Monday, December 31, 2007

Ringing in the New Year . . .

. . . with brand-new work! What better way to welcome 2008 and say goodbye to 2007 than to share wonderful new work from some talented polymer clay artists. This floral brooch from Natalia García de Leániz of Spain is a lovely riot of color and pattern. I'm a big fan of Natalia's work and I love to see how it constantly evolves into something new. I can't put a label on what she does but, the lovely colors, patterns, and textures are always a constant. To see more beautiful new work from this talented lady, be sure to check out her website, as well.

Marcia Palmer, who lives in Georgia, just shared this wonderfully textured ginkgo pendant with what she calls a "faux patina". I love the verdigris look on this piece. I always enjoy the earthy, organic, and textured pieces I see from Marcia. She just listed this piece on her Etsy shop if you love it as much as I do.

A few days ago, I posted some images of new work from Ford and Forlano. Ponsawan Sila was inspired by their new patterns and colors and she just sent me a photo of her latest work. I love how Ponsawan is so unafraid to jump in and work with whatever inspires her and she definitely has an eye for pattern and color. These new pieces that she calls "reverse batik" are wonderful.
My oldest son is having some friends over for a small New Year's Eve party tonight and that's really about all the excitement I can handle this year. I'm grateful my kids will be safely at home where I can keep an eye on them. I wish all of you a happy and creative New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Korringa's Clay Dogs

As you probably know if you've read my blog before, I'm pretty fond of dogs. Judy Dunn made a post about dogs on her blog recently that inspired me to get out my box of polymer clay eye candy and share one of my favorite treasures with you. This fabulous pin was made by the hugely talented Kim Korringa of California. In addition to all that talent, she's really a nice and beautiful lady, as well. When it comes to canework and working with color, Kim's talent really shines. And, as far as I'm concerned, her realistic canes, such as these dog faces, are some of the most amazing I've ever seen. The shading and the details that Kim includes in much of her canework make it almost impossible to believe they were done with clay and not paint. Simply incredible work! It looks like Kim's website has been updated since the last time I visited. In addition to some new work I've never seen before, she has some cool pictures of her studio and a tutorial on how she makes her fabulous fish canes, You can also check out her Crafter's Coast to Coast dragonfly tutorial here. I love these new holiday pins I found on her website, especially that adorable penguin. Her talent and creativity are truly an inspiration. Have a productive and happy weekend, my friends!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

As the Color Wheel Turns . . .

Ford & Forlano have some things showing up on Seattle's Facere Gallery site and on their website that color wise, are much brighter and bolder then what I've seen from them in the past few years. This "Square Wheel Brooch" is lovely and I'm glad I finally realized that it's not a bracelet as I originally thought. I couldn't figure out how anyone was going to wear it comfortably as a bracelet because it's NOT a bracelet, it's a brooch! I believe I may have brain damage from the massive amounts of sugar in all the peanut butter fudge I've enjoyed during the past few days. Hopefully, it's not permanent.

This "Blue Char Pin" is quite a departure from most of their work, at least when it comes to color and pattern. I love the distressed colors and the flowing lines that lead your eye through the piece. Truly, a beautiful and elegant piece of jewelry!

This "Multi Bubble Necklace" is another piece that appears to be fairly new. Great colors that are still somewhat muted and subdued but are also all over the color wheel. It's hard to work successfully with this many colors. I'd love to see this piece in person. I'm betting it's quite stunning .

I adore muted and earth tone colors but, I also feel the same way about bright colors. I find myself working with a group of colors for quite a while and then getting a little tired of them and wanting to move on. Of course, color choices can depend on what we're making, the season, and the mood or feeling we're trying to evoke but sometimes, I pick my colors first and then decide what to make. I'm not much of a color trend watcher, although maybe I should be! What about you? How do you pick your colors? Do you follow the trends or let the piece speak to you? And what do you think about these brighter colors from Ford & Forlano? Are the colors working well with the organic forms these artists usually favor? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

Here's hoping that all of you had a wonderful holiday! I'm looking forward to taking down the tree this week and cleaning up all the mess that Christmas seems to leave behind. I've got lots of wonderful things to share with you in the next few days so be sure and visit again soon. Meanwhile, here's a couple of photos of Jackson (Santa) and Baxter (the elf) trying hard to stay off the "naughty list." Besides opening most of the presents under the tree well in advance of Christmas, they've been surprisingly well-behaved the last couple of weeks. Ever the optimist, I'm convinced they must be plotting bigger and better mischief and mayhem for the upcoming new year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bad Santa!

