Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In Living Color - Reflections on ArtBliss 2013

Life is never black and white when you dream in living color”-- Terah Cox

Student work - ArtBliss 2013

Stacie Florer gifted me a greeting card with this message along with a pair of her sinuously modern earrings at this year's ArtBliss. Although Stacie and I don't live anywhere near each other, when we re-connect each year at this retreat, it's as though we were sisters who koffee-klatched every day, sharing artsy gossip and new creative discoveries. That's the feeling throughout this vibrant  mixed media/jewelry/metals retreat that Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix have created on the outskirts of Washington, DC.

Stacie Florer earrings
I know that Stacie and I will collaborate on some pieces in the near future-- her designs always get my creative wheels in motion. And that's what an art retreat is all about-- jumpstarting the dusty ideas that have been rattling around your creative attic, languishing because you don't have the time/money/energy/confidence or whatever to bring them alive in full, living color.

I'm an admitted tv junkie and love my sci-fi and action/adventure shows. Even now I'm watching reruns of “Game of Thrones”, in anticipation of next March's season debut. But real excitement is hard to come by these days and too often we zone out in fantasy worlds that do nothing to nurture our creative and spiritual selves.

An art retreat is about creativity and community. It's not a hermit's cell of intense work and reflection, rather a joyful getting-together of like minds and creative interests. It's a place to try new, sometimes scary, methods with the reward of seeing your skills grow and having a classroom of like-minded explorers to root you on when you think you can't do it or will never make that pesky project come together in a coherent and pleasing piece.


So at the end of each day, when I look out over a classroom of workstations covered in chalk dust, spilled paint, used brushes and applicators and polymer clay scraps-- to see happy students who have spent a day discovering new techniques and pushing the boundaries of their imaginations, I know my work is done.

Cindy and Jeanette have already selected a stellar line-up of instructors for next year-- their 5th anniversary event-- including Stacie Florer, Mary Hettsmansperger, and Stephanie Lee. I have been generously included, for which I am very grateful. It's a long trek down to DC but how many opportunities do you get to spend a weekend in living color?
Go to www.artblissworkshops.com to get on the mailing list and be the first to register for next fall's classes. Put the dates on your calendar right now-- September 26-28, 2014.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dracula's Graffiti

Every year about this time, I do a special piece for Hallowe'en. I've blogged about this in previous years, with various themes about color, scary talismans, and the Celtic celebration of Samhain.
This year I'm fascinated with tattoos as art. In looking for inspiration for a new line of polymer jewelry elements, I bought a magazine last weekend featuring tattoo sleeve and wrist designs. The best work seems to be from coming from Europe-- lots of new techniques there, including watercolor styles and graffiti looks.

While my class was working on their pieces at the recent 3-day Intensive at my home, I had a chance to try out some new textures on elements that I had made to demo techniques for them. I finally got them out to finish this week and I was struck by the graphic quality of the designs. I played around with different acrylic paints on them and got out some gray pastels, which I've been using a lot lately. Gray is a very unappreciated color but it really says “autumn” to me--gray skies, rainy clouds, deep sunsets.

After adding some red for accent, I had the perfect urban/tribal piece, with colors that Count Dracula would love. A bit different from previous years but I like it and it will be very wearable with my winter wardrobe.

Thanks to my new friend Diana Ptaszynski, who kindly added me to her Hallowe'en/Day of the Dead Blog Tour at the last minute. Be sure to visit all the other talented participants. This wonderful, spooky holiday only comes once a year!

