Clay. The medium that relaxes me and makes me feel like I am refreshing my creativity while I work. Example, I worked on projects until 2am last night and didn’t notice the time at all. Over the years I have learned some tricks as well as found other artists who’s work in polymer is truly inspiring.
My relationship with clay started my Sophomore year of college after a horrible winter quarter in Rochester. I was feeling down and out, ready to quit illustration. Things had to change so, I took a quarter of electives: print making, metals/jewelery, and hand building clay (because throwing classes were full thanks goodness!). It was a revitalizing quarter. I would spend many extra hours in the ceramics studio finishing my sculptures because, having my hands wet, dirty, and kneading clay brought me back to life.
Continuing with clay that needed a kiln was outside of my realm. However, I found sculpey which, can be cooked in my oven, a satisfying replacement. This was introduced to me by dimensional illustration class and Teresa. She started out simpley and by the end of our college career she was a master at making all of her art with sculpey. It was impressive and beautiful.
These influences started me making ornaments for all of my cousins. Making over 20 ornaments every year since 2003 was how I learned the ropes of polymer clay.
The year after I left college I was jobless and watching a lot of TV when I saw a Converse commercial featuring Meredith Dittmar. Completely inspired I have been regularly checking out her guys since then. For my first date with Matt we actually got to see her work in a local gallery. A year later I bought him our favorite piece from the show as an anniversary present.
Seeing her work made me want to work beyond the ornaments but, it wasn’t until September 2009-when I signed up for a craft fair where I couldn’t sell my ornaments-that I focused and made something different. Desiring to still make something functional I made magnets. This year I again was part of the craft fair and I stepped it up again. Having gotten some small vials from a biology lab I knew I wanted to fill them with my own scientific specimens.
After two craft fairs and being on top of getting product made I started selling on etsy. I watch the feeds seeing what else comes up and yes watching to see where my pieces land in the pages of items for sale. One quiet day I came upon this shop Beastlies. These Beastlies by Leslie Levings are so completely adorable I adopted Garen. Since, he loves butter and I didn’t want him to be alone, I made him a friend named Butter. They are already pals and keep me company living on my drawing desk.
Making my own creatures has been the ultimate goal since I started expanding from ornaments. Today I have gotten started, these are my Cuddly Critters.