How best to traumatize small children? Force them to have their picture taken with Santa Clause, of course! My friend Marla Frankenberg sent me a funny email that contained these pictures and many others and it made me wonder why we force our children to sit on the lap of a bizarrely-dressed stranger when they obviously want no part of it.

There are exceptions, of course. My oldest son was never afraid of Santa. He's 17 years old now and I'm sure he'll love me for this but, here's a photo of Daniel when he was 8 months old sitting on Santa's lap for the first time. We literally had to pry him away from the jolly old elf. He adored him! I remember this day like it was yesterday. Hope you're all making wonderful memories this year and having a fantastic holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Nightmare Before Christmas

I'm not talking about shopping, decorating, baking, or schnauzers who eat the wrapping paper off all of your packages, although, those things can definitely be a nightmare. I'm referring to Tim Burton's wonderful 1993 film. It's hard to believe it's been that long since we first met Jack Skellington. What a character! His image is available on clothes, shoes, personal accessories, toys, home decor, and just about anything you can think of. He seems to get more popular every year. Not surprisingly, Jack is showing up in polymer clay, as well. Elisa, from Spain, is definitely a Tim Burton fan. She has some wonderful photos on Flickr of her polymer clay work. Look for the photos of her leaf and acorn people, too. What sweet faces!

David Kracov, a licensed sculptor for Disney and Warner Brothers has done this fantastic sculpt of Jack in his Santa costume.
And here's a simple little polymer pendant stained with India ink from Virginie of Quebec, Canada. I found this in her Etsy shop.

Besides a fondness for Nightmare, I love all the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaborations. My weekend plans include a visit to the local cinema to see Sweeney Todd. What better way to forget about all the Christmas madness than to spend a couple of hours in the dark with the demon barber of Fleet Street? I confess that I've been feeling a bit "grinchey" lately, so, to do my part in spreading holiday cheer, here's a little silliness I took part in after receiving an online greeting from the wonderfully talented Scott Mizevitz, who, btw, makes a much cuter elf than I do. I'm sure you'll be quite impressed by my dancing abilities, though. I had no idea I could move like that!

Friday, December 14, 2007

What's new, pussycat?

Sorry, I couldn't resist that title since I'm a closet Tom Jones fan. However, I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers more than any reasonable person should so making assumptions about my taste in music will only lead you to chaos and confusion. Since the world has enough of that right now, let's talk about clay and cats. Evidently there's a connection between the two since cat hair "inclusions" seem to be mentioned pretty frequently on pc message boards. Personally, I'm not a cat person but I do like other peoples'. One of my favorites was made by a very talented guild member of mine here in West Virginia, Chris Henry. This is actually a bottle of hope and I love the deco feel to it.
Judy, of Artsy Clay in North Carolina, makes some fun and quirky jewelry pieces and cats are a recurring theme in her work. She has an Etsy store, as well. I thought this guy was great and I love his bored and slightly disgusted expression.

This polymer clay toy made by Klara Kubesova of the Czech Republic brought back memories. I remember having a toy similar to this as a child. Klara works in lots of different media and polymer clay is just one of the many things she enjoys. She has a tutorial on her website showing how she put this little collapsible cat together. Very clever!

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the enormously talented Jeanne Rhea in her home in North Carolina. She's created a diorama, which is an ongoing project, called "Cat-tharsis" and it's one of my most favorite pieces of polymer clay artwork. The details in this work are simply incredible and Jeanne's remarkable sense of humor shines through loud and clear. She explains her motivation for this piece and includes lots of detailed photos of the more than 100 cats included in the work here on her website. Be sure and check out the lava lamp filled with floating cat heads and the great cat clock. Jeanne is one of those people who are truly born to be an artist and it was an incredible experience to view her artwork in person! Be sure to check out her Etsy site to purchase a piece of work from this talented lady.

Have a wonderful and creative weekend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Rockin' Art Doll!

I feel like I've been swimming in a sea of sludge for the last week or so and I can't seem to kick this Vegas crud that I brought home with me but when I saw this fantastic doll from Gera Scott Chandler of British Columbia, Canada, I perked up more than a bit. I first saw Gera's wonderful work in an old issue of PC Polyzine (unfortunately, I wasn't able to access it in their archives) and I've been a fan ever since. Living where she does, it's not surprising that she takes inspiration from the shores of Vancouver Island. How wonderfully lucky she is to be able to go for a walk and enjoy all of the amazing beach pebbles that wash up along the shore. That's truly my idea of a good time! I'm thinking I'd love a skirt like this of my own. I'm aware it wouldn't be too comfortable sitting down but I'd be willing to stand for a skirt made of rocks.

