Christi Friesen Tutorial: Aborigine Artwork

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Christi Friesen Tutorial for the Friesen Project: Aborigine Art Using Polymer Clay

The Friesen Project of 2013 Presents:

Friesen Friday!

It’s here: another Friday another Christi Friesen tutorial … well inspired by her at least. In this first week of our “Down Under” book, we are deciphering and creating Aborigine style artwork.  Wow – this is an immense topic with thousands of design possibilities.  I challenge you to do a google search for “Aborigine artwork photos” and see what pops up … or just click here.  So for today … I’m bringing you some awesome Aborigine artwork and a tutorial on how to do it too …

As with all the tutorials in the Friesen Project, please remember that these tutorials are done in an abbreviated format, with Christi Friesen’s expressed permission.  These tutorials are written and designed to be used in conjunction with the Beyond Sculptures Book 5: Down Under.

Long Ago in a Cave Far, Far Away

Long ago in a cave far, far away lived a young boy with a wild imagination.  He loved life and especially animals that looked fierce and vicious.  One day while writing on his wall diary, he decided to bring the little bubble that lived in his head to life.  He drew pictures of him on cave walls, in the dirt, and yes even into the side of trees.  He looked like a bubble with hair sticking out of its place, but he had glistening eyes and a huge smile.  For years this young man drew this imaginary creature … his name was, Parker …

Inspired by Christi Friesen Tutorial


How to Make Your Aborigine Art

Aborigine Art Inspired by Christi Friesen Tutorial
Aborigine Parker Art Inspired by Christi Friesen

Making my Parker Aborigine styled art was so much fun.  Today using the help of Christi Friesen’s “Beyond Sculpture Series Book 5: Down Under” I am going to walk you through all the steps of creating your own Aborigine styled art using polymer clay.

Detailed instructions for creating Aborigine inspired art can be found in Down Under by Christi Friesen on pages 26-39.

Making the Background

Aborigine Art - Creating the Background by KatersAcresThe first thing in any project is to make your background. I wanted Parker to be on a green background that looked like grass.  So I took a lump of green, added orange, white, a pinch of black, and gold and marbled it together to a intricate blend where no pure colors could be seen.  Then I flattened the base into a shape that I wanted, which was a quasi-circle (which to me means it looks like an imperfect circle formed by nature in a cave long long ago … quasi-circle … yep). I then took a piece of wire, made loops on each end, bent the wire and added clay “dots” over the wire to secure it.

Christi’s book gives great instructions for both focal beads and pins, but I really wanted a wall hanging for my studio.

Making the Design

Aborigine Art - Creating the Figure by KatersAcres

As I always instruct, it is best to come up with your design first.  If you can’t think of any design ideas, feel free to use the 6 or 7 example that Christi gives in her book.  Or, as I stated above, do a quick Google search for Aborigine art.  Once you have your main design element, draw it on your background and then make snake of clay to draw your general shape.  In traditional Aborigine styled-art fashion add little “dots” all over your project.

You might notice that for my project I went with a skinner blend and made Parker in an “Ombre” color with lighter “dots” at the bottom and yellower dots toward his peak.  I also filled in my Parker silhouette by cutting the shape of Parker from my skinner blended sheet.

Get Dot-Tastic & Finish Your Design

Aborigine Art - Creating the Figure by KatersAcres

Now have some fun, add features to your design including eyes, limbs, and fingers.  Then finish surrounding your design with dots of clay.  Not just any dots of clay, but get dot-tastic and have some fun.  Use rice beads, pearls, crystals, or any other kind of bead you’d like to add texture and a pop of surprise.  Remember when using beads to follow this technique to embed them into clay so they don’t pop out.

When you are done decorating your Aborigine design, pop it in the oven and bake it at the clay manufacturer’s recommended time and temperature.  When your design is done, give him an antique finish.  Get a complete guide to adding an antique finish (or patina) here.

My Thoughts on the Project:

For my project, I personally liked Parker much better before he was antiqued.  With the dots being so close together, it is next to impossible to lift all the paint.  This made Parker grungy looking.  But still cute.  I had a lot of fun with this and did NOT do something from “Down Under” but rather my own design … do something of your own and make this technique and project truly yours, truly one of a kind.

Please note: Parker© is a copyrighted character. Please do not reproduce Parker without my expressed permission.  Thanks!

The Friesen Project

The Friesen Project is done in conjunction with Christi Friesen. All tutorials are retaught here with her expressed permission. Please make sure to read about the project here, and get answers to the most common FAQS here.

See you next Friesen Friday,
Until then, Happy Claying,


5 thoughts on “Christi Friesen Tutorial: Aborigine Artwork

  1. Thank You so Much Astrid ^__^

  2. Congratulations to Karina for winning the book!! 😀

    I love this tutorial, Katie 🙂

    Personally I do like the antiqued Parker better, especially since he is old and from the pre-historic Aboriginal time. Hanging in a damp cave for centuries does do things to your complexion, right? Just making up my own story here LOL

    When you antique your pieces, do you let the paint dry before wiping it off or do you wipe it off little piece by little piece before it dries? I’m still rather new to painting and antiquing pieces, did go to your link on how to patina pieces but it’s not said there so I thought to ask 🙂 Have a big dragon I made out of living doll (beige?) clay and need to paint it but I keep postponing it because I’m not comfortable doing it (yet) LOL

    Off to see what I can come up with for this week’s project 🙂

    1. Hi Astrid – Thanks for the compliments on antiqued Parker. I’m still trying to get used to his “cave man” wear style.

      I do NOT let my paint dry, I wipe it while it is still wet. If you let it dry it’s virtually impossible to get off. When I’m done painting it and varnishing it though, I DO pop it back into the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes to help seal it.

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