Flipflop buttons

Mari O’Dell offered us sunshine and smiles (and a break from too much seriousness) with her selection of caned and sculpted polymer buttons.

In addition to selling them for sewing onto clothing for fashion accents, Mari ties buttons onto flipflops using waxed linen cord.

Mari’s a big fan of extrusion and most of her 3D elements are made using the dies offered by Polymer Clay Express. Here’s a snapshot of her workspace that’s always adorned with flowers and inspiration.

Lam’s lovelies

Lam bangles

These bangles from Loretta Lam were heaped in a beautiful pile on a table. Loretta’s another artist who’s so busy that she doesn’t often update her web photos and this is our chance to get an update.

While she remains true to her signature patterns and muted palette, lately Loretta’s been applying the polymer pieces to sleek and dramatic bangle forms in a collage style. The finish is as smooth as the design.

Simple solutions

Ann Dillon pulled out a selection of her latest brooches, simple and elegant design solutions in polymer. Slices of extruded cane patterns cut at different heights stand next to each other on top of layered, textured bases cut into loose shapes. What took the most time, Ann admitted, was deciding which extruded circle patterns looked happy beside each other.

Ann doesn’t often refresh the pictures on her site and Facebook so it’s a treat to rifle through her latest works here in Virginia and give you a peek.

Back to class

Debbie Carlton cuff

A great class can help build your skills and sharpen your design eye. I’m traveling to join a wonderful group this week (we’re just getting set up today). If travel isn’t in the cards for you right now, there are loads of other amazing opportunities.

Melanie Muir bracelet

Two new online classes from Craftcast bring the UK’s Debbie Carlton and Melanie Muir to a computer screen near you. Check out Debbie here and Melanie here.

Can’t attend on the day they’re scheduled? No sweat, you can purchase the recordings (including mine) and listen again and again.

One nice thing about learning at home, you don’t have to haul your tools. I’d better go choose my seat and get unpacked!

Champagne polymer

Champagne pendant

This Champagne Pendant by the UK’s Nadege Honey looks appropriately festive for a Friday. The mokume gane bubbles rise to the top to celebrate the weekend.

Nadege is a French silversmith living in the UK countryside and working in polymer. You can sense her delight as she jumps from one idea to the next in the polymer project pictures on Flickr and Etsy.

I’ll be floating off to Virginia this weekend for a gathering in the hills and a week of fun. You can ride along and share in the fun from the convenience of your own computer. Join me here next week.

Retro paint

Thank goodness that Croatia’s Nikolina Otrzan revealed her painterly polymer methods in a free tutorial that she uploaded this week. Her process is hard to guess but easy once you see it done.

Nikolina starts with a crisp graphic style that she later softens and blends for a retro effect. Thanks for the tute!

Her Flickr site is full of other examples including this clever cat design. She likes to doodle on polymer.

Spring cleaning

Thanks to the eagle-eyed Facebook fans who let me know that the PCD posts weren’t appearing in FB. I replaced the dusty old 2007 plugin with a shiny new one. I guess we wore it out!

Painterly polymer

The “painterly” adjective is an easy one to attach to some works. But lately, “painterly” polymer has been pushed to a whole new level as in these Rustica Erosion beads.

Alison Sachs of BeadsByEarthTones paints, textures, scuffs, and swipes her beads into something more than you may have thought possible. “Down to earth and full of imperfect texture…like me,” she says.

Polymer is attracting more fiber artists, glass artists, ceramicists and, well, painters who bring very different expectations and sensibilities to our craft.

Thanks for piling on your comments to Dave and Steve yesterday. Speaking of painterly, I’ve looked and looked at this new collage from them and my head can’t quite take it in.

Polymer shell game

Steven Ford solicits your opinion on the findings on this new Shells necklace. Silver or blackened silver for the chain and clasp? Silver or gold-leafed centers for the shells? Version 1 or 2? Steve contends that the white silver looks “unconsidered” while Dave likes the slinky polished white silver. How do you weigh in? (Leave a comment on their blog.)

Steve explains that, “In a way, this new work is getting back to our roots with caning polymer clay. There is an added layer of my recent interest in printmaking too, as the clay is embossed with a linoleum cut plate. It’s also painted to bring out the texture of the surface, and to complicate the color within the clay itself.” Read the full story here.

This shell design sat around in the studio for a couple of years before the artists could decide how to use it. Do you have designs marinating in your studio?

Polymer plume

France’s Celine Charuau (GrisBleu) starts our week with her another of her sinuous, alien polymer and silver constructions. This one is called Fleur plume rouillée which translates to Rusted feather flower.

The perspective shown here zooms in to study the polymer. You may be surprised to see the actual size of the pendant and how it is intended to be worn.

Celine’s ethereal pieces are often based on exotic species as in this Brachystelma angustum based on the Flickr picture here. I can’t decide if Celine’s a botanist or an engineer. She brings a wonderful blend of sensibilities to her jewelry. There are few clues on her site. What would you guess?

You can see her body of work best on her Flickr, DaWanda and Facebook sites.

Painting with mokume gane tutorial

Painting with mokume gane

How about this reverse mokume gane from Bulgaria’s Maria Ivanova for a Friday brain teaser? Maybe you’d call it a combination of mokume gane and backfilling. Maria calls it painting with mokume gane.

Look at her quick visual tutorial and you’ll get the gist. That’s how this simple flower and her Lady with Flower pendant were done. Does this twist on a familiar technique start some wheels turning?

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