Here's a close-up of more fantastic beach pebbles from Gera. Enjoy her blog and be sure and check out more wonderful work from this talented lady here.

And, since we're sort of on the subject of Canada, I just wanted to say that I adore the Canadian clayers! Several of them attended the Clay Carnival in Las Vegas this month and they were so much fun. A special hello to my friends Barb Alexander, Deborah Groom, Mona McRae, Sam Mitchell, and Vickie Turner. There's a lot of talent north of the border, eh?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Pigment of My Imagination

Another Clay Carnival has come and gone. As always, there's much anticipation and work leading up to it and so much to do when we arrive in Las Vegas. But then, seeing all the familiar faces and a few new ones, as well, and reconnecting with all of these wonderful ladies that I feel such a closeness to, made the long hours seem like nothing at all. The weekend just flew by and I wish I could find a way to bottle the enthusiasm, the excitement, and the wonderful attitudes that they bring to the Clay Carnival every year. Each and every one of them mean so very much to me!
My class was called "A Pigment of Your Imagination" and the photo above is one of my favorite pieces that I've made with this technique. All of the students in my classes made wonderful pendants and beads and I was so impressed with their beautiful work. I always feel like I come away from these classes so enriched with new ideas and enthusiasm. It's truly an honor to spend time in a classroom with so many kind, funny, generous and talented individuals.
I also came away from Las Vegas with a nasty flu bug that I'm still trying to recover from. Hopefully, I'll be back to normal soon and blogging on a more regular basis. Until then, peace to all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Where ARE the wild things, anyway?

Las Vegas, of course! I'm heading out to Sin City today, along with almost 100 other wild and crazy polymer clay fanatics to teach at the Clay Carnival workshop. Unfortunately, I won't be able to bring my laptop with me since I have way too many things to haul on the plane. Wah! But, I'll be back in about a week and I'll see you then. Wish me luck on those nickel slot machines!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Perfection of Pixiwillow

I recently happened upon the site of Michelle Bradshaw, who creates some of the most amazing fantasy art sculpture I've ever seen. Pixiwillow is the name of her business and it encompasses her interest in faeries, pixies, storybook characters, and other assorted creatures, many of them covered in fur.

This Mad Hatter sculpture is part of her series, "Wonderland Asylum". Be sure to check out Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the March Hare when you visit her site.

This sculpture, called "Letting Go" is one of my favorites. Michelle says she gets inspiration from "a story, a comment or expression, a walk in the woods, a dream or circumstance, a title, etc . . .". Simply incredible work!

And then, there's Wednesday Addams, one of my favorite TV characters, after the lovely Lily Munster, of course. Looking at Michelle's work, it seems even more amazing knowing that she's basically self-taught and has only been sculpting these fantasy art pieces for about five years.

This piece, titled "Selkie & Seal" is so realistic, I keep expecting one of them to move at any second. I had no idea what a selkie was but after seeing this, I had to find out. According to the Encyclopedia Mythica, "the shy Selkies are marine creatures in the shape of a seal. They can be found near the islands of Orkney and Shetland. A female can shed her skin and come ashore as a beautiful woman. When a man finds the skin, he can force the Selkie to be a good, if somewhat sad, wife. Should she ever recover the skin, she will immediately return to sea, leaving her husband behind." I think that would make a great movie!

This wonderful little mouse, inspired by the mice in the movie Cinderella, is sculpted from polymer clay and then covered with fur of some sort. What a cute little guy and so amazingly life-like!

If you've fallen in love with Michelle's work the way I have, then you'll want to watch this incredible slideshow of her artwork set to beautiful, haunting music from Lord of the Rings. Michelle says her goal with her art is to "give her creations spirit and soul." She's definitely accomplished that and so much more with her realistic, breathtaking sculptures.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What's in a name?

After reading a funny comment left by my talented friend Christie of Dragonfly Lane last week (actually, there were two comments and you can read them here), I decided to share a double top secret with everyone who reads this blog. I have an evil twin named Kim Cavendar. As you can see, she really exists. You can Google her for yourself if you don't believe me. She's very sneaky and does her best to confuse people by spelling her last name a little differently than mine. Here she is, in a rather unflattering photo, at my book signing last year during CHA for North Light books. She looks a little like me but, she spells her name with an "ar" at the end, instead of an 'er".

