Got scrap?

We all have those bits of leftover colored polymer that should be good for something, right? Rebecca Watkins has taught herself to”see” something in each ball of colorful bits and she shows you how in a few scrap to bouquet steps on her Flickr site.

When she covers the resulting carved unbaked beads with black mica they look dull and disastrous. But a light sanding of the baked bead reveals the color and brings out the pattern. She makes it look simple. Please tell me if it really is that easy. Rebecca’s recently developed a shortcut to organic stripes tutorial that you may enjoy too.

Polymer paciorky

“Paciorky means necklace or beads in Ukrainian,” says Christine Bondar (dzjunka online). Christine’s extruded and carved Amazon River polymer beads offer variations on techniques spread by Vera Kleist and Margit Böhmer.

You’ll see developments in that part of the world on Maria Petkova’s Bulgarian blog that features artists mostly from Eastern Europe as polymer continues to gain popularity.

I’ll be writing a book on global polymer this year and I’m interested in hearing your ideas on what the story should be about. And I’d love to learn about new artists you’ve run into. We’re off and running into 2012!

Beads – before and after

Who couldn’t use a little “before” and “after” on a Friday? The thought of salvaging polymer beads gone blah sounds appealing at the end of the week, doesn’t it?

Take a look at how Anna Anpilogova solved her problem. There’s no wasting polymer in Belarus (or Boston or Bellingham). With some judicious carving (before on the left), Anna has turned ho-hum into hot (after on the right)!

Tidbits for the weekend

This link to Alison Torres’ video of Sarajane Helm creating an impromptu face from a lump of polymer is mesmerizing. I missed this tutorial of Geninne Zlatkis’ bird mobile during the holidays but it’s never out of season. Here’s the finished version. Have a dazzling weekend.

Giving thanks, giving back

Pennsylvania’s Genevieve Williamson starts this week of giving thanks with a sweet little fiber-y bead tutorial.

As Genevieve says, “I’ve had some polymer artists extend themselves and share their knowledge and present me with great opportunities. Kindness should overflow, shouldn’t it? So it seems appropriate that I make my first small attempt to give back with a tutorial at the beginning of America’s week of Thanksgiving.”

The kindness flowed back from Germany in the watery colors of Kathrin Neumaier’s fish bead necklace. Kathrin acknowledges that her idea for carving the fish beads came after seeing the rough hewn look of Genevieve’s carved beads and rings. The link was sent in by Margit Böhmer.

There is much caring and sharing in this community and yesterday was an example of your goodness. See Monday’s post if you missed all the ruckus and the happy ending. As Angela Mabray said, “Now that that’s settled, let’s all get back to work.”

Moscow moments

A link from Kathy Weaver pushed me to look at Russian sites which give us an idea of how polymer art is progressing in that country. This requires clicking through annoying ads and garbled translations but it’s worth the effort.

The trendy colors and hip clothes in the photos on Julia Laukhina’s site could have been from a craft fair in any urban center. Julli-Ya is from Moscow and this batch of soothing colors launches us calmly into a new week.

Then I ran into Elkozzzavra also from Moscow who loves her Dremel. She enthusiastically drills and carves polymer. It works and she’s developed techniques that look like a good outlet for aggression and result in gem-like sculptured art.

Check out her swiss cheese trees and positive/negative butterfly. Luckily she adds a photo tutorial with her carved pumpkin pin.

Welker’s carvings

Did you catch Bettina Welker’s new carved and textured series of polymer beads, brooches and bracelets?

Bettina’s experiments using Pardo clay, paints and carving resulted in a lively series this summer and evolved to this chunky new fall batch that’s rich with color and full of bead-within-bead movement.

I keep running into carved polymer pieces lately. Is texture the new frontier to explore this fall?


Fago’s carving tips

The latest discovery in my hunt for polymer and texture techniques led me back to Celie Fago. She posted these carving and texture plate tips on her blog a while back and I happily stumbled upon them.

When Celie first started in polymer, she spent many hours carving warm, baked polymer and she developed many tricks, including ways to keep tools sharp.

Time-intensive carving made her think about creating texture plates which she now uses for both metal clay and polymer. You’ll see evidence of both techniques in her Etsy shop. I hope your weekend is filled with texture.

Williamson takes wing

Genevieve Williamson (Jibby and Juna) started out to make polymer icicle ornaments and ended up with these cool, fluttery feathers. The ornaments that she stamped and painted and carved may morph into winged pendants. Sometimes our muse leads us off in new directions.

I’m winging off to California today for a holiday visit. My camera and computer have traveled with me, of course, and I’m keeping my eyes open for polymer clay of the west coast variety.