"Dracula's Graffiti" - polymer clay
Kathleen Breeding http://99bobotw.blogspot.com
Sue Kennedy http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com
Diana Ptaszynski http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com
Dianne Miller http://www.artbydianne.blogspot.com
Lisa Liddy http://www.lisaliddy.wordpress.com
Toltec Jewels http://www.JewelSchoolFriends.com
Linda Landig http://www.LindasBeadBlog.com
Laura Medeiros http://Www.zoeowyn.blogspot.com
Veralynne Malone http://www.veradesigns.blogspot.com
Lynn Jobber http://thecreativeklutz.blogspot.co.uk
Jayne Cappshttps://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Joan Miller http://metalmudandsand.blogspot.com/
Melissa Meman http://melissameman.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger http://www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com
Inge von Roos http://www.ingetraud.wordpress.com
Stephanie LaRosa http://Www.stringaholic.blogspot.com
Lola Surwillo http://www.beadlolabead.com
Jennifer Cameron http://glassaddictions.com/blog
Diane Hawkey http://dianehawkey.blogspot.com
Nicole Valentine Rimmer http://www.nvalentine.blogspot.com
Tanya Goodwin http://www.Pixiloo.blogspot.com
Sandra McGriff http://skyescreativechaos.blogspot.com
Sarajo Wentling http://www.sjdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com
Marie Covert http://thistledown-and-swaddlings.blogspot.com
Lisa Stukel http://www.carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com
Laurie Vyselaar http://www.Lefthandjewelry.wordpress.com
Pam Traub http://www.klassyjoolz.blogspot.com
Lori Dorrington http://lorisglassworks.blogspot.com
Kristen Stevens http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com
Eleanor Burian-Mohr http://cornerstoregoddessjewelry.blogspot.com
Sally Russick http://thestudiosublime.com
Dawn M. Gallop http://www.flipflopsandpoptarts.com

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Linked by Friendship and by Art

For the Blog Book Tour for Cindy Wimmer's first book - “The Missing Link” I decided to revert to what I do best, be it polymer or writing-- tell stories.

When Cindy accorded me the great honor of writing the Forward to her new book, I had the happy task of re-visiting our friendship and how we first became aware of each other's work. To celebrate the publishing of her book, I'm going to show you some photos of my favorite Cindy pieces.

Many of you may not know that I started my work in jewelry with bead stringing. I loved jewelry but had a pretty tight budget-- as a single woman with a mortgage--so I decided to make my own pieces. I found beads to string at the local Ben Franklin store and then started adding chain, wire and found objects. Eventually, I couldn't find the beads I wanted so I started making them with polymer clay.

About that time I decided that polymer beads could be greatly enhanced by more coherent design and wire skills so I was determined to learn more about what made a great necklace. Chain and wire seemed important to the final look so I started buying the “Step by Step Wire” and “Easy Wire” magazines to find more instruction and ideas.

I kept seeing the same contributor turn up in each issue-- “Cindy Wimmer”-- and noticed all the pages I tore out of my magazines to keep and study were her designs. Finally, one day I left a comment on her blog and won one of Cindy's pendants, “Joy”. At the time I was at a difficult place in my life and this little pendant kept me going with its hopeful message. I bought a pair of Cindy's earrings to go with it and they are still my go-to everyday earrings, just copper wire twisted into one of Cindy's simple, iconic designs.

"Joy" pendant and earrings by Cindy Wimmer
So we began corresponding about life, jewelry and everything else and in August 2009 we did our first collaboration for a contest called “Summer's Colors” on Susan Lenart Kazmer's blog. Cindy stamped the names of each of the colors onto a unique metal pendant and I did my polymer color thing with the focal bead. I still love this piece.

"Midnight in Mumbai" - Wimmer and Damm collaboration

When I first started making polymer beads, I started noticing that few well-known wire artists used them. One actually told me that people liked beads that were “more natural”, like gemstones or lampwork. Cindy had no hesitations at all about using my polymer beads in her projects that were featured in national magazines and popular books. In fact, she championed them with editors. I was thrilled that her wire could so enhance the beads I was making and show other jewelry stringers that polymer was a design force whose time had come.

Bead Trends collaboration
Cindy's tutorial in "Wire Style II" - "Fallen to Earth"

My version of Cindy's piece from "Wire Style II"
I kept seeing Cindy's work and design style evolve over the next couple of years and was not surprised at all when she told me her book proposal had been accepted by Interweave Press. Cindy's wirestyle always surprises me with its classic yet bold curvatures. I see tribal echoes in them, which I appreciate more than coy filigree and dainty curlicues. Yet it's adaptable to pearls and antique elements as well. I don't know how she does it but you will appreciate her thoughtful and thorough approach when you set your pliers to the wire and start to form her designs.

I chose the bold look of the Sliding Rings link to pair with my rugged polymer “Molten” beads. I could see some mid-century shapes complementing this link as well, something in the style of Matisse perhaps.

