At this time last year, I began my polymer clay journey. There was an art exhibition at Hopkins in Baltimore for employees and their immediate families for which I was preparing an art box. In researching and designing the box, I had it in my mind that I wanted to create my own tile for the piece, but upon execution, I quickly realized that I wanted to really explore the use of polymer clay, and more specifically, tiles.
In my past, before chronic illness became more prominent in my life, I was a fledgling clay artist, developing skills as I could develop the cash to feed the addiction. My preference was to produce practical, earthy pieces of largely thrown clay. Even just the passing thought now of the relationship between me and the wet, malleable clay spinning between my fingers and palms brings me to a near zen state. I both lost and found myself in those stolen, deliciously tactile moments.
Polymer clay allows me to regain some attachment to a ‘clay’ medium. The tactile stimulation is present, nicely coupled with a visually pleasing, deeply saturated color array. Also, I find that I am able to inexpensively produce many things that I would spend hours sourcing from specialty vendors, i.e. tile.
So, last year on this day, I was working in my living room, in my recliner, at a low coffee table, watching t.v. while rolling dry gold polymer into uneven, overly thin tiles with a kitchen hand dough roller on top of a sketch pad. This year, I sit at my studio desk, with my pasta machine, tissue blade and ceramic work surface at hand and learn polymer clay techniques for as long as my illness will allow every day to every third day.
The most important thing that I learned during the past year? Simple, quiet, patient discipline. For me, that lesson is priceless.