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.

Boar’s Bristles

Kathleen Dustin has added some spectacular new work to her web site. While there are a number of additions to the Village Women purses for which she is best-known, the most exciting work shows a departure from the smooth hand-drawn layered figures.

Featuring boar's bristles and carved polymer, some of Kathleen's new pieces have a stiffer and more tactile quality. The polymer stones that she's created for years are now incised and stacked in new and appealing ways in her carved stone sampler bracelet.

The "tornado pins" pictured here blend the layered, luminous look with new textures and shapes. It's inspiring to see one of polymer's early pioneers continue to produce such new and exciting work.

Tiffany/Gehry

No, Tiffany & Co. is not selling polymer jewelry but their new collaboration with architect Frank Gehry is quite remarkable and it’s fun to look at on the Tiffany.com site (click on the Frank Gehry Collection link). Gehry calls his six new jewelry shapes torque, fish, orchid, fold, equus and axis.

It’s interesting that organic shapes similar to Gehry’s have already surfaced in our polymer clay community.

Watching how these designers play with the materials (there’s an 8-minute movie) is educational and makes me reexamine my thinking and designing process. Food for thought.

Creativity Shaman

If you’re like me, you need a bit of a boost to start your week right and Barb Kobe’s site is sure to do the trick. The doll shown here is her Creativity Shaman, she who builds links to creativity. Barb, who is based in Minneapolis, makes art dolls, therapeutic dolls and puppets that nurture personal growth and healing. She uses a variety of materials, including polymer clay, to create shape, color, textures and moods for her dolls.

Some of her inspirations come from other cultures’ spiritual and healing symbols. Other inspiration comes from words, her art journals, nature, and her healing process. She uses sticks, roots, materials from nature, clay, fibers and painted fabric.

Her site is dense with images and explanations. If your internet connection can handle it, I recommend that you download her slideshow (it’s a 5Mb .pdf file) which is a fascinating read about her process.

Thanks to Carol Simmons for the link. Happy Monday.

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