Today I would like to introduce you to Michele Hinchey, the new leader of the Polymer Clay Challenge. I am pleased to share her work with you today and share her story and let you get to know her better. Thank you Michele for joining us today.
About Michele Hinchey:
My name is Michele Hinchey, sole artist of MacTiere Luna Creations. I am currently 42, married to my high school sweetheart, best friend, and love of my life. Our blended family, including 8 children (21-4 years old) makes for busy and interesting holidays. I encourage everyone in our family to follow their inner truth and be their most authentic self. My personal interests and hobbies are widely diverse, likely due to being raised as a “Military Brat”. I spent my first 6 years living in Guam and traveling extensively on the east side of the planet. Growing up around the world during those foundational years has allowed me to have a rather unique outlook on basically everything.
What’s the History of Your Art & How You Got Where You Are Today?
My mother is an art major who naturally began introducing me to various art forms at a very young age. Polymer Clay was introduced around 2 years old when she realized I wasn’t going to eat it. As a result, I’ve worked with polymer clay and many other art forms all of my life. I began to work with polymer clay on a professional level in early 2016 when one of my bonus Sons asked if I could create Dice Dragon for him and I said ” I don’t know, let’s try and find out”. I made the dragon, showed it online and people liked it so much that I began working towards building MacTiere Luna Creations. I “officially” became a polymer clay teacher in 2020, but I’ve been teaching my own children and nephew since 2016.
What Makes Your Art Unique?
I am often inspired by my children, family, and nature with my creations. My own style is as varies as my moods. Having spent the vast majority of my youth in or around the world’s various wildernesses and nature I often incorporate those remembered feelings into my creations. Those memories fuel my creativity adding the energies and touches of realism, fantasy, whimsy, and magic to each piece. My creations are often influenced by my children as well. So much so that I often show an unfinished design to my children for their opinions. As they range so widely in age their ideas can be wildly fantastical. Often I incorporate part or all of their opinions in my final designs, giving them an extra bit of familial magic.
Where is Your Art Created?
My current studio space is our upstairs living room. Half of the room is set up for my workstation, storage for my supplies, storage for my creations, my curing oven, etc. My sculpting area is currently a computer desk with 2 12×12 marble tiles as a work surface. The other half is set up as a learning and play area for our youngest children. As I sit and create my youngest children are usually creating works of their own with their desired media for the day. There are plans to remodel this entire space this spring to help it be more efficient for everyone. Having tried my hand at many forms of polymer work I can honestly say that sculpting is currently my favorite thing to do with polymer clay. I love watching how the clay literally transforms from a conditioned lump into a finished creation. My most commonly made creations are my Dragons and Gnomes in various styles and themes.
What’s Your Favorite Item and Why Did You Create it?
As of now my favorite creations are Naia an Oceanic Dragon I make annually (all versions to date), Fi`odo`ir Litrithe a 1/6 scale Mermaid Who’s name means: Spell Weaver in Irish Gaelic, and a Hummingbird Necklace I designed for my Grandmother. Naia first came into existence in 2019 as a destressing creation while I was on jury duty. It was a particularly unpleasant trial and working on creating the first Naia (Naia’s Jewels) helped greatly. I spent the better part of a week working on her, adding details and elements. She has so many treasures, so much positive energy, and a personal healing effect when she was finished that I knew she would be made yearly after that. Fi`odo`ir Litrithe has a special place for me as she is the first 1/6 scale piece I’ve made as well as the first mermaid. She posed so many challenges and treated me with so many opportunities to learn new skills that she too will become an annual creation. The Hummingbird Necklace is the only one I will ever create once. It is the first piece I created with someone specific in mind. My grandmother loved hummingbirds, bright colors, and jewelry that makes a statement. I remembered her having a tiny enamel hummingbird pendant when I was little so I created the dual Hummingbird Necklace based on my memory of that pendent. She squealed like a school girl when she received it. I have it now since her passing and it has become a cherished family heirloom.
What’s Your Process Like? Tell Us About It.
When I began my process was simple; create literally anything. Now my process is quite different. I commonly work off of a planned monthly/event theme or concept. I like to make a list of creative ideas based upon the themes or concepts to narrow down what I really want to create. I set up a display of crystals, stones, and other elements that inspire the theme in question which can also be used as part of the items I will make for that theme. For my off-theme items, it starts with a memory, sparked inspiration from nature or my children. For an off-theme example, I once made a Koi piece loosely based on the story of the Golden Dragon and Ying-yang. On a rare occasion, a creation will come to life while I am absently working with “scrap” clay as a way to destress. This rare occasion is how the first version of Naia came to be made. Sometimes I also make something simply to try out a new technique or idea.
Who is Your Polymer Clay Idol?
I am literally unable to narrow this down to only one artist. At the top of my list will always be the first ones who inspired me to go further with my polymer work. Those are Katie Oskin, Jenny Darchuk-Sorenson, Teresa Salgado, and Debbie Crothers. These women have been instrumental in my polymer journey for various reasons. I have admired, learned from, and been inspired by each one and will continue to be. I adore the unique look and style Katie has. Her methods and vision for her pieces remind me of childhood, whimsy, and youthful magic. Jenny has this soothing feeling to every single piece she creates. Her style makes me think of the soft warm light and curvy elegant edges of classic romantic movies. The skill and finesse that Teresa has with cane work will never fail to amaze me. She also has the rare talent to teach complex cane work in simple easy to follow steps, this is a truly rare gift. Debbie has this delightful energy and such a wildly fantastic vision for not only her pieces but also her methods. I have watched many videos from each of these artists. Some as tutorials, some interviews, and others showcasing their works. In my view, each of these amazing artists is an inspiration to polymer artist at any level. As for who I would like most to meet or take a class with; can I pick all of them as a group meet-up? That would be amazing.
Where to Find Michele:
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