Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mixed Media Maven

Cathy Johnston does mixed media so well! I love all of her fabulous little books. The photo shown above is what she'll be teaching at this year's Las Vegas Clay Carnival. In addition to Cathy, we'll have 7 other instructors there too. You can see a list of all the classes and more details on Cathy's website or at our new Carnival site.

In addition to her huge talent, Cathy's also extremely organized. I'm so envious of people who create beautiful and functional storage pieces for their tools. The bamboo handles she created on these are simply stunning!

I'm currently experiencing a bit of what my friend Leslie refers to as "pack stress". I'm leaving for Texas tomorrow and will be home for just a day before I fly to France for a workshop. I'm hoping to be able to post some photos while I'm there. The talent in Europe is absolutely incredible and I'm excited to have the opportunity to meet some of my wonderful online friends in person. This will be my first trip across the pond. I had to miss the one I'd planned for last year after my son developed kidney stones right before I was to leave. Keep your fingers crossed that no one makes any last minute trips to the ER this time!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lone Star Retreat

I'm looking forward to spending a few days in Texas at the end of the month. The Houston Polymer Clay Guild is holding its annual Lone Star Retreat Sptember 27-29, 2009 at the South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center in League City. I'm honored to be one of their guest instructors. They're also hosting Dayle Doroshow (her work shown above) who will be teaching Shimmering Rattle Beads and Barbara McGuire (her work shown below) who's teaching Mokume Gane Collage Pendants.

This guild really knows how to do a retreat! I'm so excited about the things they've planned and looking forward to the opportunity to finally meet some of my Texas clay friends in person. You can learn more about the retreat and the workshops here.

I can't thank you enough for all your nice comments welcoming me back to Bloglandia (thanks Cynthia!). I really appreciate you all and I've missed "seeing" you. It's going to be lots of fun to catch up!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Slightly Red-Faced

Since I'm feeling a little embarrassed that I've been "on vacation" for so long, I thought this would be the best picture to mark the end of my five month long absence.

When I made my last blog entry on April 9th, I had no idea I'd be gone so long. My oldest son was getting ready to graduate from high school and there was a lot going on at the end of his senior year, then it was time to help him get ready for college and all the things that go along with that. It just seemed like the longer I stayed away, the harder it was to come back.

I can only imagine all the wonderful things I must have missed during the last few months. I know there are lots of new books out that I haven't seen and I'm sure I'll never catch up on all the new photos posted by my Flickr contacts. And, believe it or not, I've only visited Cynthia and Susan's blogs once or twice in all that time.

It feels a little strange to have been away from clay for so long. I just finished my first real project in more than 4 months and I'm still not sure what direction to take this blog in.

I just updated my teaching schedule (you can see it to the right of my post) for the rest of 2009 and I'm looking forward to getting back into the polymer clay groove. It would be wonderful to have the opportunity to reconnect with some of you during these upcoming events and I'm hoping I haven't been totally forgotten after so long.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dreamy Dolls and Sweet Easter Wishes

I've become enamored with the work of Christine Alvarado. Her wonderful dolls have the most beautiful faces and incredible detail. "Paloma and Rabbit Mask" seemed like a perfect fit for this time of year.

Her series of "lady bird" ornaments are so clever and original. I adore their little crowns and pearl necklaces.

Each of her creations have such a distinct personality. "Seneca and Julep" is part of a whole series that includes delightful little dogs.

In addition to her blog, you can see much more of Christine's beautiful work on her Flickr site. Be prepared to stay awhile. It's impossible not to be drawn in to the magic she creates.

Wishing you a sweet and wonderful Easter!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Inspired by Lime!

Those of you who know me are probably aware of my favorite color. Yes, it's lime green. Specifically, what I like to call a "dirty chartreuse". I've seen a lot of gorgeous greens lately like this sea anemone ring from Psychotic Reactions. She isn't sharing her name anywhere. I've noticed that a lot of artists don't disclose that information online. Can anyone tell me what that's about? I'm perfectly fine with being called Kim CavendEr. After all, it's my name. Although the majority of people in the world would prefer I change it to Kim CavendAr. You can read more about that here if you'd like. And just a note, that really is me (Kim CavendEr) in the photo. Apparently my sarcasm was lost on a few people who told me they were amazed Kim CavendAr looked so much like me.

