"49 8/31/2009 16:56:33 janil
I have you button! "
Ash Paints is an amazing polymer clay shop on Etsy. Arlene has had her shop since March of 2007! She has the most amazing Ornaments, Items for the Office, Garden Stakes and more. Arlene was born and raised in the Piney Woods of Central Mississippi. In addition to her Etsy store, she also have a blog that gets updated frequently: Harrison Hollow Designs. She is also a member of the Polymer Clay Association, the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy and the Central Mississippi Polymer Clay Guild, where she serves as Secretary/Webmaster (http://www.cmspcg.com )
Arlene can also be found here:
How did you decide on your shop name?
My husband was retired Navy when I met him. When he retired from him civilian job in 1997, we planned to live fulltime in a motorhome and work/camp across the USA. He had been to many places outside the US but had not spent much time traveling stateside. Not too long before this, we had the opportunity to buy some land in the country close to my parents and figured eventually we would settle there. In the meantime, we built a storage building on the land to put all the "stuff" in that we just couldn't part with but that would not fit in the motorhome. We named it Harrison Hollow because to get to our homeplace, you have to go down through a hollow then up a hill. Even the road to my home is Harrison Hollow Road. We discovered that if you build your own road, you can name it whatever you want to! As fate would have it, we were only able to travel briefly before health issues forced us to return home. JD was very instrumental in pushing me to explore my creative side and try new things so, after his passing in 2001, I renamed my business Harrison Hollow Designs in his memory.
When did you start crafting/painting?
My grandmother taught me to embroider before I was old enough to start to school and that was the beginning of a life-long “need” to create. I emphasize need because that is what it is. If I go too long without making something, I get antsy and irritable! My husband used to joke about me having to have acrylic [paint]under my fingernails!
I’ve tried a lot of things over the years - woodworking, thread-count embroidery, crewel embroidery, sewing clothes for my sisters (and our dolls), knitting, crochet, quilting, even made concrete stepping stones at one point, and finally found my niche in decorative painting, which I did for more than 25 years until I discovered polymer clay.
The woodworking is a funny story. I had gotten into decorative painting back when cutouts were popular so I bought my husband a relatively inexpensive scroll saw for Christmas so he could cut things out for me to paint. Instead he taught me how to use it, then bought me a RBI Hawk, which was one of the better scroll saws, because I got so frustrated with changing blades when they broke… and I broke quite a few in the learning process! I am now proficient with a table saw, miter saw, skill saw, jigsaw and, of course, my scroll saw. My favorite thing in my workshop is a toss-up between my pneumatic nail gun and my drill press.
What is your favorite creative outlet?
For many years it was painting anything that didn't move too quickly (grin)! But I have to say that my favorite creative outlet today has to be polymer clay. My adventures in polymer clay began about three years ago when I had gotten burned out on painting. I had done a bit of work with paperclay in adding dimension to gourds and had watched the polymer clay artists on the Carol Duval show and figured I could do this — and I had picked up some Sculpey in holiday colors for pennies at Hobby Lobby’s after-Christmas sale. So I dove right in. I’d love to say that everything I did was an instant success, but we all know that’s not how it works. Every day is an adventure and the versatility of polymer clay has captured my imagination and held it for several years now. I learn something new every time I sit down at my worktable.
Are there other crafts you would like to try?
I'm working at becoming a better beader. This is something that I had not seriously worked at before the polymer clay, but with the ability to make my own beads, I need to know better how to put them together in interesting and different ways. I am slowly learning to work more gracefully with wire beyond the simple pre-made jewelry findings. I see so much being done in this area that is so creative but my "can do" hasn't caught up with my "want to do" yet!
Where do you craft?
I have a home studio and a separate workshop for my big tools. The story of where I live and why is way too long to go into, but let's just say that we moved out of a perfectly good 3 bedroom home in a subdivision and moved into a 35' motorhome! We build a storage building on land in the country to store the stuff we couldn't part with and hit the road traveling. Unfortunately back surgery, then cancer halted our travels. After losing a fair number of plants (his green thumb, definitely NOT mine!) after his first cancer surgery because of the cold, we started building a 36×16 greenhouse/bunkhouse for visitors. When my husband died, I sold the motorhome, modified the greenhouse and moved in. It was one large room with a 8 foot porch all the way across the front and across the back with a bathroom and very rudimentary kitchen. Talk about getting back to basics!!!
