Interview with the Artist: Carapace

In this installment of Interview with the Artist, I am so pleased to introduce a versatile artist with many talents. Whether she is working in clay or in paints, her style is wonderfully unique, often humorous, and always thought-provoking! Her etsy shop is filled with a colorful array of choices – each with its own delightful “story”.
Please meet Carapace 🙂

Were you interested in art as a child?
Goodness, isn’t everyone? At least until school grinds it out of them? But yes, I very much was. I’d spend hours looking at my parents’ Audubon books, or reading comics, or hanging out quietly in museums. It was and is all art to me! And I was always happy to play quietly if I had paper and pencils. This is not to say that I was any good at art of any sort when I was a child, but I was interested!


Summer Oak 1 Clay Pendant

What were some of the earliest projects that you created?
Aside from the standard awkward elementary school hand-turkeys and such, I took a pottery class and made some shockingly passable coil pots and wall hangings. Even a candle jar, which totally worked…! As a sort of scraps-holder. I didn’t really have the concept of delicacy down. But man, I sure could slab some clay! Had a lot of fun, too. To this day I yearn to take another proper clay class. Perhaps someday…

There was also my Hearts Period, sometime in pre k or so, when I attempted to draw everything solely with hearts – the one shape I knew how to make. Horses, people, trees, they were all made of variant assemblages of heart-shapes. That…was really ambitious of me, actually. I’m not sure I could pull that off now. I may have to try it again, see if I can capture that mad-child creativity.


Tea Leaves

When did you first become interested in working with clay?
I think I was about 6 or 7 when I took the clay class? And loved, loved, loved it. Drawing will always be my first and most accessible love, but clay offered the chance to make something useful, something graphic art rarely provides. It appeals to my practical senses. Buying a firing rig, however, does not. So I had to wait for polymer clay to be invented, and then to find out about it. And now I can make jewelry! Which is not very useful, perhaps, but did you know some anthropologists credit jewelry as being a crucial part of Homo Sapiens’ eventual genetic triumph over Neanderthal? It’s true! Apparently it helped establish group identity, and encouraged abstract thinking. So I am at least theoretically participating in shaping our
evolution as species with my friperry. Take that, criticizers of adornment!


Two Sisters Clay Pendant

Your work is showcased in several different media. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is whatever I’m working in at the time! If I’m painting, I wonder why I don’t paint constantly, it’s so cool to watch the colors happen on the paper. And when I’m working with polyclay, I wonder why I ever pick up a paintbrush, the feel of the clay in my fingers is so satisfying, and I love the unpredictable way the colors blend. Oh, and did I mention I’ve been experimenting with paperclay? No one told me about inclusions! Thank goodness I never learned how to sew very well. I have made these dolls, though… So, short answer: No. Though it would probably be good for both my productivity and my mastery if I just picked one and worked at it, that doesn’t seem to be in my nature. Strange, since I’m a very static person otherwise.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
From books, from natural settings, from other artists…but increasingly from the media itself. They have personalities, you know. Stop moving away from me! Try painting on a paper bag and a piece of bristol board. You’ll see how the line changes? The limits of the media suggest subject and composition, more as I know the material better.


Cephalady of the Sea Court

Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself? 🙂
I keep too much of my work! I want it all to go away. When I finish a piece and keep it, I feel like a mom whose kids have graduated college but won’t move out of the basement to look for work. Darn it, kids! This is Texas, I don’t even have a basement! Get out in the world!


Golden Notes

What advice would you give to a person who would like to begin selling his or her art but could use a few pointers?
Make friends, in whatever venue you’re pursuing. If you can stick to a schedule, do that, even if it’s very slow. Try as many venues as you can–you never know where you’ll find a home, or just a new friend. Always assume good intent, but not necessarily good sense; some of the sweetest people will offer you some of the worst ideas. Have a blog, an email, a Twitter, and any other way you can manage to stay in touch. And have fun! If you’re not having fun, you may as well stick with the fabulous world of Day Jobs.



Giveaway – Swirls of Sage Pendant

Hi there and welcome to my weekly giveaway!

This week I have a beautiful pendant by Cheryl Harris to inspire your creative spirit!

~Swirls of Sage Pendant~


If you believe that jewelry can be wearable art, then you will love the work of Cheryl Harris. She has an extraordinary ability to transform polymer clay into beautiful beads and pendants. With her rich palette of colors and her unique talent for adding detail to her creations, each of Cheryl’s pieces is truly a miniature work of art!