But, I digress in a major way. Psycho (please don't take offense, it was too good to pass up) has some absolutely gorgeous things listed on Etsy. The colors are marvelous and the designs are stunning. Well worth a visit!

Lisa Pakosh, the talented artist who created these yummy earrings and has to endure living in a tropical paradise like the Bahamas, has recently opened an Etsy shop with her equally talented mother Vickie Turner and her sister Sandra Mitchell called Three Cheeky Wenches. Besides being so artistically inclined, these three are crazy funny! Their shop is both beautiful and entertaining - the perfect combination.

Germany's Konstanze Filip, aka Madooli, is making some incredible new rings which she's just shared on Flickr. You can see what she has listed for sale here on Dawanda.

Have a dirty chartreuse kind of day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Claying For a Cause

Not only is Kaaren Poole a talented artist, she has a mission to help animals in need. Our new recording secretary for the IPCA donates 100% of the proceeds from her beautiful artwork like this piece titled "Bugged" to animal charities.

Having seen it in person, I can tell you that Kaaren's work is even more breathtaking in person. She has an uncanny ability for realistic sculpture.

I have a passion for helping to feed homeless animals and I've added a wonderful link to my blog so all of you can help too. Simply click on the purple paws in the top right of the screen and it will take you to The Animal Rescue Site where you hit "click to donate". It costs you absolutely nothing but 3 seconds of your time. Please, please do this each time you visit my blog! You can also sign up for a daily reminder from this wonderful organization. One click a day from all of the members of the polymer clay community can help to feed a lot of homeless animals. It's a wonderful feeling to be a voice for those who don't have one.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I'm SO MUCH happier writing about and showing other people's work. I don't mind posting photos of my work on Flickr but blogging about it makes me nauseous for some reason. Hopefully, it won't make you nauseous too. Queasiness aside, I'm going to write about myself today. When I first started this piece, I was thinking of the magnolia tree at my parent's old house. I was fascinated by their tree and it was the first time I'd ever been up close to a magnolia seed pod. But, at some point during the creative process, a lotus pod got involved and the cross-pollination resulted in something that would probably make a botanist cringe. It's growing on me though (no pun intended) and I think I'll explore this design a little further. I've listed it in my Etsy shop if you'd like to take a closer look.
Speaking of Etsy, those of you who sell your work there or on other online sites, know how difficult it is to drive traffic to your shops. There's a brand-new site called LuvHandmade that's meant to be a way for artists to promote their items. The have a blog, a forum, and an online community and it's totally free to sign up. I was chosen as their rise and shine seller this week and you can read my interview here. Hopefully, the site will continue to grow and bring exposure to many online sellers.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Rainbow Sort of Day

It's a beautiful day here in West Virginia! The sun is shining, a breeze is blowing, the sky is blue, the birds are singing and the air is warm. What more could you want? How about a rainbow around your neck? Germany's Margit Böhmer is the talent behind this lovely piece. Her color choices are stunning and this piece makes me really happy.
Whenever I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the bad things that seem to be happening in the world today, this is the type of work that perks me up.
And when things get too crazy, I bury my head in the sand and repeat the following: In my world, everyone's a pony and we all eat rainbows and poop butterflies.
May there be a little bit of rainbow in your day today!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Katherine the Great

Katherine Dewey is one of the most talented sculptors around. I've heard other artists refer to her books as sculpting "Bibles". Her artwork is absolutely breathtaking and even more so in person. I'd consider giving up a limb to see and touch this piece, which is the first in her "Fossil" series.

Several years ago, Kato Polyclay sponsored a competition and asked various artists to make shoes out of clay. Katherine's entry was an incredible alligator shoe and secretly, my hands-down favorite. If you'd like to see all that's involved in making a shoe like this, she recently began to document the process here on her website.

This mask was constructed over a felt form, which became a part of the completed work. It's crazy beautiful and the hair is so aesthetically perfect with the face.

