Polymer Clay Smoosher member Anna, of Grays Crafts creates a variety of unique and whimsical items, from jewelry to home decor. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for us and let us take a peek into her creative world.
With all the mediums available for crafting why did you choose Polymer clay?
Because it is easy to sculpt from. I do a lot of sculpting. It is also awesome as mosaics foundation and tesserae material, and I love mosaics. It can mimic any material of Earth or I can make something totally alien out of it. I used to work with and sell works made out of plasticine as a child and teenager and then with fondant to do food sculpture, so I was very glad when I found polymer clay. If you use it right, it is just very beautiful.
How did you learn to use polymer clay? Internet, experimenting, books, classes.....
Experimenting definitely would be the first. I am an experimenter. I made an Etruscan ship as my first project. Nobody said I have no ambition . Not sure I would dare to do it now . It took me 4 remakes and 1 week of work, but I did it. There was no instructions available simply because nobody else made them. So, I was on my own. Then I went to Internet and watched and read all free tutes available. Then I bought Lisa Pavelka book. After that I bought some more books . And then I took Christi Friesen class.
What is your favorite tool to work with?
Do you like to work with any mediums other than polymer clay?
Yes, with a lot of them! Pearls, gemstones, wire, wood, paper, glass, acrylic - you name it. I love to recycle items, that's why I established my "Cycle of Recycle" series. One of the latest things made for it is an ocean view necklace and earrings made of suction cup and drinking tubing. Hey, somebody uses these "Go 360 Clean" things? Don't throw the sponges away; they make awesome brooches!
What is your favorite polymer clay technique and why?
Micro-mosaics obviously. I LOVE extruded canes! Although I generally don't like caning since I bores me. No offense to caning people - I just like things that differ from one another. Mokume gane, especially freeform planned pattern. Mica shift - try using shallow cutters as your stamps - you'll be amazed. If you haven't already . I've invented a couple of my own, such as faux grout micro-mosaics, so I obviously like to use those. Sculpting is awesome, you can't beat 3D!
Why they're favorite? Because they yield awesome results.
What is your least favorite technique and why?
Caning - see above.
What is on your "to do" or "to learn" list?
Work with PMC - I don't have a kiln yet. Perfect my metalsmithing skills, because now, frankly, they suck . Buy professional lapidary equipment - we go on mining trips with my husband sometimes, and right now it's very hard for me to polish these gems. Learn to be more patient and accepting.
Do you mix your own colors? Why or why not?
Always! It's just fun to do. To match little magic happening.
How do you keep your designs fresh and original?
I don't. They keep themselves . After certain point they acquire life of their own and do what they please with it. Generally, I don't repeat things. Even mass-produced designs will always look a bit different. I've always sucked at copying, had real problems with it in school. But here it pays off.
What keeps you from getting into a creative rut?
I hear a lot about creative rut, but frankly don't know what it is. Please, don't think that I show off. I have hard time sleeping, as new ideas keep pushing in my head. I generally create 10-30 designs per week, and 4-5 of them always are totally new. And that's been going on for at least past 5 years.
What is your favorite brand of clay if you have one and why?
"Premo! Sculpey" and "FIMO" - they're just awesome. Easy to condition, stay fresh, don't crack (mostly ), have amazing colors. More than I need.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Don't try to show results of your work, but the beauty of your idea. We all have beautiful ideas inside. Let them out and let them live. Have fun! And thank you.
Link to my work: http://www.artfire.c...es/Polymer_Clay
What a wonderfully creative lady! Grays Crafts can be found online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/grayscrafts, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Grays-Crafts/175931129085558, http://twitter.com/#!/grayscrafts, http://grayscrafts.com/, and http://www.etsy.com/shop/grayscrafts, as well as her ArtFire shop. Be sure to pay her a visit!
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