Rainbow Trout

When I pore over sites, looking for something to tantalize you, I wait for that "aha" moment. It’s great to suspend all judgment and simply go on visceral feelings. I’ve learned to trust my gut and it’s often smarter than my head.

These fish by Pat Sernyk of Manitoba triggered an "aha" as I wandered through the Clayamies site and fantasized about the pleasure of working with artist friends in a cabin up in the woods in Canada. These rainbow trout are terrific.

Studio lust

A trip to Portugal inspired Krista Wells to embellish her door with polymer tiles and geckos.

Those of us with studio lust will want to look at Krista’s new studio in the town of Diligent River, Nova Scotia…a walk from the Bay of Fundy beach. It sounds idyllic.

.

.

Cover Girls

Wild and wonderful Sarah Shriver is not to be overlooked as one of the cover girls of the month! I haven’t read the article in Belle Armoire but I hear that she’s the centerfold.

If you’ve ever tried to replicate one of her precisely repeating kaleidoscope canes then added tiny striped edges and attempted a pillow bead, you’ll begin to understand why Sarah’s work is cover material.

Winter’s cover

Elise Winters’ polymer clay work is pictured on the cover of February’s Crafts Report magazine along with a profile on page 24. The magazine’s focus is on jewelry this month. Elise sees this as a win-win. Not only is this a personal win but also it signals a growing acceptance of polymer clay by the jewelry community.

Our low-tech, low-fire humble materials become fine art in a fine craftsman’s hands.

Gives us all a boost. Congrats! Be sure to visit Elise’s site.

Cast Your Vote

The 2006 Webby Awards are now taking votes for the best weblogs of 2005. 2005 was surely the year when I discovered blogging and the community of blogs. I promised myself that this year I’d promote my product. So, cast your vote for the best blogs of the past year by Tuesday, January 10th!

Hint, hint…there’s one category for "Best Craft Blog" and/or "Best New Blog" about halfway down through the categories. Scroll to the bottom and push "submit" and you’re done.

Micro mosaics

I wandered into Kate McKinnon’s site, intrigued by the ring mounts she offers. Kate works primarily in metal and glass but I detected a polymer sensibility. I kept sleuthing and stumbled onto her journal where I came across two Cynthia Toops’ pieces…aha! My sense was right. The top one she called "Moss" and the bottom one, "Conversation".

I’m only disappointed that I don’t know the exact size of these pieces. I’ve seen Toops’ work in several galleries and the incredible detail of her micro-mosaics doesn’t come across as well in photos. Still they’re fun to look at and Kate’s site is fun to browse.

Trends

Even the Columbus paper proclaimed chunky jewelry a fashion trend for 2006. Let’s hear it for polymer beads which, often as not, fall into the chunky category.

"Say hello to big hair, big shades and big jewelry in ’06." says the Dispatch. "It’s very much a ‘world story’ in accessories for ’06 with a lot of ethnic influences: African tribal with wooden beads and bangles in neutral colors. The Russian influence in a lot of accessories this season will transition into more of a Turkish and Mediterranean look of embellishments. There’s also a nautical influence with seashells. Overall, everything (handbags, jewelry, belts, etc.) is very handcrafted-looking with a lot of texture."

Check out the trendy look (pictured above) on Emma Ralph’s site in the UK. The bracelet is by Jean Yates (at the bottom of her online store).

And this from BusinessWire – Artisanal is the New Product Adjective — This is a correlating trend to the food focus and this year artisanal will go way beyond a descriptor for just cheese made by monks using milk from nomadic yaks. We will see it attached to coffee and chocolate as well as non food products. There are already artisanal knives, jewelry and home accessories in catalogs and stores. I am sure there is a small band of workers in New Jersey right now hand making something that will be in the stores next month labeled artisanal. By the way, artisanal means made by an artisan aka a skilled worker.

Lost Wax


Here’s a trick that’s new to me. Desiree McCory explains her neat bead-in-bead process. I’ve always avoided this process because it sounded too complicated. Wrapping the first bead in wax sounds doable as her tutorial explains it…and her tutorials are all well-written. Let me know if you’ve had success.