Joy Garden

Today’s post comes from Jacque.

Several weeks ago I was posting replies on the Trail Baboon from “art camp.” My intention was to produce a blog about this experience immediately.  However, when I sat down to write it I was greeted with a case of writer’s block, at least on that topic. Rarely am I speechless, but there it was, speechlessness. Now the words are flowing again.

The class was held at Maureen Carlson’s WeeFolk Center for Creative Art in Jordan, MN where she has studio space and a dorm on the second floor.     The class itself was taught by artist and teacher, Lindly Haunani from the Washington DC area.

The art medium of the class was polymer clay, a material with which I often work.  It is small, portable, and requires ordinary tools to shape it.  When you go to an art store or an on-line site to purchase polymer clay, it looks like this, sold in little bricks:

Premo ClayFrom the bricks of clay we formed a blended color palette with a technique called “Skinner Blend” which was the color basis of our project of the week, “Joy Garden.”  My blend looked like this:

Skinner blend Palette

Lindly taught us her techniques and allowed each of us to create our own version of a Joy Garden. I had a photo of an unusual tree stump which inspired my work that week. The stump is at the local dog park where I found it, then snapped a picture:

tree stump

The human figure in the stump inspired this figure made from polymer clay. The stump at the base of the Joy Gardener is a reproduction in polymer clay of the stump in the dog park:

unnamed (2)

Other students in the class produced projects in the same theme.   However, each project reflects completely individualized ideas which inspired the projects, the styles, and color palettes.

What inspires you to create?

62 thoughts on “Joy Garden”

  1. Love the sculpture you created (and that really cool stump). Odd to see that I was in your class…I don’t remember being there. 😉

    Answering the question: constrained design problems (constraints can include, but may not be exclusive to, time, money, resources, space…), a nugget of an idea that rolls about in my head for weeks (right now my head is full of Lutheran hymn tunes – which is not doing much for my creative juices, just causing me to hum to myself), trying to come up with a good metaphor for something (e.g., using different sized Slinkies to show the relative size of sound waves created buy larger vs smaller instruments). Now to come up with a good metaphor for why “A Mighty Fortress” is stuck in my head…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nature tends to be my inspiration when it comes to art. i am not very inspired by events but i seldom go looking for it either. if i took from the composers i enjoy they seem to do lots of things around stories and works of art. if i took form artist who paint and sculpt an extraordinarily large number go to the stories of the past in the bible and folk tales
    . i guess i can roll with whatever is there when i am searching for inspiration. nature works but so does emotion vision and projection, have the advantage of working in a variety of medias so the options are endelss.
    my son said he wanted to go to yellowstone flyfishing this moth with me but was hesitant because the act of flyfishing is his deal not mine. i told him for me to sit on the shore and do pastels, watercolors or acrylics would be my idea of heaven. 1000 miles out. i said two days. he tells me if we leave at 5 pm we will be there by noon. gotta love youth.
    packing up brushes and paints for the trip two pairs of shorts, sandles and hiking boots a sweater and a suitcase full of paper and canvas. maybe a few veggie dogs for the campfire.
    im inspired

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Sometimes my creations are making order out of chaos, in which case chaos is the impetus. Case in point yesterday, when we, for the first time in 15 years, removed everything from the shed, cleaned it (and removed the nests and many, many walnuts), and put back only what we need. Brand new space.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Deadlines seem to be a magic impetus….hoping some creative juices will start flowing and set me to drawing and painting again now that there is time to allow. But, as I said, deadlines work really well.


  5. For carving it was taking in image and shaping it anew.
    For pastels it is images from nature, as for tim, but we would get different results. It is also line, shape, color. Sometimes it’s seeing something that is all line, hard edges, sometimes something with soft or no edges, or something that is all color, or something with limited tonal range, or something in which I see the Hand of Creation.
    For writing I have no idea.
    And nice art, nice post. Love getting the image out of the stump. You found line in a nature to inspire you and then pushed it in ways I could not. Very fine work.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Good morning. I don’t paint, or do sculpture. The closest I come to doing creative projects might be some of my carpentry projects. Recently I designed and constructed a grape trellis. My design for this trellis makes use of design elements of other trellises found in our neighborhood which could be said have provided me with the inspiration for my design.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t feel I am creative now. I once was. The circumstances of my present life limit my ability to be creative.

    The most creative thing I still do is my daily letter. What inspires that is a lifelong habit of observing things and reflecting upon them. Or maybe I should say I’m inspired by fondness for my friend of fifty years. She often says my letters brighten her day.

    Perhaps that isn’t different from the inspiration that drove me to become a writer when I was young and active. Writing, for me, has always been my preferred response to loneliness. Loneliness has long been the curse of my life. Feeling a need to connect with others, I send out messages that I hope find their way to the hearts and minds of others.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Necessity. It always has been, I think. In my production days in theatre, if someone had a last minute bright idea, they always looked at me.

