Taking imagination and fantasy from the world of magic and transforming it into something beautiful in this world; is what I do every day. Does that sound interesting? Hello everyone, I am Radha, a clay artist. Doing something creative by shaping earth with your hands can be an incredibly humble, joyful and healing experience. I enjoy working with clay. Minutes to hours and hours to days, I do not realise how time flies when I am working.
My journey as a clay artist started in 2012. I was highly impressed by a clay artist named Iris Mishly and her clay crafts. Indian clay crafts – terracotta jewellery has always been my personal favourite. Yes, I am a self-taught artist. I have not taken any formal training in clay modelling. But arts and crafts were always my hobbies since childhood. I like all kinds of painting: including oil painting, fabric painting and mandala painting. Anything challenging and creative, I do not mind trying.
Initially, I made jewellery for myself – mainly small earrings and pendants. Friends and family loved it as I made a few for them too. Then as I learnt more complex patterns and forms, I made more designer fashionable jewellery. Learning, designing and creating more and more new projects in clay continued for a few years. And by now, I had developed a steady hand and good speed in working with clay. What started as a hobby is now my full-time profession.
Later after a few years, making small figurines or dolls from clay interested me a lot. Then I started making dolls for the shop. The appreciation for them was overwhelming. Everyone liked the new dolls. They were a great success. It has been 10yrs since I set off on this journey. Now I have a store online where I design, make and sell clay dolls as cake toppers, fridge magnets, pencil toppers, keychains, jewellery and more. You might want to take a look at my work. They make great gifts too!
‘Clay’ has many forms; air dry clay, polymer clay, wet clay, and porcelain clay. And among them, a personal favourite to work with is Polymer Clay. It is more versatile and flexible to work with comparatively. Earlier I used this clay for most of my works. However, later as I started making figurines, polymer clay did not give me the option to produce it in large quantities. Hence I chose to create using air-dry clay. To make a clay model, we would need clay – Polymer or Air-dry (whichever one would like to use), moulds, acrylic paints and brushes. Clay modelling tools if and where required. Glue and embellishments if you wish to decorate them further.
Materials that are available locally and with ease make it an attractive hobby to take up. Other than that, it involves a lot of finesse and patience. It does not require much space either. I design the model on paper, select the clay and material and then begin to create it. Even I got stuck while converting the design on paper to the model. I needed to make modifications or rework some of it. Finally, the Clay project is ready to be shipped after a week of hard work. Shipping an article that is this fragile and hoping it reaches the customer perfectly the way it is, used to give me nightmares. With time I learned to wrap it up with enough cushioning, to ensure the clay model reaches the buyer safe and sound.
I like to personalise and customise my orders. ‘Cake Toppers’ are my best sellers. There was one order that I distinctly remember. It was quite a challenge to design a doll sitting on a swing, while the swing was hanging from a tree. It was sweet, cute and delicate. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to know the customer’s reaction when she receives it. The wait finally ended when she replied “I have received it. It is in great condition and I simply love it. It is exactly what I was looking for!” I was so relieved. It made my day.
There are a lot of things that one can make using clay. Food miniatures are a trend picking up very fast. Realistic-looking miniature pieces of foods to create displays or for the dollhouses are called food miniatures. Wedding Memories of a couple, decorations for gift hampers as well bottle caps are all popular clay figurine models. If you are thinking of taking up clay crafts as a hobby, I suggest you stop thinking and take it up. It is something I feel all creative artists will like and can give a try.
Make a simple clay model with me :-
- I use air dry clay for my project. Most of them are available in different colors or you can mix them accordingly to your project design.
- For the face I use skin color, hair black color and for the dress use colors as per your choice.
- If you have a mould simply press the clay into the mould as required. Clean up the extra. It helps to make multiple pieces.
- Once the desired design is complete, unmould the design and smoothen the edges. For the hair I use black clay depending upon the hairdo, I use resin eyes or acrylic paints for the eyes and eyebrows.
- Now let the clay air dry for the next 24 hours or until it’s solid.
And it’s ready! Your first easy clay project. Have an Arty Weekend!
Ms. Radha Srikanth is a clay artist and the owner at ‘Cute Li’l Things’. A mother of two, Radha manages to keep a balance between work and home.