Trade Beads

These faux African trade beads by Debbie Jackson are the best I've seen. And they're right in my backyard!

Debbie's a local (Columbus, Ohio) artist who recently created a web page to show some of her ethnic flavored pieces and her book.

I hadn't seen Debbie's page until Robin Johnston from Texas alerted me. Debbie is particularly adept at integrating cowry shells and other natural objects into her pieces.

Bead Dreams

"People's Choice" voting has begun on the Bead Dreams competition held in conjunction with the Bead and Button Conference next week. This work by Karen Swiech is entry 21 in the polymer section. I used this picture to see if anyone can tell me more about Karen Swiech. Anyone?

Winners will be announced during the conference. Thanks to Ronna Weltman for the heads-up.

Dancing Polymer


Loretta Lam led me to Margaret Polcawich and her fine wood and polymer furniture. See what lovely things this young artist has developed. They put me in mind of Bonnie Bishoff and Pier Voulkas and Daniel Peters and Dan Cormier and others.

That put me in the way-back machine and I just had to look again at Pier's early works which started so many of our current trends.

The night shift googling monkeys found Pier's name currently in lights at the Allegro Ballroom where she and husband Dan performed recently as a professional Argentine tango duo. Pier and Dan had begun their careers as professional modern dancers some years back. After a stunning foray into professional polymer, it looks as if they've returned to their dancing roots, performing and instructing all over.

I hope I haven't lost you in my meandering. It just confirms the notion that we are all connected and that we often stand on the shoulders of other artists…which must make dancing more difficult (grin).

Grins

Feeling a little prickly this Tuesday morning? These puppettinis from Monza, Italy are just the thing to make you grin. There's not much info on the artist. The little creatures are for sale and can be made into earrings. A look at the artist's calendar reveals a whole host of neatly done characters.

They serve as young and silly reminders that there's a big world out there that finds amusing things to do with polymer clay. Smile, and start your Tuesday out right. This tip came from Marcia Rocha, a kindred spirit of Puppettini's.

Best of Show

Sweet! Laura Balombini's polymer art took "best of show" in our big summer arts festival. Laura was modestly explaining to me her very zen-like response to those who copy her work when the prize police came up with a ribbon and $2,000. Karma? Or the just reward for really fine work?

Amist all the potters, painters and jewelers, it's nice to see one of our fellow polymer artists receive this outstanding recognition.

Laura says she freshens her web site with new photos after every major show so visit frequently.

And speaking of the ethics of copying, have you read about Dale Chihuly's  hard-edged legal fight in federal court over the distinctiveness of his creations and, more fundamentally, who owns artistic expression in the glass art world. It'll be an interesting story to follow.

Flora Filigree

This looks like fun. New Mexico's Barbara Fajardo calls them organic sculpted lentils and Christi Friesen combines them into all sorts of elaborate jewelry. Groups are beginning to call the technique "Flora Filigree." These little sculptures tempt you to start rolling and patting teensy bits of clay.

Barbara is adept at quilt canes too. I especially like her "all-polymer" approach to jewelry-making, using polymer as bezels and bead caps. Be sure to check out the series of photos in her pillow bead tutorial. Thanks to Kim Cavender for the link. Have a super weekend.

Seminole

The Seminole tribe's strip pieced quilting translates wonderfully into polymer. Kim Cavender builds canes using this method.

(I have used this method to build flat sheets of pattern for inlay in wooden bowls. See my demo from years back.)

Kim's web site is just a placeholder at the moment (sigh). Her work is simple yet exquisitely precise. You'll have to take a look at her recent book which illustrates some wonderful projects.

Kim's also teaching a class in her techniques June 24-25 in Livonia, Michigan with the Detroit Guild. They'd love to have you join them.

Gone Fishin’

Having seen the "Inconvenient Truth" environmental movie in NYC, I'm slightly freaked out by our unseasonably hot weather. I can't seem to buckle down. My brain's gone fishing.

And look at these great fish that Susan Hyde sent from Seattle. Now that she's retired she's vowed to create more and to show herself off on a web site. In the meanwhile, here are a couple more recent works.

Fear not…tomorrow our biggest outdoor art show of the season begins and I've already spotted some great polymer folks in the mix.

Polymer Rockwell

The polymer tableaux by Sharon Mohler depict very homey, American scenes which seem appropriate for this holiday weekend.

"I am self, and life taught. I am probably thought of as an outsider artist, or a raw artist, though I call myself a folk artist. The truth is, I fit no category," says Sharon.

For a bit of lovely nostalgic polymer-meets-Norman Rockwell inspiration, browse through Sharon's "Stories Without Boxes" site and read her stories. Note that she's a home-grown Ohioan from Yellow Springs! And thanks to Susan Rose for the tip.

I'll be on vacation tomorrow and Monday. Depending on what I discover enroute and how close I am to a computer, I may or may not post. I'll be back Tuesday with news from NYC. Have a delightful weekend.

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