Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Polymer Quilling Article Published in The Polymer Arts Spring 2015 Issue!

Now that the spring 2015 Diversity issue of The Polymer Arts magazine was released today, I am thrilled to share that I've been published again! For this publication, I wrote a tutorial-type article detailing my tips and tricks for polymer quilling. The digital issue was sent out to subscribers today and the print issues should be arriving in the mail to subscribers very soon! Here's a peek at the cover photo and my article pages:

I'm including below, a gallery of the pieces which are included in the article; all of which were created during the documentation of the various methods that I found for creating this look. Though they are not included in the article, you might remember my 2 other quilled polymer pieces, my Creation Story Turtle Wallhanging and my most recent challenge piece, the Once Upon a Time book cover which you can see at those corresponding links.

The main project I created for this article was the piece that you can clearly see on the first page of the article above. This piece was designed to become my new logo for Create My World Designs which you can see (without the polymer quilled font over top) in my new banner above! The addition of the polymer quilled font was made for my profile photo on the Create My World Designs Facebook page. Here are large photos of that piece, both with and without the font:

Other pieces created during the writing of the article were this bunch of Christmas ornaments, 3 snowflakes which were made for my guild swap, an upcycled lightbulb covered in polymer with quilled polymer spirals and a freeform polymer filigree which was mounted to a satin covered styrofoam ornament accented with beads:

And finally these 2 pair of earrings were created while working out best practices for polymer quilling:

I am once again, over-the-moon happy to have an article published in one of my favorite periodicals! You can read the article and learn all about my methods to create polymer quilling by purchasing the issue or subscribing to The Polymer Arts at their website.  Many Thanks to Sage Bray (editor) and The Polymer Arts staff for the opportunity to be included in this publication! If you missed the other 2 places I've been published, they are: the Summer 2012 Recycle & Reuse issue of The Polymer Arts, which I wrote about here and the book Art Without Waste by Patty Wongpakdee which I wrote about here. If you subscribe to The Polymer Arts and have the opportunity to read my article, I'd love to hear your comments! I'd love to hear what you think of my new logo too! Post your thoughts below!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Once Upon A Time...

...a love of nature, books and polymer converge. 

For March 2015, the challenge theme for my guild (PCAGOE) is "Nature". As a self-described treehugger, you can imagine that this chick loves all things "nature". Well, maybe not all, I'm not too fond of stinkbugs, mosquitos or my summer-time arch nemesis - cabbage lopers (who I battle for my brassica family plants every year). But I think it's safe to say that, to my mind, MOST things in nature are a fascination and curiosity to admire and study. That being said, one might assume that this challenge theme was an easy one for me. It was not. Because the subject of nature is so wide open, there was simply too much from which to choose. After tossing around a couple different ideas, I finally decided that I would base my project on one of the books I was reading this past month. 

I'm also a book lover. I'm the old fashioned sort who likes her books with actual pages to turn (or as the Ikea ad says, "Book Books").  Yes, not very eco friendly in the scheme of paper production, but in my defense, 99% of the books I buy are second hand; we have quite a library of favorite reads in my house and we donate the non-keepers to our local library for resale, so we do try to keep the impact low. 

The book I chose for this project is the book Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. If you've not read or heard of the book, here is a pretty great summary. Basically the book weaves the stories of three female protagonists amid a backdrop of the natural world of the Appalachian mountains. Coyotes, luna moths and chestnut trees are all strong players in the book. Barbara Kingsolver has said this about the book: "This novel is not exclusively—or even mainly—about humans. There is no main character. My agenda is to lure you into thinking about whole systems, not just individual parts. The story asks for a broader grasp of connections and interdependencies than is usual in our culture." This is a concept that resonates with me, as one who deeply believes that this life is one big web, woven and connected to all living entities (human, animal, plant, soil and beyond). With that in mind, it seemed the perfect subject for my nature themed challenge. 

I decided that since I owned a paperback copy of this book, the best way to honor it would be to turn the paperback into a hardcover book - this is where polymer love-meets nature love-meets book love. This was not as easy a task as I had thought it would be. But I persevered. 

