Monday, October 1, 2012

Exuberance meets understated

Show pal and all around crazy gal, Wendy Baker, makes the most fantastic, colorful over the top jewelry of hand painted vintage flowers and costume jewelry components.  I make minimalist, understated polymer clay pieces.  Totally different, right? Well, maybe not.

 A couple of weeks ago Wendy and I were both showing at the Brewery during JP Open Studios (lots of free samples right next door at the Sam Adams Brewery - alas, we were too busy to sample the wares...).  I traded a pair of earrings for a handful of her small flower components.  I was planning to hold off using them until my creative play-time during the winter, but I couldn't resist.  Here are a couple of window pendants I made incorporating Wendy's cute vintage flowers:

Who says exuberant and understated don't mix?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WorkTable Wednesday

Today I bring you a photo of the bulletin board over my worktable.  Like all bulletin boards, it has both useful and not so useful stuff:

  • Maggie Maggio's color pyramid and color scales - priceless!
  • Inch-millimeter-gauge chart.  Not used much anymore since I'm working less with metal. 
  • Expired Trader Joe gift card to scrape clay off the floor.  A broken wood skewer to clean pasta machine.
  • Assorted scraps of paper with color recipes and technique notes which I hardly ever look at again.
  • Roller. 
  • Slicer.  If I caned, I'd use it all the time.  But I don't cane so I'm not sure why I still have it there.

Finally, a photo of a Jil Sander outfit from a couple of years back.  I have it there to remind me of my design style.  Polymer is so versatile that it is easy to over-think and over-work.  The picture grounds me and always brings me back to a clean and spare aesthetic.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New earring designs

Earrings are difficult.  The scale is small, you're working in pairs and the engineering has to be right, including balance and weight.  And don't forget the earwires!  Why would anyone put a fabulous earring component on a flimsy commercial earwire?  Yet I see it all the time.  Earwires are an essential design element and should not be left as an afterthought.

Now that warmer weather is upon us, I'm back to my signature black and white Japanese stencil patterns.  It's amazing how contemporary these Edo period designs can be, considering that some are more than 300 years old!


My new shape for this season is a stylized lily pad.  Each pair has yummy custom mixed color on the back.  The wires are a slightly elongated classic french earwires and fishooks incorporated into the polymer.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sealing polymer

I avoid sealing polymer whenever I can, preferring to sand and buff for a natural shine.  But a lot of my techniques involve surface effects with paint and ink transfers, so sealing is necessary to protect the finish. A couple of years ago I discovered PYMII and what a difference it has made!

It sprays on, so no more brush strokes and globs.  It dries quickly, so that you can apply multiple coats without having to wait all day.  And best yet, it dries to an even, glossy shine.  I've found that the trick is to put your piece back in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes to heat set the PYMII.  The result is a rock hard, durable and waterproof finish.

Here are some pieces sealed with PYM II:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mexico Inspiration

I love the soft, mottled yellow found on some of the walls at the Hacienda Xcanatun. The yellow is always touched with a bit of black because of the humidity. I think it contrasts nicely with the matte black of the wrought iron work. I also love the way shadows play on the lush garden vegetation. There are also a myriad of colors, some bright and vibrant and others more muted. My yearly visit is always so inspirational!

Hacienda Xcanatún in Mérida,  Yucatán
A lovely lavender bloom inspired a color palette.
Lush greenery and textures translated into a contemporary, tactile piece.