What got you interested in polymer clay as a medium? I got started in clay after retiring from a long career in aircraft maintenance. I wanted to do something to keep working with my hands, but something that was fun and relaxing. A friend began teaching me pottery. One day, I was on the computer researching a glazing problem that we were having. I stumbled upon information about polymer clay. once I started working with the clay, I never stopped or looked back. I figure there is not enough time left in my life to try all ideas and techniques I still have in my head. And now, I have also added precious metal clay into the mix!
What inspires you to create? Many things inspire me to create. Often it's nature or wildlife in my local enviroment. I live on a barrier Island in the Gulf of Mexico. Dolphins are prevalent here and I just love them. That's why you will always see Dolphins in my work in both mediums. Other times, an idea may come to me in a dream, or be floating around in my head when I wake up. It can even come from a tool or texture. Whenever I clean up my work table, inspiration usually follows immediately. It's as if I see a fresh new playground and just have to run to the swings!
Do you have a favorite technique? A favorite technique...that's a hard question to decide. I love to cane. Using the canes on a project is just as fun though. I like to make my own beads. I figure that the only way to insure your work is really unique and one of a kind is to make your own beads. Then, you have beads that no one can purchase. And, no one can copy your work.
Of everything you have created which is your favorite? One of my favorites still is this Dolphin box I made with some of my canes.
What do you prefer to make out of polymer clay and why? What do I prefer to make and why? Hm, that is very hard to decide... I guess I would choose pendants. That's what I wear the most. And, with pendants, you can use just about any clay technique you want.
How do you decide what to make? Many things come into play when I decide what to make. I do a lot of custom orders in my local area. That directs a good portion of my work. Other than that, it can be anything from wanting something for myself to wanting to experiment, or just wanting to try a new technique.
Is there something you wish you could make in clay that you have not yet? Yes, there is something I've been wanting to make. I am getting ready for an art show in April. I have an idea for some unique fish boxes I want to make with my canes to bring to the show. Hopefully, I will be able to get started on this in the next few days.
What makes polymer clay a better fit for your products than other mediums? Polymer clay makes the best fit for my items because you can do just about anything with it. You are only limited by your imagination.
What is your best advice for someone starting out in polymer clay? My best advice for someone starting out in polymer clay would be to not go out and spend a lot of money on tools and such until you've been doing it for a while. Spend your money first on a good pasta machine and some sharp blades and of course, the clay. Other tools and texture can be found all around you in your own home. The other thing would be, don't be afraid to experiment!
This may be boring, but my favorite tool is my pasta machine motor! It makes clay life so much easier, and faster conditioning clay. You could do a blog post one day featuring Mona and her site. That's where I got mine.
I've seen some pretty unique pieces people have clayed over- a car, a fireplace...mine is our shower.
We had some ancient mosaic tiles that were rotting off the wall. I had no replacements BUT I did have a tile placemat I had bought at the thrift store for $1. I didn't have enough tiles from the place mat, so I got out my polymer clay and made tiles to match. Here is a picture of the shower ledge I retiled with my $1 place mat tiles and the matching polymer clay tiles. Even up close people can't tell which ones are the polymer clay. And the best part? This was done 6 years ago and the tiles and the grout have not even been touched up! Even through all the shower use and scrubbings the tile looks as good as new!
Knowing that what I make helps others is what inspires me to create. My main question is "How can I add coffee to that?" When I'm shopping at the craft store or thrift shop, I look at something and try to figure out how to incorporate coffee into it in a way that's interesting and beautiful. Sometimes I really want the coffee to stand out and sometimes I want it gently in the background. Nature inspires a lot of my work. I like to work with gemstones chips and nuggets that aren't perfect in shape, rather than cut stones. I like to do most of my clay work in a more free form style as well. I'm planning a trip to the Grand Canyon soon, now if that doesn't inspire me, I don't know what will!
