Tips and Tricks

Polymer with grit

Marisa Winston makes earrings for women with grit on PolymerClayDaily.com

These pale iridescent curls of textured polymer form earrings in the summer collection of North Carolina’s Marisa Winston.

Her shop named Ostrea means ‘oyster’ in Latin. “Everyone is familiar with the phrase ‘no grit, no pearl,’ but my experience has taught me how true this really is,” Marisa says.

The name is a reminder of the power we have to transform life’s grit into resilience, inner beauty, and strength. Her earrings are made for “women with grit.”

Experience the soft ocean colors and curvy sea shapes on her website.

About face

Sacra Argilla was determined to get this face right on PolymerClayDaily.com

Even more than the size of this face cane from Warsaw’s Sacra Argilla, the dramatic dark pose, and dense background draw us in.

Sacra adds layer upon layer of slim lengths of clay around the portrait. At the smallest size, the background still vibrates with color.

The project took over 135 hours and she documents her process on YouTube and Instagram. This cane will last forever!

Sacra Argilla was determined to get this face right on PolymerClayDaily.com

This is Sacra’s second try at the project. Her first one in 2017 was a disaster. Imagine devoting that much time and energy to a single project! It must resonate deeply with her.

What project won’t leave you alone?

Blurring the lines with enamels

Nikolina Otrzan replicates enamel's blurry lines on PolymerClayDaily.com

Polymer artists have long tried to replicate the soft blurry edges that are the hallmark of copper enameled pieces.

Low fire (cold) enamel powders were rumored to be the answer but my vials of powders went to the back of a bottom drawer several years ago after some messy attempts.

Nikolina Otrzan replicates enamel's blurry lines on PolymerClayDaily.com

Croatia’s Nikolina Otrzan makes me want to dig out my powders and give it another go. Her tutorial shows me where I went wrong. She uses liquid polymer, layers and other tricks to keep the powders under control.

Nikolina has lots more patience than I do. She loads up her instructions with photos and steps. I pare them down for my experiments to see how they fit my style.

Imitative enamels may be the next big thing. If this rings your chimes, now’s the time to explore.

True grit

Ginger Allman Davis remembers the true grit of her youth on PolymerClayDaily

Ginger Allman Davis (thebluebottletree) calls this her True Grit vessel made with leftover baked polymer shavings and other studio debris rolled into the thick raw clay.

It’s part of Ginger’s 100-day challenge. There’s more to the story. Her grandfather was a bit player in the original movie!

It feels like we’re in need of some true grit. We’re all trying to make sense of our circumstances right now. I’ll take this as our sign of strength for Thursday.

Manly polymer

Juliya Laukhina whips up some manly polymer gifts on PolymerClayDaily.com

There’s time this weekend to whip up a manly soap dish for Father’s Day or just for fun. These are from Moscow’s Juliya Laukhina and are intended for her brother.

Juliya Laukhina whips up some manly polymer gifts on PolymerClayDaily.com

The men will be impressed that the patterns are composed of scrap. Use a Stroppel cane or Kim Korringa’s mosaic trick or some other variation of a scrap veneer.

Useful, not too fussy, and made with love – what more could your men want?

If you need more fresh-squeezed creative juices, head on over to StudioMojo to see what goodies we pulled out of our stash of new ideas and products that wouldn’t fit into PCD.There’s so much going on! Our juices are flowing.  

Mindful remaking

Doreen Willey rearranges lost scraps into dazzling tiles on PolymerClayDaily

These tiles from California’s Doreen Willey are a dazzling blast from her past. Encouraged by Christi Friesen’s Play Days and driven by bags of scraps that Doreen was anxious to reduce, reuse, and recycle, she jumped into this project with stunning results.

Years of design decisions added up to works with wild variety yet a cohesive, exuberant look and feel. “If you are like me, you probably have a huge stash of stuff you’ve made that’s gone into boxes never to be seen again,” says Doreen.

“I pulled out my boxes, started cutting my stuff up and put it back together in a new way,” she explains. And we’re lucky she did! What an inspiration! Here on Facebook.

Easy does it

Sofie Pollion's pieces have a carefree casual attitude on PolymerClayDaily.com

France’s Sophie Pollion (s0fi_insta) favors strong shapes and graphic simplicity on her polymer jewelry. The oversize oval holes on this pendant look casual and confident on the multi-strand leather cord.

Her Instagram is full of clever designs and quirky closures that she tosses off with seeming ease. Of course they are more considered and thought through than it might appear. Here she is on Facebook.

Enter your studio with an attitude of nonchalance and ease and see what happens. Kind of a “fake it til you make it” trick. See what happens.

Concepts that ricochet

Galka Vasina cleverly combines popular designs on PolymerClayDaily

Russia’s Galka Vasina is playing here. She’s swapping beautiful components to see which ones look best together. They all work in my book.

From what I can glean from the translation, Galka was inspired by Tanya Mayorova. The commenters seemed to be lamenting what’s happening on VK, their version of Etsy.

Galka Vasina cleverly combines popular designs on PolymerClayDaily

To me these cutouts and textured components look like Sona Grigoryan meets Donna Greenberg meets Henri Matisse with a 2020 twist. Lots of artists contribute along the way.

I’ll happily jump on that bandwagon. Concepts are sometimes in the air and they pick up steam as they ricochet around the world.

Earrings with a twist

Susan Sju twists patterns into lightweight dangles on PolymerClayDaily.com

These featherweight dangles from Macedonia’s Susan Sju stopped me in my tracks.

Don’t you love to reverse-engineer pieces? I’m not sure I understand how Susan got to this point and she has even more confounding and delightful patterns on her Facebook. Extruded blended strings laid next to each other and flattened perhaps?

Susan Sju twists patterns into lightweight dangles on PolymerClayDaily.com

Look at the displays in her Ohrid retail store and you’ll see that she’s got lots of tricks up her sleeve.

I’m trying to order a pair of these imaginative swirls from her recently-launched online store. Thanks to Sabine Spiesser for alerting me to Susan.

Flowers and flutters

Bonnie Bishoff suspends translucent curls from wire cable on PolymerClayDaily.com

I admit to having an art crush on Maine’s Bonnie Bishoff. Take a closer look at her imaginative use of stainless steel wire. She has mastered using Apoxie Sculpt as a strong base form. Her color sense is impeccable and makes my heart sing.

And now she’s laid up with a broken foot but still, she posts sumptuous earrings to her webshop. She and her husband have crafted a great life.

Here two thin translucent slivers of clay curl toward each other as they dangle from wire cable. Light as a feather.

If you need a mid-week pick-me-up, go admire the flowery and fluttery earrings in her shop.

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