Louder than words polymer

Toops on PCDaily

This small, haunting mosaic brooch by Cynthia Toops kept drawing me back to it. The image is of Sharbat Gula, the Afghan girl whose portrait was featured on the cover of National Geographic in 1985. She became known as the Afghan Mona Lisa and her photograph inspired millions to support the refugee effort.

Cynthia reinterpreted the famous photograph in a 2″ x 1 1/4″ polymer micro mosaic for an exhibit called Louder Than Words at Facere Gallery in Seattle. She embeds thread-like, pre-baked bits of color into an unbaked polymer background to recreate the photo image.

Cynthia also rendered the Tianamen Square photo in polymer for the exhibit which featured jewelry that spoke louder than words. Her beautifully detailed work reminds us how powerful and exquisite polymer can be! Cynthia’s new self-published portfolio of her latest works is a treasure too.

Wireworked polymer

Ponsawan Silaparuti knows how to turn storm clouds into lovely jewels. Wire forms have captured her attention and she’s discovered some tricks to sketching outlines by bending and twisting lightweight wire and then giving the image dimension by filling in with polymer.

The polymer is often carved, faceted and further embellished. She’ll be teaching this pendant in a Rain Cloud class that combines her latest methods at the June L’Atelier conference in Indiana.

Ponsawan’s productivity and drive are impressive and you can see the results on Facebook and Flickr. (Her Flickr site is also loaded with mouthwatering pictures of Thai food.)

Ponsawan’s tutorial site is a treasure trove of some of her earlier tricks and tips. You have to scroll back to find some oldies-but-goodies like her famous easy flower canes and bubble beads.

Hope your skies are clear this weekend!

Polymer painted eggs

Kapono on PCDaily.com

Polymer eggs, chicks and bunnies have been popping up online which means we’re closing in on Easter. Have a look at this lushly covered egg by Missouri’s Chris Kapona (Mandarin Moon).

She makes her bejeweled creations using small polymer balls, twisted snakes, a few textures and accent paint. In effect, she doodles with clay.

Chris tells a cautionary tale about how she nearly ruined it all by buffing the baked piece with new, unwashed denim. Plus she adds a few other tips. She’s also active on DeviantArt, Etsy and Facebook.

See through polymer

Neumeier on PCDaily

We can’t talk about translucent clay without checking to see what Kathrin Neumeier is up to, teasing us with another series of her glass-like earrings. She uses Pardo clay with inks to create patterns and achieve light catching effects.

If I’m not mistaken, the red earrings in her recent photos have burn spots on them. While it’s a controlled burn and the effects look purposeful, Kathrin is obviously testing the limits of translucent polymer. She’s on the edge and way ahead of most of us.

Polymer stained glass

Purcell on PCDaily

Illinois’ Marji Purcell lets the light shine through the kaleidoscopic canes she made using Carol Simmons’ technique. (Here she is learning Carol’s process.)

For her own version, she uses Premo translucent in each of the canes that forms the master triangle. Each component cane is wrapped in black.

As she assembles the circles, Marji varies the orientation of the slices from the master triangular cane to change the resulting circular patterns. Hanging in her window, these mandalas resemble stained glass. A while back she entered her brief translucent clay video in Polyform’s tip contest.

Looking at these calming artworks, it’s not surprising to learn that Marji is a certified meditation instructor, a retired art teacher and the owner of Sumner Street Studio in Wheaton, IL. Her story of finding her studio is one you’re sure to enjoy.

Polymer buds

Bates on PCDaily

Ireland’s Silvana Bates starts our week with wrapped polymer bud beads that look fresh from the garden. With their rounded tops and sherbert colors they could almost be edible.

Bates on PCDaily

Silvana has only been using polymer for a year yet she’s posted an impressive gallery of pictures of her work on Facebook, Pinterest and Flickr.

Living far from other polymer artists, she’s had to develop her own methods. The birds, bugs and flowers in her garden provide ample inspiration. Don’t miss her butterfly watercolors and her hummingbirds. Silvana tweaks colors and shapes to suit herself.

Polymer with sweet mud

Haunani on PCDaily

Lindly Haunani has hit the color sweet spot with her latest series of brooches which she produces in a range of color blends. Mud, gold Premo and a Rolls Royce of a pasta machine have helped her along the way.

Of course a degree in printmaking, years of creating art and teaching polymer and a supreme color sense also contribute to her masterful combinations.

But back to the mud. A dollop of gray/brown clay is mixed into some colors to mute them ever so slightly. Gold added to others brings out a lovely luminosity. She mixes a 9″ x 12″ sheet of rainbow colors, tweaking it until the colors sing.

“The rest,” she says, “is a meditative process of making thin veneers, cutting them, combining them, flipping them so that dark-to-light butts against light-to-dark.” Once the patterns are assembled, she impresses them with 120-grit sandpaper to give them a soft, textile-like surface.

Lindly sold these brooches when she was teaching in Europe recently to help finance her new electric dough roller (like this one). “It’s like driving a Rolls Royce,” she admits.

You can learn some of Lindly’s color secrets in the book she and Maggie Maggio wrote. See where she’s teaching and see more of her color magic on her site and on Facebook where these brooches have started a buzz.

Wavy polymer

Haskova on PCDaily

Eva Haskova will be teaching these Wavy Bangles at September’s EuroClayCarnival in Madrid.

These colors are groovier than Eva’s usual palette and the squished spacers add another funky note. The bangles have a flower child/ summer of love vibe that’s new for this Prague artist.

Eva tells the story of her move to polymer art in my book. She’s got a great eye, impeccable skills and she’s ready to teach. See more on her site and Facebook.

Polymer to the rescue

Udell on PCDaily

Luann Udell made a discovery as she prepared for her big cross-country move. Treasures can bang and bump and break. A chip in this antique Roseville pottery bowl made her sad and she resolved to save it with polymer. She details her method in this free tutorial that contains some surprises. Bake the polymer first? Use an adhesive activator? These are tricks you won’t find anywhere else.

If you’ve ever fretted over a chipped tile or a cracked pot, you’ll thank Luann for taking the time to tell you the secrets of patching with polymer. You can see the artwork that Luann’s more widely known for on her site, Facebook and her blog.

Polymer snowdrops

Brydova on PCDaily

Monika Brydova of Czech Republic imagines spring flowers just about to bloom in polymer. They resemble our snowdrops.

Four slim petals are textured on the inside with brighter colors on the outside. They’re joined at the top and wrapped with what looks like wire but it’s polymer too. Nestled inside the petals a yellow stamen adds contrast.

Brydova on PCDaily

She shows them made into necklaces on her Facebook page. See more of Monika’s garden of earrings on Flickr, on her shop site and about her here.

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