If you've ever confused the two of us yourself, it's not a big deal. You're in good company. Polymer Cafe has made the mistake several times (love you, Joan!) and even my own publisher, North Light, has fallen victim to her spell, as you can see.
Her lesser known doppelganger, Kim Cavenaugh, has also done her best to wreak havoc. She's taken credit for a clock I made for Carol Duvall, which was shown on HGTV's tour of Carol's studio, and, she appeared with Carol on a live segment of Shop at Home TV. She's shown up for CHA proudly wearing her very own name badge, as well.

And then, there's Kim Clavender, aka Kim Clavicle or Miss Clav to her friends like Lisa Pavelka. She managed to get her work printed in The Polyinformer a few years ago. Perhaps that was my fault for telling people that "Cavender" was spelled like "lavender", only with a "C" in the front.

So, how do you remember how to spell my name? Actually, you really don't have to worry about it since I answer to just about anything now. But, if you're interested, here's my latest idea. Kim Cavendar is "ar, matey", like a mean and nasty pirate. Kim Cavender is "er, um . . ." , like someone who doesn't know what else to say, and that would be me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Things To Be Thankful For . . .

I honestly didn't have an agenda when I began writing this blog. It's just something I felt compelled to do, mostly, I guess, because I love to write. I had serious doubts about even being able to figure out HOW to make my words show up here after I typed them. That part wasn't as hard as I'd thought although, I still have no idea how to do thousands of other things that would probably make this a more interesting place to visit.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I had no expectations about what I would gain from this experience, other than providing another creative outlet for myself, and I've been so pleasantly surprised by what I've received. My giant paycheck from Bloggers International has yet to arrive (I'm sure they've just misplaced my address) but I've learned so much and have had an opportunity to share some interesting things with some wonderful people I may otherwise never have "met".
I've received such nice e-mails from people thanking me for sharing something I've found during my Internet travels and pointing me to many other interesting things to see and do. And, the comments left by everyone have been such an added bonus. I'm so thankful to each of you for taking the time out of your day to reply to what I've posted. I'm still trying to get used to the fact that people are actually reading this blog!
The artwork I've seen from so many of you has enriched my creative spirit so much and I'm grateful that you post your photos and share your talent with the rest of the world. I hope I've provided something in return for all that I've received. I feel a bit guilty for enjoying this so much!
So, in addition to all my other blessings, I just want you to know that I'm thankful for all of you and for the wonderful things you've done to make this journey into blogging so much fun for me. I hope each and every one of you has a Thanksgiving filled with turkey, pumpkin pie, and my mom's delicious noodles and scrumptious cranberry salad. Okay, that's not too likely, I know. So, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with all of your favorite people and good things to eat and that you find much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

MORE Pattern Magic!

Yesterday's post dealt with making controlled patterns using the technique of mokume gane but I just couldn't resist hitting on this again after seeing some new work by one of my favorite polymer clay artists. Californian Julie Picarello concentrates her creative energies on making incredibly beautiful mokume beads in delicious colors and controlled, well-planned patterns. She puts a lot of thought into her jewelry design and her work is always beautifully finished.
This "lazy river" bead is one of her newest pieces. I adore the wire coils and the washers she used in the construction of the necklace. These components echo the colors in the clay and the pattern, as well. So clever and so perfect with this lovely bead!

And then she's got a "carnival" series she's developed with these bright and happy colors. Her use of negative space in this dimensional focal bead is fantastic. I love to see an artist utilize negative space in their design and Julie is a master at this!

No post about Julie would be complete without showing this amazing black and silver necklace, my all-time favorite Picarello piece. The different bead shapes work together so well and I see both symmetry and asymmetry going on here, which makes me hysterically happy. It's wonderfully balanced without being too "matchy-matchy". Perfection on a silver string!
Julie sells her work on her website and you can see more photos on her Flickr site. I'm putting in my order right now, Julie. I don't care if I have to wait until this time next year, I need a Picarello!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Magic of Pattern

Our eyes love a pattern! There are countless ways to achieve pleasing patterns in polymer clay through canework and surface design techniques. Mokume gane, traditionally a technique used in Japanese metalworking, is one of the most effective ways to achieve an interesting pattern in polymer clay. I've seen a lot of very controlled patterns recently using a variation of mokume gane, achieved by impressing a stack of multi-colored clay and slicing off thin layers from the top to reveal the design. This is a wonderful variation on the more organic mokume patterns that I've always been so fond of.

