Faux raku

You’ll want to look closely at Bettina Welker’s newest faux raku bangles and brooches. The densely crazed surface of her faux technique was achieved after much experimentation.

Her process is a further exploration and refinement of the ideas she developed for a class last summer. This will be a fun one to watch.

Let’s hope your weekend isn’t totally crazed! Bad pun but it fits.

Ending the year with a bang

Scotland’s Melanie Muir has gotten a jump on the new year with a refreshed web site, new work and a plunge into the world of teaching polymer. This bracelet is entitled Mountain High, Valley Low.

To end the year with a bang, Melanie’s Rocks Cuff (shown on the right) won “Polymerista of the Month” in Voila’s advanced category for December. The craftmanship for entries into this competition keep climbing higher and higher. Follow Melanie on Facebook as well.

Got plans to wrap up your year and head into the new? I’d love to hear about them.

Faux cones

This polymer pendant from Ukraine’s Svetlana (Rereshechka) makes a festive wearable garland of faux pine and cones, taking an organic approach to holiday jewelry.

Since I’ve missed many of this year’s shopping days, I’m less overwhelmed by the season and have a less jaded approach to decorations and festivities. It’s a nice turn of events.

If seasonal polymer doesn’t inspire you, Els VanHaasen’s experiments with pastel crayons may push you back to the studio to mess around with this painterly effect. See what she’s doing here.

Holiday countdown

Christine Damm helps the Create Mixed Media blog countdown to the holidays with this week’s dates in polymer that she’s stamped, molded, textured and painted. Great info on that blog!

A postage stamp triggers the theme of Tory Hughes’ Greetings Brooch. She constructs a tiny village around the stamp complete with skating pond and a VW bug stuck in a snow bank. She’s running a 20.12 discount special on her works through the end of the year. Check out her new SeaCliff series of brooches while you’re there.

In case you need a little more holiday-themed polymer to get your Monday buzz going, check out this easy “How to turn a heel tutorial from Joan Tayler.

Sweet dreams in polymer

Washington’s Sue Ellen records the essence of her nightly dreams in polymer and lets those sleeping faces speak their truth. Her Dreaming Muse Series involves creating one sleeping face a day that reflect the images, feelings and words of her dreams.

“How will the dreaming hours effect the waking ones? How will the observation of the nightly, subconscious stories, help to create the conscious ones I live in every day?” she asks herself.

My vivid jet-lagged dreams reminded me of this project that Ronna Weltman mentioned a while back. Sue Ellen’s been an actor, speech writer, career coach, corporate sales executive and more. Her introspective art fits comfortably with her interests.

My dream images deal with the clash of cultures as I try to integrate what I’ve learned in my travels into my life.

Sue Ellen’s been running her experiment since October. Her faces, tinted with alcohol inks and tucked among the rocks and plants in her garden, are intriguing. Take a look and have a restful weekend. I’m nearly back in the swing.

Esprit de Noël

The quaint snow scene on a moon-shaped polymer necklace from France’s Cebeka is luring me back from a vacation groove to holiday mode. Check out the matching earrings here.

Cebeka and her “Bo and Girls Show” friends are putting on a show that’s guaranteed to make you feel festive.

In case you need a little help to ease you into making a few seasonal pretties, check out this tutorial from Carolyn and Dave Good. I’m hoping these are the antidote to jet lag.

Fearless color

Nepalis don’t fear color. The unbaked canes and finished pieces in the Samunnat studio showed none of the muddiness that plagues many projects. Their natural color sense must be a cultural legacy from a country awash in color. (Of course it helps that these polymer artists have also studied Color Inspirations.)

On the second day of teaching, the students gravitated to a pair of Kim Korringa earrings that I had brought along and were hungry to learn about them. Via email Kim generously agreed that I could share her tricks.

This tray of earrings headed for the oven (powered by a bone-rattling, foul-smelling generator) looked like a lovely local garden and the colorful Korringa designs with their new Nepali flavor blended beautifully with the women’s brightly patterned kurta salwars. Sharmilla models her earrings here and there are more pictures here.

Traveling around the world has left me jet-lagged, pondering what I learned and happy to be home as I sip a cup of peppery Nepali tea in my Ohio kitchen.

Thanks to the guest posters for their help, to you readers for making my trip worry-free, to my daughter for handling the details, to our gracious hosts and guides, and to you generous donors who continue to brighten the lives of artists a world away.

Krispil vases

Mira (Pinki) Krispil began working with polymer in 2005 after operations on her hands. She went on to not only rehabilitate her hands but also to head up the Israeli Polymer Clay Guild. It’s not surprising that her sculptures and vases are imbued with joy, optimism, mischieviousness and humor. Here’s her Etsy gallery.

Which came first?

Which came first? The jewelry or the outfit?

This is a question I am often asked and the answer isn’t always the same. As my polymer designs have evolved over the past few years, color and shape have become more important and inspiring.

Of course, inspiration is everywhere, but for me as a costume designer, textiles have always been a huge source of inspiration. After falling in love with this beautiful silk jacket, I rushed to my studio to combine just the right colors in this fire rose pendant.

Sometimes the outfit comes after the jewelry, but either way, creating a complete ensemble is always a joy!

I am now wholesaling most of these designs in galleries across the US, you can see more colors and designs at www.wholesalecrafts.com/visitor. Artist #23846, guest password- jpclay. Or at my regular site, www.twocanclaydesigns.com.

guest post by Janet Pitcher