Ornamental polymer

Slovenia’s Klavdija Kurent gets a head start on holiday ornaments with this domed and pierced layered polymer creation. Hitting the highlights with metallic paste gives it a rich, old world warmth.

Klavkija’s strong designs (and her articles in Unikat magazine) have brought her quite a following as you can see on her Facebook page.

This textured, monochromatic necklace, Klavdija claims, is from leftovers. Isn’t that the way? The leftovers often turn into your favorite pieces.

Puns in polymer

Minnesota’s Jody Travous Nee has an affinity for puns in polymer. Her “ducks in a row” sculpture perfectly describes this Wednesday when most of us are making our lists for the rest of the week. Look for the pun in each of Jody’s small sculptures – from turnip trucks to brainwashing.

When Jody had a hard time making her works appear in the search engines, she decided to create a Kardashian sculpture. “That ought to do it,” she theorized. There’s lots of laughter in her work.

Now let’s line up our ducks:

  • Lori Wilkes has published a new Absolute Beginners Guide. Though they’re beginner projects, Lori shows you how to get started with style as she quickly moves you to more advanced concepts.
  • For those who are beyond beginner, check out Bettina Welker’s new bracelet book. Written in both English and German, Bettina leads you through four basic bracelet designs with ten exciting variations.
  • The Polymer Clay Master Class book can be pre-ordered (it’s due in December) and while you wait authors Judy Belcher and Tammy Honoman let you in on the backstory with the book’s new web site that introduces the artists and their works.
  • Did I mention that I’m teaching online tonight at Craftcast?
  • Yes, you can still fill out the first of our Synergy3 surveys to help us paint an accurate picture of our community.
  • Here’s hoping your ducks behave as well as ours.


Unknown specimens

“Borrowing from the familiar forms of fungus, lichen, and mold, I invent and sculpt fictional organisms that graft onto manufactured domestic objects and infest the nooks and crannies of architectural spaces. Challenging notions of synthetic and organic, real and imagined, these sculptures and installations allude that through the passage of time these spaces and objects will become overtaken,” says Texan Jasmyne Grabill of her mixed media sculptures which rely heavily on polymer for their organic appeal.

Jasmyne’s works were featured in the luscious August/September issue of American Craft. In an article called Fungus Among Us, Monica Moses tracks this visual theme and finds fungus-themed works in metal, paper, fiber and food.

As I read the article my mind automatically started listing other examples of this trend that you may already know. Let’s see: Melanie West, Rachel Gourley, Kim Cavender, Ronna Weltman, Laura Tabakman, Wendy Malinow, Kathleen Dustin, Angelika Arendt, Jillian Moore. And that’s just for starters!

Send me your candidates and I’ll compile a list to send to the editor. ACC should know what we’ve been growing in the PCDaily laboratory.

Mixing clays

If you like your clays in both polymer and metal, take a look at the work of Ohio artist Pat Bolgar. Her complex combinations mix materials, colors and shapes in rich and appealing ways. Her mixes engage the eye as she brings color to metallics and, at the same time, adds metallics to polymer.

Pat is featured in the new Metal Clay and Color book and she’s added updated photos on her Facebook page. You can also tour her cabin-in-the-woods studio on Facebook.

Big eyed polymer

You may have seen Heather Campbell’s The Eyes Have It on the cover of the recent PolymerArts magazine. What you might not understand is the size of Heather’s pieces. The photo below shows the same piece as it was hung at a gallery opening.

We get so used to the scale of earrings and pendants that we forget that some artists work in a much larger format.

Heather calls the style of her lush mixed media assemblages Bohemian Nouveau. The piece at the left, Enlightenment, will be at Utah’s Springville Art Museum through July.

Round five

Dayle Doroshow’s Rounds are playful accumulations of layers and cane slices and they remind me of the playtimes that Dayle and I have had together. These pieces began as companion pins for her fabric collages.

She added center pieces but abandoned that idea when someone said they resembled breasts. She set the work aside.

Over time the designs were revived with more slices and fiddling. They seemed to play nicely with each other. Notice the stamped scrap beads she uses as spacers in the resulting necklace.

Dayle practices what she preaches in our Creative Sparks book (now available as a download). She shares many tricks for stalking your muse and for teasing each project to a happy conclusion.

What’s in the cards?

Measuring Thickness on Pasta Machines

You can help create a Standard Thickness Guide for the polymer community by reading the measuring instructions and filling out an easy survey form by March 31, 2012.  All participants will be entered in a drawing for two prizes.

Let’s do it

Don’t you think it’s time we establish a standard way to refer to the thickness of sheets of clay? A few months ago Sage published an article in The Polymer Arts magazine that suggested a playing card method. Then independently on her blog Maggie proposed a metric stacking method that makes it easier to get metric measurements by stacking sheets to be measured by a ruler. Both methods generated many comments. The common theme was “let’s do it!”

Two methods

Developing a standard is not an easy task. We aren’t working with precision tools or a precision material. Thicknesses produced on pasta machines aren’t consistent even between the same models.  Polymer itself can increase in thickness after being rolled, bouncing back a small percentage when left to rest.

However, we’ve found in the variety of machines we tested that they can all produce sheet thicknesses that measure between 1 mm to 2.5 mm.  We’d like to recommend that teachers and writers keep references to sheet thickness in this common range. That way students and readers will be able to duplicate their instructions on whatever pasta machine they own.

Measuring sheet thickness in mm is fairly precise, but requires access to calipers or time to go through Maggie’s stacking method.  Knowing there isn’t usually time and rarely a caliper in a classroom, we tested the fast and easy playing card system and found the common range to be 3-8 cards.

To confirm our findings, we would love to get results from polymer artists from all over the world. You can help us finalize a Standard Thickness Guide by taking a few minutes to measure your machine and fill out an online poll.

As a thank you to those who pitch in, we will put you in a drawing for one of two items–A $20 gift certificate towards copies or a subscription to The Polymer Arts magazine or a copy of Maggie and Lindly Haunani’s book Color Inspirations.

PCDaily will publish the results of the poll and share the final version of our Pasta Machine Thickness Guide in an upcoming guest post. Thank you for helping.

Polymer paciorky

“Paciorky means necklace or beads in Ukrainian,” says Christine Bondar (dzjunka online). Christine’s extruded and carved Amazon River polymer beads offer variations on techniques spread by Vera Kleist and Margit Böhmer.

You’ll see developments in that part of the world on Maria Petkova’s Bulgarian blog that features artists mostly from Eastern Europe as polymer continues to gain popularity.

I’ll be writing a book on global polymer this year and I’m interested in hearing your ideas on what the story should be about. And I’d love to learn about new artists you’ve run into. We’re off and running into 2012!

Holiday cruising

The “mocha” gallery on Maine artist Suzanne Anderson’s YIKES! gallery drew me in as I lazily cruised the web today. You may be tempted by any one of Suzanne’s color pages. These bangles look like a good way to use up bits of pattern and color as you clean out your studio for the new year.

Fretting about what lies ahead? Tory Hughes offers some words of inspiration for 2012 on her site.

Christine Damm is busy using up the orphans and odd bits in her studio. I’m partial to these Carpathia earrings and wonder if there could be anything that magical among my scraps.

If you’re ready for a master class to catapult you into the new year, look no further than the new online book and master class offered by Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes. The layout of the book is inspired, the lessons detailed and engaging, and the concept is spot-on.

Die-forming is an important trend for polymer art in 2012. Dan and Tracy are offering a package deal on the book and must-have tools for the rest of this week!