Sculpted Treasures by Arvita & Ross Elam, Spokane

Arvita and Ross ElamVideo #299: Roadtrip #1-03: “There was something so real and sweet about the connections we made that day.” ~Cindy Lietz

There is something truly special about today’s PcT Roadtrip video with Arvita and Ross Elam. You see they are both confined to wheelchairs… but it’s actually hard to tell… mostly because of their positive attitude about life… and polymer clay of course :-)

No this is not a perfectly polished production. Although I am no stranger to talking or being on camera, I am new to interviewing people in a live setting. So sometimes I wasn’t holding the mic correctly… and a couple of the close-ups went blurry because I didn’t hold items still enough for Doug to get the camera focused.

But, there was something so real and genuine and sweet about the connections we made that day. Stories bubbled to the surface, and passion oozed from every pore when Arvita and Ross spoke.

I really loved this video when watching it back. I hope you enjoy it too…

This PcT Roadtrip video series is not so much about showcasing grand masters (although so far we have seen some pretty great stuff). It is more about capturing passion. In other words, being an already recognized artist is not a prerequisite for coming on our show.

By the way, we did meet up with one celebrity artist on this first PcT Roadtrip. You will get to meet her soon enough. In the meantime, please do leave a comment in the section below, by sending some love to Arvita and Ross (plus Bella and Cooper, their little pooch companions).

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Anna Sabina, 01 October, 2012

    The Video was perfect with or without the mic beheld correctly. I really enjoyed this interview. Especially the story about Poor Ole Henry. What a great couple.

  2. pollyanna, 01 October, 2012

    Another fun visit. I too have a fear of faces. I would really love to sculpt fairies but am afraid of failure I guess. Arvita has shown you just need to jump in and try it. Well….maybe…lol.

  3. Elaine Faulks, 01 October, 2012

    What a great visit with Arvita and Ross, so nice to see you guys and the lovely “middle earth” creations also the rose beads, beautiful work.

    I made some little fairies but had to turn them into goblins as they were soo ugly, But they look quite comfortable sitting on my toadstool tea lights. CINDY is so right, if you put things aside for a while you will learn new skills and can take those old pieces add a few dodahs and swirly bits and come up with something you lov.e!

    My little dog Jessica has fallen in love with Cooper and Bella but says she thinks the taste of polymer clay is discusting she would rather chew her fav bone anytime…………………cheers xx……………………………

  4. pattw35, 01 October, 2012

    What a cute video. Aren’t people something. I just loved this!!

  5. Sandra, 01 October, 2012

    Neat to see new faces. The fairies are gorgeous
    Well done.

  6. Tantesherry, 02 October, 2012

    what a great way to start my Tue morning :)
    I missed this sweet interview with Arvita & Ross yesterday

    (mama had a vet emergency with her Suzie kitty – she is 12 and was diagnoced w/ a thyroid disease yesterday – so sad – but treatable w/ meds – praise ) — can’t imagine a world with out the comfort of our furry babies like the Elam’s Cooper & Bella

    I was fasinated with the whole video — I’ve never seen anyone make the whole skirt out of a rose/flower and turn her into a little being, she was too cute :) And the way Arvita make the wings, SO Smart and just plain cool !!!

    btw I like the way you say pasta ;)

    thank you Arvita and Ross for sharing part of your life with us

  7. Tantesherry, 02 October, 2012

    I don’t think my spell check is working
    typed community & that didn’t look right
    typed comunity

    then hit the ABC tab and it let both pass– just tried againg and same thing
    then just now to see if it would catch the typo in ‘again’ …. nope

    I’ll go and clean up my cookies and report back

  8. Tantesherry, 02 October, 2012

    ok – did the clean up and turned pc off and then restarted
    community vs comunity

    AHA !!!! Web Master Doug gets 100 extra points for being there for us non-spellers
    it caught the mistake — does anyone else look at a word and it is spelled right But in your head it just looks wrong?

