Got scrap?

We all have those bits of leftover colored polymer that should be good for something, right? Rebecca Watkins has taught herself to”see” something in each ball of colorful bits and she shows you how in a few scrap to bouquet steps on her Flickr site.

When she covers the resulting carved unbaked beads with black mica they look dull and disastrous. But a light sanding of the baked bead reveals the color and brings out the pattern. She makes it look simple. Please tell me if it really is that easy. Rebecca’s recently developed a shortcut to organic stripes tutorial that you may enjoy too.

Survey says…

When my art teacher husband told me he had decided to add polymer clay to his high school 3D design class I was thrilled!

Naively I thought it would be pretty easy to help him write the curriculum for his 10th-12th grade students. It wasn’t until we actually got to work that I realized our biggest hurdle would be condensing the mountain of skills, techniques and information available to fit ten, 80-minute sessions. Onward!

We ordered required reading materials based on the Polymer Art Archive bibliography, poured over the internet and started sharing the pasta machine. Basic supplies were ordered and arrived within a week. So what’s next?

Well, we’d love to have your help!  Beyond conditioning, baking and basic studio safety, what four or five foundational polymer clay skills should be included in the lessons? Leave your comment here or write me directly at jibbyandjuna@comcast.net

guest post by Genevieve Williamson

Back to school polymer

Galina Grebennikova takes us back to school with the rest of the kids with a straightforward free tutorial for these beads on her Flickr page. A button, some water and a circle cutter are the only tools required.

Galina is Russian and living in Ireland. Her photographs are pristine and clear making it a smooth and pleasureable trip through her experiments, tricks and techniques.

Bounty from the polymer patch

Roberta Mohar’s garden is full of polymer vegetables – including pumpkins!

In an earlier PCD post we admired her Hokkaido pumpkin-shaped beads and she’s just uploaded a beautiful tutorial (in English and Slovenian) for you to enjoy. It’s worth the wait for the download.

The shape reminded me of Moroccan pouf ottomans and I promptly tried it for my own new beads below. Lucky for us we can now pick up the finer points in her free tutorial.

Her latest crop of garden flowers is most easily viewed on her Flickr page.

Roberta’s story about how her husband fabricated a motor for her pasta machine will make you appreciate thoughtful husbands and the easy access some of us have to equipment. Got a motor (or a thoughtful spouse)? Go hug it.

Tutorials unravel the mysteries

Rebecca Watkins unravels the mystery of her textured beads with a quick (and free) visual tutorial. Her methods and tools may surprise you. She shows more examples on her Etsy site.

You may also enjoy the step-by-step look that Tory Hughes offers on her most recent “Tahitian Flora” project. It’s educational to watch as she sketches her project before she begins.

Look closely and you’ll see that she forms the pieces into shallow cups in order to mimic the blossoms. She presses the flat pieces against her knuckle and bakes them on a paper cone to achieve a gentle shape. Tory promises another look at stringing as this project progresses.

Beads that speak for themselves

I was looking for polymer that was springy and required no explanation since I’m fresh out of words.

Luckily Silvia Ortiz de la Torre posted this necklace that fit my requirements precisely. If Google translator is accurate, this is Silvia’s rendition of beads from a tutorial by fellow Spaniard, Natalia Garcia de Leaniz that appeared in the new From Polymer to Art magazine (the Blue edition). They’re super textured and built on cores of crumpled foil to keep them light. Silvia uses eye-catching graduated color on the base beads.

Let me know if I botched the translation. The beads are exuberant in any language!

Delightful diversions

There’s nothing better to veer your week off track than a couple of interesting polymer techniques. If you’re facing serious deadlines and chores, stop reading right now.

The first tantalizing tutorial is a bit of Japanese-inspired faux lacquer from Nan Roche. Alison Torres reports from the CFCF event in Maryland that’s in progress this week. Nan briefly describes her method in this short video. (The picture is Alison’s work from Nan’s class.)

Then I happened upon luminous faux mother of pearl from LesEthiopiques. The text on Hélène’s free tutorial is in French accompanied by step-by-step shots of her discoveries. Wouldn’t that be fun to try?

I have deadlines and chores of my own that I’m avoiding. Perhaps if you trot off and try these tricks, I can focus. Sneaky, eh? You try them so I won’t have to.

Creating signature style

Tricia Dewey’s newest polymer beads hum with color and they come with a good story.

Tricia bought Christi Uliczny’s popular “Rocky Path” tutorial and modified the instructions extensively to create beads rather than pendants. Tricia used the tutorial as a launch pad to combine leaf and alcohol inks and mica powders on polymer in her own way.

Sidelined by an elbow injury, Tricia was taking a break from her fossil series of polymer/encaustic multimedia wall art to experiment with beads. Using a new set of instructions and working on a smaller scale, Tricia’s signature style still shone through.

Giving thanks, giving back

Pennsylvania’s Genevieve Williamson starts this week of giving thanks with a sweet little fiber-y bead tutorial.

As Genevieve says, “I’ve had some polymer artists extend themselves and share their knowledge and present me with great opportunities. Kindness should overflow, shouldn’t it? So it seems appropriate that I make my first small attempt to give back with a tutorial at the beginning of America’s week of Thanksgiving.”

The kindness flowed back from Germany in the watery colors of Kathrin Neumaier’s fish bead necklace. Kathrin acknowledges that her idea for carving the fish beads came after seeing the rough hewn look of Genevieve’s carved beads and rings. The link was sent in by Margit Böhmer.

There is much caring and sharing in this community and yesterday was an example of your goodness. See Monday’s post if you missed all the ruckus and the happy ending. As Angela Mabray said, “Now that that’s settled, let’s all get back to work.”

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