Global polymer trends

Julie Picarello’s “Boheme” polymer clay necklace reflects a little of a trend you may have spotted. There’s a looser, almost primitive style that’s gaining ground. French polymer artists excel at the look.

Ronna Sarvis Weltman gives step-by-step instructions in her newest book, Ancient Modern, and in the past few weeks I’ve been stunned and delighted by the number of versions her book has spawned.

When a style gets in the air, it starts popping up everywhere. I like how Julie has reinterpreted the wrapped wire look to go with her unmistakable designs (and she may have never seen Ronna’s book…I didn’t check).

Grant Diffendaffer’s workshops have caused a similar phenomenon with experimental recursive molded beads popping up all over the world. Today was my day to catch up on the web and these global waves of new designs really struck me.

Tabakman’s robotic polymer

Laura Tabakman’s latest creation contains 10 mechanisms and computerized polymer clay shapes that undulate, grow and spin on a 3’x6′ base.  See the video here.

Her robotic piece, called Flora, resembles a moving Monet and won best of show at the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s exhibition.

Over the past few months Laura’s been developing organic shapes both in her installation art and in her jewelry (as in this “Cascade” necklace) paying special attention to how the pieces move as they’re worn or approached.

The chronological organization of Flickr gives us a snapshot of an artist’s progress and I think it’s safe to say that Laura’s having a growth spurt.

Thanks to Susan Lomuto (DailyArtMuse) for the link. Have an invigorating weekend.

Beach-inspired tidbits

beach bead

This French polymer clay bead from Céline Charuau at Parole de Pate reminds me of a beachball. There’s a companion tutorial that shows a clever way of making these and I’m intrigued by the necklace. Though the round beads are all the same size, the random combinations of extruded colors make the resulting beads randomly striped.

It’s hard to explain but you’ll get the idea from the pictures.

I abandoned my husband at the beach to find a McDonald’s internet connection. He’s fishing. He won’t notice that I’m gone but I’d better get back. We’re heading home tomorrow.

Did you see Tina Holden’s link to Joan Tayler’s sand dollar cane tutorial?

Toops bead video

Seattle’s Cynthia Toops takes you through the process of making polymer clay beads in this quick and wonderful video. It’s sure to give you breathtaking inspiration and overwhelming studio envy to start your week.

Toops’ jewelry is featured in the installation, A Bead Quiz, on view now at the Seattle Art Museum. Her husband, Dan Adams, has a companion video here.

You might want to look at Cynthia and Dan’s self-published book and her Facere Gallery listings too.

I’m scouting out polymer clay in Chapel Hill, NC today and send my thanks to Carol Simmons for sending me today’s link.

Abarbanel’s polymer dreams and nightmares

Janice Abarbanel overcame her procrastination, angst, doubt and fear and submitted her entry, this Dreams of Tuscany polymer clay necklace, to the Bead Dreams competition by the April 6 deadline.

The sound you may hear is Janice crossing “enter competition” off her list. Sometimes just entering makes you a winner. Here’s an earlier link.

Now for a little tidying of my own…a couple of goodies from my desktop.

Cecelia Mabcrea has posted eight interesting tutorials on her Flickr site. The step-by-step photos and her work are good for a weekend browse. Thanks to MC for the link.

If you haven’t signed up for PrairieCraft’s free online newsletter, do it now. The last issue contained Yetta’s Cabochon Technique and there’s a picture of the results on Donna Kato’s home page. The signup is at the bottom of their page. Have a blooming weekend.

Velmachos sets crockery bits in polymer

New York’s Callie Velmachos shows how to set broken bits of crockery in polymer clay and create a great looking necklace in an article in the spring issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine. You can enjoy some supplemental pictures of the necklace on her web site.

I’m drawn to the vintage, romantic pieces in Belle Armoire which is French for “beautiful wardrobe.” I can’t decide which broken glass, special stone or found object of mine would benefit from Callie’s alluring technique. She makes it look so easy and so “belle.”

Here’s an earlier post on Callie’s ancients.

Polymer spring flowers

I was looking for polymer clay hints of spring to start your week and the daffodils from “SilverPepper23” fit the bill. Her innovative combination of wire, ribbon, seed beads and polymer blooms is impressive.

Problem is, my translators aren’t giving me much more info than the pictures provide. I don’t even know what country we’re looking at. Any help out there?

Israel’s Marcia Tzigelnik (MarsDesign) has a facility for flowers and a reputation for her remarkable rose cane. Her Etsy shop and her Flickr photos are full of inspiration for the season.

Maggio’s signature polymer

I love wearing this polymer clay gift from Maggie Maggio. All the soft sage green, slate blue/gray and soft brown shapes reverse to reveal more shades of the palette. The wearer can endlessly flip the pieces and change the look. It’s a stunning necklace and an entertaining toy!

The colors look uniform here. On closer examination you’ll see subtle patterning and Maggie’s signature black and white shadow layers. (Note: It’s the same necklace in both pictures…one in sun and one in shade. Her colors are difficult to capture.) See an earlier post here.

Maggie’s site crashed last week just as she was preparing to start posting again. I’ve begun resurrecting the blog for her. Don’t think Maggie’s lost her color sense, the web colors reverted to generic ones. They’ll be fixed and she’ll have new content soon.

Maggie and Lindly’s new book will be out in August. Pre-order now: Polymer Clay Color Inspirations: Techniques and Jewelry Projects for Creating Successful Palettes

Nowak/Oksoon, glamorous approach

Izabela Nowak’s latest experimental polymer clay necklace was inspired by the column’s of artist/architect (and her fellow Austrian) Hundertwasser. (Here’s an earlier Hundertwasser post.)

There’s little information about Nowak on her site but reviewing the results of her experiments on her Flickr site will give you clues about her daring and playful approach to clay.

Reading her comments, I was led from Nowak to Russian polymer artist, Oksoon. I was struck by the fashion photos of young models wearing her pieces. Both Nowak and Oksoon take photos that make their pieces look especially glamorous.

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Baker’s Yucatan polymer colors

The blinding white snow outside makes me search for warmer polymer clay colors on my computer. Betsey Baker’s work on her new 1000markets site hits the spot.

On her blog (Stonehouse Studio) Betsy talks a bit about her online experience and why she’s trying various venues.

She says her new “Maya” series was inspired by the vivid colors of the Yucatan – the azure blues of the ocean, the yellow/greens of the lush vegetation, the desaturated reds and oranges of old hacienda walls and the texture of Mayan artifacts – and that’s just what I need today.