  9. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 02 October, 2012

    Here’s an interesting reference that will put your mind at ease Sherry…

    “Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?”

    I wasn’t able to put my finger on the original source for this Cambridge study… but if you can read and comprehend that paragraph above, there must be some truth to it.

  10. Tantesherry, 02 October, 2012

    Totally Amazing :)

  11. Lesley Symons, 04 October, 2012

    A lovely video, and so much talent! Adored the little figures …. I’m not very confident about faces either, but maybe one day …….

  12. Karen D, 06 October, 2012

    Wow, fantastic work. Loves the rose fairy and especially Henry and his stories. Inspired me to finally try sculpting faces. Thank you.

  13. Joyce Folsom, 07 October, 2012

    Just finished watching the video. Lovely to meet you Arvita & Ross. Your work is lovely and Henry is a masterpiece for still being in existance. Maybe his secret for survival is in his book???What fortitude you have. The little rose girl is precious, so tiny and the fairy looks like she could be on the shelf in a Hallmark store. Continued success in playing with clay, you too inspire.

  14. Arvita E, 25 October, 2012

    Nice to meet you as we’ll. I love polymer clay.. Ross talked me into trying it. I had no ideai could this … I certainly struggled with the faces and bodies. Did them over and over again . I just love you all an the inspiration that comes from this group! Thank you all

  15. Jocelyn, 07 October, 2012

    Thank you so much, Arvita and Ross, for letting us visit you and oogle your work. Amazing work, and I wish you the best of success and happiness in the future.

  16. Elizabeth S., 13 October, 2012

    I loved this video. Thanks for taking us along to meet Arvita and Ross.

  17. Andrea Paradiso, 13 October, 2012

    Thanks for this video. I want to make ‘people’ and ‘fairies’, too. So it’s great to see folks doing such beautiful things. Arvita and Ross, you are quite a pair. All I can say, though, is at this point in time with all my clay work everywhere, I should be glad I don’t have a doggie…and especially NOT a kitty!

  18. Sue O, 16 October, 2012

    phenomenal couple

  19. Jamie Hibbs, 19 October, 2012

    I am loving getting to see all of these people who have only been names before. How great that you are doing this for all of us who cant travel to meet everyone. I loved seeing Ross’s beads and Arvita’s figures. Especially Henry with his history. I cant help but remember dog related incidents with a couple of my sculpts too. One was I had made a friend a figure of her great dane Boris. He was preparing the mail man(who he hated fiercely) like a chef preparing a meal. She loved the sculpt. But so did Boris. He loved it so much he ate it! She was heart broken over it. But I could never make another one like it for her. :( Another time my own dog ate a fairy vignette I had made using some beach rocks and moss and such. It had 3 fairies on it and he carefully picked off all 3 and ate them. Nothing else was disturbed. It must have an aroma or something they are drawn to. So now I warn people I give polymer gifts to, to keep it away from their pets. And I keep my clay etc away from my pets and a doggie gate in the doorway to my craft area!

  20. Arvita and Ross E, 20 October, 2012

    Thank you…
    Dogs do seem to be drawn to the clay I don’t know what it is…lol. Cooper will grab even fresh clay if he gets the chance. I guess Bella is more picky what she eats.

    It was so fun meeting Cindy and her family. They are welcome back when ever they come to Spokane…
    We would love to start a Guild for polymer clay(ers) here in the Spokane area.

    Soooo… please contact us if you are interested.
    hugs to you all!

    Arvita and Ross

  21. Jocelyn, 23 October, 2012

    Dogs are funny. If they see their cherished masters working with a substance, they want to get closer to it too. Everything I read on this topic says a bowel movement within 24 hours is the way to treat ingesting.

    Along the same lines, this article about Polymer Clay Safety is interesting. Sure would appreciate your thoughts and comments from our community….

