The way little things add up to something big and refreshing is what draws us back to Australia’s Bonnie Gilmore (Hatching Sparrows). She intended to make studs but absent-mindedly drilled holes. No harm, no foul, make the best of it. They became dangles.
My eyes wander to places that make me feel good and Bonnie has a talent for soothing with some polymer words of inspiration tucked in among her baubles. Happy, hopeful Monday.
Perth, Australia’s Bonnie Gilmore (Hatching Sparrows) loved making these commissioned statement earrings. They are a vibrant mix of colors, cultures, and styles. They combine ancient culture with a modern twist.
The earrings combine stories of family, history, weddings, Peranakan (Chinese) outfits, and favorite flowers. “I loved using elements of traditional culture alongside the client’s modern-day self,” she says.
Bonnie adds small sculpted polymer elements onto a slab base. Here she photographs the finished earrings laid on a magazine page to stunning effect. She gives us a breath of Spring. See more of Bonnie’s gorgeous polymer appliques on Instagram.
Need more beautiful reminders of spring? Come on over to StudioMojo for a look at what beauty these difficult times have forced into bloom. You’ll be pleased with the stories we uncovered this week.
Germany’s Eva Thissen says that she doesn’t work as intensively with polymer these days but she still enjoys it immensely. Her current crop of minutely appliqued beads has already sold on Etsy after only days.
Eva used to create narratives around a single character. Now her stories are bigger and focused on groups as in this community garden, part of her Saturday series.
It’s hard to imagine working this small. A needle, good eyes, and steady hands are the only tools required.
“Making jewelry is the only thing that calms me down,” says Serbian sports coach Magdalena Pavlovic (storiesmadebyhands).Lena patiently adds minuscule pieces of indigo polymer in patterns that mimic porcelain.
Lena’s work doesn’t require much clay or many tools and there’s no waste. But it takes a very steady hand and lots of patience.
For these rectangular earrings, she prepares bits of many shades of blue and applies small pieces to the white base with a fine needle. See her results on Instagram, Etsy, and Facebook.
For most of us, this sort of intensity raises the blood pressure, but for others, it’s a calming meditation. You could try this applique technique and see how it makes you feel.
Pennsylvania’s Beth Petricoin loves polymer and upcycling. A favorite shirt ruined by bleach spots could have been discarded or demoted but Beth couldn’t let that happen. She decided to hide the problem with a radiating design in polymer.
She fabricated the components from thin pieces of polymer cut out and applied with Sculpey Bake and Bond. “I worked in segments of about 6″ by 8″, curing in between segments to keep the areas for curing totally flat in the oven,” says Beth.
She details her project step-by-step in a blog post. She even laundered the shirt after finishing to test the glue’s strength and gives it a definite thumbs up.
“I can hardly wait to jazz up another piece of clothing! I can also see this idea put into use to cover up unwanted holes in clothing….lots of ideas running around in my head,” she admits.
Germany’s Eva Thissen tells enchanting stories with the littlest bits of polymer. This Story of a Little Girl series is told on beautifully muted base beads.
Eva uses the same colors for the girl’s dresses with miniscule contrasting bits scattered in the background as raindrops or flowers.
For the process, her only tools are her hands and a needle. When Eva first started, she painted on polymer but found that she preferred the dimension that applique provided.
The charming group of girls makes a great header on her Etsy site where she sells these and her more densely flowered garden compositions. Her gentle touches of color may make you sigh with pleasure. Enjoy them in detail on Flickr.
When I first saw the lovely paintings of Indian women by Rachana Saurabh, I thought, “This artist needs to try polymer, she’d be a natural.” It was easy to imagine her graphic style and her skill with color transitioned to clay.
Two years later, Rachana wrote from Baltimore where she now lives and indeed, she had found polymer.
Rachana quickly learned the craft and tried any number of techniques. She gravitated to appliquing bright bits of clay onto beads. Her designs take on a distinctly Indian textile flavor to which she adds bunches of dangling sparkles. These earrings are from her Festive collection.
On her latest bangle, Krishna and Peacock Feathers, Rachana introduced the ladies from her paintings to her jewelry. She says she tried face canes but couldn’t get the hang of reducing. These faces are sculpted and painted on the wide blue bangle. The Indian dieties’ favorite peacocks, cows, trees and lotus circle the piece.
Rachana’s story is full of exotic imagery and happy coincidences. Watch her on Facebook, Flickr and Etsy as well as her blog to see what she develops next.
PCD has followed Jennifer Morris’ meticulous polymer work from New York to Portland. Her distinctive romantic and bohemian designs are precisely appliqued onto base beads and often embellished with rich beadwork.
Recently Jennifer’s work has taken a geometric turn and she’s being influenced by fabrics – quilts, weaving and needlework. The earrings at the left were inspired by aztec embroidery, the ones on the right by a kilim rug.
Her Etsy interview gives you a glimpse of her studio, her methods and her life in Portlandia.
Cyber Monday helps raise the roof
Lee Ann Armstrong likes simple solutions. Her search for a well-designed cane slicing device led her to come up with the popular Simple Slicer. Her response to the Raise the Roof project is equally straightforward.
On Monday, December 2, buy a tool from Lee Ann Armstrong and she’ll donate the entire amount to Raise the Roof. Your purchase of any tool from Lee Ann’s Etsy site will help put a roof over the head of a woman in distress. No paperwork, no governmental hoops, it’s another simple solution. Indulge your love of tools guilt-free.
Thanks to Friday’s “first responders” we are well on our way. Lee Ann’s generous gesture keeps the project’s momentum going. Read more Raise the Roof personal stories on their blog and donate directly here.