Monday, June 29, 2009

Interview with Carolyn (carolynsclaycreations)

Prepare to be amazed when you see some of the wonderful artwork that Carolyn Stearns creates with polymer clay. Her cane work is beautiful. Her exuberance will inspire you.

What's your passion?
Living everyday with great joy and creativity. As a two time breast cancer survivor this really is important, the mind is a very interesting thing, when you are in control it can heal you, when out of staying focused and positive, creating something beautiful everyday keeps me positive and focused on my wellness.
Creativity is a driving force in my life, a day without creativity is extremely hard for me. If I'm not at my clay table I am thinking about getting there. Natures beauty stirs my creativity so I think I am passionate about nature and all of its rich colors and endless textures. Fall colors are my favorite.

How long have you been interested in art?
As long as I can remember, my mom's house is a gallery of many, many years of my artistic adventures. I learned to sew when I was very young, my mom taught me. I used to make clothes for my trool dolls! For most of my adult life I was a decorative painter, I authored several decorative painting books, created rub-on art and designed projects for many magazines and craft manufactures. About 5 years ago I wanted a change and picked up a few packages of polymer clay and the rest is history. Polymer clay is the most addictive medium I have even played with!
What sets you apart from other artists?
I would have to say my enthusiasm! When I teach classes, talk about clay, go to a guild meeting, learn a new technique I do it with gusto. I love the stuff, everybody know I love the stuff, my love is infectious and I was hooked many people on Polymer Clay!!
Do you have a signature style?
Gosh I really wish I did, when I was painting I did. People could pick out my work even if they never saw me. I have not found that yet with Polymer Clay, I think that since I have only been working with clay for 5 years I am still "new" to the medium, I'm still experimenting with different things but I always come back to making canes so whatever my style evolves into will have something to do with canes I'm sure!

I see you make canes. What advice would you give to someone that wants to make canes?
Take a beginner cane class if you can. I teach 7 canes in my beginner class, this is a great introduction to cane making and an important first step.

Work with a firm clay! Even though these clays might be harder to condition the pay off is well worth it. There is nothing worse then working for hours on a really cool cane only to have it destroyed during the reduction process! Start with something simple, don't try a face cane right off the bat, have success with less ccomplicated canes first and work your way up to more complex canes.

What type of clay do you prefer?
Kato Poly Clay, hands down. It is firm, strong and somewhat flexible after baking. As I said it is harder to condition, I put the block of clay in a heavy duty plastic bag, put it on a concrete floor and smack it until it is flat enough to go through the pasta machine, works like a charm!

Do you have a work studio?
Well, yes I guess you can call it that. It has moved all over the house, now I am almost 90% in the basement. I will clean it up a bit and add some photos. Really and truly my favorite place to clay is at the breakfast bar in my kitchen but I am trying to keep the creative chaos in the basement!! You see I like to be in the middle of all the action and everyone knows all the action happens in the kitchen!!

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the polymer clay artists that have come before me, they have paved the way for new artists by sharing their knowledge and joy for the medium. They have taken polymer clay from a children's toy to a fantastic art medium loved by artists all over the world. I am always on the look out for new polymer clay books because there are many new things being done with polymer clay everyday.

What aspirations do you have with your art?
To learn something new every time I pick up a piece of clay, to sell my canes so I can make more, to teach others about the fabulous things you can do with polymer clay. To someday travel teach classes. Right now I teach locally and online.

Your favorite thing to do when you are not being creative?
I enjoy gardening, kayaking with my husband, riding my bike, playing with my dogs, going to concerts with my friends and family, listening to music and watching Monk!

What do you think is your greatest success?
My 31 year marriage to the love of my life, my 2 beautiful, successful daughters, my 2 time victory over breast cancer and still being able to laugh, love and count my blessings!

I don't know about you, but I'm inspired. Carolyn holds online caning classes and I think I'm going to sign up for one. Her work is precise and beautiful. I would love to be able to make such beautiful canes.

If you would like to see more of Carolyn's work, here is a link to her website..

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