Colorful Gradation…

Usually when I arrange a heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad I  alternate the slices… after being inspired by Design Sponge Online, I will be re-evaluating just how I arrange my slices and plan future Skinner blends in polymer.

There are several inspirational examples of late summer color gradations in addition to instructions for making a colorful flower garland included in their latest posts.

I’m off to Albuquerque in the morning to teach a color workshop and to drink in the wonderful colors of the southwest!

Thanks to Cynthia Tinapple for sending me this link.



Value Is Key…

There is a series of interesting posts about color on Mark Kennedy’s blog- Temple of Seven Golden Camels =”an online repository for everything I know about story boarding, film making,drawing and animation.”  The two most recent posts help to explain through a series of illustrations the concept that “color is value.”

“Using tones carelessly can get you into trouble. Using spots of tone that are unrelated to each other can result in confusion, much like the concept behind camouflage.”


Skinner Blend Preview…

One way to “preview” how a Skinner Blend between two colors will look, before committing to  to a larger quantity of clay, is to make a small sample. Using two postage stamp sized pieces of clay- cut and divided on the diagonal into triangle shaped pieces and then mixed on an ultra thin setting on your pasta machine..

Another way is to preview it online by using the color mixing  feature found at 3schools.com. By clicking the “Mix” link next to each color name, you can experiment with making a blend between two colors.

I found it particularly interesting to experiment with blending darker colors to different variations of the very light valued colors. In anticipation of using a tinted white in a Skinner blend, for example, try a  green to a very light orange.


Colourful Journey in Nepal…

It is exciting to imagine that the readership of our book Polymer Clay Color Inspirations has extended to Nepal and is offering inspiration to a group of artists there. You can read more about it on their blog here or find out how to support the project …

A Colourful Journey is the online store for Nepali women who have survived domestic violence and are developing ways to generate an income for themselves and their families.


Colorful Inspiration

Martha Aleo- Ornamento- from Philadelphia has been blogging about her results of following along with the exercises in our book, Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.

It is thrilling to see her becoming more confident about making color choices in her work.


Stop the Glop!…

One of the most frequently asked question on the polymer clay message boards is “How do I seal my polymer clay pieces?” Except for a few instances, for example: protecting the surface of a photo transfer or ensuring that a mica powder that has been applied to the surface doesn’t abrade there is absolutely no reason to apply a sealant to the surface of the clay.

I would imagine that you wouldn’t consider putting five coats of spar boat deck varnish onto an antique rosewood table…so why would you even consider putting Flecto Varathane or Future Floor polish onto your polymer clay creations? No matter how many coats that are applied, polymer clay will never look like glass- not to mention the propensity of these varnishes to glop, drip, bubble and drool! I’ve yet to see a piece that I felt was enhanced by the use of one of these varnishes and sometimes the glare makes it nearly impossible to see the beauty of the underlying surface.

When a piece of polymer clay jewelry has been worn a number of times it begins to develop a lovely patina from the body oils of the wearer. Other alternatives are to sand and buff your pieces to a high gloss, apply a light coat of Golden Acrylic Matt UV protectant or a light coat of archival wax (such as the Renaissance Wax book restorers use).


Colour Lovers highlights the book

I am delighted to see our new book – Polymer Clay Color Inspirations- included in the “Eclectic Color Roundup” on the Colour Lovers blog.

Colour Lovers is a very interesting and dynamic site, Color + Design Community for Creative Inspiration (last count 259,353 members) and includes forums, patterns, palettes, trends, a blog and a store.

One of the recent posts that I particularily enjoyed was on the Colors of Frida Kahlo.


Readers try it at home

I recently had the opportunity to teach a workshop for the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild. Two of the artists in the group have posted about their experiences in my Dancing with the Rainbow class on their blogs:

It has been delightful to read Jeanette Kandray’s new blog as she works through the exercises and projects in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. She includes her experiments with Kato clay primaries. Our book is featured in the November 09 issue of Crafternews, a newly launched crafts newsletter.


Colorful Collaboration….

Mystery Masks- Leslie Blackford and Lindly Haunani

20” x 10” x 3″

Polymer Clay, Paint (acrylic, oil and alcohol inks), Barn wood

The title of this piece is “Mystery Masks” since it was a mystery to us just how the piece would come together. In the early 90’s I participated in a traveling group mask show curated by Michael Grove and really enjoyed exploring the mask form. Eight years ago I played in Leslie’s ‘studio” as part of a group effort to help with the jump start of a series of masks she was making for a show. When I approached her with the idea of doing something similar with masks as an exchange/collaborative piece for the Synergy exhibit I was thrilled when she agreed.

After agreeing on a general size for the base masks- 3” x 5” – we both made five textured masks from translucent polymer and exchanged them. We then both added elements to these masks and antiqued them with burnt umber paint to highlight the textures and add cohesion to the overall piece. It was fascinating to see just how our personal favorites changed over the course of the project. Overall the sensibility of the piece is Leslie’s “magic” with sculpting masks- and being able to experiment with this process inspired me to work in a looser and more three-dimensional style. I am looking forward to experimenting more with the subtle color effects of the antiqued alcohol inks.

Here is how the Masks look kaleidoscoped via KrazyDad’s online tool.


Colorful Asparagus…

If you have ever seen me working at a clay retreat or in my studio- you would know that I am not shy about making more than one… and recently I was challenged to expand my series of Asparagus Crown bracelets to include five more pieces. (One can only wonder at over 500 individually placed cane slices- 15 x 2 x 22 spears?

The color of the base clay used to make the spears varies slightly- from a yellower green designed to match a set of double-hole resin beads that I had purchased at a bead show several years ago and wanted to experiment with, to a slightly bluer green that was mixed to co-ordinate with the turquoise tip cane I had on hand.

The first bracelet I made included in the tip segue way a purple cane. A color combination that I have used before- not as an exact copy from nature, but rather to capture the notion of the beautiful slates in actual asparagus tips.

The second bracelet was made using a warmer green for the spears and a red-orange mix of fuchsia for the extreme tips, overlapped with high contrast yellow green cane slices.

The third bracelet was designed for “air” in that there are half as many spears, separated with the half round resin beads.

And the fourth bracelet? …currently my favorite. Most certainly I am viewing this particular color combination in the context of the series, but most importantly- what I would like to relay to you is…neon pink, turquoise green and yellow green, while not being the natural colors of asparagus, are NOT supposed to work together. The entire time I was adding the cane slices to the spears to make this piece, I felt “uncomfortable” about the color choice. And at the same time propelled to finish making it, beyond looking at the individual pieces, instead string the bracelet up and then putting it aside to look at another day.

“If you always do what you always did…you would always get what you always got!”

Try something different today… a new color combination, a color combination that defies the “rules” ( a warm and cool version of the same hue combined with an only slightly destaurated version of the warmer color- discordance!”) When making art and experimenting with making color choices…most comfortable, most familiar, most defined by rules- is NOT always the best tact to take.