Sunday, June 30, 2013

Straight from the Heart

I've just returned from Tennessee where I participated in a week-long polymer workshop at the Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts.  I'll write more about that later.  This posting is about hearts, thousands and thousands of polymer hearts....

At Arrowmont, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Ron Lehocky.   While Ron is an accomplished polymer artist, whose pieces have appeared in books and various collections,  it is his heart project I'd like to share with you today.  Dr. Lehocky volunteers on the Cerebral Palsy KIDS Center Board of Trustees.  In 2005, he created 100 heart pins to help with fund-raising efforts at the Center's annual fashion show.  This event turned out to be just the start.  Since then, Ron has made over 23,000 Heart Pins, and the project continues to grow.  Ron designs and creates each heart personally, in a wide variety of colors and designs.  One hundred percent of the money raised through this project goes to a fund which provides continuing education for the therapists at the Center, enabling them to continue to provide up-to-date therapies to the children. For more information, visit the website:

Often, Ron uses scrap from the canes and projects of other polymer artists.  I shared some of my clay pieces with Ron, and was delighted to see the creativity he applied to make some really unique hearts. The photos here show the cane I made and some of the hearts Ron created from that cane.  Not only does he use the cane "as is" - he reduces and manipulates the pieces to make a myriad of effects.  Amazing!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sometimes, There is a Perfect Cane....

Many polymer artists enjoy making canes.  Some canes just beg to be used, while sometimes we wonder what to do with them once we've made them...  I love the wedge canes I make for petals and flowers, and have found them to be very versatile.  I use these canes for lots of different designs in earrings,  pendants and even bracelets.
Every once in a while, I run across another artist's cane design that I think is incredible.  This has proven to be especially true of the Fountain Flower cane from Israel's Marcia Tzigelnik. In my January 6, 2013 blog posting, I pictured some hollow donuts I had made using this cane.  Later that same month, Marcia's cane idea and my application  of it were featured in the Daily Polymer Arts Blog.  I was playing with this cane again, and just discovered another way in which to use it.  I call these "compact bud flowers."  It's really amazing how the design in the cane just seems to line up perfectly for these little shapes.  Wonder what application I'll "discover" next?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Dichroic

Hello! I realize it's been a while since I've posted here.  I've been away on a bike and barge vacation in Holland.  What a simply lovely country, clean and beautiful.  The people were so pleasant, and I was amazed at their ingenuity.  Their management of water using their windmills is truly amazing.

So, now I'm back, and my hands were itching to play with some clay.  It's been a while since I've worked with the dichroic-look in polymer.  The pieces I made last were in fall and winter shades. They looked rich and deep, but I'm in a "yea, summer!" mood, so decided to try making lighter color shades.  I had to experiment a little bit to get the colors light.  Not only did I want the original sheets to have light colors, I also needed to consider what might happen in the baking process, since so many colors shift with heat, often to deeper hues.

To get the light colors, I put little pools of 70% rubbing alcohol in the shallow cups of a plastic paint mixing tray.  I then added just one drop of various alcohol ink colors in each section.  After mixing, I used a paint brush to pick up the color and spread it on the dichroic sheet base.  I had to add a little more ink to some colors, and dilute a couple of others, and finally got the shades I was hoping to get.
I'm pleased with these initial results. Hope your screen shows the new, lighter shades.