Friday, January 11, 2013

Freeform Friday - Organic

... from Merriam Webster:  Organic 3 : of, relating to, or derived from living organisms...

...from Albert Einstein: "Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better. "

Today's post is inspired by nature, and organic texture. I am focussing on texture this month; my friend Cooky Schock and I are doing a collaborative year long exchange on our shared blog at Coast 2 Coast Creative. And natural textures are my absolute favorite. Mother Nature was truly an  inspired artist when she created marvels like sea urchins, tree bark, and seed pods! Oh seed pods... 
Eucalyptus pods from San Diego.
I use these frequently, one of my fav motifs. And such different designs, such diversity! They remind me of Medieval quatrefoils. 
Ocean and sea themed found objects in my studio. 
Plant and pod pieces gathered in my studio.
SO for this Freeform Friday I decided to make some molds. Positive and negative; and share some of my organic inspirations. These type of elements have been used to make impressions since early man was texturing clay pots. (Makes the pots less slippery when wet...) No one can fuss about copying, since we are all inspired by similar items. You can't copyright a peach pit! The trick is using them in your own creative way...
Polymer texture plates pulled from the original objects. When cured these can be texture press plates as is - a "negative" of the original. I will use them in both earthenware clay and polymer.
 L to R: peach pit, acorn cap, star anise, magnolia pod, poppy pod.

Ocean pieces and their "negative" polymer pieces. The sea urchin had to be taped back together for the picture...

When I make molds of my hand carved ceramic pieces, I cast them in plaster. That process ruins the original, as it is forcibly taken from the mold when set. For more fragile objects I have started using various brands of RTV. This "room temperature vulcanizing" mold material is so fabulous! ( I have used Micro Mark's and Alley Goop) Simply mix equal parts, press, set aside. Fifteen minutes or so - there you are! I cast my cured polymer pieces to have a flexible version of my new texture vocabulary. 
With the brain coral and seed pod shown above - I used the RTV on the polymer "negative" - resulting in a RTV "positive" that replicated the item's direct texture. Pressed in design? Raised up design? I can do either... And for one more positive image... I used black polymer to make positive stamps from these three RTV molds. The ideas I am having of that star anise pod! ( far right) pressed into clay, glaze pooling in the design... yummy. And poppy pod earrings? Sweet!

Many of my fellow artists at AJE are also inspired by organic textures. Leaves, sea urchins, shells... in porcelain, stoneware, bronze and copper... Feel free to browse! 
L to R: Kristi BowmanLesley Watt, Karen Totten, Diana Ptaszynski, Kristi, Lesley, Diana.

Until next time...


  1. What a lovely post Jenny - there is always something very exciting about creating a beautiful pattern with something you pic up along the way and I have to admit, I will be searching out a couple of items you've shown here...inspiring as always!

  2. Your work is beautiful! And I agree that nature makes the best structures and patterns! I am using molds made from sea urchins, shells, flowers, leaves, acorns, poppy seeds (I used really small and young ones for pattern)... (list is endless, as your own I image ^^) for a long time now and am still always surprised agains by its beauty!



  3. So inspiring...loved your post Jenny, the photos are beautiful!

  4. Thanks all - natural forms and pattern have always been an inspiration of mine. I had a blast "shopping" in the studio for new bits and pieces. I can't wait to try out my molds!

  5. I LOVE using organic textures, you have some really cool ones!!

  6. I want them all!!!!!! What a great process and Iam so glad you shared it!!!!

  7. Oh I should post a picture of my "Treasure box" with all the really good pods that I keep to look at... these were selected from the larger pool of stuff that can go in shrines...

  8. Wow, I am so inspired by what you have done. Hope you don't mind if I try a few of those myself ~ thanks :-D

  9. These are awesome! I have this one shell with almost bubble formations on it. They were so thin I basically destroyed them making a mould and do you know I put it in a pile with a bunch of others and I haven't gotten back to it yet to check what I can get, ah, must get to it!

  10. I'll have to say, the star anise and poppy are my favorite designs. I especially like that you have an original, one of a kind design with those...


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.