Sometimes it's a color I can't find or a design idea I have but there isn't anything that is just right, so I will make what I want, mix the colors, shape the bead or pendant, I like to use different mediums together sometimes & that can require making something that blends several designs or colors to get the textures or shapes I want. Never quite sure where or when I will get an idea, then sometimes it takes a while to work out all the details or the combination doesn't work like I thought it would so I let it set for a while & come back to it, other times I will be working on one idea & get two or three more so work on them too!
What got you interested in polymer clay as a medium? I used it as a kid for little sculptures and jewelry but then stopped for some reason. A short while ago I had a few ideas for stitch markers and couldn't find the right beads, so I decided to make them myself with polymer clay. It was so much fun, that I decided to do it a lot more in future, most likely not just for my stitch markers.
What inspires you to create? Everything... TV series, movies, books, nature, artwork - inspiration is everywhere.
Do you have a favorite technique? Not really, I just started to use polymer clay again and am still trying different things.
Of everything you have created which is your favorite? So far it's my little fez stitchmarkers, but I'm sure that will change.
What do you prefer to make out of polymer clay and why? As I said, I make stitch markers for knitting, so I mostly make beads for them.
How do you decide what to make? When I have an idea, I try it - or a customer might request something specific.
Is there something you wish you could make in clay that you have not yet? Lots of things, and I'll try to make them all.
What makes polymer clay a better fit for your products than other mediums? I can create the exact shapes and colours I want
What is your best advice for someone starting out in polymer clay? I've got no idea, I'm a beginner myself. But in general my advice for people starting a new craft or artistic medium is to have fun and to be ready to bend or break the rules. As long as the results are what YOU want, it doesn't really matter how you got there or what other people think how it should be done. It's your creation, so you should make the rules.
I love everything I create, but my Steampunk Pirate Cat is my favorite right now.
He was inspired in part by my cat, Calcifer, along with the Steampunk trend in general. He stands 10 inches tall with a 12 1/2 inch wingspan- a big project, to say the least. He was modeled after Calcifer, right down to the blind left eye, which I covered with an eye patch. Each of the feathers on his wings was sculpted, textured, and colored with Pearl Ex powders one at a time. I think when I spend so many hours (over several weeks) on a project like this I become very attached to the piece. This one has so many little personal elements in it, and evokes a wide range of emotions in me. Sculpting is like magic- you take a bunch of shapeless clay and turn it into this amazing creation using only your hands and a few tools.
The first time I showed someone a blue bird that I made, they asked me to make a white one, then I showed someone my cats and they wanted a lizard....and so it goes....I like this, but could I have it in green, yellow, pink??? When I was beading that's what led me down a certain path, and now that's what happens with clay. When I show my friends what I'm making, they want to see more and different things, so I try to make them. Sometimes they turn out nice, sometimes not so nice...but it's always fun.
What got you interested in polymer clay as a medium? 17 years ago I came across a package of plasticine, I decided to play with it and my first "painting" came to life. A couple of years later I discovered Polymer Clay. Once I had the chance to work with this medium that allowed me to express my creativity in a more permanent way, via 3D paintings and sculptures, I was hooked on for life.
What inspires you to create? My daughters are my source of endless inspiration, but anything and everything can inspire me, depending on how receptive I am at the moment. I find myself taking my sketch book everywhere. Anything could trigger a new piece, from a nice song, a fun trip or just a book.
Do you have a favorite technique? I am a self thought artist, so my techniques are very basic, what I know I have learned from experience, and my art is very much my interpretation of how I see life. I just play with clay, use my needle like tool to work on details, and after I bake my pieces, I always add more details with acrylics.
Of everything you have created which is your favorite?
I have a couple of pieces that hold a place very close to my heart, but if I had to pick one up, it would be my latest illustration "Harmony, the girl that found her bliss" :)
What do you prefer to make out of polymer clay and why? I love to illustrate with clay, or as I call it "paint with clay", in doing this, I get to express my soul and heart in each piece, I love doing women and picture them as mothers, daughters, sisters, adventurous woman, I can make anything really, I have done mermaids, real people, girls like Little Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland or even Cleopatra :)
How do you decide what to make? I am influenced by the time I have to work and develop a piece, I dont like to have to stop and take care of an errand, to come back 2 hours later. In a perfect world I would be able to clay non-stop until a piece would be finished. If I have errands to run I go for quicker pieces, such as lockets, or pendants, if I get the weekend for myself then I go for complete illustrations or more complex art sculptures.
