Impressionists’ Garden

I promised to show more kaleidoscope designs from the master cane from previous posts but I didn’t have time to photograph the ones I made for the Synergy 3 conference and a workshop I taught in Mississippi and now they’ve been sold. Eventually there will be more but I’ve moved on to other things so you’ll have to wait. I’m taking a break from kaleidoscopes because (1) I will be teaching 9 days of kaleidoscope caning in April and I want to approach them with a fresh eye and (2) I just need a break. My favorite things to do with polymer clay are to experiment and teach; production for sale is way down on the list.

4 garden beads

Meanwhile, I’m using slices of the cane in a different way. These “Impressionists’ Garden” beads and pendants are fun to make because the process is so relaxed compared to making kaleidoscopes. Instead of focusing on matching components of the design precisely I can focus on elements of design such as line, shape, balance, composition, rhythm and harmony as I wander through gardens of my imagination. The arrangements of parts aren’t always successful, but I love the process.

 2 garden beads

The artistic challenge is to create an arrangement of parts that is pleasing to the eye, one that has a feeling of unity rather than appearing to be a random scattering of parts. The technical challenge is to create a perfectly even surface before the bead is baked and sanded. If some of the elements are higher than others they will be sanded away. I consider the two beads above to have good overall composition. The one on the left has a pinwheel like arrangement of parts that works well compositionally and creates a feeling of energy. The one on the right is more static, but I like the way the vertical section up the middle separates the surface into two parts, each of them having their own balance.




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19 Responses to Impressionists’ Garden

  1. Carol, I’m liking this approach a lot. Kaleidoscope canes have their use, definitely, and they are gorgeous but something more organic/botanical really rocks my boat. Thanks for the idea and pictures. (Great seeing you at Synergy).

  2. Viviane DEPASSE says:

    hi Suzan, again.. congratulations on your beautiful artistic mind.. the colors are so vibrant !! I’ll never be able to wait to learn until next year when you come to France… patience..patience..

  3. nelpertus says:

    magnifique ces couleurs sont lumineuses,

  4. Melanie says:

    They have incredible motion. Nothing static about these creations….kind of like life.

  5. Priscilla says:

    Thanks for sharing this new approach. I hope we’ll get to see some of them in Racine.

  6. Jenny Marsden says:

    Hi Carol,
    I like this new direction you are taking. As much as I loved making the kaleidoscope patterns with you, I felt that I needed a slightly freer approach. This is much more in tune with my way of thinking. Hope you have fun with it.

  7. Lynn Shiner says:

    Hi Carol- so good to see you at Synergy! I had an amazing learning experience there and I am determined to put it to use. How fun to do that by analyzing your new bead compositions- with a fresh eye! I like both beads- the one on the left with the swirly pinwheel style reminds me of water gardens ( think lilies) while the one on the right brings to mind terrestrial gardens- strong upright and tall. The colors and patterns then tie them both together. Lovely idea.

    • Carol Simmons says:

      Thank you Lynn. Now that I think about it, I probably have Synergy to thank for turning to something different when I got home.

  8. Nadine says:

    I love the rhythm of the canes; however, I am a kaleidoscope type of girl, and love the class I had with you at the DeCoven Center in Racine last year. I really like your new direction, tho, and am still wishing to have a class in the mokume leaves that you do.

  9. Charline Ahlgreen says:

    I am always reminded of Gauguin’s paintings when I look at your tropical color canes. I don’t know why, but all the brilliant colors you use make me feel calm and rested – probably thinking about swinging in a hammock with a frosty drink in my hand in the shade of waving palms.

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