Fall polymer pastiche

This polymer brooch from Cecile isn’t new but it’s just what I needed for a fall Friday. Extrusions and a tree shape added over a Skinner blend form a seasonal abstract.

I’ll include these chrysanthemum rings from Genieve Williamson to my fall pastiche since her textured dark tones and rough surfaces are right for cooler weather. She pairs polymer with wood shanks for her wintery fashions.

Two Reminders

Get in on the bidding for some juicy polymer pieces on Ponsawan Sila’s site. Auction proceeds benefit Ponsawan’s daughter, Ada.

Elections are coming…IPCA elections, that is. The international guild for our craft is looking for enthusiastic board candidates who will help the organization thrive. October 29 is the deadline for nominations (and they encourage nominations from outside the US). Questions? Contact France’s Kylee Milner, the elections chair.

Extruded string beads

Since several people have inquired about extruded string beads lately, it must be time to feature them again.

As luck would have it, the link to Vera Kleist’s “rough cut” extruded bead necklace came to me today via Lindly Haunani.

And Annerose Doering had just emailed me the address for Dominique Franceschi’s tutorial (from 2006) for the technique.

Annerose prefers a smooth finish on hers. She says, “Before I smooth the clay around the scrap base bead, I let the beads rest for a few hours so that they are not too soft. This helps to get clearer lines. I let them rest again before I pierce them.”

The basic material for these colorful, chaotic beads is dry, old clay and most of us have that readily available.

Barbee concentrates on composition

Meisha Barbee current polymer work

When I asked extruder extraordinaire Meisha Barbee what kind of extruder setup she had, she admitted that her equipment was nothing special. She works in small batches and spends more time selecting colors and building a pattern library of small canes than she spends in extruding.

Meisha sent along a luscious sampling of her current work. (Here’s an earlier post.) Her colorways fit into small boxes that she carries between her studio and her gallery.

With her variety of components built, Meisha gets down to the business of composing, balancing, building the elements into finished pieces. It’s a good lesson in planning and prioritizing to start our week.

Mills collaborates

Libby Mills polymer circle pendant

Libby Mills just pulled this beauty out of the oven and it has comes to you with a story.

The color palette she selected from her Moo cards! She selected 50 Colourlovers palettes that she loved and had a set made to use for inspiration and later to use as jewelry tags.

Mills collage materials

It’s a traveling personal paint sample set. Pick a card from your deck for instant inspiration. (These snapshop colors aren’t accurate but you get the idea.)

Libby’s background textures came from tablemate Laurie Propheter who uses textured fabric swatches to impress into clay. (Laurie has a great selection that she sells on Etsy.) A few extrusions later (see the canes) and Libby’s perked up her palette.

Flowers for Mother’s Day

Bonnet's wavy polymer flowers

Laure Bonnet’s polymer flowers scream spring with their intense colors, wavy petals and playful accents.

Bonnet's red flower wire wrapped necklace

Her wire-wrapped necklaces are perfect for a sunny Mother’s Day weekend.

I found Laure via the Parole de pate and gadouille (aka Sylvie).

Low cost extrusion

Breil's vise extruder solution

Helen Breil shares a low-cost polymer extrusion method which also uses a vice and replaces the plunger with an aluminum tube.

Helen explains, “I use the standard clay gun. I purchased an aluminum dowel at home depot. The diameter is 1/2” which leaves a bit of a gap where clay builds up but it’s not a big problem. For easy clean up I put parchment paper into the tube before the clay is inserted (shown sticking out of the tube in this picture) and then I put it all into the vice as shown.”

Edison/Abensour’s splash of color

Edison/Abensour's fantaswirl polymer pendant

The colors of PurpleCactusStudios perk me up on a dreary day. The Charlotte, NC duo of Amber Edison and Laurence Abensour are probably best known for their murals and faux finishing (as seen on HGTV).

Edison_Abensour's bowl of beads

Their painting business explains the love of color that spills over into their polymer clay pendants and beads made from extruded slices that are flattened into patterns or piled onto shapes.

Need a shot of color? Check out their Flickr photos and their Etsy shop.

Eakes’ extruded mosaic

Julie Eakes combined four pounds of extruded polymer clay into one remarkable 5.5″ by 8″ by 2″ mosaic face cane. Calculating colors and preparing each cane is a painstaking task that took Julie three weeks.

Julie says her inspiration came from those photo mosaics that are made up of other little pictures. She adds that, “My brother worked with Chuck Close years ago and I was lucky enough to meet him then. I have a painting that my brother did of me using dots. I have the picture my brother did (which was inspired by Chuck) so maybe subconsciously I was inspired by Chuck.”

Julie is letting the cane rest while she considers her next step. Should she reduce it? How small should she go? It will be fascinating to watch.

Wood/polymer in new venue

Thursday night was the opening of our town’s new art center which featured an exhibit of art made from local wood assembled and sculpted by Dorothy Gill Barnes (see more about her here).

My husband, Blair Davis, has assisted Dorothy for several years. He thinks of himself as a cabinet maker/woodturner/engineer and Dorothy insisted that he receive billing as an artist. He’s the bearded guy in the hat in this page of pictures I quickly assembled. Dorothy is the white-haired woman.

One of Blair’s wood turned bowls with my polymer clay inlay was included in this show (here’s a brief in-process video). I was pleased that tonight two public gallery directors asked me about having polymer group shows in their spaces.

If you haven’t been a polymer artist for long, you may not understand that it is music to my ears to be asked to set up a polymer show. No more explaining or defending polymer clay as art. It was a lovely night. Have a lovely 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.

Vanden Broeck’s metal techniques in polymer

This colorful bangle by Belgium’s Mo├»se Vanden Broeck traps extruded canes between two polymer clay plates. Moise brings a metalworker’s eye to his polymer work as in this additional bracelet design and these rings.

He also explains how to create a cutter tool using rotary blades which is an update on the original tube bead cutter by Elise Winters.

Nice to have a few mental exercises to get us in shape for the studio week ahead.