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When you create a Polymer Clay figure, how do you find inspiration?
- Do you have ideas but lack the confidence to just go for it?
- Might I share one of my favorite artists for you to look at?
- Might you like a bit of a story on how I make my little figures?
- How to make decisions and choices to get started??
- Where do you find inspiration for your polymer clay figure?
Perhaps the harder you search the farther you feel from the confidence to begin?
In a circumstance like this I turn to some of my inspiration folders or to some of my favorite artists and spend time in their art becoming inspired and activated.
I remember a teacher once telling us that if we were attracted to an artist’s work it was an indication of a direction we might love to go. This was a surprise to me because I always felt if the artist was doing something I admired, why would I ever go in that direction? But hearing this I felt liberated to examine and be inspired by artists I admired.
Copying is a form of learning. Artists apprentice with masters and learn their process and techniques. The work may be signed by the artist yet executed mainly by an apprentice. In return the artists become skilled and well trained and if determined, will find their own unique voice outside of the master’s studio.
The best confirmation of your work is when it is authentic and comes directly through your hands and heart no matter how you are influenced by another.
The degree of individuality grows as your ability does and the “signature” of your marks and lines, palette and sense of proportion develops naturally with practice. There are no short cuts.
I have several artists whose work I love and can share with you. When I was learning to do this work there were no teachers or internet but I could find images in magazines and books. The artists I loved then I still love to this day so when you find an artist who speaks to you realize their influence can be powerful and lifelong.
Here is the work of one of my favorite doll artists: DIMA
So, let’s Go THrough these steps to Make Our a Polymer Clay Figure, with inspiration as You listen or work alongside me…
It usually starts with an idea or sentiment for a character.
The idea usually has been with me for a while, “talking” to me.
It always has something to do with things going on in my life.
I try to remain open to what happens as I begin so that it does not become rigid or a struggle.
I usually avoid getting to it like a dance with many distractions.
BUT once I settle in I find that sweet space where I love to work.
Personally I need an emotional connection to the idea.
If I were to identify how I sense this I would say it was in my body. The postures and the tilt of the head all relate to the feeling I want the figure to hold and emote to myself and secondly the person who views it.
What a lovely way to work.
My work is very meditative.
Quiet time and space are essential parts of my work.
If I have an interrupted day it will constantly take me away from my work …
Making a sanctuary space is a wonderful part of the work for me.
I built an addition on a house I owned to create a studio. I had always worked at my kitchen table for years, and thought that one day I would love to have a dedicated place for a studio.
My dream came true and rather than a small sloped ceiling loft the builders convinced me it would cost very little to go higher and the studio became a vaulted loft space filled with light and beautiful views of my gardens.
It was a beautiful space, one that I loved, but I struggled for a long time with being comfortable working there. I was so happy when it was all neat and tidy and showed off both my work and itself…but to make my working chaos and mess was a struggle for me there.
I felt unable to work intensely in the way I had when I worked in the small space of my kitchen.
This is long story but one that I hope explains the importance of finding a comfortable space when you work.
I sold my house to help balance a dissolved relationship and I now work in a small room again completely happy. I do not feel the need to make it larger or better. All is as it needs to be.
Now I want to take you with me into my little room and write as I spend the day creating a “little grace”.
Start to set up with tools and clear off the desk … always part of my ritual
Prepare the clay : if you have not seen this, the tutorial is here :
Once ready I begin to sculpt the head. It might take a few tries to find the way in. IN? Into the place where I work from. Introspective, internal, emotional, attentive and connected to the intention.
There are days I start and do not manage to find my way into the right place and that is fine, but even if I work for an hour and nothing comes, it is practice which is part of the ongoing process of attention and ability.
An hour passes and I feel the peace of working uninterrupted and enter my meditative way.
Head made I will stop and colour the face and then cure it.
I pull out fabrics and begin to cut a few under suits as the stove does its magic hardening the little head.
I make several suits so I have a choice.
If you are feeling the urge to join me, GO FOR IT!!
Go get out your clay and follow one of the tutorials I have made for you if you want guidance!
Or look up a favorite artist and try to create from their influence…
My story can continue once you catch up . . .
Now I think about the headpiece and what I want to do with the face…I love hoodies and the one I choose to use is a winged headdress I use for my little graces so I make this part next and re-cure the head.
Once the head is cured and my suits are sewn I am ready to make an armature for the figure.
I am sure you can find a YouTube about this, I teach this with a method I have developed for my classes.
Now it is time to make the pose for the figure. Using a wire armature is great because you can manipulate the pose until you are pleased with it.
Once the pose feels right I begin to make the hands and feet for the figure.
I finish these and put them on to the form. Each detail of the fingers and toes adds an incredibly strong energy and the character really begins to come alive.
This is so exciting to witness and one of the reasons after many years I am still in love with this work.
Ready to finish I cure the figure and begin the steps to finish sewing the piece.
I hope you find your way into the studio more easily now, and the time more peaceful and gentle for you.
I hope this inspires many creative days for you!
Last minute idea…how about adding a swan???
here is another artist I found: Maria Saracino showing you some great sculpting techniques and methods for building. This is quite advanced so remember, most of the effort to get there will be practice.
Looking up videos and blogs of artists working is a great way to find and learn about your new passion.