    I have never mastered the fine art of uttering the word, “no”.

    S&h needs a zipper replaced on his backpack. should be an easy task for me, but no, it really isn’t–so we figured we would bite the bullet and just get a new one. Then we saw the pricetags on what an equivalent backpack would be. That zipper replacement just got a lot more cost-effective. uff da.

    Bill- if you are reading today, know that I am also in the process of fixing my Sunbeam toaster (looks like I loosened the tension screw in the base too much). People think I do this stuff out of nostalgia or something equally charming. Not a bit of it, I do it because you cannot replace a Sunbeam T-20c for less than $100 and there is no modern equivalent.

    Raw creativity that is unattached to a necessary function of some sort is really not something I do well.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks but I think I’ve got it. Took me awhile to figure out how the trip mechanism was being held up and yet was springy.

        They really are an amazing design. I can’t think why they stopped making them (although I suppose there is little profit in making a small kitchen appliance that lasts a lifetime).

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Almost forgot….

    PSA from Mike Pengra — The first broadcast of “Keepers By Request” is Friday, Sept. 4th at noon. We’ll repeat it Sunday, Sept. 6th at 7pm. (I keep repeating this to make sure as many folks as possible see it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Like MiG, it’s need on various levels. Need if there is a gift or card to be made, need if finances require it. And then there is the need that drives me into my studio because I need to work on something that isn’t work, housework, yardwork, etc. Every now and then I’ll spend several hours just making random cards and projects, for no one in particular, and then I feel much better.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I find that other people’s dilemmas stimulate my creativity. I woke up in the middle of the night with a possible solution for someone who pulls out eyelashes as they go to sleep. I think if we have bandaids on the thumb and fingers so that they stick up over the tip of the fingers and interfere with the pincer grip, that may interfere with the pulling. We will have to see how it works.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Jacque – this is great. I love how all of the different art pieces are so distinctive, when you are all using the same medium and taking the same course. Fascinating!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. It is so interesting that we all started with the same bricks of clay and look at the unique projects people develop. I love that. Lindly Haunani, the teacher is brilliant at providing techniques and guidance, as well. She is one of my favorite Polymer Clay Teachers and she is one of the Pioneers of the medium, as is Maureen.


  13. PSA – Just received this email from Radio Heartland:

    Listen this Friday to Keepers by Request

    Mike PengraHappy September! Thanks again for signing up for the Radio Heartland newsletter.
    Were you a fan of the old Morning Show with Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole? I was, too. For many listeners, the show was as important as a good cup of coffee in the morning. It got us out of bed with good humor and great music for more than 25 years. Many Radio Heartland listeners were fans of that show, and they not only miss the voices of Dale and Jim Ed, they also miss hearing some of the songs we used to play back then.
    So, in honor of The Morning Show and its loyal fans, I hope you’ll tune in for a special program called Keepers By Request. It’s more than two hours of old favorites like “Little Potato” by Metamora, “Old Love” by Neal and Leandra, “Roseville Fair” by Bill Staines, “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, and other beloved tracks by artists like Greg Brown, Connie Kaldor, Peter Mayer and more. The show will air at noon on Friday, Sept. 4, on Radio Heartland. We’ll repeat it Sunday at 7 p.m., and if you miss either of those, the audio and playlist will be posted at the Radio Heartland website.
    Did I mention that we’ll have a special guest for the second half of the program? Dale Connelly, now program director at KFAI radio in Minneapolis, will join me to co-host.
    Don’t miss Keepers By Request this Friday at noon!
    Thank you for listening to Radio Heartland.
    Mike Pengra
    Program Director
    Radio Heartland from Minnesota Public Radio

    Liked by 4 people

        1. No need to apologize. Mike hinted at this last month, but I didn’t want to jinx it by blurting it out. When I saw the newsletter about an hour ago I thought, well now I can say something in the morning. I might say it again anyway for anybody who didn’t read the trail today!!!

          Liked by 1 person

  14. I used polymer clay once to sculpt a realistic facsimile of a twist of frozen yogurt in a cup. It was complicated by the fact that the nozzle out of which the yogurt was to be delivered had a star shape. So I had to fashion a fluted rope of Sculpey and then wrap it into a spiral in a designated cup. I baked that and then took an impression of the original to give me a mold I could cast in polyester resin. This was for a frozen yogurt display for Columbo Yogurt (General Mills). That was back when I was taking on prop-making jobs from professional photographers, probably the most hair-raising segment of creative services. If you can imagine agreeing to provide something you’ve never done before using technologies you have to figure out on the fly, within a set and very tight time frame at a price you’ve guaranteed before you even figured out how you are going to accomplish the desired result, and with the stipulation that the item you are creating has to be convincing in a camera close up, you have a sense of the pressure inherent in prop making. Still, there’s an addictive exhilaration that comes when you succeed. It was ultimately too stressful. I backed away from it after a couple of years.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

    – Jim Jarmusch

    Liked by 3 people

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