Thursday, May 29, 2008

The world may be going to hell in a handbasket . . .

. . . but Jim Sheely ALWAYS makes me smile! Nope, it's not clay, it's carved basswood. I've blogged about Jim before but his artwork is so cool and edgy that I could talk about him every day. I love his wonderful spirit and the way he never takes himself too seriously. This is what he says about his art:

Imagining things and making them real is my beloved hobby.

If you're a collector of creatures who love to go swimmin' with bowlegged women, check this piece out on Ebay. The bidding is fast and furious!

Back tomorrow with more clay . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Save a cow, do some clay!

Thanks to Michael from Mossy Owls, it's easy to get your leather on. She recently shared her method for making faux leather tags that are wonderfully realistic. If you're not into leather, check out her other tutorials on Polymer Clay Web for lots of interesting techniques to try.

Michael recently opened a "button bakery" on Etsy. Her polymer buttons with a liquid clay glaze are just lovely!

She has lots of photos of her polymer clay work on her Flickr site, including several examples of pastries, burgers, pizza, and other foods, like this cool sushi necklace.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fearless in France

I'm such an admirer of Sylvie (aka Maniquette) and her work. She's been involved with polymer clay for about three years and is totally fearless when it comes to experimenting with different techniques and applications for the clay. The Bubble bracelet above is one of her newest pieces and she's generously shared her technique for these on the English version of her blog.

This seems like the perfect occasion to thank all of the talented European polymer artists who have invested so much time and effort into learning other languages, namely English. As a selfish American who has never bothered to learn anything other than English (the 4 years of Latin don't really count since no one even speaks the language!), I appreciate the fact that I've been able to talk to so many of you. Please don't ever apologize for your English, I'm always humbled by and grateful for your efforts.

Okay, back to Sylvie's lovely work. I love the way she successfully combines pattern and texture in so many of her pieces. This tissue box is a great example of that. In addition to jewelry and tissue boxes, she also makes amazing lamps, clocks, and mirrors. To see more examples, you can check out her Flickr site here.

Her blog is full of fascinating glimpses into her process and I could spend hours lost in her archives. If you have some time this weekend, read about the lovely face cane she made based on a painting by her friend Cat and see her finished bracelet here.

Have a creative weekend!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Birds and the Trees

For me, there's nothing more rejuvenating than immersing myself in the things I love most about nature - trees, birds, rocks, and the peaceful, calming effect it has on me. I spent last week surrounded by my favorite things and I'm feeling anxious and inspired to develop some new work.

The piece shown here is a collaboration between myself and my talented friend Leslie Blackford. I made the piece of "faux tree" and handed it off to Leslie who sculpted the amazing little bird prince.
It's time to unpack and hit the clay table. New things coming soon!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ah, the soft colors of Spring!

These calm, peaceful colors are showing up everywhere I look. Lucia Fanjul of Spain just put this beautiful necklace up. It reminds me of soft new flower shoots with stylized buds and blooms attached.

Germany's Bettina Welker has lots of new work available that's just as lovely as she is. I adore her memory wire bracelets that I found on Flickr.

Dee Wilder has chosen to showcase these delicate flower petals in what looks like copper with a wonderful added patina. What a wonderful earring design!

Think soft thoughts and create a piece of your own that's worthy of the beauty found in spring. I'm taking a little time to refresh and renew my own creative spirit and I'll see you next week.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Paying Homage to a Polymer Legend

I was on the phone with a friend today and she asked me if I could name the artists who have been the most influential in my own work with polymer clay. I've been asked that question before and I always give the same two names each time - Lindly Haunani is one of them. The other shall remain nameless until a future blog post. The photos I've included are all pieces of Lindly's work that I've acquired over the years. Although my camera and photography skills don't do them justice the way David Terao does, I'm sure Lindly will forgive me.

When I think about all the ways that I've been inspired by Lindly, color, of course, is the first thing that comes to mind. Taking Lindly's color class was an amazing and clarifying experience that truly gave me the ability and confidence to mix any color I can imagine. Although I'll never have her talent for combining colors that, on their own, don't seem to work, but together, sing so beautifully and perfectly, she's given me such a wonderful gift. She has a magical way with all things involving color and I'm looking forward to her new book which will, no doubt, be just as helpful as her classes.

Lindly's use of texture and simplicity of pattern have both been inspiring to me. I love her jewelry designs that contain numerous tiny bits and pieces and always manage to look clean and uncluttered at the same time. I have to trace my love of mokume gane and inclusions in translucent clay back to Lindly's Tantalizing Translucents DVD. It was one of the first instructional tapes I purchased and remains one of my favorites today.

Although I can't credit Lindly with my love for asparagus, her jewelry and shrines were definitely the force behind all the asparagus clocks I made several years ago. When I was asked to be a guest on the Carol Duvall show, the first question out of the producer's mouth was, "Can you make your asparagus clock for us?" If you read down to the bottom of the tutorial on the HGTV website, you can see who I gave credit to for the design idea.

Today, Lindly continues to inspire and influence me. Her blog is a source of wonderful information and the interesting color tidbits she faithfully posts are always entertaining and insightful. I admire her kindness, her unique sense of humor, and her ability to see the big picture. In addition, as a founding member of the NPCG, Lindly has done more than anyone I know to spread her love and passion for polymer clay and to help promote it as a true art medium. Thank you, Lindly, for sharing so much of yourself with so many of us and for being such a wonderful inspiration along every step of my polymer clay journey.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Guitar Hero

This Blue Glass Guitar was created by Bryan Helm, who is a talented musician and artist in addition to being a guitar hero. He also happens to be the husband of Sarajane Helm. The mosaic work that he does with discarded and unrepairable musical instruments is beautiful and I love that he's turning objects that would no doubt be headed to a landfill into amazing pieces of art. The details on this guitar are incredible and in addition to polymer clay, Bryan has used glass, seed beads, and other materials. You can read more about this and see some nice close-ups of this piece here on Sarajane's Aunt Acid site.

Aunt Acid, a marionette, is Sarajane's latest project and her blog is quite a trip. Sarajane's own blog is a little more tame and has some great examples of polymer work by herself and other talented artists. I really enjoy Sarajane's geisha series- such incredibly detailed canes!

This talented couple has got so much going on and lots of new projects in the works. I'm especially looking forward to The Art of Polymer Clay Masks, due out sometime this year. They are truly an example of what it means to live a creative, inspiring, responsible and rewarding life.