Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guest Post: Selena Wells


I'm excited to do a guest blog post! I'm not sure what to talk about, but since the topic is art beads and jewelry, I'll just talk about how and why I make my art beads and pendants.

I'm kind of a weirdo in polymer clay in some ways because so much of my stuff is monochrome or metallic. I've never really gotten into cane work, for instance; I'm hopeless. Polymer clay can do all this amazing color stuff, but for me, it's all about the texture.



 I aim to make things that look old and worn, like they have a history. Preferably a long, mysterious history.

I've always been obsessed with sculpting faces. I used to make cast cement garden sculptures of the Green Man, and I made the originals out of polymer clay. When I started needing to work smaller I started making jewelry-sized pieces.



I sculpt my original faces from Super Sculpey , and then make push molds from them, either from Super Sculpey or from a rubber mold-making compound. I fix up my little faces when I pull them out of the mold, so the detail is crisp, and so each one is a little different. Also because I am incapable of leaving well-enough alone. Sometimes I incise them with some decoration at this point, or embed a glass cab or bead. Then I bake them, and leave them in a yogurt container on my work table until I'm ready to decorate them. Yogurt containers being what passes for an organizational system in my studio.



I work improvisationally.  I sketch and doodle all the time, but almost never actually try to make a 3-D piece from a drawing. In fact, the less I try to control and aim what I'm doing, the better it works.  I just start wrapping clay around a face and see what it looks like, who it turns into. They do tend to be rather mystical and mythic looking folk.



I read a lot of archaeology, history, mythology, anthropology. I'm fascinated by human material culture, decorative traditions, and ritual from all places and times. I don't think about any of this stuff while I'm working, of course, but I'm sure it affects me. What I want is for my stuff to be familiar enough to people to be evocative without calling up any specific, particular real-life culture.
I like for the things I make to be a bit imperfect, hand-formed, and off-kilter, but still intricate and decorative.



I'm also fascinated by patterns and forms from the natural world (pine cones, jellyfish, honeycomb, micro-crystalline structures, tree bark) and by how human-made structures like cities and buildings resemble and relate to those patterns. You can think of a city as being as natural a structure in its own way as a termite mound or a beehive; full of repeating elements and forms which derive from the activities of the animals (us) that make and use them.




For more of Selena's work, visit her Etsy Store!

13 comments:

Gale said...

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your unique work with us. Off to see some more!

stacilouise said...

Selena- you work really speaks to me! Your textures are amazing. I grew up loving biology and the beauty of our natural world too, and patterns and textures, they were my favorite. at one point, I thought perhaps I'd like to draw for biology books for a living! Thanks for stopping by and so nice to meet you.

lunedreams said...

Absolutely fabulous! Utterly unique, fascinating, and beautiful. Thank you for introducing us to this innovative and uber-talented artist!

A Half-Baked Notion said...

Selena, seeing your work just proves what I already know: PC is many things to different artists. Whether caning, molding, colouring, distressing or carving... it's all wonderful to me! Thank you for sharing your unique vision with us here!

A Polymer Penchant said...

Ok, that makes me a polymer weirdo too... But I think I already knew that. I can so relate, I think cane work is beautiful when done by others, thinking of Carol Simmons, and many others but she was first to pop in my head. I like to make simple canes and mess with them, do all the things you aren't supposed to do, so I end up with unique and not cookie cutter. You have yogurt containers, I have empty spare coffee cups everywhere (I drink it black and need it double cupped) and well I did a BSc so the micro world is always in my head. I think polymer clay people always seem to have nature/science fixations too! So I can relate :)

Julie Holmes said...

Wonderful work Selena! I love the faces!

mairedodd said...

thank you so very much selena for sharing your self and your work... it is wonderful and i am so happy to know more about you!

Lottie said...

Absolutely stunning work - totally awesome

Patti Van said...

I am so blown away by your talent...truly. Thank you for this post today!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

For not knowing what to talk about, you sure did an impressive job! I love your work...... I share in your feelings about imperfections and not trying to control the outcome, but rather create without over thinking. I've been so much more creative since I started thinking that way :o)
MaryAnn

stregajewellry said...

I love everything in your store! What old world feelings your work evokes! Thanks for sharing your process

" m(i)e " said...

waw!!!

April Grinaway said...

Wow! Love your style~

face
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