StrangeWhimsy creates unique and beautiful jewelry, and was kind enough to answer a few questions about her inspiration and work with polymer clay.
With all the mediums available for crafting why did you choose Polymer clay?
I have a degenerative spine disorder and last summer I had to have back surgery and after that I was couch bound for what felt like forever (4 months) so I had to figure out something I could do that could release that creative energy but I couldn't sit up for very long and everything just felt so hard. I found a book by Christi Friesen about polymer clay dragons and I was sold. You don't have to keep it wet like natural clay (so it didn't matter if I got tired in the middle of a project) and you don't need a kiln to bake it.
How did you learn to use polymer clay? Internet, experimenting, books, classes.....
Books and experimenting mostly.
What is your favorite tool to work with?
I have a set of denture making tools that I've had since high school. They worked very well for greenware so I figured they would work with polymer clay also. Since they are made of metal and sharp I get clean lines and less distortion when carving.
Do you like to work with any mediums other than polymer clay?
I love to do stained glass windows and sun charms. I would love to get back into natural clay. I enjoy metal working and just started getting back into beading and wire-work. Unfortunately I think I'm one of those people that needs to be making something and I love to create beautiful things.
What is your favorite polymer clay technique and why?
Re-baking. Being able to bake a piece over and over again without damaging it, is a great way to create very delicate artwork.
What is your least favorite technique and why?
Caning...I can't do it. I will say though that when I was trying to get the hang of it, I discovered some amazing color combo's that I might not have found otherwise.
What is on your "to do" or "to learn" list?
I would like to learn how to make beads out of polymer clay. I know it should be easy but I think its like canes for me, something my fingers just don't want to do.
Do you mix your own colors? Why or why not?
Oh yes! I live the beautiful Pacific Northwest and we have this wonderful color palette of greens, browns, greys, muted blues and whites. I also have a thing for antiqued metal colors and the wonderful thing about polymer clay is that it mixes like paint. I like to keep a block of burnt umber around to warm up colors for instance.
How do you keep your designs fresh and original?
I get out into nature and I like to jump around with styles, one day I will make a bunch of floral pieces and another day I'm all about the metal and barbed wire in my work. I think not staying with one ideal keeps things moving creatively for me.
What keeps you from getting into a creative rut?
Stopping what I'm doing. If I find myself sitting at my desk just staring at a pile of clay and nothing is happening, I will go do something else. Sometimes even just doing the dishes or whatever, that usually works out the kinks in the creative side of my brain.
What is your favorite brand of clay if you have one and why?
Sculpey Premo. I like it because the range of colors and the durability after baking. Some colors can be a little soft but I just leech them.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Make sure that if your going to add beads or embellishments to your polymer clay creations, nothing you add is acrylic...found that one out the hard way
You can find Strange Whimsy online at http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/StrangeWhimsy, http://www.flickr.com/photos/strangewhimsy/, http://www.facebook.com/StrangeWhimsy, http://twitter.com/#!/StrangeWhimsy, and http://www.strangewhimsy.com/. Be sure to stop by and see what she's creating now! ;-)
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