her design sense to ad campaigns, short films, sculptures and paintings and exhibiting her work in galleries in Oregon and California. She has an Etsy shop, Blobhouse, as well.

Thanks for Randee Ketzel for introducing us to this polymer artist.

Take me to TaDa!

You can move from “same old, same old” to “tada” by selecting something that tickles your fancy from a huge array of classes and workshops.

The growing list includes everything from free at-home courses (check out this free lesson from Donna Kato) to intensive retreats at exotic locations (consider the new Polymer Pamper Play on the Isle of Portland, Dorset), to guild retreats (fantasize about Florida’s Fandango).

Eighteen top teachers will conduct studio classes at Cabin Fever in Maryland in late February! Judith Skinner will be awarded the 2011 Creative Pioneer and Innovator Award at the event.

Maureen Carlson has unveiled a new lineup of polymer and mixed media instructors in her annual schedule. Her Center for Creative Arts is a cozy, intimate space near Minneapolis that’s perfect for brewing big ideas.

A number of polymer classes are tucked in the sprawling Tucson Bead Show in February. Then in June, the Bead & Button show lists these projects.

If you need to stay close to home, CraftEdu has just added a whole bunch of new offerings on their site.

This is just the tip of the polymer iceberg! PolymerClayWorkshops and the international guild provide free listings for events all over the globe – from online to out-of-this-world. Start exploring and you’ll come up with something that fits your desires and your pocketbook.

Learn to knit

UK’s Claire Wallis offers a “tada!” of her own with this knitted polymer cuff bracelet. She says that faux knitting was an experiment which she shares in a short visual tutorial on Flickr. My eyes had a hard time believing what I was seeing.

Claire used light cream colored polymer to keep the focus on texture in this piece. Imagine the possibilities that colored “yarn” would add.

Who else is shouting “TADA”?

I’d forgotten what a relief it is to bring an idea to life.Tada! See my “in progress” shots here.

Joining the TADA365 project has kept me in the studio and off the computer. I’m getting ahead but falling behind!

I’m happy to show you the results of my first efforts, a heart bangle covered with extruded triangle slices. It’s a design that’s been rolling around in my head ever since I saw Melanie West demonstrate the method she developed for her bio-bangles.

The twinkle of the glitter in the “special effects” Premo that’s mixed in some of the colors doesn’t show in the photographs. It gives the piece subtle glitz. I was introduced to glitter clay by a five-year-old friend and love how Dayle Doroshow mixes it sparingly in her work.

How to beachcomb

Holland’s north coast has inspired Linda Ezerman to translate her beachcombing with polymer and felt. Smooth links, faceted chunks and flat pebbles are joined with felted wool into a wild wearable beach.

The carving and felting and lost wax techniques
that Linda shows on her exciting Flickr pages promise to take us polymer rock hounds in new directions.

Polymer relics

Step back in time with a visit to Jen Parrish’s polymer relics site. This Boston artist has created historical replicas and designs for movie, television, theatre and opera productions. Her “…as seen on tv” list is impressive and her faux jewels are sold in the British Museum’s shop.

Since I last visited her site, Jen has added Etsy, Flickr, a blog and more to her thriving business. On this winter weekend from the comfort of your computer chair you can wander through her studio and shops inspired by ages past.

Upcycled polymer

In the hands of Barbara Briggs discarded guitar strings, a bit of textured polymer, some wire and a few trinkets are upcycled into a chic bangle.

Barbara talks about her first-of-the-year penchant for order in recent blog posts. She’s been beautifying her tools and straightening her mixed media studio which is home to some cool new tools. Her progress makes me believe it’s possible to get organized.

The evolution of Mary and Lou Ann

Mary Filapek and Lou Ann Townsend had fallen off my radar and their polymer and silver work continues to evolve. They explain that, “Chemistry, cellular structure, DNA, spirituality, the nature of reality and our planetary travels provide the primary inspiration for color, form and texture.”

We first featured them in 2006 and it’s time to take another look.

Lots of the featured artist links are out of date and a few accidentally dropped off the list. Thanks for helping me untangle this corner of the web. I’ll be updating the file every evening.