Mokume gane treat

chatelain_isabelle_byIC

This brooch by France’s Isabelle Chatelain speaks to me and it’s too delicious to just let it float by on Flickr. Let’s grab it and mull it over for a Friday minute.

The repeating circle patterns both change and stay the same. This is polymer mokume gane at its best and the color combination shows off the pattern nicely. It hints at Moorish mosaics and Byzantine ceilings.

Chatelain on PCDaily

Isabelle mixes bits of this design into other brooches. Her ability to assemble compositions from small chunks of mokume gane plus textures and colored shapes is remarkable. Yummy.

Find more on Facebook and in her online shop. Isabelle also teaches on CraftArtEdu.

Evolving talking heads

Katz on PCDaily

A class with Ronna Weltman pushed Seattle’s Sue Ellen Katz to begin making polymer Talking Heads five years ago as a daily creative meditation. (Here’s a PCD post about the beginning of her work.)

The talking heads have evolved into elegant magnetic brooches embroidered with glass beads and semi-precious stones. Sue Ellen has created hundreds of polymer faces in three collections: Ancient Entities, Goddesses and Chinese Zodiac.

Alese, The Light Bearer, is an Ancient Entity painted with alcohol inks and surrounded with seed beads, vintage beads and crystals. She is a 2″ x 4″ magnetic brooch.

Katz on PCDaily

When not worn, Sue Ellen’s pieces are richly framed in shadow boxes that she designed. The deep, fabric-lined frames have metal backs that hold the brooches and create a dramatic presentation grouped on a wall.

The effect of these collections (photographed by Douglas S Yaple) is captured on Sue Ellen’s new site (click the Display it/Wear it headings to see the frames). See more on her blog, Facebook and Pinterest.

One tool, one day

Picarello on PCDaily

Julie Picarello allowed herself only one imprint tool for these Lunar Flowers. She haunts hardware stores looking for metal parts that leave unusual marks and shapes. For this exercise Julie challenged herself to move out of her comfort zone and design in 3D in a more loose way than usual for one day.

” I threw all caution in the wind, and distorted and manipulated on purpose. It was a strange feeling, and I might even have whimpered a little when I forced myself to cut a hole off-center. But by the end of the day, I was hooked on these simple little components,” she says.

She admits that she’s returning to her beloved imprinting technique, “But it feels good to have dipped a toe in uncharted waters, and lived to tell the tale.”

Her new works also include crackle surfaces and patterned edges that haven’t appeared before. Have you ventured beyond your usual depth lately?

Butterfly booth bush

Shum on PCDaily

Wanda Shum’s butterfly brooches alight gracefully in her booth on a round potted bush. The spring scene invites shoppers in for a closer look. A Vancouver artist, Wanda is selling her wares at a Toronto wholesale show this week.

Shum on PCDaily

It’s easiest to understand how she sketches and builds her butterfly canes by looking at her Facebook photos. You’ll also find her collections of work on Pinterest and Flickr.

Wanda’s colors are hot and her bugs and butterflies add a welcome dash of color on a cold day full of white snow.

Facing yourself with polymer

Moore on PCDaily

Australia’s Wendy Moore sat herself down and had a talk. She’d been neglecting her creative self as she traveled and dealt with various worthy projects (you’ll know her name from the Nepali Samunnat project).

When Wendy finally gave her creative side some quality time, this wonderful face cane materialized.

The face cane was inspired by Argentinian artist Graciela Fuenzalida who draws wild women portraits on leather purses and bags.

Dressed up with earrings and hairstyles, Wendy’s face turned into a whole sorority of happy creative selves.

This may also remind you of Pier Voulkos’ early faces. There’s a face cane video here if you need a quick start. Let your creative self pick up some clay and face the week together.

Cellular mashup

Kruger on PCDaily

For this pendant, Germany’s Annette Kruger (wolfschmuck) took inspiration from Eugena Topina’s polymer openwork tutorial. She also felt influenced by Melanie West’s organic cell structures.

By using layers of multiple colors (Eugena shows her samples in white) and shaping this bead as a hollow form, Annette achieves some exciting results that suggest a whole new range of possibilities.

Her first experiments show promise but miss the mark with underwhelming palettes. After several tries she scores and captures our attention. I don’t know about you, but I’m itching to try this.

See more of Annette’s efforts on Facebook and Flickr.

Polymer surface design

Turner on PCDaily

Vickie Turner has moved to the east coast of Canada and writes a lovely post (on her polymer blog, Claymagination) about her new home and the work she’s doing in her studio. The tour of her area provides a dreamy diversion.

She took a class in polymer surface techniques with Claire Maunsell in Montreal before the move and used it as the starting point for these very distinctive and painterly beads.

Turner on PCDaily

Vickie says that she finds herself in the studio – usually by painting. You can easily see how she brings her “process painting” to polymer with stunning effect.

That’s two dynamic teacher/student matchups this week.

Before and after polymer

Levine on PCDaily

Pennsylvania’s Emily Squires Levine used her Artchain Challenge to show us these Then & Now works. Inspired by Karin Noyes’ polymer bowls, Emily formed her first version in the mid-1990’s around a custard dish. It drooped when she removed the warm clay from the form but she was undeterred.

Fast forward to this fall and you’ll see how far Emily has come. In fall 2014 she created a flower pot of wavy tendrils in muted greens and metallic golds, part of her Sargassum series that appeared in the Racine Art Museum exhibit.

Levine on PCDaily

Emily’s bowls, eggs and tiles depend on her own strong color palette and exploit the negaitve spaces between elements.

Browsing through her galleries of bowls and polymer/resin tiles on her site and photos on Facebook and Flickr may set you off on your own journey of exploration.

Be sure to keep a photo of your first efforts!

Seeing polymer birds

Cynthia Toops combines large lentil beads covered in millefiori cane slices with small insets of micromosaic bird motifs for this new necklace called Seeing Birds.

The birds are all native to Washington state and the piece is featured in the Of a Feather show at the White River Valley Museum located between Tacoma and Seattle. Read more about the exhibition here.

I wish we had a higher resolution photo so you could dive in for a closer look at her magical images made from super fine threads of polymer.

Toops on PCDaily

For a better example, zoom in on this brooch that Cynthia made for last fall’s Tilling Time/Telling Time show at Facere Gallery. Keep in mind that the brooch is only 1 1/2 inches square! Silver bezel is by Chuck Domitrovich.

Encrusted and enlightened

Dillon on PCDaily

Ann Dillon was captivated by Jana Roberts Benzon’s Encrusted workshop last October. “I didn’t want to do quite the same thing,” Ann explains. “I like matte more than shiny. I’m not into Swarovski crystals. I had been hankering to make some of the rough-edged spirals I’d seen online.”

Ann’s Encrusted works have a woven fiber appearance. “I can’t seem to stop making them!” she admits. See more of Ann’s interpretations on Pinterest and Facebook.

Meanwhile Jana has moved in her own new directions.

Benzon on PCDaily

The bangle below is her wearable coral reef – complete with barnacles. In another piece she makes polymer look felted, then wrapped (see her Rapt class at Cabin Fever). Techniques are tools that can be used to express very different concepts.

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