Art as Flow

I’m a clay artist, but also a painter.  I never fight with my clay, but I’ve fought with my paintings for years.  Whatever your art or craft, these thoughts might encourage you.

I often struggle with all kinds of doubt and discouragement as an artist.  I get overwhelmed and I can’t seem to get anything done.  Getting out rock climbing has taught me a few things about flow.

For the first time ever, I’m seeing painting as flow. Just like my new understanding of rock climbing. You don’t fight with it, you make it yours. You don’t attack it, you live there. Yes, sometimes you fall, and yes, sometimes you’re too tired to go on. Sometimes you just can’t make it. But so what? Stop when you are done and then go back. Stronger this time. And smarter. It has become part of your muscle memory. But not because you’re striving, just because you’re there. Sometimes you keep going when you don’t think you can. Sometimes you make a crazy, risky, leap. Not because your striving but because, “why not”? No fear. Always, you focus on one move at a time. You always make one more move (like just squeezing the paint onto the palette, or conditioning a little ball of clay), even if it might be as far as you can go. Maybe, once you’re there, the answer for the next move will turn up. Sometimes you rest. You look and look and look, for the way. Then the way turns up. Its still not striving. Its watching.

More thoughts along these lines in this post on my painting blog.


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Polymer Clay Butterfly Ornaments

I’ve been experimenting with ways to cover glass ball ornaments.  This first ornament was covered with a solid color clay.  Then it was decorated with backgroundless canes from the October 2014 issue of Cane Builder.  Here is a video on how to reduce and apply canes with no background.

The second ornament is decorated with cane slices in a way that lets the glass show through.  These are the same butterflies I used to decorated the wine glasses.

gold butterfly ornament gold butterfly ornamnet2white butterfly ornament white butterfly ornament2 white butterfly ornament3 white butterfly ornament4

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Polymer Clay Shaded Petals Leaves and Hearts

I just posted a new YouTube video that shows how to make these canes.  In the video I promised to photograph the canes and the purple blend that I used.

Come see the free video tutorial that shows how to make these!

 flower and heart canes

The purple blend for the “balloon canes”  is Premo clay. White, Blush, Purple, Black.

heart blend1 heart blend2

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Polymer Clay Fall Wine Glass

Here are some wine glasses I made today from the canes in October’s issue of Cane Builder. I didn’t put any bond or adhesive on these glasses.  The glass needs to be clean.  Press the cane slices on very firmly.  When you look at the clay from the inside of the glass, you will be able to see when it completely adheres to the glass.  I’ve been able to hand wash these glasses without any clay falling off.  One important part of the design is to make sure that all of the clay is connected.  Because the clay is interlaced, and because it fits the contour of the glass, it doesn’t really have anywhere to go even if a small part gets disconnected.

It’s still important to treat these glasses carefully.  Never put them in the dishwasher or microwave!!!

I put the glasses in the oven first.  I let the glass preheat and cool off in the oven.  I don’t know if this is necessary, but better safe than sorry!

white buttefly wine glass2 polymer clay on wine glass white butterfly wine glasses

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Polymer clay fall tree cane tutorial


Awhile back a posted a tutorial about a cherry tree cane.  This is the same idea, just with a fall tree.  I love the way mixed up clay makes beautiful bark on the tree!

fall tree cane 1 fall tree cane 2 fall tree cane 3 fall tree cane 4 fall tree cane 5 fall tree cane 6 fall tree cane 7 fall tree cane 8 fall tree cane 9 fall tree cane

Also check out one of my favorite leaf tutorials!

fire leaves polymer clay fall leaf cane



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Designer’s Workshop

My all-time favorite part of working with clay is playing and designing!  Any time I sit down with a pencil and this wonderful mirror tool I can easily get lost for hours dreaming up new designs.  I took these three canes

mirror kaleidoscope 1

and came up with this kaleidoscope cane.

mirror kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope canes work just like real kaleidoscopes, so I thought, “why not make a video that shows canework just as though I were looking at an ever-changing kaleidoscope”!  Here is the link to the video and a few more pictures of designing with the use of mirrors.

mirror designs 1 mirror designs 2 mirror designs 3

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Glowing Color Blends for Polymer Clay

Here are some color blend experiments with alizarin crimson,  premo brand, polymer clay.alizarin blend 1 alizarin blend 2 alizarin blend 3 alizarin blend 4

Here I’ve introduced blush.

alizarin blend 5 alizarin blend 6

and here I have added sunshine.

alizarin blend 7alizarin blend 8

This one one of several blends I made from my Marbled Cane tutorial.  It is the bonus tutorial for new subscribers to Cane Builder.

polymer clay stained glass canes 5

My first trial was the honey blend.  I’ll post new blends as I discover them.

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