This round pendant is smooth as glass and features pretty swirls of sage green, pink, lavender, fuchsia, brown, and white. The pendant is pierced from side to side. The accent beads shown are included. Add your own touches and create something wonderful!

Whether you add beads to make a colorful necklace, or you simply string the pendant all by itself on a purchased piece of leather or silk cord, the compliments will be rolling in! 🙂

Material: Polymer Clay
Measurements: Approximately 34 mm

Contest Rules and How To Enter

This week, you will have up to four (4) chances to enter the weekly giveaway.

You can choose any or all of the following 4 ways to enter:

1st Chance:

Leave a comment answering the first weekly question:

Name something you are good at. C’mon, don’t be shy! Do you have an artistic talent? Maybe you have good people skills? Are you an excellent cook? Crossword puzzle whiz?

2nd Chance:

Leave a comment answering the second weekly question:

What is your favorite drink? It can be either alcoholic or non alcoholic. If it sounds delicious, you can be sure that we’ll all be wishing for the recipe too! 😉

3rd Chance:

Comment on any other post except this one. You can do it today or another day this week. You do not have to tell me that you left a “comment” on another post. The blog program shows me all of the “comments” as they come in – so I do not miss any of them! 😀

4th Chance:

Suggest a topic for a future blog post!

The Boring Stuff . . .
You must be 18 yrs. old. After the completion of the contest, the name of the winner will be listed here. The winner will also be notified by email. If no valid email address is given at time of entry, or if winner fails to respond to email within 3 days from the time notification email has been sent, the win will be null and void and a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be mailed by USPS First Class Mail.

All entries must be received by 9:00 p.m. EST on 08/30/09, and the winner will be selected on or about 08/31/09.


Interview with the Artist: PuffPastry

I’m always amazed at the beautiful things people are creating with clay, these days. When the work is in miniature form, it’s even more fascinating!

Please meet clay artist, Vivien of Puff Pastry Shop!

Her etsy shop is stocked with a delightful assortment of teeny, tiny treats that are a feast for the eyes! Shopping there may make you hungry, but don’t worry – no calories are involved! Vivien turns her clay art into an adorable collection of rings, necklaces, earrings, and pins!


She graciously agreed to this interview and has even included a 20% off coupon code for my readers. Look for it at the end of this post!

Were you interested in art as a child?
Yes. I loved making things out of paper. I’m not sure my mother was pleased about me leaving little paper scraps all around the house, but I remember her showing my little paper animals to visitors. I don’t have any of my drawings anymore, but I still have a paper deer, bunny, pig and some other creatures.

tray This tray pendant measures less than 2 inches – imagine how tiny the indivdual pastries are! 🙂

What were some of the earliest projects that you created?
I used to collect fabric scraps from my mother’s sewing projects and cut them into little squares. I sewed them together to make a “quilt” for my doll, but back then I didn’t realize a quilt needed backing, stuffing and actual quilting stitches!

The sweet treats you make are the most exquisite little treasures! When did you first become interested in working with clay, and have you created other items using clay?
I loved Play-Doh as a kid. I had a set with molds for making vegetables. I loved the peapods the best! My sister had a cake-making Play-Doh set that I liked to play with as well. At my elementary school it was also traditional for the students to make a different clay item each year. We made canoes, pots and owls. (My favorite was the owls!)


Do you also enjoy making life-size pastries with “real food” ingredients?
I love to bake. It’s funny because I’m not a good cook when it comes to savory food, but people like my almond tarts, apple bread and lemon bars very much.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Just going to the grocery store is great for hungry inspiration! Also, a lot of times I get pretty materials and then decide what to make with them later. Unfortunately, it also means I stockpile craft supplies, sometimes for years!

Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself? 🙂
Hahah. That’s a secret. =) Actually, I keep the not-so-nice things for myself, because I don’t like selling things that I feel aren’t up to my standards.


What advice would you give to people who would like to begin selling their art, but could use a few pointers?
The most important things is not finding what is popular, what sells well, or what is profitable, but what makes you happy. Selling can be hard sometimes, but if you enjoyed the creative process it makes it worthwhile. Also, ask for (and listen to) critique. It’s fun to hear “Wow your stuff is great” but the people who say not-so-nice things about your art can be very helpful to you as well.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks everyone for reading my interview! As a thank-you I’d like to give all the readers of Bead Happily Ever After a coupon code to my etsy shop. For the month of March 2009, enter HAPPY20 in the “Notes to Seller” at checkout for 20% off your total order! The discount will be given as a Paypal refund or you can wait for a special invoice.