Carlson’s story necklace

Maureen Carlson’s necklace tells a charming story and invites a dialogue…and isn’t that what we want our jewelry to do?

She tells of her winter trip to a family reunion in simple polymer clay beads. And she suggests several ways that you might use this technique to tell your stories.

I saw Maureen wearing this intriguing necklace and wanted to know more. Now I’m itching to make one of my own. Enjoy this little video of our conversation. Maureen’s new jewelry-sized face molds will make their debut in November.

Geoffrey’s cuttouts

Rebecca Geoffrey’s polymer clay pendants look just right for a Friday – fall colors, tidy layered construction, judicious texturing.

After a week of electronic catching up and restoring order, I crave Rebecca’s delightful control and restraint. She shows more in her Facebook photos and her small purses on Etsy are fun too.

Vacation wreaks havoc with keeping up online (Facebook fatigue is the official term). I’ve reserved today to play in the studio with some of the ideas that have been moldering in my brain all week. Have a playful weekend.

Wilder’s treasure chest

Dee Wilder’s treasure chest of beads startled me and started me thinking. Dee tries lots of techniques and has a knack for quickly inserting her own voice and style into the process. You can see hints of Grant Diffendaffer, Cynthia Toops, Jeff Dever and others in this box….but only hints.

She swears that even I might be able to loop waxed linen around a big bead like hers. Of course mine would be around a faux stone. Here’s more of Dee’s work.

It’s stormy and rainy in the mountains and the network keeps dropping out. But the wine is holding steady and the ideas are flowing.

Helm’s secret sources

Sarajane Helm’s site is my favorite source for out-of-the-ordinary polymer clay tools and supplies. This weekend I needed custom made rubber stamps so I headed to the ReadyStamp form on her site.

If there’s a new product (like these inks), she’s researched and compared it. Last month I traipsed all over town looking for varnish and ended up ordering from her online link.

Each time I go to her site, I spend time with her collection of tattooed and Victorian hand beads. They fascinate me and now they’re for sale on her Etsy site.

Thanks to Sarajane for her persistence in finding the best products and for her generosity in sharing with the rest of us. You’ll find lots of treasures buried in her information-rich site.

Color winners and Simmons’ jeweled beads

Three polymer clay artists were named in the top 10 entries in the Step by Step Beads Colorworks Contest that was limited to works in the purple-green-orange triad. The other finalists are seed bead artists.

Lindly Haunani, Maureen Thomas and Carol Simmons were among the finalists. Carol entered the beads pictured above that use an extruded cane process she’s been refining. See the complete necklace here.

Carol has resumed teaching after an 8-year hiatus, hitting the road to teach her new jeweled technique that exploits the properties of metallic clay, producing patterned surfaces with extraordinary depth and luminosity. See her jewel eggs from an earlier post.

Carol is a researcher and scientist at heart and you can be sure that she’s discovered some entirely new processes that will change the way you think. Her fall classes are full. She’ll be teaching at the Phoenix guild in March (I’m signed up) and is setting up her 2010 schedule.

Kulakova’s polymer canvases

Russia’s Mariya Kulakova (pterdaktell) doesn’t just take a painterly approach to her beads, she uses polymer clay as her canvas!

The twenty year old produces polymer Picassos, Klimts, Warhols, Van Goghs and her own flowers and scenes on bead canvases.

Check out the Flickr site of this St. Petersburg artist’s dazzlingly bright colors sometimes mixed with caned spirals and traditional onion dome beads.

Understanding Russian polymer

These watermelons from polymer artist Natakorneeva are from a Russian site that translates incomprehensibly and muddles my brain. All I know is, “Me likee.” What more can I say?

Some days sorting out the best, the most interesting or the cleverest polymer clay art from around the world feels like trying to drink from a fire hose.  Try me tomorrow and enjoy Natakorneeva’s summer fruits in the meanwhile.

Craynor’s faux African beads

Utah’s Cody Craynor sent me a link to his meticulously constructed polymer clay faux African chevron beads. Cody is refreshingly clear that his interest is only in the beads, not in making jewelry. He claims that his passion for beads began when he was transfixed by the color and clatter of a bead curtain in his parents’ 1970s bathroom. Take a look at his new site and work.

The mention of African beads derailed my daily research as I remembered earlier faux ancients. Here’s where the wayback machine took me:

• Jamey Allen’s folded beads (as seen on the Polymer Art Archive)
Desiree McCrory‘s faux chevrons
Klew‘s folded beads

Play-Doh video

I didn’t quite get the concept of last week’s Play-Doh/shaped cane breakthrough. I missed the part about Play-Doh only being used for a barrier layer with filler polymer layered on top. This video from ArtbyYonat answered all my questions. All reports are that the technique works.

Modern polymer charms on silver cores

The build-your-own-bracelet system from Pandora is a hit with both teenagers and their grandmothers here in the USA. Libby Mills posted about how to create polymer clay beads on the silver cores made to be used with the Pandora line. She created the ones shown here for her daughters.

Customers line up to buy this modern version of the charm bracelet. Perhaps polymer clay artists can give collectors more interesting and unusual choices. (Lindly Haunani put me on to this trend.)

If you’re looking for even more unusual choices, look at the polymer clay earrings from Arkansas’ Giovanna Coraggio (via Eugena Topina). In her Etsy shop she offers a selection of tendril-like plugs, earrings and hair sticks.

The ear gauges that Giovanna and her fashionable friends use look like slightly larger versions of the cores Pandora uses for bracelets!

Charuau carves and backfills

France’s Céline Charuau (GrisBleu) has taken her polymer clay beachball bead (see last week’s post) a few steps further and again shared her methods.

She explains how she carves baked striped beads with linoleum cutters and backfills the carved designs with acrylic paint. She sometimes embellishes the base beads with canes as in this Spring Snowflake necklace.

Celine uses polymer and wire in unexpected ways and with dazzling results. Her galleries and Flickr pages provide great inspiration to start your week. Here are earlier features about her.

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