In addition to her awe-inspiring talent, Katherine is one of the kindest, most unassuming and humble people I know. Her website is packed with information for anyone who aspires to create beautiful sculptural pieces. As for me, I know my limitations. I'll just continue to worship at the Kathy Dewey shrine.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Berry Inspired!

Russian artist Oksoon recently created these wonderful polymer clay berries that make me long for the warmer days of spring. As soon as I saw them, I was reminded of one of my favorite Flickr photos and sure enough, that's exactly where her inspiration came from.

Tamara, of Block Party Press, in addition to being a talented polymer clay artist, takes amazing macro photographs like the one of these berries she discovered on a walk last year.
Nature provides us with a bounty of free inspiration. Embrace it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Painting With Clay

One of the polymer clay artists I'd most like to meet is Mary Lamoray of Florida. Her clay paintings are beautiful beyond words and so rich in color and subtle details that they seem as alive as the subjects they're based on. She uses no paint or inks of any kind in her work. Everything you see is 100% clay. She may not readily admit it, but I think she adds a bit of her heart and soul in each one, too. Her newest painting, the dolphin that you see here, was recently posted on her blog and she talks a bit about how she created it in this post.

Mary has spoken publicly about her life as an artist dealing with an advanced form of MS. I've read some of her essays (which I'm now unable to locate online) in the past and they are every bit as profound and moving as her artwork. I feel such a deep sense of admiration for her and her art that I'm struggling to even find the right words.
If you'd like to read more about Mary's fascinating process, she's written about it here.
Perseverance, optimism, grace, and talent - she's the total package.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


All of last weeks posts about hearts and flowers sent me into sweetness overload. I've found the perfect artist to help me make the transition back to semi-sweetness. Horriblesweet (after a bit of detective work, I think her name is Lydia) is an artist from the Netherlands who specializes in amazing art dolls, like "Naked", shown above, and unusual headgear.

She has a wonderfully soft and beautiful color palette and when it's combined with her edgy-looking sculpts, I can understand where the name Horriblesweet comes from.

This sculpt belongs to a series she's created called "Birdman".

I'm fascinated by the thought of several of her "Heads" lined up on the mantel in my studio. To see more incredible work by Horriblesweet, visit her Flickr site here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cuff Love

Just in time for a Valentine's day delivery, a beautiful bracelet bouquet from Israel's Tami Shvat. See more of Tami's work here. Have a wonderful love-filled weekend!

Friday, February 13, 2009

All You Need is Love

Where does inspiration come from? If you're anything like Leslie Blackford, it comes from everything you see and everything you do. Leslie (along with myself and Judy Belcher) had the good fortune to see Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles LOVE show while we were in Las Vegas last year. What a stunning tribute to the greatest band in the history of music and what a treasure trove of inspiration. The costumes and characters are simply incredible! Leslie's "Walrus and Eggman" is the first in what I hope will be a whole series of sculptures inspired by the show.

It's cold here in West Virginia today so I'm going to pretend I'm sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun to come. If you'd like to join me, click here. Coo coo ca choo!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

King of Hearts

Intelligent, generous, kind, dedicated, funny, charming and talented are all adjectives I use to describe my friend, Dr. Ron Lehocky. Unless you've been hiding in a cave recently, you've probably read about this Kentucky pediatrician's great passion for raising money to benefit the Louisville Cerebral Palsy KIDS Center. With one heart pin at a time, Ron has raised nearly $80,000 for this deserving organization over the past few years. That's almost 8000 hearts at 10 bucks a pop. He makes each and every one of them himself in his "spare" time and each and every heart is as wonderful and special as he is. The one shown above is a custom sticks and stone heart that he made just for me. It's truly one of my most favorite pieces and it hangs on the wall of my studio with many other hearts I've collected from him over the past few years. I've given a few away as gifts but I just can't bear to part with most of them so my collection (shown here) continues to grow.

You may have read Ron's excellent article "Skinner Blending My Passions" in the February 2009 issue of Polymer Cafe. It provides a wonderful insight into his passion and includes a great tutorial for making a heart of your own.

If you want to read more about Ron and his hearts, see Cynthia's past posts on Polymer Clay Daily here and here.

