"Imagine" - Polymer clay art contest


The world of polymer clay has benefitted in the last years from the invention of new media, new materials and new tools that brought an even wider diversity of beautiful effects that can be obtained using polymer clay. A couple of decades ago we were struggling to find new ways to texture surfaces – now all we have to do is buy texture sheets. Effects that we could not even dream of can be now obtained with various media that is compatible with polymer clay. Our pieces are shinier due to various new varnishes and resins. We have silk screens, mica powders, crackle paint, heat patina metal leaf, 3D printed cutters, stamps and texture sheets, and so much more, and the possibilities are endless. All these novelties made even a beginner in polymer clay able to achieve stunning effects and pieces and that has made polymer clay more popular than it has ever been. All this good also has a reverse side. By having everything readily available, we face the danger of falling into a routine. One of being “boxed in” by the efficiency with which we can make jewelry pieces in just a few minutes. We don't seek new ways of doing things. We stopped creating new shapes because the new cookie cutters create them for us. We stopped trying to obtain new surface effects because it's much easier to just buy the new fad media and apply it and we end up with more than half of the jewelry pieces created looking pretty much the same – create a veneer, cut a shape, cut a bezel, apply the paint/mica powder, and you have a pendant or necklace. Of course the colors are different, but in essence, all pieces are alike. Creativity is stifled before it can take more than a few steps.

This contest is to promote and encourage new (and not so new) artists to explore what polymer clay can offer by itself, without the addition of fancy expensive gadgets and gimmicks and while doing this, discover each artist’s power of creativity, the power to think outside the box.

First prize:  Carol Roberts Entry

Carol Roberts.
Carol did an amazing piece. Very original and with an amazing design. Carol has a true gift for jewelry design, coming up with combinations of shapes, colors and textures that are gorgeous. Even if we had to deduct a point due to the use of the dye in her focal, the points that she finished with to which we applied the last point as the judges determined us to give her the first prize.

Second prize:  Brenda DiMartino Entry

Brenda's entry is absolutely fabulous in terms of originality. As veterans in polymer clay, we can say we were really amazed at her cane and the pattern and the color combination; also at the inventivity of using various things around the house for tools. We were also impressed with how thoroughly Brenda showed every step of the process.
Unfortunately, the craftsmanship is lacking. Using different brands of polymer clay in making the cane and then a few other details in making and finishing the pieces made us unable to give her a point for craftsmanship
Actually because of this entry we were sorry that we didn't make the rules providing for more point levels for each of the three criteria, as from the point of view of originality Brenda would have gotten more points.

Third prize - We have actually two winners:  Katy Quigley Entry  &  Katia Demetz Entry

Katy Quigley's entry was a delight. This is a very solid polymer clay artist who will reach far. Her craftsmanship would have deserved more points, but as we only announced one in the rules... Even if the project she submitted did not have much in terms of originality and intricacy, the way that it was worked and the cleanliness of the craftsmanship make it a beautiful project, bringing us to the "you can do beautiful work with basics".

Katia has an absolutely fantastic gift for polymer clay painting/sculpting. A very original piece, we loved each and every detail, and her patience and savoir faire are astounding.
Unfortunately, we couldn't give her a craftsmanship point. Even if she would deserve way more than one point on that, the piece itself is not suitable for a bib necklace, as it is flat. This type of pieces need to be baked on a curved surface, so they would conform to the shape of the human chest. Then there is also the fact that the piece is not entirely finished, and not set up in a finished necklace. As much as we understand Katia's intent "to show only the polymer clay" we still needed a finished piece. To be very honest, in the beginning we actually considered disqualifying her entry for this specific reason, but ended up by just not giving her the "craftsmanship" point and deducting one point for an unfinished piece. We are really sorry that Katia didn't finish her piece, she had really great chances for the first prize.
We have looked at Katia's creations and we think that she has an amazing gift, we were blown away by some of her pieces and we recommend you to check them out. We will post the pages/profiles of all the contestants after this, with their permission.

We must make one mention of an entry that was really wonderful, unfortunately because a power tool was used, the points deduction brought the entry lower than the first 4 contestants:

Teresa Barnes  Teresa Barnes Entry

Teresa's entry is amazing. We had to give her tops for each and every criteria. Her entry showed not only a thorough knowledge and observation of the material that was imitated, but the major intricacy of the process was dealt with great craftsmanship. The finished cabochons are flawless and the resemblance with the real stone absolutely amazing.
Unfortunately Teresa used a power tool (Dremel) for buffing the cabochons, thus having 5 points deducted.

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