Grandma Moses has always been an inspirational figure to me – a prime example proving that it’s never too late to learn how to do something new. This article is about my learning something new.
I’ve recently started dabbling in the art of polymer clay, taking online classes and reading as many books as I can get my hands on. Yes, polymer clay, the stuff that we might have played with as kids, is a lovely medium for serious artists. New things I’ve learned which can be done with polyclay have been more imaginative than I could ever have dreamed of. A quick web search will bring up scads of pages showing those artists that can take a simple 2-oz block of plastic modeling clay and make beautiful pieces ranging from small jewelry items to large sculptures.
To see a fantastic assemblage of polymer artists and view their works, the “Masters” series has a great book: Masters: Polymer Clay: Major Works by Leading Artists by Ray Hemachandra (978-1600595844). Some items will make your jaw drop and wonder how they did it, others might just inspire you to try your own hand at making something. Whether it’s the optical illusion pieces from Dan Cormier, Kathleen Dustin’s lifelike botanical purses, or Barbara Spurling’s sculptures, it’s fun to sit and page through the book. I would have liked to list all the artisans I fell in awe of, but there are simply too many favorites from the book to list them all here.
A few of my favorite sites are Polymer Clay Daily, CraftArtEdu (which offers both free and pay-for-play video classes), and a new find, Polymer Clay Web.
One of polymer clay’s counterparts is precious metal clay – actual metal you can work in [basically] the same way as polymer clay (rolling out, stamping, forming). Metal clay comes as either a block (like polyclay) or in a powder form to which you add water. Depending on the type of metal and size of your creation, all you need to create beautiful jewelry pieces once formed is a simple kitchen blowtorch…like Tracey Spurgin’s amazing pin shown at left!
You’re never too old to learn something new, and you never know what new thing that you try will be something you realize you might just have a passion for. So why am I writing about this? Because the new approach to teaching people how to do research is Connected Learning — taking a subject about which you’re passionate and delving into it with an academic approach.
Have you tried anything new that turned out to make you say “I wish I’d known about this sooner!”?