Is there something you wish you could make in clay that you have not yet? Back in the Caracas Design Institute, (Venezuela) students were asked to create huge paintings to convey movement and perspective, I developed a way of doing this that got me the admiration of teachers and artists alike. I'd like to make one of these in clay and see how they come out, but they would require lots and lots of time... so let's see maybe one day, I have already done the sketch for one piece already.
What makes polymer clay a better fit for your products than other mediums? Polymer Clay its fun and flexible! It allows me to work on my pieces graphically and physically.
What is your best advice for someone starting out in polymer clay? Try it, if you like it, follow your heart and explore new horizons! If you are like me, then just do what your heart tells you to do and make, and if you are looking for classes and some directions you could join places like craftedu.com and find some of the best instructors there. Do some social networking, there are many many great polymer clay artists all over the world... and just have fun!
Creating is my "therapy." It is a way to stop time, forget all the worries and concerns of everyday life, and lose myself in an alternate world that feeds my soul. I grew up in a family of crafters. Everyone was always making something and how fun that was to do together. It's in my genes and a necessity.
The greatest inspiration to me is COLORS... I find all the colors of clay, and paints, and glass beads that I use to make bracelets very exciting and I love all the colors in the world that I see around me every day. I drink in colors like someone in a desert dying of thirst. It might be the tiniest thing: it rained today and I noticed a branch of a pine tree with droplets of water hanging off each needle catching the myriad colors of sunlight... or the other night coming out of the grocery store, I looked in awe at all the colors of the sky at sunset. Most people are too busy. I have learned to STOP and take a few moments to really LOOK. And then go home and create something new.
I create because it's what feeds my soul and if I don't I go a little crazy. I'm inspired mainly by the materials I use but am helped along by what I see in books and from other artists - particularly in learning new techniques.
I love everything I create, but my Steampunk Pirate Cat is my favorite right now. He was inspired in part by my cat, Calcifer, along with the Steampunk trend in general. He stands 10 inches tall with a 12 1/2 inch wingspan- a big project, to say the least. He was modeled after Calcifer, right down to the blind left eye, which I covered with an eye patch. Each of the feathers on his wings was sculpted, textured, and colored with Pearl Ex powders one at a time. I think when I spend so many hours (over several weeks) on a project like this I become very attached to the piece. This one has so many little personal elements in it, and evokes a wide range of emotions in me. Sculpting is like magic- you take a bunch of shapeless clay and turn it into this amazing creation using only your hands and a few tools.
What got you interested in polymer clay as a medium? My Mom actually. I'd never heard of the stuff before, strictly a paper and pencil artist until Mom brought me a few 2oz blocks of Sculpey to see what I could do with it. She's always coming up with ideas and supplies to try.
What inspires you to create? Lots of things inspire me at different times. My mood, the weather, looking at other artists awesome work, surfing the net for photos. Sometimes an idea hits me while I'm listening to my favorite jazz tunes.
Do you have a favorite technique? Hmm, I dunno if I do anything that is polymer technique traditional. Oh wait, I just learned a way to smooth clay out using a soft paint brush to apply clay softener over areas that need to be nice and clean.
Of everything you have created which is your favorite? Oh man, so hard to decide! Aside from the piece I'm working on now, I would have to say either Mr. Pinks the ferret or the collection of 33 guinea pigs I did for a customer last year.
What do you prefer to make out of polymer clay and why? Animals sculpture is #1 on my list. I'm an animal lover and sculpting critters gives me the opportunity to learn about new animals and meet new people.
How do you decide what to make? Since most of my work is commissioned, usually that is up to the customer. When I get a chance to do an original sculpture, I tend to browse through reference photos on morguefile and wetcanvas until I see something that strikes my fancy.
