Polymer indecision

There’s so much inspired new work in Fabi’s recent posts that it’s hard to choose what to feature.

This bolo-style pendant has a clever construction that Fabi details on her Flickr page. She’s worked out a water transfer technique and embeds the results on thick textured pendants. She’s teaching her methods in April in her Madrid studio.

And if that’s not enough, follow along on her mosaics! Here’s an abstract textured one, and here’s a mosaic of her son made from leftover polymer scraps baked, cut and applied to wood.

Great colors, shapes and a huge variety of experiments. You choose.

Are your scrapbooks calling you?

The polymer photo pendants by Angie (HopeMoreStudio) tug at my heart. She adds bits of lace, ribbon, buttons and ephemera to family snapshots that turn them into sentimental treasures.

Angie specializes in faux glass slides that capture a glimpse of another time and place….all polymer transfers that have been photoshopped, sepia-toned and topped with coats of shiny finish. They make me sigh with pleasure and nostalgia.

Are your own scrapbooks begging to be given some studio love that will make them into pieces that can be worn, displayed and given the honor they deserve?

Cyber thanks

Thanks to cyberhostess Alison Lee and all last night’s class participants. Teaching extrusions to students from Italy, UK, Mexico, Australia, Canada and my home town all from the comfort of my well-worn computer chair is mind boggling. Thank you!

Polymer plus

My eye can usually spot polymer at 50 paces and when it can’t, I’m delighted. Which is why Claire Maunsell’s latest batch of beads thrills me. There’s a fluidity that may come from her years working with glass. This polymer looks like something more.

Claire added bits of image transfer leftovers to her hollow beads, brushed on some new metallic paints, played with translucent clay, stippled surfaces and drew with inks. It’s her layering of colors and methods and messages that fools the eye and builds up a wonderful story.

Claire also shares her process in ways that I can understand. She reveals that, “Sometime ago I bought a set of metallic paints to use with polymer, but every time I tried them the result was so disappointingly garish that I would throw all the results away and curse my inability to resist temptation in art supply stores.” Who hasn’t been there?

She thoroughly describes her thought processes, her missteps and her techniques on her blog. I like going to her Flickr pages to get an overview of her results. What an inspiration.

Speaking of fooling the eye! I just looked at Judy Belcher’s latest trompe l’oeil polymer canes. You simply must study these!

Neumaier and Voila

Neumaier's faux cane pendant
Neumaier's spiral earrings

Germany’s Kathrin Neumaier has me delighted and confused. I think that the complex geometric patterns and delicately drawn designs she brings to her work are image transfers onto polymer but I’m not absolutely sure.

Either way, I’m impressed with her colors and her attention to detail. Perhaps you can find something in the translation that I missed.

Neumaier's spring bangle in polymer

Kathrin is one of four German artists featured on the Euro Voila site this week. You’ll want to click through them all for a Monday shot of inspiration.

Maunsell’s transfers

Maunsell"s circle transfer beads

These soft-focus egg-shaped polymer beads are signs of spring from Claire Maunsell. The effect is achieved with transfers of her artwork applied to a light pearl base. She swears that dark transfers are tricky but always work on warm soft clay.

Her latest hollow lentil transfer beads at the right were commissions that look like barely decipherable mysterious relics.

Maunsell's transfer relic beads

Claire’s friend, Genevieve Williamson, led me to these new works. Read Genevieve’s post about “Making the Jump” from metal to polymer. It’s the most eloquent explanation of the lure of polymer that I’ve read in a long time. Both friends switched to polymer (from glass and metal) when they found themselves without functioning studios.

Have a sunny weekend.

Perfection in imperfection

Brady's journal pendant
Brady's pendant inside inscription

The inscription inside Marlene Brady’s polymer and bead journal project pendant reads, “If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang.” The quote is by Charley Reese.

Marlene was frustrated with the way the transfer smeared and blogged about her dissatisfaction with her art. Her readers had a different reaction. Reading their comments is a treat. They were struck, as I was, with the color and liveliness of the pieces that convey Marlene’s heartfelt sentiments so effectively.

She says, “My Bead Journal Projects are my way of giving myself permission to process negative feelings in a positive way.” Marlene’s inspiring pieces are a lesson for all the recovering perfectionists out there.

Falkenhagen snags polymer

Falkenhagen's man in red turban polymer/gold brooch

Pictures, often transfers on polymer clay, form the central visual elements of Diane Falkenhagen’s fabricated fine jewelry. She invents images or borrows them from historial sources.

Falkenhagen's Io brooch

This Man in a Red Turban and her IO brooch looked elegant and mysterious and caught my attention on her Crafthaus page luring me to examine the rest of her portfolio.

“The artistic freedom associated with less-expensive, non-conventional materials leads to an uninhibited spirit of exploration, a broader expressive vocabulary and greater artistic risk-taking,” says Falkenhagen.

She is co-chairing the 2010 SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference in March whose theme is Going to eXtremes. Nice to know that polymer is part of that.

Mixing media

Sanders polymer/digital mixed media

Mixed media enthusiast Pam Sanders got an idea from Tish Collins (via PCDaily, yay). As Pam looked at Tish’s work she was, “…very impressed by her use of her artwork in with her polymer clay work. I thought …DUH…why don’t I do that?”

Sanders polymer/digital brooch

Pam began bringing transfers of her own digital art to her polymer pieces and you can see how the move enriched her style. Pam’s polymer images also show up in her digital work, a nice yin and yang balance that makes a strong personal statement.

There’s been lots of talk about collaboration lately and maybe it’s time we started collaborating with ourselves, integrating other areas of our lives into our polymer art.

Tinapple’s clean slate

Integrating my polymer clay skills with my Photoshop expertise was on my 2009 list of resolutions and I’m happy to have made progress toward this goal with this vase which is my entry for the Synergy exhibit.

This 10.5″ x 8″ cherry vase was turned by my husband. I added polymer clay transfers of old photos of the women in my family. Maureen Carlson’s story necklace got me thinking about telling stories with my art.

The turning point in my experimentations was discovering Valerie Aharoni’s baking parchment paper technique for transfers. I used sepia here to make the photos a uniform tone but colors transfer well too. I fired the polymer with a paint stripper gun.

I promised to put more of my own work on the blog in 2009, didn’t I? The sound you hear is my scratching two goals off my list. I’m ending this decade with a clean slate. Read more in this interview I did with Eni Oken (ClayLessons).

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