I’ve been a member of the British Polymer Clay Guild since it was founded in 1997 and I was on the committee for the first five years. My old membership card shows that I am member number 5!
Over the years I have enjoyed using polymer clay in many different ways, and it says a lot about the versatility of the medium that every new direction seems so new and exciting.
I got into polymer clay through making bead jewellery and wanting to be able to make my own beads. This led on to making decorative items such as paperweights and eggs, and then vessels such as little bottles and boxes. These pieces were often decorated with small animals, sometimes based on Japanese netsuke, and I loved the challenge of sculpting fine detail.
I’m just returning to polymer clay after a long break, during which family and career had to take precedence. I’ve become interested in creating larger, more natural looking animal sculptures using earth pigments and vegetable materials as inclusions to colour and texture the clay. I love the rugged beauty of animals sculpted in natural materials in outdoor settings, and my hope is to be able to capture something of the feel of these animals on a much smaller scale.
In the past I’ve had my work in a few local galleries near my home in Herefordshire and I’ve just had some animal sculptures accepted by the Lion Gallery in Leominster. My older work has also been featured in a few books and magazines. I have done some teaching and demonstrating for the guild and various local disability arts projects and community groups.
Walrus: 10cm long, coloured with natural earth pigments.
Warthog : 12.5cm long, coloured with natural pigments and textured with thistle seed.
Wild boar: 13cm long, coloured with natural earth pigments and textured with grass seed, and earth collected from a forest where boars had been foraging.
Geode Box: I made a series of ‘geode boxes’ as I am drawn to the idea of something that looks quite rough on the outside and opens to reveal a surprising contrast inside. This one is decorated with lichen and a shrew.
Bottle: My bottles were made by the pinch pot method, the shape pulled up out of a lump of clay by hand, and the stoppers inspired by netsuke. This one is in an ivory coloured mix with a crane stopper.
Photos by Brian McEvoy (recent work) and Archie Miles (older work).