Polymer lemonade!

Kentucky’s Ron Lehocky happily received a bin full of other artists’ scrap clay recently. He’s begun turning those discarded canes, experiments and leftovers – our “lemons” into “lemonade” for the KIDS project.

Take a look at what Ron can do with failures and leftovers! In some of the photographs he’s inserted the original cane to illustrate the transformation.

Ron first separated the donated clay into two piles -definitely scrap and scrap with potential for reworking. All will end up as part of the project, either on the surface or inside the heart pins. Transforming canes is an enjoyable challenge for Ron as he cranks out heart number 15,945!

At $10 each, it’s easy to calculate how much he’s raised for the childrens’ center. Ron wants to pass along a big thank you. Read previous posts about the project here and contact Ron here. He would love feedback from anyone who recognizes their scrap.

Making polymer relics

Christine Damm reveals a bit about her Solstice Necklace in current and upcoming posts on her blog.

Her concepts have coalesed into a teachable format that she’ll debut at ArtBLISS in Washington, D.C. in late September. Her class is called Whimsical Blooms.

Christine makes molds of her favorite found items but that’s just the start. “The part of me that enters into the mix then is in how I color these copies and antique them and arrange them into wearable art. They are transformed by what I add to their history and their story becomes part of my story,” she says.

Today’s important tip, “You don’t have to use the whole image. You can use a mold you’ve made of an antique button but use a piece of polymer clay that’s larger than the impression so you have a “relic”– an irregular shape that looks like it has disintegrated somewhat in the aging process. You can flatten edges or texture them with a tool or a texture sheet. I like to thin the edges out to create the illusion of disintegration even more.” See this necklace and her experiments up close on her Flickr site. Thanks to Margit Böhmer for the link!

Bounty from the polymer patch

Roberta Mohar’s garden is full of polymer vegetables – including pumpkins!

In an earlier PCD post we admired her Hokkaido pumpkin-shaped beads and she’s just uploaded a beautiful tutorial (in English and Slovenian) for you to enjoy. It’s worth the wait for the download.

The shape reminded me of Moroccan pouf ottomans and I promptly tried it for my own new beads below. Lucky for us we can now pick up the finer points in her free tutorial.

Her latest crop of garden flowers is most easily viewed on her Flickr page.

Roberta’s story about how her husband fabricated a motor for her pasta machine will make you appreciate thoughtful husbands and the easy access some of us have to equipment. Got a motor (or a thoughtful spouse)? Go hug it.

Playing with shapes

Conni Filip’s unpainted polymer brooches present a blank canvas, a clean slate for a new week. Without having to consider color, she is free to explore shape. The results sprout in unusual ways and explode in unpredictable directions. These exercises in composition are both playful and productive.

Once a strong design is established, Conni adds paints and other surface treatments to give the brooches color and interest. You can see her finished work on Flickr and on her Facebook photo page. Could your work benefit from this approach?

Summery polymer

Florida’s Barbara Bechtel paints and distresses her polymer beads so that they fit more easily with the old things she loves. She explains that, “I love thrift stores, estate sales and auctions. I like to share and sell my finds. Sometimes, I even put my little mark on them by making them into new things for others to enjoy.”

These recent watercolor beads are painted and sanded to achieve a nostalgic, summery look. Her worn shell beads in polymer give the same vibe.

To learn more about Barbara, read this month’s interview on ArtBeadScene and browse through her Etsy shop.

Bewildered polymer

Anne Klocko’s Balls suits me just fine today. Her character has a head full of beads (like me) and looks bewildered (also like me). Must be the heat.

Anne’s pensive and peculiar polymer characters all seem to be working out answers to important questions in her beautifully framed spaces.

Her thick portfolio should keep you busy while I get my brain back in gear.

Anne, Sarah Shriver and Louise Fischer Cozzi can be found at the ACC San Francisco show August 12-14.

Tiny polymer treasures

Portland’s Sofie and Nicolas (bewilderandpine) operate three Etsy shops offering small polymer HO scale views of the world including this French country windmill from “The Hermitage” series. The miniatures can be used for model railroad layouts and other collectors.

“The designs of all of our Hermitage series buildings are also meant to be a charmingly simple reminder of the necessity for simplicity, solitude and for peace within our daily lives,” says the artist. Additional small treasures include houses from Venice, Provence, Santa Fe and beyond.

Their other shops focus on finger puppets and ancient Egyptian amulets.The link to these small, nostalgic pieces comes from Genevieve Williamson.

In the same vein, C. Rohal offers an array of miniature polymer teapots and flowers. This one measures 3/4″ and is hollow with a removable lid. These tiny treasures are loaded with details.

Use jump rings to go ethnic

Svetlana Gracheva from Donetsk, Ukraine embeds what look to be jump rings into her faux ethnic polymer beads with a stunningly realistic effect. The jump rings become bezels for small imitation turquoise and coral pieces.

Other metal is sandwiched in the middle of faux amber and turquoise beads. You can see examples of the techniques in her Lhasa and Nagrang Tibetan-style necklaces pictured here.

On her Tibetan bead class description page, Svetlana offers pictures (scroll down her page) that show how she performs her sleight of hand. In that class she finishes the beads with mosaic inlays. What a treat for those of us searching for new faux fun.

Polymer garden delights

Inspired by Christine Dumont’s hollow bead online course, Kukel10 has built a big bead garden ornament that becomes even more interesting up close.

Ruffles, spikes, dots and disks, sit atop stripes and poetry. This piece will spark many conversations in her garden.

As long as we’re touring the garden, take a look at Shay Aaron’s polymer clay beets, radishes and other vegetable delights to wear.

There’s even more food jewelry on his Etsy site. If you have a hankering to grow something polymer, follow one of Shay’s tiny veggie tutorials.

Letting polymer do the heavy lifting

Celie Fago admits that the high cost of silver was inhibiting her work until she asked herself, “Why not take this as a challenge and let the other materials do the heavy lifting?”

In response she began remaking heavy clasps and other carved solid silver pieces out of polymer embellished with little bits of metal clay.

Here you see one of her signature Ouroboros toggle clasps as she used to make it and as she’s making it now. She’s one of a growing number of artists who are using the rise in prices to nourish their creativity and revisit polymer clay. Read her full explanation. See more of her polymer/metal work in her Etsy shop.

Tending your garden

How does your garden grow? Illinois’ Zuda Gay Pease creates wearable polymer dahlias, sunflowers and other garden delights that require no weeding. She’s added leaves and buds to her line of pendants and beads. Enjoy this summer weekend.