 "Molten" necklace - using Sliding Rings links
The thing is, Cindy's links make you think. Of new designs. Of pairings you never would have imagined. Of fabulous chains. Of possibilities. And for me, that's the best kind of book.
Leave a comment including your e-mail address on this post to be entered into a drawing to receive a copy of “The Missing Link”. Then go to Cindy's blog www.sweetbeadstudio.com for more chances to win giveaways and to find links to all the other posts about “The Missing Link” by the other contributors. I will randomly draw a number at the end of the day on the 20th from the comments below and pass the winner along to Cindy. She'll announce the winners on October 21st and the winners will receive their books shipped directly to you from the publisher.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Finding Delight in the Ordinary

The modern world often bashes us over the head with stimuli-- flashy videos, faster-than-light communications, instant gratification on everything from Facebook posts to e-books that magically appear on our computer screens moments after paying for them with PayPal. What happened to the ability to savor the ordinary routines in our lives, the everyday tasks that calm, soothe and provide continuity from one day to the next?

Our day begins at 5:15 a.m. I'm a “morning person” but 5:15 is brutal, even in summer when it's beginning to get light outside at that hour. August in Vermont means foggy mornings that break into brilliant, sunny days that hint of autumn. As I looked out my bathroom window today, the full moon was still high over my woods, a silvery disk above the hill, just beginning to wane. Its simple beauty was touching and the sight of it felt like a blessing. I smiled and was about to turn away when a hint of movement caught my eye. Deer. Four of them, moving purposefully through the tall grass, looking for who-knows-what to munch. I stayed for several minutes watching them graze, and then they began to frisk about with each other, almost dancing, as the fawn made little mock runs at the does, dodging around our apple trees. It was magical. I called to Douglas to come see them and we both stood at the window, looking out at the little wild visitors who live so simply and invisibly just steps from our back door. Sometimes our civilized lives seem such a burden-- bills to pay, social media to catch up on, tasks to plan and execute, projects to keep in motion. My goal today is to live in the moment and just find delight in the ordinary.


Photo by Bob Von Bruns

 Bill Cheeseman_deer
Photo by Bob Cheesman – This isn’t my backyard
but it looks just like the scene this morning

Friday, July 26, 2013

Art on the Farm

I love teaching. Traveling to teach-- not so much. When Cindy Wimmer  and Jeanette Blix first invited me to teach at ArtBliss a few years ago, it was a huge opportunity to introduce polymer clay to a mostly-polymer-virgin audience of mixed media and jewelry enthusiasts. This year I'm pleased to be teaching again for two classes, despite the long trip down to Washington, DC from Vermont. The creative energy, seeing old friends again and meeting new ones, connecting with people I've only met online, the intense satisfaction of teaching students who are passionate about their creative pursuits-- it's really worth the trip.

Colorful Landscapes with Christine Damm
Photos from the Colorful Landscapes class at ArtBliss 2013
Worlds of Color—Textured Polymer Clay Beads w/Christine Damm
Photo from Worlds of Color—Textured Polymer Clay Beads class at ArtBliss 2013
Now my polymer style and techniques are getting out into the wider world in a big way, thanks to people like Cynthia Tinapple, curator extraordinaire of all things polymer and the genius behind the blog Polymer Clay Daily, now in its eighth year. Her new book Polymer Clay: Global Perspectives is out this week and I'm honored to have a tutorial in the section “Mixed Media”, along with my friend Claire Maunsell  and Genevieve Williamson.     
So for a while people have been asking about doing work with me in a longer timeframe than a daylong class. My philosophy has always been more about exploration than a focus on one technique or medium. Hey, in her book Cynthia calls me the “Art Omnivore”! Since discovering polymer, I have learned everything I could about what's already been done in the medium with the express purpose of finding my own way with clay. I try everything--without judgment--and I play as much as I follow precise technique when I work. I've found my own unique way of working and it seems some folks would like to learn how I do that, as well as learn about my specific technique and methods of surface coloration.     
I’ve decided that it's time to offer an intensive class at my home workshop in our quiet corner of rural Vermont. I'll be doing this two times a year-- in the spring and fall-- and this year's dates are October 9-11, 2013. We're not too far from Boston and close to a charming village that has dining and groceries and bed and breakfast accommodations. Here's the flyer.  
Stories They Tell & Christine Damm announce
Art on the Farm: A 3-Day Polymer Clay
Intensive Workshop
New Ways with Construction, Texture & Color
Bonnybrook Farm – Braintree, VT
October 9-11, 2013
This course was created to provide insight into my technique but also into my method of working, with an emphasis on nurturing each participant's exploration of their own artistic expression and development of an individual creative voice. We all want to make art that is meaningful, emotional and that tells a story. I intend for this course to facilitate that ability. 
We'll begin this 3-day intensive class learning my signature method of texturing polymer clay. We'll use my extensive collection of my handmade silicone molds and I'll teach how to make molds and how to use everyday objects in unique ways for impressing textures and other designs on polymer. Then we'll explore innovative ways to use layering to construct textured beads and other jewelry elements, such as pendants, using wire and other metal findings to create integral connections.