Rebecca Geoffrey of Ontario, Canada is doing some beautiful work with her version of this technique. She uses simple designs in her jewelry and lets the wonderful patterns that she creates take center stage. Her pendants are a great example of crisp, clean finishing and a nice use of color. You can find her work for sale on Etsy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Multi-Talented Mixed-Media Artist

Eva Buchala, from San Antonio, Texas is a talented mixed-media artist with an interest in bookbinding, doll making, and jewelry. She works mainly with polymer clay but keeps her options open - there are other materials out there!
Eva's interest in researching ancient cultures and history is apparent in the work she creates. This Mixtec snake ring is a wonderful example of how she's translated her passion for ancient Mexico to her artwork.

This faux leather pendant scroll is an unusual piece that really appeals to me. You can see several views of this on her Flickr site and get an idea for how it was constructed. I love that she managed to combine her passion for bookbinding with a wearable piece of art.
Sally Ann Burbank, the bubblegum girl, is one of the fun characters she's brought to life in her art dolls. Eva's work is available on Etsy.
Have a wonderful and productive weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Namesake Pendant

After doing updates and installation on my computer yesterday, I finally had a little time to poke around the Internet last night. I visited the site of Jana Roberts Benzon and could hardly believe my eyes! As some of you may know, I have a fetish for the color lime green, which I'm convinced is "the new neutral". More specifically, I love what I like to call "dirty lime green". This gorgeous pendant that Jana recently made is called the "Kim Cavender" pendant. Unlike me, it's perfect in every way! I adore those stripes and the black and grey colors she used with this yummy green. I'm thrilled to have something so beautiful share my name. Thank you, Jana, for thinking of me.

After I got over the shock of seeing "my" pendant, I scrolled down the page to see what else was new and found this wonderful "plumage" pendant. Jana made some small pieces last year for a swap in this same style and I'm so glad she's decided to make more. These pieces are incredibly seamless and perfectly smooth, except for the dimensional bits that she adds. I really like the feeling of movement these pieces have.

But ,there's even more "wow" work to share from Jana! These new pieces that she's added the slightly variegated wood grain look to are amazing. I really like the addition of the more "solid" elements in these pieces. I think it gives your eyes a place to rest and makes her beautiful canework really pop. I also love the fact that she's used colors that are a bit brighter in these newer pieces.
I really believe that these pendants are some of the best things she's done. It's not always easy to incorporate new design elements or colors into your "signature" pieces but Jana has accomplished that beautifully and flawlessly with her latest work.
Good news! She has a DVD coming out any day now so be sure to check her website for ordering info and availability.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hamsa Mania!

The Israeli polymer clay community is growing by leaps and bounds and the talent in that country is just astounding. I showed you Ronit's lovely work yesterday and she's just one of the many Israeli artists I've met online since I began posting photos on Flickr. I'm fascinated by the cultural influences that artists incorporate into their work and I love how those influences show up in the work of the clayers from Israel. They have an incredible sense of color and design and an ability to successfully combine lots of different patterns into a single piece of artwork

I've fallen in love with the incredible hamsas they make, which are considered to be signs of protection that ward off evil and can lead to good fortune and personal well-being. I have this wonderful lime green hamsa by Tania Damache-Podoleanu hanging beside the door of my studio and it's kept me safe for the last year or so. It's even more incredible in person!

What I enjoy so much about these symbols is that each one is so unique. Not just the embellishments or the designs used to decorate them but the actual shapes as well. Sagit designed this "octopus" hamsa which I love. What a wonderful use of color! Her work can also be found on Etsy.

There are so many amazing hamsas being shown by these wonderful ladies that I can't resist sharing just a couple more with you. This one by Angela is another favorite. A lot of her work looks like crewel embroidery and it's different than anything I've seen before. Very fresh and once again, a fabulous sense of color and design.
And I had to include this beauty from Eti Raz . I love the different layers and textures she's incorporated in her design and the big blue eye meant to warn off evil.

I hope to travel to Israel one day and meet all of the talented polymer clay artists who live there but, until then, I'm available for a hamsa swap any time you're ready, ladies. I don't think there's any such thing as too many hamsas. So drop me a line, okay?