How to build a design

One of the satisfactions of attending a workshop for polymer artists is watching how others work.

The black marks that Loretta Lam sketched across these beads gave me a clue as to where she was headed with her design. The baked gray base beads are made from blended scrap clay (ultralight and polymer) which she covered with veneers, adding a few sculptural elements and textures.

This week Loretta posted a picture of the final necklace with the juxtaposed lines, patterns and shapes all in place. The mixture of elements forces your eye around the piece and offers something interesting no matter where your focus lands.

You can read more about Loretta’s art and business in this recent interview and on her Facebook fan page. Does this make you rethink your process?


  • reply Ronna ,

    Loretta’s design class at the IPCA conference was astonishing. It’s a safe bet everyone who took it achieved surprisingly powerful breakthroughs in their jewelry design abilities. She’s a generous and gifted teacher as well as a fabulous artist. Her design class can move you light years further down the artistic path, and help you approach techniques classes a zillion times more effectively.

    • reply Randee M Ketzel ,

      Always. Always rethinking the approach–especially after a workshop or retreat. So many ideas, so little waking time…..

      • reply Selma ,

        Wow! This is so beautiful! I hope one day I will learn make all this wonderful techniques!This necklace is an inspiration for all polymer clay artists! 🙂

        • reply genevieve ,

          Absolutely – I learn so much from, and love seeing, work in progress!

          • reply Christine Nicholls ,

            Your work is amazing! Really stunning!

            • reply Carole M ,

              I I knew it was a lovley Lam piece ad soon as i saw it !!

              • reply Libby Mills ,

                I saw this necklace as it was developing, and then I was lucky enough to see it finished and in person at the Paradise City Show in Northampton this weekend. It’s really wonderful. Loretta’s color and pattern mixes are so interesting, fun and funky.

                • reply Sabine Spiesser ,

                  Just what the doctor ordered to get me out of a polymer creative inspiration vacuum. Looking at the work in progress jumped my brain back into clay thinking mode instantly. Loretta’s necklace is absolutely stunning. She has an incredible sense for colour combination as well as making the various shapes and textures sing on the chain. What a very beautiful and wearable statement piece. So funky and yet so elegant!

                  • reply Sera ,

                    Like Genevieve, I find pictures of work in progress intriguing. I always learn from them – especially in the case of someone of Loretta Lam’s calibre.

                    • reply Loretta ,

                      Thanks all. I just got home from a long show weekend and am overwhelmed at the support from my community. Thank you very much.
                      And a very big thanks to you Cynthia for the great blog entry. Process is kinda what it’s all about…enjoying the journey and learning to make better art as you go. For me, this is where the joy and the magic reside.
                      One technical note… The base beads are scrap clay mixed into Ultralight, so that the necklace is lightweight as well as luscious!
                      Big hugs

                      • reply Sandra ,

                        Thank you Cynthia for finding all the time more art using polymer clay. I always get new ides and happinest to my eyes when I see new ideas.

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