After a couple of years my brother and his crew enclosed the back porch and added a 20×18 "bedroom" on the back for me. I had my painting studio in the 16'×8' back porch area and my bedroom in the large room. After about six months, I switched it around, moving my bed and dresser into the 16×8 room and using the nice big room for my studio!
I pretty much live in there now. I have my big comfy recliner, my computer, tv and nice big windows for plenty of natural light. To correct a problem with a leaky roof (which is what spurred the addition), my brother put on a metal roof (which I LOVE) and changed the pitch of the roof. I had him leave the room open all the way up, so on the house side of the room, the wall is 12 feet high, sloping down to 8 feet at the window wall. It makes the room feel HUGE! I still don't have my work space set up exactly as I want it since I've added polymer clay as my primary art form instead of the painting that I had done for years. But slowly I'm getting there.
What does your space look like?
Right now my workspace is a horseshoe shape with my worktable on the front - facing the door and the tv - the rolling table that I have my pasta machine mounted on as well as some bead storage is across the bottom of the horseshow and my cool new storage unit is on the other side of the horseshoe.
(Arlene has two posts on her blog that show what she has done in her craft room. Post #1, Post #2)
What would you love to add to it?
If I could add anything to my studio, I would add a workshop on the back. Right now I have to walk over to the storage building/workshop to use my drill press and buffer. I would also like to have a spray booth set up in the workshop for my airbrush. I rarely use it now because I don't have a "perfect" spot to use it in. Much of the work that I do is done at night so it's too dark to spray outside and I'm way too messy to spray inside!.
What or who inspires you?
I don't know that I can narrow it down to a specific who. It depends on what day you ask me! There are so many great jewelry and polymer clay artists doing such amazing things with this medium. My favorite thing to do is make flower canes, so my most recent inspiration was a polymer clay artist from Israel, Yonat (Art by Yonat), who made a video of a technique using a water-soluble clay to pack and reduce flower canes. She credits the initial inspiration for this technique to Idit Zoota, a fellow clay artist. It has made a world of difference in the way I make flower canes. I have a post on my blog – July 20th I believe -- that tells more about how this works along with a link to the video.
What is the item in your shop you enjoyed making the most and why?
I'd have to say the Funky Chicken Plant Pokes – just because they were so much fun! The dangly legs added character and I could go pretty wild and crazy with the colors. For pure relaxation, I'd have to say the polymer clay pens. This is something that I can do when the stress of the day and life in general is getting to me and it just sooths my soul.
NOW FOR THE GIVE AWAY!
Arlene has made this amazing pen for the lucky winner of her give away!! The polymer clay pen is crafted by hand using a combination of marbled clay as a background and polymer clay “canes” which are made by hand in her studio. There is NO paint used in covering the pen, although a gloss sealer is added to protect and enhance the design.
Here are the Rules to enter the Give Away.
Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each Entry!
* For the first entry - Go to: Ash Paints
Pick your favorite item and come back here with the link.
* 1 extra entry - blog about the give away, and leave a link.
* 1 extra entry - grab my button on the sidebar and add it to your blog, let me know
* 1 extra entry - twitter about this contest with a link, let me know where
You can twitter this:
@audreyscrafts Win a Handmade Polymer Clay Pen:
*1 extra entry for each of my other give aways you enter - just comment telling me which one you entered.
* 1 extra entry for every time you do this - twitter about your favorite item in the shop, leave me a link
* 5 extra entries - purchase something from the shop - leave me a comment telling me what you purchased and a link to the invoice.
The draw will take place on:
Good Luck Everyone!!
Audrey's Country Crafts is in no way responsible for the mailing of the prize. After the name is drawn I will contact that person. They have 3 days to respond before another name will be picked! The name and address will be forwarded.
Thank-you for entering!!
DO NOT COMMENT HERE TO ENTER!!!