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!