Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Other Artists' Influence on My Work

As mentioned in a previous post, work I have seen in books/magazines influences work I do years later. That is why I love looking at as many jewelry pieces as possible. Those images hide in the nooks and crannies of my brain and pop out years later. Here are some examples of my work and a little about where I saw the artist's work.
Convertible pendant/brooch (left) and Chinese coin pendant (right), were created 11/2008. Definitely influenced by Donna Kato. Her latest book, The Art of Polymer Clay Creative Surface Techniques, is full of examples of her simple and elegant asian designs. I love her sense of design.
I remember seeing photos of brooches by Kaz Yamashita in Nan Roche's book The New Clay and absolutely loving them. They were collages made of sheets of unbaked clay forming beautiful, slightly 3-D, abstract wearable works of art. Until today when I looked at the book again to write my review of it, I didn't realize how much of an influence those pieces of jewelry were. Here are two of my pieces made of unbaked scraps of clay. The necklace at left was made in October 2008. The brooch on the right was made in 2006 or 2007. Yamashita used a lot of foiled clay sheets. I haven't used foil on clay for a long time. I think I need to work with that again.

My Favorite Polymer Clay Books

I have listed the polymer clay books I own in previous posts. Now it is time to talk a little bit about some of my favorites. The New Clay by Nan Roche 1991. If you are new to polymer clay start with this book. As far as I know, it was the first book ever published on polymer clay. Us early clay people called it "The Bible". It really helped me. A friend and I tried reproducing african trade beads (glass venitian millefiori beads) about a year before the book came out - with limited success. This book really helped us improve our techniques. It does spend most of its time on millefiori cane techniques. It also covers surface techniques and mokume gane. It has a lot of examples by Victoria (Tory) Hughes, an early clay pioneer and one of my favorite clay artists. Looking at it again, after a very long time, I am amused to see how much many of the examples influenced my work. Polymer the Chameleon Clay by Victoria Hughes 2002 Tory is one of my favorite polymer clay artists. I first came across her work in The New Clay and also in articles in Ornament magazine for creating jade and amber. This book covers techniques for creating faux jade, amber, turquoise, ivory, lapis lazuli, coral, agate, faience, and silver. It has very nice example of work by lots of polymer clay artists. The Art of Polymer Clay by Donna Kato 1997 Donna Kato is my other favorite polymer clay artist. This book covers a lot of interesting techniques. One that I liked a lot was her way of making kaleidoscope canes. Caution: If you try this technique and follow the number of steps in her photo of the steps, your cane won't be as intricate as her examples. Repeat the steps one more time to get a more detailed pattern. This was the first example I ever saw of incorporating translucent clay into a millefiori cane. It really expanded my repetoire. Another one of the techniques I came to love is her Balinese Filigree - using tiny clay snakes to create an all over pattern. She has nice techniques for imitation natural materials including the use of inclusions in the clay. I have made great use of other techniques in the book including her Nonpareil Marbled Paper( what I called feathering of the clay sheet) and manipulating cured clay. She also covers making vessels and sculptures. It is just a great book full of lots of techniques and elegant examples. The Art of Polymer Clay, Creative Surface Effects by Donna Kato 2007 This is Donna Kato's second book. It is a great book with lots of techniques and gorgeous examples by her and lots of clay artists. It is a good companion to her other book. Techniques covered are mica shift, image transfers, creating texture, paints/inks/powders, special effects with liquid polymer clay and some 3-D effects (armatures, molds, bas-relief, making stencils) 400 Polymer Clay Designs - A Collection of Dynamic and Colorful Contemporary Work - Lark Books 2004 (intro by Irene Semanchuk Dean) This is the book I look at most often. In fact the pages are now falling out. Once you learn techniques for working with the clay this is a great book for inspiration.

Additions to my polymer clay book library

Since posting a list of my polymer clay book library, I have added a few more. Polymer Clay Beads by Grant Diffendaffer (2007) In addition to covering some comon techniques (mica shift, mokume gane, bead shapes) he does some very interesting techniques for bead shapes and texturing that I haven't found elsewhere. Polymer Clay Creative Techniques by Judy Belcher (2006) I like this book for its good clear explanations of a lot of techniques. It also has a lot of nice examples in its gallery sections. Some of the techniques covered are skinner blend, tesselation, encased beads, mokume gane, enameling, Ikat, dye resist, mica shift effects, simulating wood and raku). OOPS! Turns out that I already owned this book. I am going to put it up for sale at Etsy.com Polymer Pizzazz, 27 Great Polymer Clay Jewelry Projects, Kalmbach Books. These book is a compilation of polymer clay articles that appeared in Bead and Button magzine over the years. If you haven't had a subscription for many years this a a good compilation. That magazine doesn't have many polymer clay articles anymore. I bought the book even though I have them all in the magazine just to get them all in one, easy to find, place. Some good techniques are covered - marbeling with liquid clay, surface painting, filigree beads, mica shift using texture sheets, Sarah Shriver's complex asymmetrical canes, Patricia Kimle's leaf impressions, image transfer with Lazertran Silk. lockets and inro boxes, and faux techniques (cinnabar, enamel, stone).