Puzzling polymer

Julie Eakes puzzles through another collaboration on PolymerClayDaily.com

Julie Eakes loves to pixelate images. In many of her works, she divides an image into squares and reassembles the pieces into a whole again. That’s the way her brain works.

Thirty-six polymer artists were given 3″x3″ drawings to replicate in the polymer colors and techniques of their choosing. Follow the pattern that you are given. “I’ll screw it up,” each of us thought. It’s a daunting task. It will never work.

But it does.

All those hands, all those colors and textures pull together. It’s a 36″x36″  proof of what we can do.

This is Julie’s tenth group puzzle and they keep getting better.

Putting it all together

Assembling a global view on PolymerClayDaily.com

Puzzle night has always been a hit at an annual gathering in the mountains that’s been going on for 20+ years. Though we’re online this year, the puzzle was still a huge hit orchestrated by North Carolina’s Julie Eakes.

Each player created a 3″x3″ polymer tile based on the line drawing that Julie sent via e-mail. Anything light on her black and white clue drawing must be a light value, darks must be dark. We had no clue about the theme or the color scheme.

Julie secured permission to use Thomas Wimberly’s poignant and powerful Global Forefront sketch. We submitted jpeg photos of our square tiles to Julie via email.

She based this ingenious group project on the im-a-puzzle.com site which meant that Julie had to upload our 30 files to them. Today we each tried to solve and assemble the puzzle virtually on our computer screens. Usually, we elbow and jostle as we crowd around a table to figure what goes where. We missed the cheek-to-cheek jostling but the laughter and competition were undiminished.

Now, each of us must mail our actual tile to the puzzle winner. It felt liberating to have creative good times. Click on the photo to see if you can pick out any artist just by her style.

Putting the pieces together

Each of these 25 polymer squares was made by different artists following a pattern handed to them. Julie Eakes prepared the Picasso drawing puzzle and the Pingree group created the pieces in 2011.

The rules were to reproduce the image you were given and to use a limited palette. No one knew what the whole project would look like. Assembling the tiles into an image was a struggle and a good group project.

Synergy puzzle

Judy Belcher and I are trying to assemble a picture of the polymer world for the Synergy conference. When you fill out the first of our surveys on Monday, you’ll be adding your anonymous data to our puzzle. Be ready, pop quiz on Monday. With your help, we’ll begin to see a picture emerging.

Wednesday class

I’m also assembling the last bits for my Rolling Stones class on Wednesday which will include some faux sea glass tips. Join me online at Craftcast for a fun session.

Bogosian’s polymer puzzles

New Jersey’s Helena Bogosian is a polymer clay illustrator with two new books coming out next week. If you’re a puzzle person of any age, you’ll love solving her matching problems, finding hidden pictures, and working your way through her mazes. Extruded clay strings maked great tangled webs.

These two books, Clay Quests: Hidden Picture Puzzles and Clay Quests: Maze Magic, are the first in a series published by Sterling Publishing. You can view samples at her site.