Puzzling polymer

Julie Eakes puzzles through another collaboration on PolymerClayDaily.com

Julie Eakes loves to pixelate images. In many of her works, she divides an image into squares and reassembles the pieces into a whole again. That’s the way her brain works.

Thirty-six polymer artists were given 3″x3″ drawings to replicate in the polymer colors and techniques of their choosing. Follow the pattern that you are given. “I’ll screw it up,” each of us thought. It’s a daunting task. It will never work.

But it does.

All those hands, all those colors and textures pull together. It’s a 36″x36″  proof of what we can do.

This is Julie’s tenth group puzzle and they keep getting better.

Back with a splash!

Wendy Moore comes back online with a splash on PolymerClayDaily.com

While most of us are squirreled up at home, Australia’s Wendy Moore (after_the_monsoon) comes back online with a splash.

Wendy’s been watching quietly from the sidelines for a while as she took a break. Now she’s collaborating with Dissonance Fashion and creating new work inspired by Helen Breil and Bonnie Bishoff. Wendy’s resurgence shows us the value of taking time off!

Of course, her heart is never far away from the ladies of the Samunnat Nepal project that she has nurtured since 2006. Welcome back to good health and polymer, Wendy.

Make time on Wednesday for the free Fun At One on Craftcast. This week watch Deb Hart create her polymer eggs and see Deb Karash (prismacolor on metal) demo her black block tool.

Luminous hearts

Follow Ron Lehocky and his collaborative hearts on Instagram via PolymerClayDaily.com

There’s a lovely luminosity about these most recent hearts from Kentucky’s Ron Lehocky. The gold dots popping through watery colored layers lead us to summer’s end.

Because Ron builds his hearts from lots of others’ scraps, it’s hard to know the provenance of the bits and pieces he uses. His heart brooches are lovely collaborations between other’s scraps and Ron’s magic.

He’s close to making 50,000 of these for his Kids Project that receives all the proceeds from sales.

Did I mention that Ron’s on Instagram now? Be sure to follow him.  He’s also teaching at ClayOutWest in late September.

The freedom of polymer

Ohio women inmates' collaborative wall piece and Ohio classes

This 28″ x 34″ wood panel is decorated with 118 polymer triangles shaped over bead scoop forms and covered with scraps of patterns made by students in the polymer program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW). The piece was created for a Columbus gallery exhibit this fall.

Visiting polymer teachers have stressed the importance of balancing lights, darks and middle values for a successful piece. Still, it surprises me when this big range of colors and styles add up to one cohesive and happy image. I must also credit my husband who checks my math and mounted their works on a custom panel.

Even though they are imprisoned their art travels, communicates, and frees their spirits. The inmates send thanks to our polymer community for their support.

There are a few seats available for the September Ohio class! Maine’s Bonnie Bishoff will teach “Capturing Wire with Polymer.” Her approach to polymer is unusual and her class has received rave reviews. Sign up!

Stunning snakes

Snakes form the main theme on Jon Anderson's latest sculpture on PolymerClayDaily.com

Snakes for Monday? But these snakes from Bali’s Jon Stuart Anderson are not your garden variety.

This sculptural shrine crawling with snakes and topped with a glass ball is the most densely ornamented item I’ve ever seen from Jon. He collaborated with Luke Brown and Sudida to get the imagery just right. You’ll find frogs, masks, and many more caned images hidden throughout the highly decorated piece.

Some of his in-progress shots on Facebook show how the insides and hidden parts of his works are created with the same care and attention as the main elements. Here are a top view, a closeup of patterns, an early photo without wildlife.

If you haven’t visited Jon’s site for a while, you’ll be surprised by all the new products. Jon recently had joint surgery and I thought he’d be sidelined for a while but his creativity is more apparent and he’s more prolific than ever!

Barb Alexander’s spring 2019 tour of Bali is full so she’s added a second one if Bali’s wonders (including polymer) have been on your bucket list.


Light and deceptively strong polymer collaboration

Bishoff/Syron on PolymerClayDaily.com

Don’t take my word for it, go see for yourself how complex and exciting this 20″ Open Form Necklace from Bonnie Bishoff is.

J.M. Syron constructs the nickel silver and sterling silver wire forms which Bonnie covers with polymer patterns. The piece looks fragile but feels surprisingly sturdy because of its metal underpinnings. The colors and stripes shift subtly from link to link.

The couple’s Body Length Necklace shows another example of long slim shapes that appear ethereal and light yet have strength that allows the wearer to twist and twirl all 60″ of beads.

It takes close collaboration to make pieces that feel both well built and elegant.

Collaborative clock

Blackburn/Hughes on PCDaily

It may take you a while to see the clock in this picture. The red dots on the heap of black and white patterns provide the clues.

Carol Blackburn made some of the polymer designs and then taught Tory Hughes. Tory combined her own black and white layers with Carol’s to build this sculpture/clock. “Movement feeds my spirit and nourishes my psyche,” Tory admits.

“It’s a great challenge with Carol’s patterned skins because I respond like everyone else: they are so gorgeous as a sheet of stunningly precise pattern and color that I don’t want to cut them up either! But part of why Carol and I work so well together is that the creative threshold is different for the maker versus the viewer,” Tory explains.

The two collaborators will teach their unique magic tricks on June 26-28 in Santa Fe, NM, as the next step in their Take Two series. This one’s called Take Two, Moving Along. Learn to build stunning patterns (Carol) and turn them into sculptural fabrications (Tory)!

Read more about Tory’s recent experiments with sculpture and motion here. See some of Carol’s precise patterns here and here and on Pinterest.

Polymer enshrined

Odell Harper on PCDaily
Harper Odell on PCDaily
Harper Odell on PCDaily
Sing in me, muse, and through me tell a story.
– The Odyssey
Mari O’Dell and Barb Harper enshrine their skills
Let yourself become living poetry.


Maryland’s Mari O’Dell, teacher, and Colorado’s Barb Harper, airplane mechanic, combined talents for this portable personal shrine. As you might expect, Barb engineered the hinges, the rod for the prayer wheel and other structural parts. Mari concentrated on the poetry and the imagery.

Neither would have accomplished such a complex and powerful polymer piece on her own and their success has prompted them to continue their collaboration. Two heads are often better than one.

Polymer mashups

Breil and Benzon on PCDaily

The mashups that occur when artists meet are fascinating. Can you guess who came up with this collaborative polymer piece?

A sinuous, sexy frame surrounds a bumpy colorful geometric center that invites inspection. The result is a very natural, organic and flower-like pendant.

In this case, Jana Roberts Benzon flipped one of Helen Breil’s Big Twist shapes to accommodate a pod covered in Jana’s Fakir dimensional bits.

More mashups as the week continues. Check Judy Belcher’s recent book for more meetings of art minds. Got a pal who might collaborate with you? It expands your vision.

This mountain network is quite slow so delivery may be quirky. The good news is that there will be lots to share with you when I get home.

Toops and one more Niche

This hinged bangle bracelet is a collaboration between polymer artist Cynthia Toops and jeweler Chuck Domitrovich. The photo shows the bracelet open and lying flat. See more views here. Cynthia’s site features some new works that may rock your Monday world.

The closeups of Cynthia’s polymer micromosaic and Chuck’s description of the intense process makes you appreciate the work’s beauty even more. The piece will appear in an upcoming museum show.

One more Niche

This polymer clock from Ann Kruglak was omitted from our coverage of 2011 Niche awards. It’s a finalist in the Home Furnishings/Clocks category. Thanks to the eagle eye of Marcia Morton for the catch.