Summertime polka dots

Doing the perfect polka dot on PolymerClayDaily.com

I couldn’t help myself. I spent a perfect summer day claying with friends in the neighborhood (more on that this weekend). I indulged my love of polka dots and paired them with my Matisse obsession. Soon I’ll have some to sell.

Follow Lynda Gilcher’s instructions for precise extruded dots. It requires two passes through the extruder.

Extrude each color through a circle die to get consistently sized round logs. Wrap sections of the extruded logs with your background color (I used white). Then extrude that wrapped log through a square die. Assemble the squares into a cane.

Tomorrow it’s back to looking at your work instead of mine. Sometimes you need a playful diversion.

Combined artforms

Mickey Kunkle weaves her art together on Polymer Clay Daily.com

Maryland’s Mickey Kunkle straddles the worlds of fiber and polymer in her jewelry. At Clayathon in New Jersey, Mickey was working on designing a woven polymer bracelet using a kind of loom she made by drilling holes in a round base. It’s a hybrid of fiber and polymer influences.

Mickey Kunkle weaves her art together on Polymer Clay Daily.com

Mickey extruded round pegs that she cured and inserted into the holes in the base. She then extruded long strings to weave around the pegs to form a bracelet. Her prototype is strong and colorful and wearable. She’s still in the “Whatify” stage.

In her gallery video, Mickey explains her struggles as an artist and how she has learned to combine her talents to suit herself. Can’t decide between your favorite artforms? Maybe you don’t have to.

Shaggy dog story

Joseph Barbaccia paints with extruded strings on PolymerClayDaily.com

Zoom in on this polymer dog portrait to see how Delaware illustrator, Joseph Barbaccia paints with extruded strings of polymer.

His polymer brushstrokes are layered over each other. It looks like he works from corner to corner. Joseph’s subjects are usually people. This fuzzy, furry pet provided a welcome departure from humans.

Joseph Barbaccia paints with extruded strings on PolymerClayDaily.com

His in-progress shots are from Instagram while his finished work appears on Facebook.

Polymer with a teasing twist

Italy’s Alessia Bodini makes spiral beads with a sideways mokume gane twist. She nicks off bits of the sides of the beads to reveal the layers underneath.

Alessia Bodini extrudes, twists and carves her extrusions on PolymerClayDaily

Could be a triangle extruded shape. Are you itching to figure it out too? Alissa likes to tease us on her Instagram and Flickr and Facebook.

Pixelated rainbow

Deb Hart explores the rainbow in her pixelated cane bangles on PolymerClayDaily.com

Texas’ Deb Hart is cooking up a tutorial for her rainbow pixelated cane. Here she’s turned the cane into bangles of extruded tube beads curved to ride comfortably on the wrist.

The edges of the squares in the cane glow and accentuate each color. Look on Facebook and Etsy to see where Deb goes next with her cane tricks.

Meandering mosaics

The clay is leading Jana Lehmann in new meandering directions on PolymerClayDaily.com

Something cheery has moved Germany’s Jana Lehmann in a new meandering direction.

Jana extrudes strands of marvelous color and builds modern designs by carefully laying them next to each other.

She adds extremely small dots of color as accents and surrounds the piece with a black and white frame.

The heart is made similarly with flat, graduated ribbons of polymer. These require dexterity and a love of small detail but they exude a joyousness that’s infectious and ready for spring. More on Facebook and Flickr.

Mandala earrings from canes

Silvia Ortiz De La Torre builds extruded earrings on PolymerClayDaily.com

My polymer radar did a little shiver when Silvia Ortiz De La Torre’s Mandala earrings popped up on Etsy.

Near the edges, the black shows up and frames the designs. The colors bounce off each other playfully. The hole in the middle offers a reprieve from the intensity of pattern. What a great use of all those bits of extruded (or handmade if you prefer) bits of cane.

Modern minimalist

Syndee Holt gives her grid/circles combination three tries on PolymerClayDaily.com

California’s Syndee Holt is happily going rogue with this modern pendant made of distressed circles captured by a loose black grid.

Syndee works in threes so you’ll find two more examples of this dot/grid combination on her Instagram.

She has worked for Polyform Products for years developing designs, mixing colors, and trying out products. A good gig, eh? She shares some of her own tutorials and experiments on her blog and there’s a cool extruded coiled bowl post there now if you’re looking for a playful way to start your week.

Layered and assembled elements

Mari O'Dell's assembled extruded pendants on PolymerClayDaily.com
Mari O'Dell's assembled extruded pendants on PolymerClayDaily.com

Mari O’Dell has been dreaming up Japanese-inspired pendants in her Annapolis, Maryland studio/treehouse.

She begins with castings made from segments of antique Japanese kashigata molds. Translucent polymer tinted to look like jadeite is pressed into the molds and cured. The elements are set aside to be assembled into finished pendants.

Mari uses a distinctive way layering on extruded Japanese design elements. Though she has limited strength in her hands, she’s devised clever extruder workarounds.

The piece is then surrounded by a bezel made of thin strips of clay and the entire work is mounted on clay backing. The final touches involve alcohol inks, heat set stamp inks and a final curing.

Follow along with more of her designs and experiments on her Instagram site.

No-fail knitting

Leila Bidler gives imitative knitting a new twist on PolymerClayDaily.com

Even if you never learned to knit, Italy’s Leila Bidler demonstrates how you can simulate the look. She extrudes strings of polymer in shades of blue, twists them and lines them up…without dropping a stitch!

A second layer of stitching every inch or so gives the swatch the look of a fancier pattern and more complex knitting.

On Leila’s Instagram page she turns these faux knits into cozy cuffs and finishes them with a faux wood button for a wintry accessory.

A snowy day is a perfect time to check out this season’s crop of faux knit ideas. Every year there’s some new twist. PCD’s all-time favorites are still Juliya Laukhina’s from 2010.

If you’re looking for more fun behind-the-scenes tidbits, come on over to StudioMojo where we indulge in deep polymer chats every Saturday morning. 

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