Finally, a wide variety of surface-coloring techniques will be discussed and demonstrated on the completed polymer forms using oil and acrylic paints, chalk, texturing media, pencils and inks. In addition to studio time devoted to instruction and demonstrations, students will have ample time to apply the coloring techniques to their own pieces.
Consultations with individual students can be scheduled to discuss personal style and how the techniques taught can enhance and broaden their work.
This intensive is suitable for beginners in polymer clay, as well as advanced polymer users, as the technique I teach involves a completely different approach from traditional color blending-based polymer applications such as cane-making and mokume gane. Artists from any discipline may benefit from this class-- mixed media and collage, painting and watercolor, stoneware clay and jewelry arts, to name a few. All that's required is curiosity and a well-developed artist's or crafting skill-set. Class size will be limited to 8 students.
Participants will have access to all my personal coloring supplies, such as Pan Pastels, Genesis Heat-Set Oil Paints, Neocolor II crayons, Prismacolor pencils, acrylic and alcohol inks and acrylic paints. A tool kit with basic polymer clay supplies (blade, scalpel, Genesis Heavy Medium, Genesis Burnt Umber Heat-Set oil paint for antiquing, sanding pads, molding putty, and Premo clay) will be available for purchase for $20; other basic supplies, such as jewelry findings, wire and additional clay will also be available in the studio for purchase. Upon receipt of class fees, a list of useful tools and items needed for the class will be sent.


The Garden Workshop with hens
Battles Brook, which runs next to our house

 For more information about tuition, registration and all the other fine print, e-mail me at cdamm1@myfairpoint.net. The class size is capped at 8 students so that everyone will receive the maximum of personal attention and instruction. I'm very excited to invite you all into my studio. I think we can do great things together.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Enter the Dragon

Dragons abound in literature from the earliest written records and leads us to wonder—if they appear in the folklore of so many diverse cultures, might they really exist? I suppose I was bitten by the dragon bug when I first read The Hobbit back in college many years ago. Smaug was the product of the awesome imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien —and what a magnificently-fearsome dragon he was. Jewel-encrusted breast, lying on a priceless hoard of dwarves’ precious gold, prone to livestock-and-villager-hunting rage on any given day—he remains one of the great creations of imagination in all literature.

When designer Andrew Thornton proposed a new jewelry challenge, Inspired by Reading,  based on a monthly book to be read by the members, I knew I couldn’t resist. After just a few paragraphs of May’s selection, A Rumor of Gems by Ellen Steiber,  I was hooked. Ms. Steiber creates an amazingly realistic world in the city of Arcata and her characters are nicely flawed and endlessly fascinating. Her prose is beautifully poetic as well.  But despite the precious gems that continue to turn up in every alley of the city’s streets, the scene is constantly being stolen by a small jade dragon that goes from an inanimate statue to a vibrantly alive creature in the blink of – well, a dragon’s eye. From the moment I began to read, I knew I wanted a dragon to star  in my jewelry piece.

Over the past year I’ve bought a few dragon-themed books to use as inspiration for a dragon pendant or sculpture since I like scary and scaly dragons, the real fire-breathing type. Like the medieval ones in The Book of Kells, kind of fantastical (are there really any other kind?) and mysterious. I had a design that I used for the body of a snake in my “Serpent” necklace so I recycled it with the addition of head, feet and wings for my pendant, using attachments for a bit of 3-D and a faux jade mix of polymer clay for the body.

Picture 2470_1024
“Wyrm” – Polymer clay, heat-set oil paint, acrylics
But all the extra body parts made him too big for my intended necklace. I dug out some faux jade beads that had been sitting around and liked the technique that created them so I used the extra jade polymer mix to craft a pendant in the same style and some heavily textured dangles for it. Then I remembered a brass dragon stamping that I had purchased from my favorite Vermont Etsy seller, You Are Not the Boss of Me. Mounted on the front of the pendant I think he looks right at home. I added some honey tourmaline, African brass rounds, a handmade wire-wrapped copper bail and some copper chain and it was complete. I could definitely see the main character, Lucinda, wearing it.

