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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.

  1. Phase 3- Decorating your work space

    Raise your hand if you fork up the extra bit of money for the more expensive facial tissue because the design on the box is nice.  Yeah, I’m totally guilty of that.  Maybe it’s just because I’m an artsy-fartsy person, but I can’t seem to bring myself to spend less and end up with a box of facial tissues I...

  2. Phase 2- Bringing Home the Work

    Before moving to my new workspace, I had a small sandwich board style dry-erase board.  The dry-erase board is a great tool to have; I use it to write down reminders on what I need to finish working on first thing in the morning.  Over time, the dry-erase board I had been using became too small for the list of...

  3. Phase 1 by Gretchen Amberg

    While I war with indecision about what to make for my first polymer clay addition, I decided it would be good to start with things I already have. With all of the sunlight I get, with the exception of today where the now much light is getting through the falling snow, plants were the obvious choice. Within a couple...

  4. Bringing Home to Work

    New job and new digs.  OK, technically the job is not new since I have been with the company a year, but after some musical chairs, our department seems to have finally landed in a permanent location.  I am pleased to announce I am now out of the ever-popular grey walled cubicle and in a more open area where I...

  5. Dragon Eye Blog 2 – Extra Details

    I am officially having entirely too much fun (if there is such a thing) making these eyes!  I wish had this idea while first writing up the project but as we all know that hindsight is 20/20.  It’s never too late for cool ideas so here goes… Glittery Pupil Clay Dragon Eyes The addition of the color around the pupil...

  6. Taking Our Cues From Nature

    Inspiration can be found all around us if we take a moment to really look.  I’ve always had a fascination with the tiny little details found in nature.  Well before I got into polymer clay I enjoyed taking close-up photos of all manner of plant life. As I’ve worked with clay I’ve gone back to some of those photos to...

  7. An Intimate Gathering

    Well, another annual Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild retreat has come and gone and like most things I look forward to it seems to take forever to get here and is over way too soon.  This year we had a few less folks than in the past which made for a more intimate gathering of polymer artists.  I’ve been attending...

  8. Ocean Life Textures

    I just spent the Thanksgiving holiday in the "Sunshine State" and took advantage of my location to do some serious shopping for sea shells.  I shopped for small items I can use as inclusions in my work but as I browsed the store I was drawn to some of the larger shells with interesting textures.  I wanted to share what...

  9. A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

    I have to make a confession, my work space is an utter disaster.  I have tools and clay all over the place which makes it hard to keep track of my supplies.  Cleaning up after a project can be difficult since I don't have a dedicated space for the majority of my small tools.  The tool rack that Polyform introduced...

  10. Welcome to Cubicle Township, Population Millions

    Like so many others out there, I spend my work day stationed in a 3 walled standard grey cubicle. I find that no matter how much of those awful grey walls is covered by a calendar, diagrams, and assorted reference sheets that it still feels terribly drab.  I’ve been wanting to find ways to add a little color and personality...

  11. Not just for making hollow beads…

    The Hollow Bead Maker might just be the best thing since sliced bread and those of you who were previously using lightbulbs as a form for hollow beads probably agree.  Having a better tool has prompted me to do more work with hollow beads than I’d done in the past.  As I continue to play around with making hollow beads...

  12. That Pesky Stuff Called Scrap

    I’m sure many polymer clay users out there can identify with the issue of having an abundance of scrap clay.  I personally don’t like the idea of just throwing clay in the garbage, and although I do manage to salvage some of it by working in “like colors”, I all too often end up with bits that when combined will...

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