Eakes’ leap of faith

Julie Eakes is pushing the boundaries of extrusion-based mosaics again. This time she used a looser palette and a more stylized image as her starting point. Would the image still be discernable?

This is the small version of the finished cane. I’m partial to the dimensional original cane. Mixing the palette for one of these works is an arduous dance between Photoshop and the pasta machine. She created 2,000 color samples on the computer to arrive at her last palette. No small feat! Read her story here.


The cable guy appeared and we’re back in business. Heaven!

Mosaic group effort

This four-foot polymer mosaic for our home’s new front porch was icing on this summer’s cake. The shape of our house had come to resemble a bowling alley after several long additions. It needed some details to restore its curb appeal.

Architect/polymer artist Maggie Maggio helped us with the porch design which I envisioned in Photoshop and my husband made into reality. He was happy to add more square footage to his man cave in the bargain. You can follow the porch progress here.

My mosaic (polymer glazed with colored liquid polymer) balances out the offset front door. The drawer of rubber stamps and molds that I’ve collected were finally put to good use. I was surprised at how the variety of stamps could make a cohesive aesthetic.

Even though I created some of the stamps myself, I’ll always look at this piece and express gratitude to Laurie Mika for inspiration and to Barbara McGuire, Wendy Malinow, Victoria James and Helen Breil for favorite images.

Long ago Richard Bassett brought his stash of metal stampings to a Shrinemont retreat and we scurried to make molds. All those collected bits and bobs found a home in a colorful and sentimental piece.

Now it looks like the old front door needs a similar embellishment! My husband cut out a masonite base so it’s back to the studio to make more tiles. To be continued.

Mika’s mosaics

This polymer wall art from Laurie Mika not only looks good with my site’s color scheme (always a consideration), it also reminds me to think in three dimensions on a similar project I’m working on for my new porch.

Thumbing through her site made me feel like I’d just taken a quick class. Her tiles are colorful and richly layered with a confident looseness and freedom

In creating her “Urban Icons” she uses a variety of overlapping techniques – mosaic design, painting, rubber stamping, collage, embossing, beading, and embedding just about anything into polymer clay.

She’s posted a growing list of workshops and you can also refer to her Mixed Media Mosaics book for more instruction on her lusciously embellished techniques.

Something about polymer rings

Dee Wilder's koosh ring

“I’ve never made a ring, but have been wanting to give it a try so I joined a Ring-A-Day group,” says Dee Wilder (Malodora).

For several days she indulged her fascination with Koosh ball threads. Thursday she returned to a micromosaic theme. Imagine making a ring a day! After one month there are already over a thousand in the Flickr group’s archive. (I just found Ponsawan Sila in the archives too!)

Dee Wilder's polymer micromosaic ring

Wednesday’s featured artist, Lynn Lunger (UnaOdd), has experimented with a faceted wood/polymer model. Mixed media artist Jillian Moore admits that she previously had an aversion to polymer but has been converted to using the media for her rings which are pictured below.

Jillian Moore's polymer clay rings

Ronna Sarvas Weltman will divulge the secrets of her ancient/modern rings at her class at CFCF. Bettina Welker will focus on her european versions in her pre-Synergy class.

I’ve only scratched the surface. Thanks to Randee Ketzel and Susan Lomuto and others who have been sending me “heads up” about this trend. There’s a ring thing going on and poring over the examples may keep you warm on a cold winter weekend.

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.

Belcher’s greater-than-the-sum art

The collaboration theme of the Synergy 2 conference in Baltimore has already inspired some terrific mash ups. The fiber/polymer and metal/polymer creations on Judy Belcher’s Flickr site are impressive. Judy is the consummate team player so it’s not surprising that she’s good at partnering her art.

This jacket is by Kerr Grabowski with reversible jewels and closures by Judy. The model is Judy’s daughter.

Universal Connections, the 12.5″x8″ piece pictured, is the result of Judy’s collaboration with Victoria Altepeter, a metalsmith and currently resident artist at Arrowmont.

Take a look at the 37-artist polymer mosaic that Laurie Mika pulled together and see if you can identify each artist with only 2″ squares as clues. You have until December 20 to enter the contest. There is still space in classes at Synergy companion events, Cabin Fever Clay Festival and Synergy 2 Hands-On. You might drop a hint to Santa.

Ponsawan’s polymer mosaic

Another blast of polymer clay color and energy from Ponsawan Silapiruti (Silastones) finishes this otherwise white week. You must click on the image to get the full effect of this 6″x12″ wall piece made from cane slices.

Ponsawan explains that this technique is “…perfect for me who get bored easily and hate repetition, and can’t sit still very long.” Her Flicker site shows that even while she looks after her daughter she continues to produce work that reflects her heritage and her indomitable spirit.

For earlier posts featuring Ponsawan’s work, click here, here, and here. Have a colorful weekend.

Ehmeir’s mosaic style transfers

Austrian Eva Ehmeier (Hoedlgut) gives a little twist to her polymer clay transfers by connecting them with jump rings, mosaic-style. She’s discovered a nice way to salvage the good pieces and parts of transfers gone bad.

Eva’s giving her voice to the techniques she learned in workshops with masters like Louise Fischer Cozzi and Grant Diffendaffer.

A look at the pictures from the first Austrian clay meeting and the Wiesbaden Germany workshop reveals the fine work and growing popularity of polymer clay in that part of the world.

On this side of the pond, while I was searching for pictures from this year’s Sandy Camp (no luck yet), I came across this clever alphabet stamp tutorial on Marie Siegal’s blog.

Crocenzi and tempered glass

Susan Crocenzi has produced growing body of polymer clay and tempered glass mosaic work since we last looked at her in March. The piece shown here, a 3’x5′ wall piece made of tempered glass, polymer clay tiles, amethyst, metal beads, glass gems and smalti, will hang in the new Austin Centre in Texas.

Detail photos on her Flickr site (look here and here) help you appreciate the work better.

Polymer clay allows her to insert colorfully coordinated designs and messages within the free flowing colors of her tempered glass backgrounds. She is now offering classes in her northern California studio.

Thanks to Susan Turney for the link and the reminder to take a second look.


Hughes takes a new direction

Leave it to Victoria Hughes to take the whole magic bead/mokume/texture trend that we’ve been examining in a new direction. Her colors! Her shapes! This is not your grandmother’s brooch yet this one hints at something ancient.

Victoria has a page of new brooches on her web site. She’s also included her roster of east coast classes this spring including a debut of a promising new pietra dura (stone mosaics) technique.

The weekend simply got away from me! How can it possibly be Monday already?