“Rumor of Gems” – Polymer clay, heat-set oil paint, acrylics, copper, honey tourmaline, African brass

I highly recommend this book. And if, by the end of it, you haven’t quite had your fill of dragons and gems—the author is in the process of writing a sequel to Rumor of Gems. If you love to make jewelry and you love to read, check out the Inspired by Reading Book Club on Andrew’s blog,

Friday, June 7, 2013

Making Your Mark

There are so many polymer artists out there these days, doing a lot of very innovative work. It's natural to worry that you can't make your mark in this eclectic and ever-changing marketplace, create something truly distinctive that's all your own. According to a trends and marketing expert, Seth Godin, you really have to keep innovation and uniqueness in your work, as more and more people are looking for just that.

I've been noticing that a growing number of people are making headpins and jewelry components out of polymer. I've made my own components for years, usually with embedded wire so I can string them easily in my larger jewelry pieces. It seems as more and more people are making their own jewelry, they are seeking unique and unusual components for necklaces, bracelets and earrings and enterprising artists are jumping in to fill the gap.

I liked much of the work I was seeing-- always dangerous because it leads me to think that whatever I design won't be that different. Silly me! The minute I sat down to work my hands just left my critical thoughts behind and my little headpins came out totally in my own style and completely different from anyone else's work.



So if indecision stymies you, just sit down and start playing. That's what art is all about-- letting your subconscious work through your hands. Let the ancient part of your brain do the thinking, the part that controls emotion and inspiration. With polymer clay, rolling and squeezing the clay, forming and molding it is very freeing and if you don't like what you've created, just recycle it and start over. Don't get precious with the results-- watch what the clay is doing and try to work with it. Also remember-- some days you're hot and some days you're not. Some days everything you do is brilliant and some days you need to just step away for awhile -- go garden or do something else completely different. “To everything there is a season...”



Fiddlehead pins – Polymer, watercolor crayons



Hidden Meanings -  Folded bead pendant, polymer, Pan Pastels

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making Time for Spring

All winter I've been enjoying the view out my studio window onto my garden and fields, the snow falling and blanketing everything so that  the shapes of things transform and soften. It's been very serene and calming but Spring is finally here in Vermont and between the arrival of baby chicks soon and the garden badly needing my attention, my work schedule has suddenly accelerated and become like a young, frisky pony that's a blast to ride but a bit out of control.
I'm currently working on multiple projects, all of them showing up at the same time and all needing to be coordinated with each other. When you're a working artist, playing with the art stuff is the fun part but the scheduling, writing, arranging and all the other business aspects still have to be done so it's like having to eat your veggies before you get to dessert.   

ArtBliss 2013, which happens this year September 27-29th just outside Washington, DC went live last week. Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix have gathered some amazing artists this year so be sure to visit the site for more information on the three intensive days of classes. I've planned two completely different topics to teach this year so if you've taken classes with me before, I'll still be teaching my unique method for applying color on polymer clay but there will be some new and exciting things to learn if you'd like to come and join the fun!

Coral Reef beads – Polymer clay, natural coral
Example from “Worlds of Color: Textured Polymer Clay Beads” workshop for ArtBliss 2013
Stonehenge beads – Polymer clay, moonstones
Examples from “Worlds of Color” workshop for ArtBliss 2013
Polymer clay, pigments
Example from the “Colorful Landscapes” workshop for ArtBliss 2013

Next, I'm back to making beads! Yes, where I first started with polymer but with lots of new twists and techniques. I made some mokume gane beads (based on the Japanese metalworking technique) for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup book last year and it turns out that someone saw them and ordered a custom set from me. Then she sent photos of some of her tees to match to new sets of beads for her to use in her own creations. I love working with clients like this and it's very gratifying to know they're getting exactly what they want. Here’s what beautiful work Dianne did with one set of beads.

