One of the things I love most about polymer clay is the way it feels in my hands. As a sculptor I feel something in clay that many others do not get to feel with polymer. I get to literally push, pull, and manipulate clay in a way that many only dream of doing. If you’ve followed this site for any length of time now, you know that I am fascinated with faces and even more so I am in love with making them.
Last September I invited the fabulously talented Bettie Randles Griffin to tell us about her art and what she enjoys making with polymer clay. [You can see that interview here if you missed it.] It seems only fitting that this year she is back again … but not quite as you think.
Bettie lives in Kentucky. Katie lives in Pennsylvania. How could we work together to share our art while still living so far away? Well that means we would have to talk … on the phone! WOO HOO! I love talking and chatting with other artists. After a few messages shared and a lively phone conversation, what we figured out was a sort of a swap. But it wasn’t just any swap. It was a blind artists’ swap.
Bettie and I agree to send each other ONE item that we wanted the other to alter/cover with polymer clay. Here’s the catch. There were no rules, except our project was to include a face. All we had to do was to ship each other a blank vessel for the other to work on and complete with some type of a “face” for the other person. When we were done with our vessels, we would ship them back to the other person.
The Face Swap
Bettie for Katie, “The Steves”
I originally mailed Bettie a large soup can. Unfortunately it met with a little trouble. Bettie knew what she was making me was a tool holder. So Bettie (the genius that she is) made due with an idea completely all her own. Now enter “The Steves.” Bettie carefully sculpted her own three headed tool holder with 3 distinct and different faces that she affectionately named, “The Steves.” Each “Steve” is complete with his unique facial expression and aptly holds my main go-to tools directly in front of me on my work surface now. I can’t wait to show him off in photos. I’ve been having to hid him for almost a month in my photos and it hasn’t been easy; in fact I’ve forgotten a time or two, even in a most recent live Instagram video!
Katie for Bettie, “Old Mister”
Bettie mailed me a large papier-mâché box. I had the box for several weeks while faces danced in my head. I wanted it to be an ‘old’ face, because old faces have character. My ‘Schrumes have an element of whimsy and playfulness, but “Old Mister” needed to have a touch of attitude and maybe event a bit of starch to his personality. The box has three, four toed ‘hands’ for him to sit on which leads to one of the reasons for his esteemed grumpiness. I hand painted the glass eyes for “Old Mister,” used a combination of both oil and acrylic paints to add color to his skin, and lined the box with blue felt (to match his eyes, naturally).
Face Swap Thoughts
I’ve not done a 1-to-1 blind swap like this before. I really enjoyed the process and thought it was a lot of fun. Bettie and I gave each other plenty of time to work (about a month) on our designs, which left lots of room to play and have fun. I had a really great time doing this with Bettie and would definitely enjoy doing another project with another artist like this in the future.
Thanks for joining me today,