Polymer flutters and surveys

Do these transparent polymer butterflies from Claire Maunsell make your heart flutter? The thin colorful beads are built on a 20 ga. copper wire which can be bent into a custom attachment. The customer asked for an assortment of colors and Claire happily obliged.

If these look like glass, it’s because Claire brings 20 years of experience in hot glass to polymer and her work contains echoes of her earlier training.

Check her Etsy and Zibbet sites to see when these lovely creatures begin appearing there (not yet).

More about you

The first of the surveys for our Synergy3 presentation poses just a few short questions about how you came to work in polymer and what pleasures and frustrations the craft brings you. Your answers will help Judy Belcher and me construct a more accurate picture of our community.

The multiple choice format makes it easy and you can answer in English, French, Spanish, German or Czech thanks to our volunteer translators. Click here to start.

Polymer seasons ahead

Heather Powers shows us how handy the falling leaves can be. “I used translucent clay and stained the polymer with color so they glow in warm fall hues when held up to the light,” she says of her newest collection.

Check out the similar headpins she made as well as her other nature-inspired designs.

If it’s almost fall, you know that the holiday season can’t be far behind. The ladies of the Samunnat project have already created polymer creche scenes dressed in Nepali finery. Wendy Moore will temporarily abandon her post as shipper for the Samunnat Etsy site and head for Nepal soon. So start your shopping now! And have a festive weekend.

Polymer swallows

Wallis swallows

This beautiful swallow cane from the UK’s Claire Wallis illustrates a problem she’s working to solve.

“I really struggle with translucent clays,” Claire explains adding that, “I find it very hard to slice the cane thin enough so that the translucent is clear not opaque. Plus I find layering the cane slice distorts it somewhat.”

These pendants represent one solution. She trimmed and baked thin slices of the large swallow cane. Then she pushed the baked slices into unbaked backgrounds. Voila! No distortion….but more sanding. Claire brings her painterly approach to caning with impressive results.

Abstract polymer from Kathleen Dustin

How lovely to end the week with Kathleen Dustin’s Layered Fragment brooch. Kathleen explains, almost apologizes, that her focus is changing from narrative and representational to abstract.

“It seems to me that truly abstract work probably most reflects our humanness because it is based on spirit and what we do not see or know. Narrative or representational work is based on what we see and know. It has been a true challenge for me to make work not based on what I see or know,” she says.

Though her focus may change, her reliance on ways of translucent layering that she developed remains. Breath-taking washes of color pull you in as scribbles of metal float in and out of the frame. This new direction forces other changes and she asks for your suggestions here.

Polymer jellyfish

We finish the week with Bettina Welker’s jellyfish earrings that look like they were made to go with Wendy Malinow’s beach glass necklace from Tuesday’s post. Have we spotted a translucent trend? Are sea creatures in floating to the top (bad pun) in the polymer world?

Bettina’s graceful hollow forms covered by delicately colored cane slices gracefully mimic the sea creatures. Find more jellyfish here.

Next week we move from the sea to the mountains. There won’t be many words from me and I’m hoping for great pictures. I’m hoping your weekend goes swimmingly!

Tackling scrap polymer

Lynda Moseley makes simple pieces from her polymer scrap every so often saying, “There is something very cathartic about marbling, isn’t there? It’s not technical, not complicated, just a few minutes of fun grouping together color combinations to see what you get.” She cuts 2-inch squares from the best results, often stripes, and turns them into finished earrings.

Of course, her leftovers include a mixture of what she calls her “comfort clay” colors. She admits to having a separate Butt Uglies Jar for reject colors.

“I would be happy with a roomful of translucent clay and alcohol ink. Really, I could live the rest of my life just using those; and as long as Ranger doesn’t run out of walnut stain distressed embossing powder, I’m set,” she admits. Look at the tricks she performs with those few supplies here and here.

Is this your week to use up, clean up and pare down?

Cutting it thin

The sun shining through these thin translucent polymer and copper wire Tiffany Leaf earrings by Valerie Ashley adds a bright note for Friday.

Valerie, also known as the Leaf Lady, is fond of miniature fantasy sculptures and creatures found on the forest floor. (I’m late on St. Patrick and Valerie is a fitting artist for that day.)

See more of this Rhode Island artist’s work on Facebook. Have a lucky weekend.

Greenberg’s new craters

Donna Greenberg has been a textile and ceramic artist and muralist for years. Seven months ago she was introduced to polymer clay and she hasn’t looked back. I particularly like the way her drawings and illustrations spill over into her polymer jewelry work.

These bangles are part of her Craters, Meteorites and Moons series. If you check her Facebook fan page you’ll see her latest springy thingy craze. The enthusiasm and energy of a newcomer is just what we need for Monday.

Donna sent me the link to her new site…hint, hint.

Cozzi’s niche

Louise Fischer Cozzi’s Necklace Belt 2 has won a place among the Niche finalists in the costume jewelry category. This is not the category in which she entered the polymer piece but she’s not complaining.

The long strand of etched translucent disks can be worn as a belt or a necklace. Louise is famous for simple, gently-curved and repeated shapes. Here’s her Etsy shop. The Brooklyn-based artist also hosts classes at her summer home in Stresa, Italy.

Detwiler’s dress patterns


The chips for the games at polymer clay conferences have become coveted items and a good way to show off new techniques. These chips by Susan Detwiler of Shepherdsville, Kentucky are a case in point.

Susan uses translucent clay for her base and paints it with alcohol inks (center picture) followed by a layer of liquid polymer. Circles of the thin paper from old dress patterns are laid on the wet polymer and covered with another layer of wet liquid polymer and the whole concoction is baked.

Susan cautions that old patterns on thin crinkly paper with lots of printing work best. I’m sure these will be sought after treasures on game night here in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Susan swears that her gallery on the Deviant Arts site will soon be operational.

This is similar to the napkin transfers we ran into in Spain recently. Small world.