From the far northwest

Canadian Gera Scott Chandler came upon the idea for "ethni’Zens", the first of her art dolls when she was beachcombing and stopped to study the form of some bull kelp that was strewn upon the sand.

Says Gera, "I saw the suggestion of a long skirt cascading from a dancer’s hips and visualized an exciting way to combine polymer clay with fiber and found materials to create an evocative character who is subtly beautiful and unabashedly aloof."

Gera’s studio is located in Victoria BC. Her site’s full of eye candy. Thanks to Laura McIntosh for the tip and the link to her Southern Ontario guild.

Polymer Cloisonné

Tennessee’s Jai Johnson has developed an interesting twist on cloisonne which she plans to pursue in 2006. She talks about her plans and has the best pictures on her blog.

Jai first created the setting with genuine gold leaf on the edges. Then she built a network of "cloisons" (cells or compartments) by forming 14K gold filled bezel wire into a pattern for the center of the pendant. Each "cell" was then painted using tinted polymer, filled gradually until she obtained the shading and coloring she wanted, with multiple firings between layers.

Head South…it’s cold in Ohio

These nicely shaped swirls from patsy monk at the Tampa Bay's September meeting caught my eye. 

Makes me wanna go Skinner and swirl.

If you're heading south this winter, you might want to check out the Florida calendar of events. Dayle Doroshow will teach Niches, Shrines and Secret Places, a one day workshop, on Wednesday March 15, 2006 in Clearwater Florida. For more info, go to the guild's web site.

Then March 16-19 Dayle presents two workshops at the Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference in Leesburg, Florida in March. Ancient Cultures and New Frontiers explore the versatile, exciting, and playful possibilities of polymer clay, as it is used to create artifacts, jewelry, and embellishments. Maggie Maggio will teach Smashing Color Theory for Dyers at the same conference.

Beautiful to Crunch

I spent a good bit of time over the weekend browsing through the online photo sites, flickr and pbase and such. After slogging through a ton of typical polymer work, I happened on some fresh foreign designs.

I ran a young French designer’s site through Altavista Babelfish for translation. What a hoot that was. Many of Magali Thiébaud’s pieces look like candies. The idiom translations are very rough.

"My jewels point out candies, the chocolate, the liquorice and of other sugar refineries. To carry a Croquezmoicreation jewel is to be beautiful to crunch."

Late at night with a glass of wine it’s a surreal experience. I found some interesting Portugese things too. Nothing like other cultures to shake you out of your own design rut and widen your horizons.

I’ve written to Magali Thiébaud to get details about her work but there’s no response yet. Visit Croquezmoicreation.com.

Her Flickr albums contain her most interesting work. Be warned, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of these monster sites and there’s a lot of stuff to wade through. Let me show you the way. Try this page.

Pretty in Pink

Primitive and pretty. Primitive and pink. Ronna Weltman has taken a new tack. (Her new photos might not have gotten posted on her site yet.) This light delicate look is a nice departure from the heavier designs we’re used to in polymer work.

I guess I’m already in the mood for spring.

Judy Belcher’s new book arrived from Amazon yesterday. I’ll feature a few things to entice you in the coming days. It’s filled with pictures that will inspire you. I’m sure the text is informative too but like most of you, I’m hung up on the photos.

Cormier/Holmes

Found these pictures from the workshops of Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes on the Northwest Polymer Clay Guild site. The guild reports that, "Dan debuted a new system for creating patterns in polymer clay. After four years of experimenting, Dan shared his latest breakthroughs in surface and veneer design. Simple two-toned canes became the source for an endless collection of intricate patterns, all without any cane reduction. We also explored "Mokume Dan-eh."

The Canadian site, Shades of Clay, is promoting three workshops (two in Canada, one in France) with Dan and Tracy in 2006. Here’s the info in .pdf format or you can contact them at hoco@island.net.

I found pictures from their 2005 workshop in Gloucester online as well. Dan and Tracy are some of those folks that I have to work hard to find on the web.

Hombre with Ombre

Judy Kuskin sent me this link to Jeffrey Dever. I wasn’t familiar with his work and was bowled over. Talk about ombre!

Jeffrey is featured in November in the Function+Art Gallery in Chicago. The gallery newsletter says, "His highly organic approach and bright polychrome palette combine for animated yet elegant brooches, pins and necklaces." They showed his work at October’s SOFA.

Thanks so much for the tip, Judy. If you find an exciting link, please send it along!

Skinner Art


Who better than Judith Skinner, mother of the Skinner Blend, to design this great necklace whose color gradually grows darker? She donated the item to the Pingree silent auction. Judith has a new website you might want to visit.

This triangle of Skinner blend folded over onto itself to form a bead is a pretty clever twist on her theme as well.

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