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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Claying Family Style

This isn't a list of cute items to make with your kids or tips for clay or even how to share your craft with them. Sadly I don't have those answers, it's about my story. My kids are older now, 19 and 22, but still kids to me. When they were little, we painted, played with play doh, and made stuff of all sorts. As they grew older, that interest waned.

I've always wanted to get my kids interested in polymer clay or any kind of crafting as they got older. I was thrilled when my niece learned to knit and crochet but I wasn't involved. My own kids seemed obvious beyond telling me to get my stuff out of the way. Each played with clay briefly but put it aside .

I love making stuff so much I wanted to share it with my kids but as they grew older, I realized I had to pull back. My daughter loves to write and buzzes with a natural creativity in everything she does but through most of her teens, it feels if I suggest something, she outright rejects it.

Imagine my surprise and delight, when one morning she asked if I liked the rat she made for a favorite singer. She started making pieces more and more and then asking for advice on how to do strips or mixing colors. She's made quite a few mermaids, all specialized for different friends. She didn't want suggestions beyond how do I fix or where can if find...

Her biggest thrill was when her dad said I had made them, he didn't realize she had. Since then she has also been checking out different books and ideas, even wanting to try caning. The best I was able to do often was just to provide support and remind her what looked easy for me wasn't because it can naturally but because I have been doing it and practicing for years. And we all have pieces that bomb sometimes.

I guess my story was a lesson learned by me. I couldn't force crafts on them, especially not mine but letting them find their own way can bring them back around.

BTW There are no pictures because she requested I not share them. I have to respect her work as much as any artist.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teaching Pixy Class

[caption id="attachment_1514" align="aligncenter" width="405"]Pixies Pixies[/caption]

I had the thrill of getting to do a class teaching pixies in the New York Polymer Clay Guild.  We take turns sharing what we know, this month was my turn. We had a small group this month but that made it more fun.  It turned out that most people in this group hadn't done much sculpting - even those who were long time clayers - so this was a fun project.

I had a great time teaching, I really get a thrill sharing what I love and it made me feel good that others wanted to try this. The project seemed simple but it had a lot to teach about proportions and working with light colored clay. It's funny how much you learn from teaching.

I do so much sculpting and had since I was a kid, I didn't realize imagining a figure in 3d was not as easy to others as I thought. It's almost like when I discovered the idea of variables in math wasn't as obvious to others. I guess we all learned something.

I especially love the way everyone's is different and shows unique talent. One expert caner used a butterfly cane for wings or the cute beret. I can't wait to teach again.

 

 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do I make what sells or what I love?

[caption id="attachment_1304" align="aligncenter" width="285"]Polymer clay Troll Troll[/caption]

Sometimes, it takes one comment to make you start to think. One Facebook today when I posted a link to the bride and groom I made yesterday, one follower let me know she didn't like it. Rather than delete it, I decided to ask why. She said it was really simple and had no detail, all I could say was the bride liked it.

Later she apologized and all I could think was, she's right. I make a lot of pieces just because they will sell, not because I like them. I started with polymer clay because I enjoyed it and making pieces like this troll or the oil painted ornaments really gets me going but they don't seem to sell.

What happens when your craft becomes a business but all you are selling are the pieces you make just because they will sell? What happens to the creative side and being able to focus on your own ideas. I've worked hard to try and make this a business when all I wanted to do originally was create and hopefully a few people would like my work and I make some space for new pieces.

Sometimes, I hate getting insights, especially when they are right and I have been going in the other direction.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's cake topper season

[caption id="attachment_1506" align="alignnone" width="448"]Polymer Clay Gymnast Cake Topper Gymnast Cake Topper[/caption]

January has rolled in and with that cake topper season. It seems like the new year rolls around and with that, the wedding orders come. My favorite part of making cake toppers is when some has a request I never thought of.

This was for a gymnast and her wrestling fiance. It is always fun when there are two interests to embrace. As you know each one is custom made, so if you are looking for a custom cake topper, check my shop to see them. If you don't see the design you want, just ask!