Friday, August 22, 2008

Need a little retreat?

I know I do! The Kentucky-Tennessee Polymer Clay Guild is sponsoring their fourth (I think) annual retreat at one of the most awesome places in the eastern United States, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. The dates for this event are October17-19, 2008. Marla Frankenberg will be there teaching workshops on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. She'll be covering her unique and oh-so-amazing caning techniques for flowers, ferns, leaves, and the fabulous dots which we all adore. I'm crashing the party on Saturday night to teach a class myself.

I can't think of a more relaxed and stress-free environment than the one at Mammoth Cave. The members of the KTPCG are wonderful and talented and so much fun! Because of the space limitations, they only have room for 30 people at the retreat and the last I heard, there were only 6 spots left.

Here's what I'll be teaching and since we'll be getting all dotty with Marla, you'll be able to embellish your pendants just like I have here.

Here's a few more details if you want to snag a spot before they're all gone. The cost for 3 days of non-stop claying is $150 and each attendee is also responsible for their own food and lodging at the Mammoth Cave Park Hotel. The food at the hotel is great and the rooms are clean and well-priced at a special rate of $59 per night for this event. To register for the workshop/retreat, you can contact Leslie Blackford. Yes, she'll be there, too and I won't blame you a bit if you decide to skip my class on Saturday and just gather around her workspace to watch her make some magic. Reservations for a room at Mammoth Cave Hotel can be made at 1-270-758-2225.

Hope to see some of you there!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bracelet Envy

I had planned to feature Maureen Thomas and her fabulous work yesterday but the queen of polymer clay blogging beat me to it. I've changed my post to include some exciting new work from other artists but I couldn't leave out this wonderful photo I asked Maureen to send me. I love the organic feel of her jewelry. Maureen told me, "I try to venture out, but texture always seems to work it's way into most of my pieces. I guess it's my 'thing'. My husband is afraid to throw anything away without holding it up first and saying, '....texture????' What a good guy." She's lucky to have a partner that notices the details and takes a real interest in her work.

This breathtaking cuff by Christelle is titled "Dreamtime". She made this piece for the Australian polymer clay guild's competition "Australia Speaks" and her inspiration came from the symbols and patterns of Aboriginal artwork. This is truly one of my most favorite polymer pieces ever! I'd like to grab it right off my computer screen, slap it on my wrist, and run away quickly.

Germany's Bettina Welker has a wonderful new cuff design she's experimenting with, too. I love the unusual shape and the pattern is different and refreshing. As usual, everything Bettina does is beautifully designed and finished.

I'm a sucker for a cool polymer clay bracelet and these amazing pieces have given me major bracelet envy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Philly's got talent!

They also have a fantastic polymer clay guild, a great website, a blog, a Flickr site just for guild photos, an online newsletter, and 70 over-achieving members to keep it all running smoothly.

This beautiful hollow pendant was created by Martha Aleo, one of the guild's most active members, a very talented mixed media jewelry artist, and a fellow blogger.

Update: This striking jewelry set was made by Patty Pickup.

They have some wonderful show and tell photos from past meetings posted on their website. Unfortunately, I don't have a name to go with this lovely image or for the two below. If you're a member of the Philadelphia guild and/or the artist that created these, please leave a comment so I can fill in the blanks and you can be recognized for your artwork.

Update: The red tile box was created by Dr. Sarah Fisher, who also photographed these three items.

In addition to the Polydelphia Retreat that they host every year, the guild also sponsors several workshops with visiting instructors. I'm thrilled to be heading their way for a workshop the weekend of September 20-21, 2008. We'll have an actual class on Saturday and then on Sunday, I'll be their official "guest artist" and share lots of tips and techniques for creating rocks and beach stones. If you're a member of the guild (I really wish I lived closer!) or considering becoming a member, the price for a whole weekend of polymer clay fun and learning is shockingly reasonable and I'm hoping to see a lot of you there. For more information on joining the Philadelphia polymer clay guild or for registration details on my upcoming workshop, just go to the guild's website and follow the links.

Update: Gwen Agard is the talent behind this striking piece.

Don't forget, I need some names to go with these beautiful images. This one reminds me of aqua terra jasper, a stone that embodies the colors of water and sand. I may just have to claim it as my own if no one comes forward!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A beautiful beginning . . .

. . . to what I hope will be a much better week! This amazing orchid is from Celine (you may know her as Gris Bleu), one of the many talented ladies from France who are doing wonderful and exciting things with polymer clay.

The use of wire in many of her pieces, like this alien poppy, makes for a bold statement. Celine shares snippets of her creative process on her blog and it's definitely worth a visit if you've never checked it out. I adore her work!
It may be several days before I get the chance to make another post. Adam's elusive kidney stones are going to be lasered today and, if all goes well, I should be packed and headed to Louisville by the end of the week for a workshop at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Anyone have a lucky rabbit's foot I can borrow?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dirty, rotten concretions!

Amelia Earhart once said, "There are two kinds of stones, as everyone knows, one of which rolls." Unfortunately, my son Adam's kidney stones seem to be the non-rolling variety. They've managed to cause plenty of pain during the past 2 weeks but they don't appear to have any plans for rolling away anytime soon. We'll give it a bit longer but it's beginning to look like surgery is the next step.

I've featured Jay King on my blog in the past and he's become one of my favorite artists. I admire his talent and his wonderful sense of humor. When he heard that Adam was dealing with kidney stones, he created a polymer clay kidney stone just for him and labeled it a "dirty, rotten concretion." It gave us a much-needed laugh. Jay has quite a fan club and the comments under his daily Flickr offerings are almost as witty and wonderful as he is.

Although it clearly states at the top of this page that Imagine Uncommon Things is a blog about "polymer clay, creativity, rocks and other things", kidney stones aren't exactly the kind of rocks I had in mind when I wrote that. So many of you sent nice notes and left comments here when I talked about this last week and I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate all the good wishes you've sent to Adam.

I've had some requests to list my teaching schedule so I added a few upcoming classes right under my mug shot. You can drop me a line if you want info on the particulars for any of these events. I'll have more dates to add soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Playing with Fantasy

"It's my escape from myself, my salvation and despair happiness and boundless longing for the unhappened. It's like expectation as well."

Speaking about her work, this quote is from Olga Roehl, maker of some of the most extraordinary art dolls I've ever seen. It took me a long time to savor all the amazing images found on her site like these masks and the piece below, titled "Blue Windy".

When I see sculptural work like this, I'm in total awe. If you're looking for a head start on weekend web surfing, I highly recommend losing yourself in the beauty and fantasy that Olga creates.