Charles Dickens once said, “Nature gives to every season, a beauty all its own.” As we approach the spring season, there are so many ways to be inspired by the ever-changing growth and rebirth of nature. The changing environment brings new plants and animals, an evolution of color and blooms.
As a college Art Education Instructor, I utilize my days teaching art to students, but rarely get much time to explore my own artwork. However, I am fortunate to play with many different art materials on a regular basis, as I work with preschool age, all the way up to adults in art. I have never had the opportunity to work with Sculpey clay for my own art. I decided that I wanted to showcase a “snapshot” of spring by creating a clay tile.
For this project, I used the Sculpey III clay color pack. I started by sculpting a square clay base.
I wanted to incorporate the two things the make me think of spring, flowers and birds. From the square foundation, I started adding my details in layers. For my first layer, I started sculpting the tree branches. By intertwining multiple clay colors, new colors can be creating allowing the artist to create the optimal color mix. From there I used the Sculpey Sculpting Detail Tools to create the aesthetic of “tree bark.”
Next, I added the background by creating the sky and the sun. I used multiple clay colors and extreme texture with the detail tools to simulate movement instead of a “flat” colored background. I sculpted a bird separately on the Sculpey Silicone working mat, and it allowed me to create the bird in small parts and piece them together without the worry of sticking to the table.
Once the bird was completed, I attached the full bird to the tile, on top of the branches to emphasize foreground and background and create dimension.
Finally, I created and added the details to my branches. This meant sculpting individual leaves, flowers, and buds to attach. By adding these details to the tile last, this allowed me to determine size and placement of these leaves and flowers to create a sense of space, even in this small tile. The Sculpey Detail Tools were very helpful in allowing me to create to form the very small details and textures to achieve this look
When my tile was complete, it was so easy to move the completed piece off the Sculpey Silicone Work Mat and transfer it onto the Sculpey Oven-Safe Work Mat directly on my metal baking sheet. After 15 minutes in the pre-heated oven, I was amazed at how the clay had set and the colors remained just as vibrant as before they went in the oven, and how none of the details had been lost in the bake.
My overall experience with Sculpey has been very positive. I can easily forget and get lost in the busyness of teaching my own students, but my own artwork is not only rewarding but vital to myself as a teacher and artist. Many thanks to Sculpey for allowing me to share my personal project, and the experience I had with these amazing products!
Written by Sculpey Teacher Ambassador Susan Hawkins