Since I've been doing a lot of faux polymer quilling lately (I will be making an announcement about the polymer quilling soon!), I decided to continue in that vein to carry out my illustration. I decided that I wanted to base my design on the Fibonacci sequence (or the golden ratio, the golden mean, the golden section or the Greek letter Phi). Fibonacci numbers follow a 1:1.61 ratio. The Golden Ratio is the relationship between two numbers on the Fibonacci Sequence, plotting those relationships on a diagram to scale will produce a spiral commonly seen all around us. The Fibonacci sequence is widely found in nature (think the unfurling of fern fronds, seashells, flower heads, etc.)

The front cover of the book is designed with images connecting the symbols of the story to the Fibonacci grid spiral. Built upon a base of Premo translucent with inclusions from a spent bag of tea, I first "drew" the Fibonacci spiral and grid in two tones of gold (to symbolize the golden ratio). In the upper right corner, you'll find the Luna Moth set against a quarter moon and night sky; upper left corner, you'll find a coyote set against an almost half moon and night sky; mid right, taking up the smaller parts of the Fibonacci grid and some of the bottom square, you'll see the 5 lobes of a chestnut leaf cluster; and finally, taking up the majority of the bottom square is one hand supporting another hand which holds soil and a seedling (symbolizing the human-human and human-nature connection). 

The spine of the book carries the theme of the Fibonacci spiral with the font that I chose to emboss the title of the book and the author's name... each letter carries it's own spiral, as you can see here:

As you can also see above, the area around the spine is covered in a burlap fabric. Needing this area to easily bend, I chose burlap to carry the natural theme. I sewed a hem at the borders of a strip of burlap (so no raw edges were exposed), it was then glued to the paperback book cover. 

For the back cover of the book, I chose to simply display the Fibonacci spiral and grid, as you can see here:

The inside of the book was treated to an image of a tree that reminds me of an extending web of connections. This is simply printed out on paper and glued to the back of the polymer, then strips of polymer encase the sides of the cover and overlap the inside paper cover, as you can see here:

 The inside cover looks pretty cool when you can see both sides juxtaposed: 

As I think I mentioned above, this project was a lot of work and more difficult than I had imagined. I know how I would do things differently next time to make life easier. Because I like the idea of turning paperbacks into hard cover books, I may revisit this idea sometime again. For now, I'm fairly pleased with this one. What do you think of my nature-meets-polymer-meets-book project? Please leave me a comment! Voting for this challenge will begin on the 1st of March. I'll post a reminder here on the blog at that time...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Your Digital World: a new venture for Create My World Designs

As I promised last week, I have some news to share about a new (or another new) direction for Create My World Designs. I have opened yet another etsy store (now I have 3), where I will be selling computer graphics. The available items will range from high resolution, printable scrapbooking paper, cards and postcards, digistamps, custom branding and more. Here's a peek at my new store logo:

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned here on the blog my previous life of working outside the home. I was formerly a designer for a paper printing company. I designed and manipulated patterns on the computer and I prepared the designs by separating them into stages for the process of printing. These patterns were used in the laminate industry. While I did enjoy the creative aspects of my job, there were many factors that went into my decision to leave, which I'll not go into here.

While I was somewhat versed in photoshop through that former self, my main task of computer graphic design back then was carried out on a highly specialized platform developed by Barco Graphics, so my photoshop skills were mostly self-taught in aide of transferring file formats for printing on our high res printer. After leaving that job to be a full time wife and part-time crafter, I continued playing around with photoshop on my personal computer, but never really went as far as taking a class or even perusing a learner's manual. I knew enough to get by, with altering some photos here and there, and creating basic graphics for personal use. Fast forward to about a year or 2 ago, my husband decided to take a photoshop class to allow him to integrate more technology into his job. After he was finished with the class, he asked me to donate the workbook to our local Re-useit store; I decided instead to keep the book and do a self-guided study of the textbook, to see if I could expand upon my own skills. Doing so reinforced my love of creating on the computer and really honed my abilities. I've since tackled a bit of Illustrator, self guided as well, to bring my hand drawn sketches to computer perfection by vectorizing the sketched lines. Here's an example; I had an idea to create a valentine card with the saying, "you're the bee's knees". So, I sketched out this bee on the left, and the bee on the right is how he looked after I turned him into a vector image in Illustrator (excuse the business watermark - there for my copyright protection of this original image):

