This Siamese cat is feeling snug wrapped in a crazy-quilt blanket. He safely made the trip from Pennsylvania to Virginia to be with his new owner, Julie. She has a soft spot for Siamese cats, volunteering with Siamese Rescue. While everything ended up great, this order started with an inventory glitch on my part. The original one that Julie saw in my shop (below, posing with my Emily) was no longer in my stock, but she was kind enough to let me make this one just for her.
These ornaments are “one-of-a-kind” collectible egg art. Yes, I sculpted this White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat from polymer clay over a hollow chicken eggshell. The image below lets you see how the Cheshire Cat emerged from his egg. These pieces are both available in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarieYoungCreative
This dragon sculpture is my husband’s favorite piece of mine; even in its “before” state. I created the top portion (the dragon in the egg) in 2014 and with some revisions in 2017, I am loving it too.
About “Freedom” Dragon Sculpture
Mixed Media Sculpture: polymer clay, hollow chicken egg, inks (MarieYoungCreative.com)
Here are a few lessons that I learned in the creation of this piece.
- Cracked eggs can be salvaged.
I was covering a hollow chicken egg shell with polymer when in cracked, but it cracked in THE MOST spectacular way. My mind’s eye immediately pictured a dragon emerging from the split. I broke away more of the egg to accommodate the size of its body and gently sealed the edges with layers of liquid clay.
- Values matter when it comes to color.
One of the things that bothered me about the original piece was how the dark grays and greens in the face seemed muddy. It needed more contrast in the color values. I didn’t want to use paint to add details because it distracts from the buffed finish of the bare clay. The great thing about polymer is that you can cure it more than once, so I added highlights and lowlights with strategically placed bits of clay.
- Eyes capture the soul.
I thought using yellow would make the dragon’s eye pop, but clearly it didn’t. For round two, I choose a blue and yellow combination for the iris. I added an outer rim of white to really make the eye the focal point. It was also an opportunity to give the sweet beast a little bit of a flirty personality.
- Feng Shui is important.
The radiating pattern of the dragon scales on the egg pulsed with energy, yet the flow of rest of the piece was off. The curve of the dragon’s neck had nice movement, but the angle that it emerged from the egg felt odd. It looked clumsy from different views and the egg rolled around too much. The cure for these flaws was to reseat the dragon in the egg and to create a base that not only stabilized the piece, but also added to the over all flow of movement.
So with these changes, I’m on to the next one.
My mother gave me a bunch of adorably tiny terra cotta pots. I’m experimenting on how to use them for little story vignettes. I thought I would do a simple kitty sitting in quiet contemplation to warm up my creative juices before moving into more complicated scenes.
Simply Sweet Sitting Kitty
“Sitting Kitty” is the result of this creative playtime. My artist guild (the Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy) is exploring the idea of minimalism this month. It really isn’t a style that comes naturally to me. I’m a detail girl, but for this piece, I tried to restrain my nature and think about the bare essence that the scene required.
Because this piece is a prototype of sorts I decided to list it in my Etsy shop as a “sample sale.” I’ve been having these sales once in a while. It is a win-win.
I get to create a small scale prototypes for more elaborate designs that I will be releasing down the road and you can add affordable starter art to your collection. They are my way of playing with new ideas and include the same sweet craftsmanship that you find in all of my pieces.
Study finds candy improves test results
Okay, so the claim that “Candy Improves Test Results” probably isn’t true. I read it in a dream state.
Last night, in my dream, I perused a magazine that I read for my day job at the university. As I flipped though the pages, I came across an article citing a “research” study. The study found that students who reviewed test materials in a malt shoppe-type setting did better on tests than their counterparts who studied in dank spaces.
The article featured a picture of four smart-looking college-age girls dressed in bright purple cardigans matched with plaid skirts. They sat in an old-fashioned ice-cream parlor with some serious looking books open while eating vanilla ice-cream sprinkled with various colorful candies. Juxtaposed beside that photo, a set of sad souls in Harry Potter-style fashions looked over the same textbooks, but chained in a dungeon. According to the dreamed-induced study, the happy ice-cream eaters scored higher than the dungeon prisoners on a test the next day.
I’m sure you could poke a few holes in findings. Let’s start with the fact that sugar is horrible for concentration. But you have to admit that there is something to be said about positive surroundings. Fortunately I’m way past my test-taking days so I have no reason to try out this theory. My take-away from the dream is that I need a bowl of ice-cream and a really comfy purple cardigan.
So what colors/themes make you feel the most productive?
Animals are my favorite subjects, and nothing is more fun for me than working on animals wearing fancy clothes. This classy lady is “Take 2” on a piece I did earlier this summer called Jazz Hands. The original sold already so I figured the idea was a good one. This finished work is now available in my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarieYoungCreative
Polymer Animal Sculpture: The Process
This time I wanted to do a more anthropomorphic, art doll interpretation of the “Jazz Hands” concept. Here you can see some in progress shots. I had worked on her head earlier this month and today was time for some body shaping. My muse was really cooperating so I made great progress.
I love how these projects lead to some interesting conversations between my husband and me. Today’s quality-control collaboration:
Me: “Are my raccoon’s boobs lopsided?
Rob: No words, but a squinty face that means “I want to say something, but I’m afraid to.”
Rob: “Don’t ask if you don’t really want my opinion.”
Me: “I’ll take that as a yes.”
Rob: “Yes, the left one is bigger”
Original Jazz Hands
The piece below is the first take on the theme. It sold this fall when I featured it at Grin Gallery in Bedford, PA.
Yay, It’s Ornament Season.
Ornaments are tiny little windows into the soul. Each one holds special meaning for both the creator and the one displaying it.
Most of the ornaments in my 2016 collection feature whimsical critters. They offer me joy through the creation process and you, the collector, a little bit of fairytale escape.
Sculpted from polymer clay over hand blown chicken eggs they are durable yet lightweight.
Free Shipping: Now through Dec. 11 you can get free shipping on any order over $50 when you use the code FREE50 at check out. Shop here.
Creating fantasy worlds provides a coping mechanism when things get stressful in my real world. Well, things are really stressful right now.
This election has opened a sense of foreboding in me like I have never experienced. I don’t air my political views in the social media world because I have close friends on both sides of the aisle whom I respect tremendously. I prefer face-to-face discussions that allow a greater depth of discovery.
This blog is never going to be a place of political discourse. There are many other people who do a much better job on that front. So no need to worry, your escape route is safe here. In fact, that is kind of the point of this post. In some weird way, Donald Trump has clarified my business mission. With everyone posting commentary on the downfall of our society, I feel that now more than ever, the world can use a little whimsy.
About the “Whimsy Exists” graphic:
This quote graphic features my OOAK Siamese Cat Art Doll figurine “Emily” — inspired by my cat and the Art Deco cigarette girls of the 1930s. You can’t get more whimsical than that!