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Posted on June 1, 2016 in Featured Artists by Katie
It’s my pleasure and joy today to introduce you to a polymer clay artist who is not only super talented, but a true “American Sweetheart.” Jennifer’s kindness and joy radiate through her life and her work. It’s my honor to have her here today and to introduce her to each of you.
Oh, hi! I’m Jenny! I’m a polymer clay enthusiast from colorful Colorado. I live with my husband Matt, and our three babies (ok, kitty cats) Missoula, Zina, and Ezekiel. I’ve been playing with polymer clay since I was a kid-nearly 25 years now! I attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design studying animation and fine arts in the late 90’s, but am completely self taught when it comes to the art of polymer clay.
I first asked about polymer clay at a craft show when I was 12. I was captivated by the figurines I saw, and the vendor gave me a wealth of information! My mom picked up a box of Original Sculpey for me, and I have been creating keepsakes ever since. At the age of 13, my dear friend Kendra and I set up our little sculptures in a craft show. I walked away with a one hundred dollar bill that day! Boy, was I proud. Hearing how much people enjoyed the tiny creations inspired me to create anything I could think of. I’ve had a constantly growing list ever since.
I like to think of my claywork as dimensional illustrations. I’ve studied animation my whole life, so I like to think of my polymer art almost like a picture you can touch, one that could jump to life at any moment, one that tells a story through lines, movement, and color.
I’m lucky to have my workshop in an upstairs bedroom of my home. I named it Wishing Well Workshop for a few reasons, but mainly because I believe that whatever I wish I can create. It’s a magical place where all of my creativity and imagination collects just waiting to find their time to shine. I find my best time to clay is first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee and a cat or two…or three. Inspiration can hit at any moment, though, so I keep a smoosh of clay in my purse in case I need to make a mold of something. My Great Grandma Marie used to keep scissors in her purse to take plant snips from places and make things grow. This kind of thing runs in my family.
I have so many favorite techniques I enjoy with polymer clay. From caning to sculpting to jewelry it’s hard to narrow it all down to one favorite thing. I find relaxation in freestyle caning. I find a smile when I discover a cute face on a critter. I find joy when I create a pretty pendant. There isn’t really any one thing I don’t enjoy about polymer. I guess you could say-it’s ALL my favorite!
I am a very visual person, so I am constantly taking mental notes of all the things around me. Gosh, I was inspired by a rock in the median by the McDonalds at Prairie Center last Thursday! Proof that if you keep your eyes open you can find beauty everywhere. When I sit down to create something new I take my time, practice good technique, and hope to tell a story through my claywork. If others enjoy my clay as much as I do-I feel successful.
I’ve had so many favorites over the years! From bears and gnomes to marble snails and pixie cottages-I enjoy making a wide range of items. Lately I’m on a fairy door kick. There is just something so whimsical, pretty, and carefree about them. I quite enjoy imagining what’s behind those little doors. That’s why I started hand painting what I was picturing behind those glass windows. I have been painting longer than I’ve been claying, so it just made sense to merge both. I’m excited about where else merging mediums can lead me.
This cross is a special one. It’s for my dad. You see-my dad is the best there is. He always been supportive of all my art journeys. Instead of picking up a softball as a kid, I picked up a paintbrush. Dad’s always on the bleachers cheering me on. He has always been interested. Always cared. Always asked. He’s also always loved these blue, black, and white canes above all the others. My dad means so much to me, so this project meant a little more to me, too. On top of being a wonderful dad, he is also a wonderful pastor. I made this for him to wear on a cord over his robe on Sundays. I haven’t given it to him yet, but I will on his birthday. There’s a special note I scrolled into the back just for him. Because he’s my dad. And because I love him so.
There are two clay artists that absolutely feed my love for sculpture, and caning. Christi Friesen is a marvelous instructor, author, and sculptor. I had the privilege of taking one of her classes (my only clay class, actually) in 2015 and, oh my goodness! She is fun stuff! She inspires me greatly with her use of texture, color, powders and beads. I have one of her ghoulies in my shop for good luck. So far, so good. Teresa “Pandora” Salgado is the gal who taught me how to cane! I had always admired canes, but never thought I could make one. Once I saw her complex caning YouTube video I was hooked. Forever. The end. I have Teresa to thank for adding truckloads of inspiration to my list. She breaks down each step making it easy to grasp the whole caning concept. Both ladies are so generous in sharing their wonderful ideas with all of us, and I’m happy to stare at any clay thing they do. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for playing critical inspirational roles in my personal clay journey.
I post new projects on a few different sites as often as I can! Most are for sale-just send me a little message through the facebook page. I hold giveaways every now and then, too, which is super fun. I’m always imagining, so if you stay tuned, there is sure to be marvelously fun things ahead!
From my workshop to yours, Make it a Clay Day! ~Jenny
Thanks for joining me today,
Until next time, Happy Claying my friends!