In 2013 I moved house and had no proper studio space for a long time. I had only a tiny area to work in and mainly used my sketchbook for a couple of years. I had had a book on my shelf for a long time, about things made in a fascinating material called silver clay. I discovered that HIgham Hall near Cockermouth in Cumbria was offering an introductory workshop led by a tutor called Tracy Spurgin. So as a break from my ‘non- studio’, I went along and had a really interesting couple of days. As I left I said to Tracey “ This is quite expensive stuff, is there anything else I could use to practice some of the skills required to work with this material?” She suggested I try polymer clay.
I came home, bought myself some Premo! polymer clay and was instantly hooked….colour in 3D, pattern and texture and much, much more. I was, and still am, amazed at the versatility of this interesting material.
I never thought I would discover another medium I love as much as paint. But I have! So far, I have not picked up the silver clay again, but you never know.
So, I have spent the past couple of years playing with it, trying every technique I can. Making small things like brooches and earrings and bangles so I can try out techniques and processes. It is very interesting to be a beginner again.
This year I have attended an amazing 7 day intensive workshop in kaleidoscope caning with the amazing Carol Simmons from Colorado ( the workshop was in Bristol!) I learned so much from everyone there, and especially Carol, who has decades of experience in using polymer.
In July I attended at 6 day conference organised by the International Polymer Clay Association. This was really an amazing experience for me. I met many of the world leaders in the art of polymer. I attended three workshops and came home exhausted but totally enthused and inspired.
It was always my intention to combine polymer with paint, and so finally this summer, I jumped in started with that as you see in my Triptychs and Installation pieces. Creative play has always been part of my process as an artist and I am still playing, and learning lots about polymer clay. I doubt that will ever stop. But for now, I am spending less time making the small things and more just creating my images and using polymer as new medium in my tool kit.
I will be writing more about what it brings to my practice that paint does not. So if you are interested to know more, watch this space!