  22. Arvita E, 23 October, 2012

    I have to say … It sure hasn’t hurt Cooper. he doesn’t seem to have any bad effects from it, it comes out in polymer clay pieces…
    I have never had any reactions nor has Ross, It does seem to mess with some nail polishes.. lol. but not all of them.
    that was an interesting article … thank you for posting it.
    I don’t think that you can’t make teapots or cups etc … because when the clay get hot it gets soft again… doesent it?

  23. Jocelyn, 24 October, 2012

    You can make anything, just need to prop it up in the oven so it gets through the “soft” phase without marring. Glad to hear Cooper is doing well!

  24. Jamie Hibbs, 25 October, 2012

    I really loved the article. Thank you for posting it Jocelyn. I think Im going to print it out and have it handy in case anyone cares to argue the merits of polymer clay safety. I personally have been using it in one form or another for 20+ years and have suffered no adverse affects from it, even when I burned it a few times. And neither of the dogs who ate it that Im aware of had any ill effect either. I would have no qualms whatsoever in working with my grandkids (when they get a bit older) with polymer and I look forward to introducing them to it. :}

  25. Jocelyn, 25 October, 2012

    Thanks Jamie, and I too for decades. But not in production work, which is where this safety stuff is critical. If your main source of income is through working with polymer clay, I think this critical piece is worth a read, though bear in mind it was posted in 2006.

    Anything that eats it survives well so long as passage occurs within a 24 hr limit, as far as I can Google. Must be a comfort to all those who mimic food. LOL!!! So glad to see you back around. Hope all is well.

  26. Jamie Hibbs, 26 October, 2012

    All is well here Jocelyn. The usual ups and downs like everyone else I suppose. But I cant complain. (mostly because no one will listen LOL) And thank you for asking. I hope all is well with you too.

    Back to topic, I have never done massive production work. But for a while I was working with it almost every day and baking at least that often. I have never felt any ill effect from the clay. Even the older formulas (which I still have a small stash of) I would have more concern over some of the other products that are often used with polymer clay. And I also had no issue using my home oven before I got my small dedicated convection oven. I still use the home oven occasionally for larger items. But I too find the smell of baking polymer pleasant and non irritating. Although burning it is another matter. PHEW! Even so, now it is more of a hobby due to health constraints, so I suppose it is a non issue for me anyway. I just dont have the energy or stamina to be at it for the marathon hours I used to spend on projects.
    As far as the “passage” time of the clay? With the dogs I mentioned, I wasnt personally privy to that information LOL. But Im sure it worked out well. Neither of them seemed affected by their snack. I however was not so happy :( Tough to see that much work get chomped. Thats why I sympathized with Arvita’s poor Henry. I hope he has a long and uneventful future from here on out.

  27. Jocelyn, 02 November, 2012

    Jamie, you know you are in my heart, and I wish you and your family the best. After Sandy, I WILL hush myself and appreciate what I have.

    Still looking at the Deni, it’s rated highly. Just need to rework the kitchen so that everything that needs to be is under the fan. Recommend NuWave ovens and ranges highly. They stick to temp, and do not overheat. Fortunately, the only two immovable items are the sink and the fridge. So need to put in some tiers to fit in the whole deal. So essential to keep hot food out of my balance zone, so that if I put my hand down it doesn’t smell like toast, lol.

    The smell of Kato irritates me but I love working with it. Cannot wait to see what Cindy thinks when she previews this product.

    Good ol’ Dad stepped in on clay, and his solution works for me. Endless tiny bits….. He gave me a workshop/art brush and dustpan and showed me how to do it to keep up. Much less clay….do both the work surface and surrounding floor.

  28. Phaedrakat, 06 December, 2012

    I missed this the first time around. Just wanted to say (better late than never?) how much I enjoyed the interview with Arvita & Ross…as well as their work! Love the sculpted fairies–large & small ;-) — and “Henry”. Impressive–thanks!

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