Is there something you wish you could make in clay that you have not yet? Lots! When I have time there are plans for lions, other wildlife, livestock, and the crescendo of clay will be when I'm able to proficiently sculpt people.
What makes polymer clay a better fit for your products than other mediums? Several things: I don't need a kiln, it's easy to find at the local craft stores and online, it comes in bulk, the possibilities are numerous for it's uses.
What is your best advice for someone starting out in polymer clay? Have fun with it. Try all the different techniques and projects that catch your eye. Don't give up if something doesn't fit well with you, move on until you find a niche that does. And if you do manage to settle on one or two things that tickle your fancy, remember that proficiency comes with practice. :)
What got you interested in polymer clay as a medium? My first experience with polymer clay came while I was on vacation a few years ago. We were in the Northwoods visiting them and we were bored and wanted to try something different. We got on line, ordered a pasta machine, some tools, some clay and had it shipped express...we got it in two days, and we played with clay for the rest of the week. It was a passing fancy for her...and now it's my medium of choice! Here is a picture of the first thing I ever made.
What inspires you to create? Lots of things inspire me...especially nature and music. I am always taking photos of an interesting pattern, texture or object, searching flea markets and second hand stores for unusual things to use with the clay.
Do you have a favorite technique? Right now, I am really inspired by Christi Friesen and have taken several of her classes. They are awesome and she is really funny, and such an uplifting person to be around. I have tried doing lots of things with clay...making beads, making pendants, covering different things with clay but never truely found something I was passionate about. After attending one of Christi's classes, I discovered that I love making sculptures and pendants with lots of objects in them. So I am focusing on that. I never would have thought of myself as artistic enough to make any type of 3D sculpture, but she made it all seem so effortless!
Of everything you have created which is your favorite? This brings me to my favorite thing: I have always loved mermaids, so my favorite thing that I have ever made is my mermaid that I made using Christi's technique.
What do you prefer to make out of polymer clay and why? Lots of times I make things because someone asks me to make it. I made a white bird sculpture because someone asked me to make it. Right now, I'm working on making a lizard for a lady who saw my cats and asked me to make her a lizard...I love challenges because they stretch my imagination.
How do you decide what to make? The best thing for polymer clay for me is that when I don't like what I've made, it doesn't seem like a waste for me...I can just take the clay, smoosh it right up and start over :-)
Is there something you wish you could make in clay that you have not yet? If you are just starting out, learning the basics is really a good practice, but you don't have to know everything or have a lot of experience to make something really beautiful...that's what is great about polymer clay. Even a beginner can incorporate some basic techniques and create something unique and beautiful. Right now, I am starting to teach classes in polymer clay to some scrapbookers who want to learn about clay and incorporate it into their art. I will be sharing some of those things very soon with the Smooshers Guild. I am writing a tutorial now for a making a parrot and those who are doing it are all beginners.
Everything... sometimes it's nature, artwork, TV series, movies, or just a random idea that pops into my head. Or something I read in a book gives me such a vivid mental image, that I have to make something.
Last time you challenged us to create something with the theme Nature. Here are our entries. Click on the corresponding username to see larger image, more images and descriptions. Please vote in the poll on the left column of this blog to let us know what theme you would like to see us work on next. Poll ends Sunday, March 6th 2:00pm Google time.
To date, my favorite piece is a tree of life necklace I donated for a silent auction. I really need to make another one for myself! They are a bit time consuming. I will be making some to sell in the future.
My favorite polymer clay piece is my Joan of Arc ring. My Joan of Arc isn't young and beautiful, she shows the signs of all her struggles, she's weary, tired and probably a little doubtful. When I made her face, I didn't know if it would really come out the way I wanted it to, not smooth and "clean". Looking at her now, I'm still happy she turned out the way she did.
My favorite technique is blending or "smooshing" 2 or 3 different colors together to get a marbled effect in the clay. I probably use this technique the most. My second favorite is stamping or forming coils in the clay and adding metallic powder to bring out the texture.