Tips and Tricks

Unbroken circle of friends

Keeping in touch Kentucky style on PolymerClayDaily.com

I like the bags of “inchies” swapped and then squirreled away in ziplocks in the back of the bottom drawer. They make me nostalgic and bring a smile. But much better to do what the Kentucky group did this year and create arty trinkets that you can wear or drape from shelves.

Swappers received short lengths of ball chain onto which they add their beads. Members amassed their trades and snapped the lengths together. One look and longtime friends know whose work is whose.

It’s a way of touching base, waving hello, saying something comforting or sassy or silly.

We’re still here and with any luck, we’ll be together again.

Joan Tayler shared this swap idea some years back. The Kentucky guild whose members are sprawled across the midwest decided to use it in a year when this is this is the closest we can get. Ron Lehocky heads up the group while Mary Clyde Sparks and Francie Owens (and others I’m sure) made it all work.

 

You’re getting warmer…

Enkhe Tserenbadam drills each of these holes in a hollow bead on PolymerClayDaily.com

This piece from Switzerland’s Enkhe Tserenbadam (@enkhethemaker) made me gasp. I try to keep track of my body when I’m looking at art. A gasp tells me that I’m close to paydirt. It’s like that “hot and cold” game we played as kids. This was warmer, warmer, HOT.

Enkhe drills each of the holes in her hollow pieces. It’s luscious to browse her site and consider how she works.

Speaking of warmer, warmer, I spent the week in an online gathering where gasps and astonishment surprised us again and again. Somehow our troubling times have moved some of us to “hot, hot, hot.” Come on over to StudioMojo to see some of the cool tools and sizzling art that we shared. Who knew a Zoom conference could be this much fun?

Putting it all together

Assembling a global view on PolymerClayDaily.com

Puzzle night has always been a hit at an annual gathering in the mountains that’s been going on for 20+ years. Though we’re online this year, the puzzle was still a huge hit orchestrated by North Carolina’s Julie Eakes.

Each player created a 3″x3″ polymer tile based on the line drawing that Julie sent via e-mail. Anything light on her black and white clue drawing must be a light value, darks must be dark. We had no clue about the theme or the color scheme.

Julie secured permission to use Thomas Wimberly’s poignant and powerful Global Forefront sketch. We submitted jpeg photos of our square tiles to Julie via email.

She based this ingenious group project on the im-a-puzzle.com site which meant that Julie had to upload our 30 files to them. Today we each tried to solve and assemble the puzzle virtually on our computer screens. Usually, we elbow and jostle as we crowd around a table to figure what goes where. We missed the cheek-to-cheek jostling but the laughter and competition were undiminished.

Now, each of us must mail our actual tile to the puzzle winner. It felt liberating to have creative good times. Click on the photo to see if you can pick out any artist just by her style.

Taming pandemic hair

Del Roussel tames hair with crisp patterns on PolymerClayDaily.com

Do you have pandemic hair? My longer hair keeps flying into my mouth and fighting with my mask and glasses. So I keep looking for barrettes and clips to keep my mane under control. Of course, I want them embellished fashionably with polymer.

Del Roussel tames hair with crisp patterns on PolymerClayDaily.com

These barrettes and clips from France’s Del Roussel show us how to tame stray strands with style.

Del’s patterns are crisp and summery. And these findings are perfect for using up scraps. A small project idea to start your week.

Ancient polymer faience

Mari O'Dell's Egyptian mummy beads on PolymerClayDaily.com

Don’t try to predict where your ideas will take you. Hop on Mari O’Dell’s magic carpet to see what I mean.

Mari’s journey started in the mummy section of the NYC Met Museum where she hung out as a teenager.

Recently she took my “Slots and Dots” online polymer class and reconnected with her Egyptian impulses. She learned to extrude narrow tube beads like those found in the layers of mummy wrappings. In Mari’s version, a scarab and beads dusted with metallics are interspersed with her imitative ancient faience tubes.

Beads are an ancient form of art and currency. Their echoes still ricochet around the globe. Please wait until the carpet comes to a complete stop before you leave your seat. Who says we can’t travel during a pandemic?

If you’d like to recharge your batteries, join us over at StudioMojo.

Button update

Helene JeanClaude uses polymer to update your wardrobe on PolymerClayDaily.com

Monday can be a shock to the system and sometimes it helps to start slowly. What could be easier than buttons?

These simple gems from France’s Helene JeaneClaude have a surprising sophistication. The shape is common but the patterns are exciting. Some have a fiber look, others could be stone.

She may have used silkscreens over marbled clay. Go to her Instagram to see lots of others. Helene has been in a button mood lately and her methods change from batch to batch.

Swap out ho-hum buttons with your own fashionable versions. Two holes in a colorful slab of polymer and you can extend the life of your favorite sweater or jacket.

Scrap zeitgeist

Ron Lehocky uses Laurie Prophater's scrap to make sense of our world on PolymerClayDaily.com

What is it about these scrap collaborations that seem so au courant? Ron Lehocky uses Laurie Prophater’s scrap veneers to make controlled, comprehensible patterns. Ron makes order out of what looks like colorful chaos.

That’s what we’re hungry for.  Wouldn’t we all like to know how to make beauty and sense of what swirls around us?

Ron Lehocky uses Laurie Prophater's scrap to make sense of our world on PolymerClayDaily.com

Enough with the philosophy. How does Ron tap into fashion and zeitgeist at the same time? It has to do with his special brand of Ronnie Gane and the long threaded rod you see in this photo.

I’m hoping that he’ll jump in here to explain the mystery. Here’s the back story.

Ron is mighty close to reaching his goal of 50,000 hearts sold to benefit the Kids’ Project in Kentucky.

Back in a booth again


Rebecca Thickbroom makes the most of simple earring shapes on PolymerClayDaily.com

There are all sorts of “wowser” weekend posts out there but I’m stuck on the earring explorations from UK’s Rebecca Thickbroom.

She takes the football shape (or is a leaf shape a more accurate description) and combines with squares, circles, rectangles to arrive at a whole collection of earrings.

The finishes are scuffed and scratched. The colors are muted. Rebecca’s playing around makes me realize how I miss doing that.

Those of us stuck in isolation are wistful about how she enjoyed a weekend in-person, socially-distanced show (oldspitalfieldsmarket). It looks almost unreal. Here’s hoping that we can all experience that again soon.

The right touch

Ann Dillon's textures from surprising sources on PolymerClayDaily.com

New Hampshire’s Ann Dillon creates textures and shimmer that beg you to touch them.

Ann Dillon's textures from surprising sources on PolymerClayDaily.com

I asked her how she created the impossibly fine lines on one pair of lovely earrings and she replied, “Corn husks.”

She has an eye for natural textures and slight bends combined with a fall palette that gives her leaf shapes a “just fallen” look.

As you wander through her new website and Instagram, notice the textures.

Garden inspirations

Pavla Cepelikova creates Columbines on PolymerClayDaily.com

Czech Republic’s Pavla Cepelikova (SaffronAddict) has taken liberties with her version of the Columbine flowers (at the top right of the photo).

The long tubes drape down and flare to reveal secret colors as they open at the bottom. Pavla likes these bell shapes in her garden and polymer will allow her to wear them on her ears.

What inspiration is blooming in your garden?