Who Inspires You?

I am inspired by other artists who work with polymer, and other media. I am constantly combing the web to see what others are doing, what creative edges they are pushing. I love finding out about new techniques, what the Pioneers of Polymer Clay are doing with it. My favorite monthly passtime is to visit Barnes & Noble, order some tea, and sit with a stack of new magazines like PolmerCafe, ArtJewelry, Expressions, ArtDoll…and just see what is going on. I don’t believe we create in a vacuum, I don’t believe my ideas are new. I believe in collective consciousness between us, to take the same materials and our ideas and form them into whatever art speaks to our own soul, but always within the patterns of human existance. You know, what was old is new again…that type of thing.

What Inspires You?
Nature! I live (finally) in South Florida. Right now, I am sitting in my living room feeling a tropical breeze and looking out my back door at a dozen varieties of palm, a huge oak tree, flowering bushes, puffy clouds and a gorgeous clear blue sky. I have two cats, a dog, and a beautiful green and blue fish. I swim at a beach where we often see fish in the shallows…and collect a shell whenever I go. So it is no surprise to me that leaves and flowers make their way into my designs. And faces. I love the human body as well, such a perfect design, so interesting to look at. I enjoy dancing and moving, so I try to build movement into my designs. I have taken bellydance classes, and will be going to my first Salsa class tonight! I love absolutely anything having to do with India. The crazy color combinations, the celebration of the body, the music and dance. For a while I used to henna my own hands and feet. It got cumbersome, so I had a henna-style lotus tattooed on the inside of my right wrist.

Where do you create?
My “studio” is my dining room table handed down from my grandparents. My grandfather, who was my biggest patron but has left this earth, didn’t realize he was 50 years ahead of a trend when he whitewashed the wood. It has mellowed to an earthy beige, and it’s all weathered and beaten up but the top is polished smooth from years of use. My table sits in front of a window and near my computer, which I use a lot for various websites, including my own: studiobijou.com. I also manage this site and am involved with EJA – Eclectic Jewelry Artisans, which can be found at eeja.org. My husband is a graphic designer, so I have been fortunate to learn from him and have a fully functional computer graphics studio.

How Long Have you been Working with Polymer Clay?
Since I was a kid! I was given a box of white sculpey when I was very young. I remember making little figurines out of it. I played around with it but didn’t take it seriously. Then about 10 years ago, I decided to make a family tree as a gift for my Grandparents who had been married for 50 years. I made little portrait heads of everyone in the family and after they were opened up (at Christmas) we hung them on a little white tree. Everyone loved it! They could really see themselves in the faces I made. It was a great idea, but I suffer from the inability to effectively market myself, so it remained a gift and nothing more. Then a couple years ago, I got the idea to make a bracelet for my stepmom for Mother’s Day. I made leaf beads and strung them with Rose Quartz. It was beautiful. She showed it to her friends, who all ordered one, and then it just spiralled out of control! I started selling leaf bracelets as fast as I could make them. Then I opened my Etsy shop, and another shop on RubyLane.com. I find that my internet sales are slow though. People are very appreciative of my work up close, but don’t buy as quickly online. So I will be branching out into doing some shows soon. My husband has volunteered to help out with that, so I feel very lucky. He enjoys selling my work, even if he is sick of hearing me talk about it.

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