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Gretchen Amberg

Gretchen Amberg

Gretchen Amberg has traveled the winding path of media, starting with glass fusing, then metal clay, and on to several other types of media. She was first introduced to polymer clay in 2007, and it was love at first sight. Gretchen grew up in a household with two creative parents (although her father would argue that point where he is concerned). Going through her early school days with energetic and inspiring art teachers certainly helped her find her creative spirit. Her mom worked many years as a florist and was a serious quilter and basket weaver. Being around her mom definitely contributed to her love of color and interest in structure. Her dad and grandpa were model railroaders, so her association with that hobby contributed to her interest in mechanics. She sees herself as more of a “reverse engineer” than artist since she tends to start with a mental image of a final piece and then works backwards. Polymer clay is what she refers to as her “art therapy”; at her day job, she does her fair share of clay-related day dreaming (mostly during those wretchedly boring meetings). Gretchen finds that inspiration can pop up anywhere, and working in heavy industrial settings has increased her contemplation of mechanics as she builds her pieces. She has one piece of advice for anyone just starting out on his or her creative journey: “be nosey”—you never know what you’ll learn and how it can help you grow as an artist.

You made that out of polymer clay???

I get such a kick out of the reactions I’ve witnessed when a person, who’s never seen or really ever heard of polymer clay, sees a piece for the first time.  During the month of April I spent some quality time at physical therapy. The gals I was working with are a super-cool bunch and

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Stay Calm and Clay On

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing you are working on is coming out right?  All you want to do is tear your hair out, throw your clay out the window, bang your head on your work table, or maybe all of the above.  Don’t give up!  If this is something new

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Finely Crafted Polymer

My “Honey-Bunch” and I just got back a wonderful weekend getaway in the beautiful area in and around Douglas & Saugatuck, Michigan. During our time in the area we made a point of checking out the local small brewery, a winery, and a wonderful place that does craft ciders.  While enjoying all of the flavors

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The Gift of Guild Membership

Whether or not you belong to a guild of some kind I think you can understand my message.  During my time as a member of the Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild I have learned the value of belonging to a community of artists; however, the recent loss of a member has given me a deeper

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Polymer Clayers Do It Better

  There is a plethora of things out there that can be made out of polymer clay, and it seems that when you least expect it inspiration strikes.  A few weeks back I went into a shop specializing in home décor with a friend.  She headed for the candle section and I followed her. While

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Color Color Everywhere

So why is it that we are surrounded by every imaginable color but when we want to try a different color combination or mix up something special we get stuck?  The place I work is somewhat involved in interior design so we get all of these cool magazines.  I have taken to swiping them from

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Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

Why are some of us so self-critical?  I mean we all know the phrase about being our own worst critic but why does it seem so hard to turn that part of ourselves off?  A while back I was going through my studio and came across a small bin of some things I made when

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Challenge Each Other

Challenges are challenging, and right now you are thinking to yourself “Duh!  Of course they are, that’s why they are called challenges”.  I was looking over some of the comments on the Polyform Facebook page that were generated when the Design Squad challenge pieces were posted and it made me start thinking.  I can really

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