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!