Into the Forest is an international collaboration of polymer artists and enthusiasts. It is inspired by the high altitude aspen groves in the Rocky Mountains. This project, Into the Forest is an evolving mixed media international installation from Laura Tabakman, Emily Squires Levine and Julie Eakes. The idea was to bring together as many polymer artisans as possible in a wide variety of ways. We were to imagine ourselves in a forest. See it in your mind: On the ground beneath a canopy of branches and leaves, unexpected life exists. We were asked to create pieces which will form its life elements. We will combine them into living colonies of varying shapes, colors and sizes. Here’s a look at what I created for Into the Forest.
Inspiration from Others
I had great fun creating some small pieces for the Into the Forest collaboration for the November 2017 installation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I had a hard time deciding what to make. Brilliantly, one of my favorites, Wendy Jorre de St Jorre used canes to make these adorable Leafhopper bugs for her submission of Into the Forest. Using her leafhoppers as inspiration, I was able to make my own small caned bugs, as a spin off of her caned bugs.
My Into the Forest Submission
For my Into the Forest submission, I made four different elements from polymer clay:
- Green Grasses
- Shattered Sticks
- Caned LadyBugs (free tutorial coming tomorrow)
- Caned Bees
Julie Eakes requested the need for grass a few weeks ago from the polymer community. Naturally, I added this to the list of miniature bugs I would be sending. I actually really enjoyed making the grass. I made it from a whole bunch of old leaf canes I had made. I made them by chopping up the canes and making a large Shattered Marble Cane and rolling it out into long 6-10″ pieces. Two of the pieces I curled, just to make them different…
I wanted to make some “sticks” for Into the Forest but I wanted them to be rough, edgy, sharp sticks. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do this. But then it dawned on me … have you ever trapped AIR into clay and tried to roll it out? The clay splits, cracks, and breaks, leaving rough, chopped, and cracked edges behind. That was my solution. I used the same method as the leaves, taking old autumn colored leaf canes, chopping them up to make a large Shattered Marble Cane. Next, I would cut and reassemble them to purposefully trap air into the middle of the cane so that the cane would break and split upon manipulation. The result was edgy “sticks.” The sticks I was unable to do this with, I ended up making a more “whimsical” feel to match the bugs.
Caned LadyBugs & Bees
Every forest needs bugs & bees. It’s a fact. Every time I go hiking it’s a tried & true fact of life that bugs & bees of all shapes & sizes either jump out and scare me or end up coming home on my clothing. Again, inspired by Wendy Jorre de St Jorre’s lovely Leafhopper bugs, these little cuties were just waiting to happen! Don’t be surprised by their size however, they are just the size of your fingertip. Very small indeed, but a perfect little addition to a small little forest! I was able to make these from canes I already had, or canes that just needed a little more “tweaking” to make “just right” in order to suite the design of these little bugs.
Thanks for joining me today,