Polymer shrinks the world

The ladies of the Samunnat Nepal project graciously wrote me to ask if they could make more of what they call “Petal Mala” polymer necklaces to raise money for their studio and I happily agreed.

They were very sensitive about copying my design for profit. On one of the panel discussions at the RAM weekend, Pier Voulkos reminded us that she only taught a technique when she was finished with it, had moved on, and could let it go out into the universe without resentment.

My pinched petal lei was “released” when the step-by-step instructions were published in our Color Inspirations book. How gratifying it is to have shared this pattern and watch it travel around the globe to help others.

My Hawaiian-inspired design arrived in Nepal via Australia’s Wendy Moore. Cynthia Tinapple, PCD publisher, will continue this story about our “shrinking” polymer world when she returns in December.

guest post by Lindly Haunani

Never give up

Watch Dawna Sharp experiment with polymer clay! She’s only been working with polymer clay a year and a half, but you can’t tell, can you?

She gave credit for her quick progress to the generosity of the online polymer clay community sharing tips and encouraging her to keep going.

She shares her works in progress on Facebook, friend her there to see what she’s up to next. Check out her Artfire studio as well.

Guest post from Tejae Floyde



Customized cords

What a difference a necklace stringing material can make. This focal bead was created long ago; the cane is even older. When I finished the pendant, my reaction pretty much was a big … Meh. Craftsmanship: A, Visual interest: B-

But after spending the last couple of years making customized cords to highlight and embellish my polymer clay jewelry, I decided to do something to liven up this bead. After weaving a Kumihimo cord with two different yarns to match it, the bead became only one part of a much more interesting piece of work. And it’s one that I now wear.

Here are a few of my blog posts, where you can see some of my adventures with Kumihimo, knotting and other fibers.

Guest post by Cassy Muronaka

Dental work

Page McNall’s day job as a California dentist may pay the bills, but she has the soul of an artist.  You can see proof of that on her Flickr pages where she shows her talent working with color, pattern and texture.

Page is another artist who makes great use of scrap clay.  She also credits other artists such as Maggie MaggioBettina Welker and Rebecca Watkins as some of those who inspire her work.

If it’s cold and blustery outside, cuddle up with your computer and browse her 30-plus pages of polymer and metal clay creations.  It always warms the heart to see where an artist has been and where she’s going.

guest post by Barb Fajardo

Celebrating 70

When Karen Lorene, the owner of Facere Jewelry Art Gallery, was approaching this milestone birthday, she decided to throw a party for herself. She had “…the idea of inviting seventy artists to each pick a year during my lifetime and make a piece of jewelry based on that year. Some pieces have made us double over in laughter and a couple are so moving they make me choke up even to talk about them.”

Follow this link to Celebrating 70. You will recognize several artists from the polymer world and some others may inspire you take the what if road to a new design. I will be featuring many of the non-polymer artists on ornamentalelements.com in the future posts.

guest post by Laurie Prophater

Painting with polymer

The World Series may be over for 2011, but when you combine a love of baseball and a stellar artistic talent with polymer clay, the game never ends.

Using polymer, Marisol Ross creates three dimensional baseball paintings that will have you believing you’re in the stadium craving hot dogs and Cracker Jacks.

Each sculptural painting captures a different aspect of the game, from famous players and infamous fans to vendors and exuberant action scenes. But Marisol doesn’t limit herself to the baseball diamond, these diners captured my imagination as well.

guest post from Alice Stroppel

Bushari’s chalk and polymer

When I first met Hilla Bushari several years ago at a guild meeting, I saw a sparkle in her eyes when she talked about polymer clay. Hilla started her journey in the crafts world as an art teacher. Over the years she experimented with various materials until she was taken over by polymer clay eight years ago.

She made polymer clay her profession three years ago after studying, taking classes with local and international teachers, and experimenting with materials, colors and designs.

Hilla works most mornings while listening to the radio, surprisingly not music but chit-chats. Sometimes, when the muse strikes, she can sneak back to the table late at night to create something new or to give a final touch to a previously made project.

Still searching for her path and personal voice and developing some marketing skills, Hilla is proud of her millefiori cane work, made in a technique she developed. Her Pandora beads are very popular in Etsy and her special stamping and chalk work is a color dance for the eye.

guest post from Iris Mishly

Super size polymer

Hi all! This is Christi Friesen checking in while Cynthia is off having adventures! I’ve always appreciated that PCD showcases such a diversity of polymer creations. I’m especially delighted to see what others are doing. Like this guy, Adam Rees, whose work I came across in a gallery in Washington.

I was part of a group and we were all astounded at the size of his work! His octopus was about two feet tall and at least three feet across. It’s hard to tell from his site exactly how he creates and bakes such large pieces (the gallery owner thought he had a custom-made oven). However he does it, it’s pretty impressive.

His canework reminds me of exuberant folk art, and adds a wonderful voice to his sculptures. I especially like his massive polar bear piece. Hmmmm, that would look pretty good in my living room….

Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Carol Dotin, winner of last week’s giveaway, an autographed copy of Terra Nova – Polymer Art at the Crossroads. Thanks to all who took the survey.

Guest post by Christi Friesen

Live and learn

Taking yourself out of your usual surroundings can be an eye-opening experience. Here are three favorite places that combine beautiful surroundings with an inspirational learning experience.  Each of these places embraces and offers polymer clay workshops.

John Campbell Folk in the mountains of western NC, is “a place where folks come together to have a creative and fun learning experience.” They offer more than 800 workshops a year!

Artfest in Port Townsend WA, the original alternative arts retreat, offers a wealth of mixed media workshops. The beautiful location, evening events, as well as the finest teachers set this event apart. “People leave with a renewed sense of their artistic selves and a recharged battery.”

La Cascade, the artist retreat of Gwen Gibson in southern France, offers weeklong workshops in polymer clay and mixed media. (The photo is my polymer postcard from Provence.) The workshops take place in a beautiful medieval village with a studio open 24/7. Workshops combine field trips, food cooked by a chef and fabulous art-making.

guest post from Dayle Doroshow

Art speaks

Art Speaks is my mantra when I make a mistake in my polymer art. Here’s a secret: sometimes Art knows better than the artist!

When I damage a piece and change my design to incorporate the flaw, the Art Muse often gifts me with something much more compelling than my original design.

My Humpty-Dump-Teapot was a 3D teapot that crushed from its own weight in the oven. I couldn’t bear to toss it, so I mounted the shards as a wall piece, and voila – an award winning piece!

I say Art Speaks also when something unexpected says “Here I Am!”

I created the surface treatment for this candle holder, cut it out and applied it. Later while clearing up my workspace I saw the leftover cutout, already shaped perfectly for a necklace. All I did was ripple it into flowing lava. The Pele’s Offering necklace was born.

guest post by Ann Kruglak