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New To Clay

The beginning is a delicate time


You and a couple of other animal print swappers were sweating the due
date. So you may have triggered a ramble, but it was for the list at
large. Both swappers and hosts need to relax a bit. Remember the start
of the movie Dune, the David Lynch one? "The beginning is a delicate
time..." I think of that all the time with new clayers. Folks who are
fixing to be clayers and haven't opened up a pack of clay yet, keep
circling around it like a hawk unsure if it's hungry. For those folks
who opened the clay package and got all the tools and got as far as
conditioning and is ready to "do something" with it. All these folks
are at that delicate time. Anything can squirrl it. Any negative
comment. Being ignored. Not being encouraged. Not getting suggestions
or tips and hints that they need to make the process more enjoyable.
All this can sour the art soup. What do we bring to these folks? How
shall we encourage them but not make it a stressful experience? It's
labor intensive after all. It's time taken from our lives, isn't it?
It's resources allocated to something that is just there to please us.

Art is to please us, first and foremost. If it doesn't, it's not art,
it's a chore, it's part of running after a different goal than just
mucking about with something warm, yeilding, colorful and obedient.

Some of the different goals that blur our sights are:
pleasing someone else before the self
wanting to make money, so worrying about its "value" on the "open

Some of the perceptions that get in our way:
Self diminishment... doubt is fear and fear is the opposite of Faith
so I must encourage self confidence.
Feeling competitive with fellow artists... are you doing art or is
this a race or contest?

That's why I harp on the art as a "personal creative expression"
aspect of polymer clay in general, along with realism and attention to
detail and scale for the miniaturists. That's why I say you're the Big
Boss at your work table. It's your color choices, your choice of
design and subject and theme. That's why I say if your tummy gets
tight it's time to stop and ask yourself...

what's the boggle?

Tight tummies means there negative stress thing going on.

Oh there's stress and then there's stress. I stress myself, but I feel
rising to one's personal creative challenge is a good stressor. It
drives the engine, chuga chuga chuga. What is difficult and new one
day is second nature the next because of repeated practice and Faith
that following my artistic bliss is what God had created me for. Just
a happy flower in God's garden of souls, like St. Teressa used to say
so sweetly.

My art is as much a part of the gifts given to me as the gold color on
the California Poppy. It's my little happy dance of  being alive and
sentient enough to go... "oh wow, oil on water make the most glorious
colors..." que applause sign for God.

Since art and being touched by the divine is key to my philosophy here
as a communicator I will stray from the conventional methods of doing
just about anything. How I deal with swaps, how I deal with list
politeness and loving actions, how Off Topic posts are part of our
life here and encouraged. How the first items made by the new clayer
is worth a thousand fancy pants stuff from a known clay artist, for
that first step can only be taken once. To witness that flowering of
the artist in someone is so special, like watching some celestial
event, it's special and rare and it's a moment to savor.

Long assed rambling philosophical posts are another tradition breaker.
How things are done here is for the purpose of not screwing up that
beginning for the new clayer. Times is weird, folks are stressed
enough, we have to comply to other's expectations on us at work, in
public, with the law and government. Our time with our art is that bit
of time where we can take a break from all that out there, dream a
mini dream, build a fantasy scene, delight in color and form for no
other purpose than to ease our hearts, connecting us with our
essential selves.

If thy swap stresses thee, back out. If thy host duties have to be
sidelined because life got in the way, then so be it. Shall we rail
and rant against the raindrops as they fall on our face, just because
we planned on sunshine? Waste of brain shares. Things are as they are.

What I'd like to do to ease the swap anxiety is to schedule demos that
deal with the next couple of swap topics so folks can get some ideas,
gather urls, see some examples of how-to and ease them in their
production by having clay alongs. I see the demos and the swaps as
needing to be married to have the effect we need in supporting
swappers BEFORE the due date. Down with swap secrets, just ain't
friendly swap secrets. So my aim, going forward, is to coordinate the
swaps and the non-swaps like the FaceOff, with the demo topics. Focus
it, it'll help kick start some swappers are who stuck by THE FEAR of
all the negative things that aren't going to happen here.

No whip cracking from me, an arm around the shoulder and a
nownowtherethere is more like. So ... did you cause the ramble?

Naw, I'm just a rambling gal when I'm not doing demo and site updates.

off to water my plants, we got sunshine today and they are probably in



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