To purchase one of these wonderful heart pins (which is what I suggest), contact Ron and let him choose something special for you. It will be one of most rewarding $10 purchases you'll ever make.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Heart Attacks

Hearts are everywhere this time of year. Marcia of Mars Design has made two of my favorites. I love this translucent pendant with the heart accents.

And what could be better than a piece of her rainbow peace heart cane?

David Revonav's elegant earrings are perfect for a romantic Valentine's dinner. You know, the kind you enjoyed before kids and life happened to get in the way.

I love this piece from Janet of Chickie Girl Creations . She has such a unique style.

Germany's Susanne Dingendorf created a liquid clay heart as the focal of this beautiful wire-wrapped ring.

It's refreshing to see so many variations on the cookie cutter hearts from long ago. There's definitely no shortage of creativity in the polymer clay community!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Wes' World

If the terms Warrenator, Reducerator, and Kochanator sound like something from another world to you, you may be right. These are all things found in the world of Canada's Wes Warren, polymer clay adventurer, inventor, and cane-maker extraordinaire.
He's made some recent posts on his blog explaining some of the work involved in building extremely precise canes that weigh in at more than 7 pounds. And, believe it or not, bungee cords ARE involved!
A recent YouTube video offers a glimpse into his reduction methods. Prepare to be amazed! For more incredible photos, check out his Flickr site.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Face in the Crowd

Not only is "A Face in the Crowd" a great title for this blog entry, it's also the name of North Carolina's Julie Eakes' new business. Here's a photo of some of the pieces that I've been lucky enough to collect over the past few years. This talented lady builds some of the most beautiful face canes I've ever seen.
Her newest cane, which she writes about on her blog, is based on a Da Vinci drawing. I think this one is my favorite so far. In addition to being so very talented, Julie is one of the nicest people I know and has a wonderfully fun personality. If you're lucky enough to live in the Albuquerque area, she's planning a class on face canes in March. Further information can be found on her blog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More off the cuff remarks

I know it hasn't been that long since my last cuff post but, it's been long enough! Long enough for me to find and fall in love with some more fabulous new work. This "Decode" cuff from Austria's Eva Ehmeier is so edgy and cool. Her work has such a clean, modern feel to it.

Rosanna Ohlsson-Salmon is a charming polymer clay artist I just "met" yesterday on Flickr. She describes this wonderful mosaic cuff as something she "made on a rainy day." I describe it as absolutely delicious!

French artist Sylvie Peraud has some wonderful new work on her Flickr site, including this gorgeous bracelet. As usual, her work is beautifully designed and finished to perfection.

I'm beginning to feel the urge to shovel out the mess in my studio and get back to work myself. Anyone have a small dump truck I can borrow?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ringing in the (Lunar) New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! May the Year of the Ox be a healing one for all of us. Thanks to everyone who sent me get well wishes. I feel as if I've been gone forever but I believe I'm beginning to rejoin the land of the living due in part to all the beautiful new work I've been seeing online. Polymer clay rings, like this one from Susan Turney, are popping up all over the place.

Jana Roberts Benzon has been on a recent ring making binge, as well. This one was made for the lucky man that happens to be her hairdresser.

I ran across this ring from Nemesia while I was checking out some new photos on Flickr. She's been using recycled flatware to make spoon rings and other new jewelry. Very clever!

Seeing all of these rings reminded me of my own collection of rings that I've recently acquired from other artists. I gathered them together to take a group shot and realized just how many creative ways there are to construct these fun jewelry items. Zsuzsa made the green eye ring using a purchased adjustable metal ring blank. I've seen similar blanks for sale from various online companies. The small band ring in the foreground was made by Donna Kato who's been using some sort of ceramic base to form and bake her rings on. Leslie Blackford sculpted this cool party animal and used an oversize o-ring for the band. The pretty ring with the flower cane slices was made by Kathy Caldwell, a member of the Kentucky/Tennessee Polymer Clay Guild. Below is a photo of the socket she confiscated from her husband's tool box and adapted for use as a form to both build and bake her rings on. I love this idea. It would be so easy to make rings in the exact size you need using this method.

I think a trip to the garage to look for a socket set is in order. Keep warm and stay creative!

Edited to add: If you'd like instructions on making the flower and leaf canes like the ones on Kathy's ring, you can find them here.