Polymer Clay Artists – How To Discover Your Unique Artistic Voice

Donna Kato

With Inspiration From Donna Kato, Christie Friesen and Tamara Shea:

In the polymer clay artist community, there are always lots of discussions about finding your artistic voice. If you are new to polymer clay, it may be that you consider yourself to be a crafter and not an artist… so you may not have even thought about this concept yet.

What an artistic voice is to an artist, is the look, style, feel, and meaning they give to the pieces they make. An art voice is what makes a particular piece unique and recognizable. You’ve probably seen this before but may not have realized it.

I picked 3 top polymer clay artists with recognizable voices to show you what I mean.

Donna Kato
Donna Kato

Donna Kato’s style is clean and crisp. Her colors are bold but never harsh. You will see a lot of graphic patterns and cane work in her designs and her finishing work is impeccable… Donna’s voice in her work is smooth, bold, and perfect!

Christie Friesen (CF Originals)
Christie Friesen

Christie Friesen’s style is sculptural. It is flowing and detailed with lots of little extras. Her colors are muted, earth tones with a hint of pearls and metallics. Her themes are nature based plants and animals. They have antiqued finishes and have a warm aged feel to them. Her pieces are creative, organic and playful!

Tamara Shea (Block Party Press)
Tamara Shea

The work that Tamara Shea does at Block Party Press has a very clear voice when you see it. It is fresh, young, simple and artsy. Her beads and pendants are simple rounds or squares with raised images due to being pressed into her hand carved molds. Her finishes are painted and distressed giving a time worn feel to vibrant modern colors. Her look is organic and modern, simple and detailed, ancient and fresh, peaceful and vibrant, all at the same time… wonderful!

It can take years to develop your own art voice or it can take a moment. It usually shows when you are not looking for it. It’s there when you love something you’ve made. When it comes easy to you. When it feels right.

Your artistic voice shows when you are playing with the materials and making mistakes. When you take things a direction you didn’t mean to take. When you feel comfortable wearing the pieces you create.

Sometimes your voice doesn’t show for a long time because you haven’t tried enough different things, techniques or materials yet. When you find it, you’ll know.

So go out there, try some new things! What are your favorite colors? What kind of clothes do you wear? Are you shy? Are you loud? Are you simple. Are you complex? Put those things in your work and you’ll discover the polymer clay artist in your very soon. Even if you didn’t know you were looking for it!

  1. Cindy Lietz, 08 April, 2008

    Tell me… have you found your artistic voice yet? Have you seen other polymer clay artists with a clear voice that you would like to mention? I’d love to here from you!

    Cindy’s last blog post..Making Lentil Bead Holes Using Piercing Wire and a Gentle Touch

  2. Frivolitea, 10 April, 2008

    What a great post. I need to make time to work more regularly on my “art” in order to find my own artistic voice. Thanks so much for your comments on this topic!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 11 April, 2008

    Thanks Frivolitea! I’ve been to your site and seen some of your polymer clay work and I think you already have a clear artistic voice. Let me see if I’m right… You like things to be warm, comfortable and worn in. You find beauty in texture and metalic finishes. Lots of different things inspire you, so you include all of them in your pieces. Family, home and a great cup of tea are more important to you than possesions. Am I right or am I way off?

    Cindy’s last blog post..Lentil Beads From Scrap Polymer Clay will Suprise You Everytime

  4. Laurie Daughtrey, 20 December, 2008

    I am trying to make a pendant that looks like it has a rust finish. Do you have any suggestions?

  5. Cindy Lietz, 21 December, 2008

    That is a good question Laurie! You can get a realistic rust finish a couple of ways. Both are done after the piece is baked.

    One is to use rust patina paint that has real metal bits in it. It is a two step process that can take a day or two to complete.

    Another way is to use an orangey brown acrylic paint mixed with a little sand. Use a sponge to dab it on in clumpy uneven spots. This can be very realistic looking and can be done quite quickly.

  6. carolyn, 16 August, 2010

    No, I have not yet found my artistic voice. I am still at the crafter stage. I am happiest with precision and balance. I tend toward perfectionism. And I guess I am basically old fashioned in my outlook. So, if I’m heading toward and artistic voice I guess it would be classical.

  7. Ken H., 16 August, 2010

    I don’t think any of us have just one “voice”, there are things we’re better at than others, and being humans, creating is a uniquely personal endevor that depends on what we’re feeling at the moment, I sing opera, it doesn’t mean I don’t like oldies or broadway, it’s I just don’t do them as well, it’s like the comment I made on the new FB page recently, I understand the design concepts of Steampunk, but I just don’t execute it very well yet, someday I will but just not now. Creating is growing and finding the voice “du jour”. If I had to identify my creative voice, I say formal elegance (probably why I don’t do Steampunk well).

  8. carolyn, 16 August, 2010

    @Ken H.: Maybe that’s why we clicked … formal elegance is something like classical to my way of thinking. It is good to have Cindy teaching different techniques … expanding the borders of our way of thinking and making polymer clay designs.

  9. Phaedrakat, 17 August, 2010

    What a great post! I’ve never come across this one in my travels — so glad I finally have… ;D ~Kat

  10. Tanya L, 17 August, 2010

    I’m really glad this was brought forward again since I wasn’t here for it first time around!

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