There is a period of time for everyone that is called the learning curve. Curve. You can’t see around the edge of a curve, but you do know something is there. Something just waiting for you to round that bend.
So it went on my journey of exploring Polymer Clay. After the lump incident I learned quite a bit about the way the stuff felt. I learned that the baking time is really important. I learned to let it the varnish dry before writing on it. And, the important model here is that I tool note of what I learned so I could make NEW mistakes instead of repeating the ones I had already made.
I referenced, again, the section in Carmen Torbus’s book dealing with clay. It was whimsically presented by Jenn McGlon. I knew, looking at those pictures, that working with Polymer Clay was a lot like ballet. The best dancers make ballet look so easy. And Jenn’s articles looked so accessible. Ha! I soldiered on. I started to get a feel for the place in which the clay was “ready” to be formed. I grabbed an old rolling pin at my local thrift shop and used that to flatten my clay. I wanted to experiment with how the clay would accept marks….and how it would deal with paint.
I almost went in search of tutorials but I held myself back. I was still in the exploration phase and I wanted to just act with the information that Carmen and Jenn provided. Additional tutors could come later. I formed one of my favorite shapes: hearts. And I learned what I wanted, plus a whole bunch more. I learned about adhesives, time to dry, and how the clay would accept collage pieces. And somewhere in the midst of it all, I stop furrowing my eyebrows into a single unit and started having fun.
I made dozens and dozens of different hearts. And true to the process – I’ve been giving them all away. Spontaneously. At speaking engagements, Included in little packages to friends. In fact, a friend of mine is recovering from a serious procedure and she’ll be in the hospital all week. She’ll get a polymer clay heart, too. Hers says on the back, “Take care of yourself.”
Today it’s not so difficult to show you a photo of my process. I’m happier with the outcome. But still! the lumps I turned out on my first effort served a very important purpose. Those lumps were part of my learning curve. At this stage in my discovery, I STILL couldn’t see what was around the curve…but I kept on going anyway.
One of the artists in this circle of discovery has begun sharing the steps on her curve. If you are curious you can read about Christine Mason Miller’s journey here: http://christinemasonmiller.com/2011/06/29/creative-tools/
I’m hoping the detail of this creative journey inspires you to be patient with your own learning curves…and maybe, just might be the impetus to pick up a creative expression that is unfamiliar to you. Now, have a heart or two…
The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most. – John Ruskin –
Green is the fresh emblem of well-founded hopes. In blue the spirit can wander, but in green it can rest. – Mary Webb –
What an artist is for is to tell us what we see but do not know we see. – Edith Stillwell –
No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time; it is just that others are behind the times. – Martha Graham –
When you make any kind of artwork, you have to serve it. You could easily call the artist a servant. – M.B Goffstein
The first prerogative of an artist in any medium is to make a fool of himself. – Pauline Kael –