Working from my backyard studio for the last 18 years has given me a life that I’m better suited for than any other life I can imagine. When I’m not out in the studio making beads and jewelry out of polymer clay, I’m often in my garden or on the road selling and teaching. I sell my work at about 8 shows a year and teach at about 8 venues a year throughout the United States and recently in Israel and Europe too.
I began making beads in 1987 after recognizing the glass techniques used by early polymer clay artist, Martha Breen . I used a lot of bold graphic patterns often in black and ivory because I liked the way they mimicked the look and feel of scrimshaw. I was influenced by repeat patterns that I saw in African, Asian and European textiles, and I began cutting apart and mirroring the images building more and more complex canes. In 1997 when Judith Skinner shared her color blending techniques I was able to get a more painterly feeling from the canes and I discovered a whole new language in color.
I work intuitively and often use textiles and paintings for sources of inspiration. I will look closely at a painting to try to see the color relationships that the artist has used before reinterpreting these relationships into blended sheets of clay. I layer the sheets of blended clay to create a large blocks of colors from which the cane will be constructed.
I usually build my canes around 6-8 lbs in weight and 4-5 inches in diameter. Before I begin to build, I do a series of detailed drawings to figure out both the color schemes and the placement of the graphics, sometimes taking a very long time to mix and remix sheets of color blends. I compose the cane from the blocks of color thinking of them as pieces of a 3-D puzzle. After the cane is constructed, I generally cut it apart into many smaller canes that use different parts of the image and modifying each one by “kaleidoscoping” or mirroring the canes until I have a series of different but related canes. I like working with numbers and patterns and I love knowing that I can generate an infinite array of intricate patterns through this process.