Tips and Tricks

Monday illusion

Lindsey Hansen swirls black and white into a 3D cane on PolymerClayDaily.com

Lindsey Hansen (Vivid Clay) lures us into the week with a tempting cane design that fools the eye with its 3D illusion. She covered a straight-sided jar with the slices and replaced the lid with a cork top.

Using black and white, she layers and stacks blends strips of blended clay into a square cane. 

Lindsey Hansen swirls black and white into a 3D cane on PolymerClayDaily.com

Lindsey shared her step-by-step how-to photos on the Hooked On Polymer page on Facebook. Several HOP members tried it with success and Ron Lehocky sent us the link.

If cane-building seems too much for your Monday brain, you can purchase Lindsey’s raw versions on Etsy.

More with less

Barb Fajardo embraces matte finish on PolymerClayDaily

Albuquerque’s Barb Fajardo has tweaked and tried every variation of her mokume gane. Her color choices are striking and her compositions are amazing. Now she’s trying to do less.

“I’m loving making earrings these days since I’ve recently forgone sanding. I’ve gotten lots of great feedback on the matte finish,” Barb says.

Is there a step in your work that you need to rethink and dial back?

Join us at StudioMojo Saturday where we look at lots of alternative approaches to work. Bigger? Brighter? Simpler? Crazier? Sure! Why not? Pop on over for a walk on the sometimes wilder side. 

Benzon branches out

Jana Roberts Benzon branches out in her Nature Walk class on PolymerClayDaily.com

Why a branch on PCD today? Because it’s polymer and over the past year Jana Roberts Benzon has refined and refined her tools and technique for shaving polymer until it looks spiky. It’s remarkably durable.

Like yesterday’s Julie Picarello and her hardware store appropriations, Jana grabbed tools from a nail tech’s drawer for her new trick.

This is just one of the goodies from Jana’s Nature Walk workshop scheduled for March 17 and 18 in Texas. Taking classes from artists who have already done the laborious research saves you oodles of time and allows you to daydream about how you could integrate their research into your own style.

The allure of layered translucent clays

Lisa Gauthier looks into translucent possibilities on PolymerClayDaily

These samples come from Connecticut’s Lisa Gauthier, a student in Marie Segal’s Cernit Translucent 2017 class. Glass-like layers that reveal more color below remind us of the possibilities of the clay and may make you want to try your hand at it.

The flower and butterfly cane slices appliqued on came from another student, Seana Bettencourt.

Study these and other samples from Lisa on Facebook. “Thanks to Marie Segal and Cernit I can create colorful, bright things in these cold dark winter days,” says Lisa.

Secrets from the hardware store

Julie Picarello's secrets come from the hardware store on PolymerClayDaily.com

California’s Julie Picarello has a new batch of focals ready for the annual Tucson bead show next week. She’ll be buying, selling, and teaching her new Lunar Feather Beads.

She prowls through hardware stores and walks the long aisles of the big box stores looking for pieces she can stamp into or otherwise incorporate into her mokume gane designs.

In her Tucson classes, students will learn how to use new tools she appropriated from the HVAC department!

In the group pictured here, Julie gives a nod to textiles but look closely and you’ll see washers and traces of metal. This new series is done in her signature color palettes and sprinkled with painted and torched do-dads. She’s on Facebook here.

Layered and assembled elements

Mari O'Dell's assembled extruded pendants on PolymerClayDaily.com
Mari O'Dell's assembled extruded pendants on PolymerClayDaily.com

Mari O’Dell has been dreaming up Japanese-inspired pendants in her Annapolis, Maryland studio/treehouse.

She begins with castings made from segments of antique Japanese kashigata molds. Translucent polymer tinted to look like jadeite is pressed into the molds and cured. The elements are set aside to be assembled into finished pendants.

Mari uses a distinctive way layering on extruded Japanese design elements. Though she has limited strength in her hands, she’s devised clever extruder workarounds.

The piece is then surrounded by a bezel made of thin strips of clay and the entire work is mounted on clay backing. The final touches involve alcohol inks, heat set stamp inks and a final curing.

Follow along with more of her designs and experiments on her Instagram site.

Ice in the pasta machine!

Melissa Terlizzi finds ice in her pasta machine on PolymerClayDaily.com

The start of this polar bear plaque was an icy-looking piece of clay that Melissa Terlizzi loved as it rolled out of her pasta machine. Perfect chunky glacial accident! All it needed was a big furry animal!

“The sheet of clay behind the bear is my favorite part of this piece. I loved the raw edges and organic shape, so I just left them that way,” she says.

Melissa mounted the piece on a silver-leafed wood panel treated with a crackle finish, and tiny silver microbeads which all sparkle! See the final version on Facebook.

In our hemisphere, this chilly scene seems just right.

Holiday cheer

Elf Jane Dwyer and Santa Lehocky collaborate for the kids on PolymerClayDaily

Our polymer Santa/Dr. Lehocky is still in his workshop upcycling canes (like these poinsettia and snowman slices from Jane Dwyer) and turning discards from artists around the world into hearts that will benefit the Children’s Center in Louisville, KY.

Elf Jane Dwyer and Santa Lehocky collaborate for the kids on PolymerClayDaily

This heart story has been going on for 12 years and last night’s total topped 40,520. Each one this Santa has made raises $10 for the Center. Do the math! Yes, your art can make a difference.

If you need some holiday cheer, watch Ron demo his 3-step process in this popular video or follow the Kids Center Christmas festivities on his Facebook page.

Happy Holidays! Join us for virtual eggnog and more Saturday morning tidbits over at the weekend’s StudioMojo.

Polymer ready for snow

Karen Walker's wrapped snowmen gather for the holidays on PolymerClayDaily

The UK’s Karen Walker wraps her snowmen in mufflers with fashionably oversized buttons on their coats. They gather in a group with their pets, ready for winter.

Karen deepens the textures and highlights them with a dark wash then adds a few polka dots.

The simplicity of her shapes gives the scene added charm and you can see more examples on Instagramher site, and on Facebook.

Polymer under the bed

Feel the love and understanding in this small sculpture from Wisconsin’s Gina Griffith. Gina shows a deep understanding of children’s fears in her Dark Corners of the Nursery.

The strewn blocks, the bunny slippers, and the superhero cape capture the scene with a little girl clutching the covers as she imagines monsters under her bed.

Enjoy every step in Gina’s detailed process on Instagram and Facebook. And you’ll see the children who are her obvious inspirations.

The little kid in me wants the birthday cake Gina made recently. What lucky kids they are to have such a talented and loving mother. They’ll want to treasure this piece of her heart.

Thanks to Lindly Haunani for introducing PCD to Gina.

 

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