Comic Book beads in an ensemble by Dianne Dies
As if all this wouldn't keep me busy enough, I have taken a BIG plunge and am planning two large endeavors this year-- a book and  polymer workshops at my home. Yes, very big news for me and I’d be lying if I said I was completely confident of pulling it off. But it’s out in the Universe now and I’m going to make it happen!
The book has been in the works (that is, in my head and my notebooks) for over a year but now I'm actually ready to submit a query to a publisher. I'm not saying which one yet but the one that’s attracting me the most is a very respected house and I love the books I've seen from this publisher-- the photos, the organization, the artists they choose to represent. I've talked to several other friends who have entered the publishing fray and am using their generous advice to set my compass for this sail of mine into totally unknown waters. Luckily, I have a firm grasp of my purpose in writing a book and in what I want to put out in the world so I already see it in my mind's eye. I'm essentially working backward-- the book exists in my life, work and notebooks and now I'm merely writing it down.
Everglades necklace – Oil paint, acrylic, pencil
Mayan cuff – Embossing powder, acrylic, patina
  The second big project is to create a 3-day intensive retreat at my home in Vermont for an intimate class of students who want to delve deeper into my method and techniques and benefit from more individual attention and from watching me do what I do. After my ArtBliss classes last year I was invited by a couple of my students to come to their home town to teach but the distance and time away from our mini-farm was prohibitive so an idea that had been in the back of my head for a while began to evolve. I have a large free-standing workshop in the garden behind my house with space for the classes and although our home is rural, we are only 5 miles from the nearest small town with B&B accommodations, restaurants, and all the other amenities. I have to hammer out the details yet but I'm planning to open registrations soon for the first session during Vermont's foliage season this October. I'm hoping students will view this as an opportunity to plan an entire vacation in Vermont with the retreat as one part of the fun since there is so much to see and do here-- biking, riding, antiquing, Colonial America history, photography, etc. As I firm up the details and class information, I'll be posting it on this blog and you can always leave me a comment here if you want me to e-mail you directly about the classes.  

In Alice’s Garden necklace – Oil paint, Byzantia metallics, pencil
Layered heart pendant – acrylics, oil paint, pencil

Monday, January 28, 2013


Recently I was hard at work trying to figure out how a new polymer clay technique was done. Now I could just buy the tutorial on Etsy but I constantly endeavor to exercise my aging brain so I was attempting to reverse-engineer it by myself. I was also trying to figure out why I was feeling slightly annoyed while discarding this and that theory about the technique's technical ins-and-outs. Then I realized that what the originator of the technique was doing with it was just not living up to its potential. They were simply creating various ways to use it without any in-depth attempt to really exploit it and make me want to learn the secrets of its invention and ways in which I could enhance my own work-- make it my own-- instead of merely copying it and making an object with it. I make lots of objects myself, mostly experiments that result from trying something new with polymer but I wanted the inventor's examples to pique my curiosity, to make me sit up and say “wow!” To start my brain on a whole series of “what-ifs” and send it down the rabbit's hole of discovery. To make me see my medium and my artistic options in a whole new way.

If any of you follow my Pinterest board “Polymer Clay”, you'll notice that I don't post a lot of images there. Sometimes this is due to the fact that some sites are rights-protected and I can't “pin” them but more often because I don't post anything that doesn't grab me, at least in polymer clay work. This is the reason that I don't often post my experiments on Flickr-- I don't crave public approval so I only try to post work that has ripened, you might say-- work that will nudge you in your creative backside and send you on a journey of your own. I'm not saying that I always succeed but it is always my ultimate goal.

So here's my only New Year's Resolution for 2013--my stated purpose in working in polymer clay or in any creative medium, for that matter. It's not good enough, I believe, just to make something beautiful, however enjoyable it is for me and however enjoyable it happens to be for others to gaze upon. My purpose will be to strive to make something that arouses the viewer's curiosity to wonder “how did they do that”? To inspire mastery, not only of the technical skill in order to duplicate it but to discover what the hidden or underlying meanings might be, both to the maker as well as the intended audience. To inspire others to produce work that is not merely attractive, even though that is not a bad thing in itself, but work that illuminates some underlying condition of the human spirit or experience. To help us realize who we are and what our contributions to life on this planet and in this Universe are and could be, even on the small scale of one piece of work by one human being in one tiny corner of the cosmos. 

Here are some pieces I just finished by using my own methods instead of those of the tutorial I didn't buy. Created in my own way of working, I like them much better than if I were just copying the originator. They tell my story.

“Sands of Mars” – Polymer clay
Untitled – Polymer clay, chalk, pencil
“Like the Color When the Spring is Born” – Polymer clay
“Earthen” – Polymer clay
“Moonrise” – Polymer clay
Untitled – Polymer clay