I really need to find myself a textbook on Illustrator so I can put all of the tools of this program to work for me... but even with a quick lesson from an internet video, I'm pretty proud of what I can do with Illustrator already! ;)

It was about a month after I had made the decision to start selling computer designed graphics and after I began to play in Illustrator, when one of my online friends, fellow jewelry designer and polymer clayer Tammy Adams of Paisley Lizard, posted a question on Facebook asking if anyone knew the term for an image that is made up by the letters of a word. I had made one of those way back in Jr. High school, and made another one in college, but I didn't remember if there was a proper term for it, so I posted my response to her question. Tammy contacted me and asked if I would be willing to take on the task of creating a logo for a new etsy shop which she was opening to sell her whimsical line of jewelry. Tammy wanted a typographic illustration (from one of Tammy's friends we discovered the proper term), of a frog that was created by the word cactus. It seemed serendipitous, having just decided to birth a graphic design shop, plus I welcomed the practice, so I decided to tackle Tammy's project. 

I began with a couple of sketches of frog shapes and tried to work out how the letters would fit into the body of the frog. Of the 2 best sketch options, Tammy decided that she liked the shape of the frog in this sketch on the left, which I vectorized to what you see on the right:

After many versions, I finally struck upon a combination of colors, textures and font with which Tammy was thrilled, and so the new logo for Cactus Frog was born:

So, now you know the news that I've been working to unveil in the past month! I do have an exciting piece of preview news to add about my polymer world: I was also pleased to finish, last month, a tutorial article that I'm thrilled to announce will be published in a favorite polymer periodical! (more news to come, when the publishing is complete, probably end of this month/begging of next)! I'm so excited about that news, I had to post a teaser to it here! ;) 

In case you're wondering about my other shops, the Create My World etsy shop will always be designated to my first love (polymer) OneMoreUse will always be designated to upcycled materials creations and my very neglected Artfire shop is still open with a small sampling of older pieces (I really need to commit to either fully stocking it or letting it go... decisions, decisions). And now instant downloadable, high resolution printable, digital graphics can be found at Your Digital World on etsy. I've finally just opened the new digital shop this weekend, and have started stocking the store. There are some scrapbooking paper patterns available, a couple postcards and my heart bumble bee digistamp. I'm trying to create new items every couple days and hope to have a decent showing within a month. For now, won't you check out my new shop and give it some love! :) I'd appreciate some favorites from those who have etsy accounts. Suggestions are welcome too, if you have ideas of items you'd like to see me create... and custom orders (like Tammy's cactus frog above, and personalized invitations, announcements and greeting cards) are welcome to! So, go check it out at or use the tabs above (which now direct you to each designated store! - just changed that tonight!)

Oh, and please check out Tammy Adam's post about the birth of Cactus Frog and her logo here. While you're there, take a moment to browse the wonderful things she creates with art beads and polymer! 

So, what do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Your Voting Reminder and a Prelude to Upcoming News

Well, I've done it again and delayed my reminder post until the day before the last! Yes, voting is open and will only be open through tomorrow (ends at midnight EST on the 7th) But hey, I remembered, even if it's a last minute effort! ;)

Check out this wonderful graphic created by Marie Young of Marie Young Creative - it features Marie's wonderful foxy sculpture that she made for this challenge:

So, please do, if you haven't already, Go Vote! But wait!... before you do, I have some upcoming news about new projects and directions I plan to take Create My World Designs in the coming year and beyond. I have too little time today to write about it, so I will try to get a post written this weekend or at least by sometime next week! If you're a fan of mine on Facebook you might have noticed a hint of this in some new etsy listings and a project that I worked on for a friend (which I'll be sure to show off in the next post!)... so check back in a week or so, to get the full scoop!  Okay, now, Go Vote! Please and Thank you! ;)