Bashing ideas

Carissa Nichols’ Ultralight Sculpey pendants caught my eye at Ohio’s Buckeye Bash (my pictures here) in Dayton. She sculpts the pieces in white clay, bakes and then colors them with alcohol inks and seals them with a spray. Inking the chalky surfaces allows for a bright, frilly effect.

The marshmallowy ultralight requires more gentle handling than other polymer clays. Once baked, however, its soft texture, makes for easy carving and it can be used as a strong armature for large pieces. (See Sarah Shriver’s big beads and Melanie West’s biobangles, for example.)

Carol Simmons was the Buckeye Bash’s visiting artist this year and the room was abuzz with teams creating kaleidoscope canes and slicing them deli-thin on her prototype slicing device.

Sculptural effect from inclusions

Big hollow polymer beads with inclusions are the latest creation from Christine Dumont who is also the founder of the popular European Voila Web site.

In the new beads small fluted “ossocopia” are embedded in the clay, with the tips of their horns protruding or with concave saucers recessed into layers of color, the newest twist in her sculptural approach to polymer beads.

Christine has been teaching workshops online and in several countries. Her butterfly beads flutter all over Europe. She’ll be teaching at Polymer Pamper Play in the UK in March. I hope your weekend is filled with lots of pamper and play.

Polymer medicine

Another dose of color for you from Anna Anpilogova today. The warm colors of her polymer “mango” beads remind us that spring is not far off.

The text on her blog is in Russian and it’s fun to follow along on her studio experiments in Belarus. Anna’s Flickr pages give you the pictures without having to translate anything. She invents constantly and offers this simple faux chevron tutorial that ends with a sophisticated result.

Thanks to Claire Maunsell for the link.

Beads that speak for themselves

I was looking for polymer that was springy and required no explanation since I’m fresh out of words.

Luckily Silvia Ortiz de la Torre posted this necklace that fit my requirements precisely. If Google translator is accurate, this is Silvia’s rendition of beads from a tutorial by fellow Spaniard, Natalia Garcia de Leaniz that appeared in the new From Polymer to Art magazine (the Blue edition). They’re super textured and built on cores of crumpled foil to keep them light. Silvia uses eye-catching graduated color on the base beads.

Let me know if I botched the translation. The beads are exuberant in any language!

Our polymer niche

Arden Bardol is one of the winners just announced in the 2011 Niche Award competition. Arden was omitted from our previous list of finalists. Her Timepiece belt buckle won in the fashion accessories category.

The other winners are Wiwat Kamolpornwijit (fashion jewelry), Doreen Kassel (polymer clay), and Barb Fajardo (polymer clay).

Eight polymer artists were finalists this year and a whopping four of the eight were named winners in their categories. Clap for them and stand up, take a bow for our polymer community. It’s a nice niche you’ve helped establish.

Delightful diversions

There’s nothing better to veer your week off track than a couple of interesting polymer techniques. If you’re facing serious deadlines and chores, stop reading right now.

The first tantalizing tutorial is a bit of Japanese-inspired faux lacquer from Nan Roche. Alison Torres reports from the CFCF event in Maryland that’s in progress this week. Nan briefly describes her method in this short video. (The picture is Alison’s work from Nan’s class.)

Then I happened upon luminous faux mother of pearl from LesEthiopiques. The text on Hélène’s free tutorial is in French accompanied by step-by-step shots of her discoveries. Wouldn’t that be fun to try?

I have deadlines and chores of my own that I’m avoiding. Perhaps if you trot off and try these tricks, I can focus. Sneaky, eh? You try them so I won’t have to.

Creating signature style

Tricia Dewey’s newest polymer beads hum with color and they come with a good story.

Tricia bought Christi Uliczny’s popular “Rocky Path” tutorial and modified the instructions extensively to create beads rather than pendants. Tricia used the tutorial as a launch pad to combine leaf and alcohol inks and mica powders on polymer in her own way.

Sidelined by an elbow injury, Tricia was taking a break from her fossil series of polymer/encaustic multimedia wall art to experiment with beads. Using a new set of instructions and working on a smaller scale, Tricia’s signature style still shone through.

Are your scrapbooks calling you?

The polymer photo pendants by Angie (HopeMoreStudio) tug at my heart. She adds bits of lace, ribbon, buttons and ephemera to family snapshots that turn them into sentimental treasures.

Angie specializes in faux glass slides that capture a glimpse of another time and place….all polymer transfers that have been photoshopped, sepia-toned and topped with coats of shiny finish. They make me sigh with pleasure and nostalgia.

Are your own scrapbooks begging to be given some studio love that will make them into pieces that can be worn, displayed and given the honor they deserve?

Cyber thanks

Thanks to cyberhostess Alison Lee and all last night’s class participants. Teaching extrusions to students from Italy, UK, Mexico, Australia, Canada and my home town all from the comfort of my well-worn computer chair is mind boggling. Thank you!

Polymer faux bois

The last time we spotted Hélène at Les Ethiopiques she was fooling us with polymer leather. Now she’s stumped us with wood lookalikes. Her polymer burls twist themselves into curved necklaces and bracelets embellished with copper wire.

Wood burls, deformed, worn and weathered tree growths, are prized by woodworkers and my cabinetmaker husband wasn’t convinced that this was polymer. But it is. Hélène will have woodturners scratching their heads wondering where she found such fine wood specimens.

Emilie at Lily’s Treasures brought the link to our attention.

Spring is online

Donna Kato is offering a terrific deal on her springtime hearts class at until noon today. If you’ve not seen Donna at work, now is the time for a cheap thrill. And speaking of thrills, I’d be thrilled if you’d join me for the extrusions chat on tonight!

Studying shapes

There’s something endlessly fascinating about triangles and the way they fit together in so many ways. The triangle-obsessed artwork from Greece’s Eva (NoMilkToday) explores the shape’s variations in polymer. There are more on her Flickr pages and her blog.

As a child Eva remembers shopping for beads in the Athens markets with her mother and collecting shells and trinkets with her best friend to sell in their own kids shop. She tells us that, “Polymer is my favourite material to work with even now because it reminds me of my childhood and gives me new ways to express my ideas in the most playful way!”

Genevieve Williamson sent in the link saying that Eva, “…is quite hip and it’s interesting to go back to her first sales and trace how her style is emerging. I like the lined textured on some of the newest pieces.”

You’ll see echoes of origami and quilts in Eva’s artwork. Of course I see extrusion ideas as I countdown to my Wednesday night Craftcast class. Join us!