Making Improvements

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was taking an on-line class, well actually a couple. But one was focused on design principals for polymer clay artists. It was taught by Christine Dumont and Donna Greenberg as part of a creative design series on The class was called Repetition and Gradation. These are design principles that can be applied in a variety of ways.

Initially, as we entered week 1, the students were asked to create a photo album of their current work. I put together a few photos showing a variety of my work (these along with some of my tribal series).


I was totally surprised as the other students added their photos. These were people that are, in my opinion, already doing fabulous work. I have followed them on-line. I was immediately intimidated!!

But I decided to stick with it, what do I have to lose . . . . right?!? I repeat this thought often.

The class focused on developing our understanding of the use of repetition and gradation through observations. Being able to make observations and understand why a piece works . . . . . or doesn’t work is essential in applying these principals. Making observations seems simple and obvious but describing what you are seeing in an intelligent way is not . . . it takes practice . . . and lots of it!

The last part of the class was where we put our understanding of repetition and gradation to work. Our assignment was to selected a piece we had completed before and redesign it, adding repetition and gradation. So “which piece”, “do you start from scratch”, “how much do you change”, “what parts do I keep” all ran through my mind. This is the piece I selected.


Well we all started by sketching out our ideas and presenting them for comments from both the instructors and students alike. Below are a couple of my sketches. I kept the original form with a minor adjustment to the “tail” where I added a curl and a pearl.


We then hit the studio. The transformations ranged from subtle to dramatic, but all were very impressive to say the least.  I actually did two versions of my final piece. The first version is based upon the upper right sketch. The second version was based upon comments from the instructors that caught my attention.


I was pretty pleased with the improvements made. Masterpieces . . . . well no . . .  but I was able to successfully play with repetition and gradation in the colors and patterns. And I still have more ideas for this piece rolling around in my head.

I have really enjoyed taking on-line classes. They can be a ‘live’ format where you actively interact with instructors and students with deadlines for assignments or a class that you can take any time and go at your own pace. They both offer a great opportunity to learn.

This entry was posted in polymer clay, Uncategorized, workshops and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Making Improvements

  1. KatharinaK says:

    Love reading your blog and following your creative process!


  2. Vicki says:

    Evolution of a Snail? Love the concept. Very artistic.


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