Essence D'Etre

Exploring the Essence of Being Creative

Foray into Polymer Clay

For me, creativity (and perhaps the motivation to act on that creativity) comes in ebbs and flows. I can hit a dry spell where I can’t create a stick figure to save my life. Then randomly, I am hit with a bolt of inspiration and I am cranking out various creations or crafts with harrowing fervor and speed.

I am currently in a phase of creativity that revolves around polymer clay. I am mostly a paper + pencil, canvas + painting, yarn + knitting type of gal, but for some reason I was struck with the urge to try a 3D media around 1:00 AM in the morning on October 10th, 2012. Yes, I can recall the exact moment when I thought it would be a good idea to get up early on Sunday morning to beat the crazy shopping rush at JoaAnn Fabrics.

Although I can remember the idea popping in my head, I am not sure what exactly caused that idea in the first place. If I had to guess it was the combination of two factors: 1) The creative rush from finishing a painting during the bachelorette party earlier that evening (I’ll explain more) and 2) The sudden realization that Thanksgiving was around the corner, which meant Christmas was around the corner, which meant I needed to hop on making some Christmas ornaments or our Christmas tree would look quite spares (I’ll explain more as well).

First Factor:

I attended my first bachelorette party for a co-worker earlier that Saturday. The itinerary consisted of BYOB pedi/mani, then a 3 hour paint and drink session at a nearby bar, and rounded out with a dinner at the KitKat Lounge in Wrigleyville.

I am finding that most major cities have some form of a”paint and drink” offering. The basic business model is you pay to attend a session where the company provides all the supplies, instructor, and a reference painting for the class to copy. Last but not least, the element of wine is added to make it more of a social, relaxing experience rather than a formal art class.

We did our paint and drink session through a company called Colors and Bottles. They are a little unique in the sense the classes are held at various local bars across town (cuts down on operating costs, since they don’t have to pay to rent a storefront space). And of course since it was a bachelorette party, we didn’t want to paint flowers, we wanted to paint men.

So it was a great experience, drinking a bloody mary trying to paint a semblance of a guy’s six pack in the dark loft space of a Lincoln Par sports bar. It was so much fun painting in a group! I am always amazed at how different people paint, each individual’s style is as unique as handwriting. Since we had a firm back end (and since it was super dark and we had no reference photo….I digress), I was able to let go of trying to paint a realistic painting and focused more on creating a resemblance. And it was liberating! I typically agonize over the hues, the proper highlighting, obtaining the right depth perspective, but in a paint and drink session you are just trying to create.

Six Pack Painting

The paint and drink session taught me a valuable lesson: when you let go of trying to tightly control the creation process, you can be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Second Factor:

I have to admit that I was pretty stoked about my creation from the paint and drink session. I understand my painting wasn’t fine art by any stretch of the imagination, but it kicked my right side of the brain into high gear. The creative excitement quickly turned to slight holiday anxiety when I realized I needed to start creating Christmas ornaments now if I had any hope of adding to the inventory of handmade Christmas ornaments.

Somewhere over the past 2-3 years, my fiance and I agreed that we wouldn’t hang something on our Christmas tree unless it had special meaning or if it was handmade (a.k.a. I made it). Due to my OCD/perfectionist nature, I can only produce a couple pieces a year that meet my own personal standards. So in the end, our Christmas tree has been sporting the minimalist look for the past few years.

Anyways, my creative high and holiday preoccupation collided and somehow instigated the idea that I should make ornaments out of polymer clay in the shape of my beloved Shiba Inu, Meeko. This idea was very out of my league, but it seem to make sense at 1:00 AM in the morning after a afternoon full of bachelorette activities.

Sunday Morning

The fusion of creativity and preemptive action to prepare for the holidays caused me to wake up at 8:00 AM Sunday morning all bright-eyed and bushy tailed. I grabbed my obligatory non-fat grande cappaucino from Starbucks and headed towards the local mayhem center on Elston known as JoAnn Fabrics. I have to mentally prep myself before I make the drive over there and attempt to enter the store. The amount of people at the Joann Fabric store during the weekends makes me feel like we support the entire state of Illinois on the amount of taxes generated from arts and crafts endeavors in the city of Chicago.

Anyways, below is a quick snapshot of the Sculpey clay that I bought that morning. I *may* have over done it slightly, but I love having the full range of colors at my disposal. I comfort myself with knowing that the they were 50% off that day. Got to love Joann’s holiday sales that start just before the Thanksgiving Holiday. Stay tuned, the next post will show the finished Shiba Inu ornament.

Initial Polymer Clay Purchase


4 comments on “Foray into Polymer Clay

  1. KarenBarr :)
    December 16, 2012

    That painting is really great, though rather PG-13! Yowza! 😉 I can’t wait for your next post. 🙂 Score on the deal at JoAnn’s!

    • squirreltamer03
      December 16, 2012

      HI Karen! Haha, yes the bachelorette painting was quite PG-13 and I hesitated posting it to the public space. Thanks for visiting my blog. I will try to post 2-3 times a week since I find myself crafting that many times a week (or at least until work gets crazy!).

  2. Karen's Nature Art
    January 22, 2013

    I love your description of getting into polymer clay. I just plunged into it myself only a year and a half ago or so and made so many trips for supplies that I HAD to start selling! Thanks for visiting my blog-nice to find a fellow polymer clayer in the Chicago area.

    • essencedetre
      January 25, 2013

      Hi Karen! Thanks for visiting my blog as well. I definitely agree with you, polymer clay seemed to be an all in type of hobby. I’m having fun learning the ropes on how to sell my handmade jewelry. Your blog is very lovely and I like how you draw inspiration from nature. I also find it super interesting that you have found a way to combine art and science. Keep in touch!

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This entry was posted on December 15, 2012 by in Creativity and tagged , , , , , , .


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