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My parents, both artists, fueled my passion for art and the inspiration for many of my designs comes from my fascination with nature. Many of my ideas are driven by color, and the vibrant colors of polymer clay are what first attracted me to this medium. I am greatly influenced by the works of Van Gogh with his bold brushstrokes and Maxfield Parrish's use of true, pure colors and light. Their paintings are a treat for the eye and soul; they make me feel good. I hope that my work gives this same feeling to those who own one of my pieces. Polymer clay is a comfortable medium to work with and a whole lot of fun. Being a fairly new and versatile material with very little tradition, it is an open door begging to be explored.

Millefiori canework is the process of building a log with a picture running through it. Essentially, it is making a two dimensional picture with three-dimensional rods of a particular medium. My medium of choice is polymer clay. My art background encompasses numerous mediums and I enjoy the process of learning something new. Much of my experience after college was hands on and self-taught, which is why I think figuring out the process of making the logs, comes easily to me. I look at each cane as a challenge, a puzzle, breaking it down into many small parts, making them and then putting it together.

To make a millefiori cane: I begin by mixing all the colors and shades of clay that I will need, then I make all the individual logs of designs that will make up the image. Each individual feather of a bird or petal of a flower must be made into a log of clay first. I reduce these pieces in size by stretching or rolling, then tightly pack them together to form the cane. The finished cane can again be reduced in size allowing the many applications and detail that you see in my work. Using slices of the canes with other polymer techniques such as mokume gane, hand made molds, textures, and metal leaf and rubs, I make one of a kind pieces of wearable art. After forming the pieces, they are baked in a convection oven at 275°. The process is time intensive as it takes approximately one to two weeks to make a difficult cane.

My work is contemporary with intricate detail not often found in polymer clay.

In some of my new work, I am combining my polymer clay with a new product from Mitsubishi called Precious Metal Clay (PMC), which comes in silver or gold. PMC is a pliable material that is a mixture of fine particles of silver or gold with an organic binder and water. After forming the PMC into the desired shapes, I allow it to air dry to the "leather hard" state. Then it is fired in a kiln at 1650°F for silver or 1830°F for gold. This burns off the organic binder and water, leaving .999 fine silver or gold. After wire brushing and antiquing the PMC silver or gold I insert my polymer clay piece into the PMC and then bake in my convection oven to finish it.

I began working with polymer clay in the fall of 1994, after seeing some blue swirled beads. Once again it was the color that attracted me. I received my State Juried Member status in Non-Metal Jewelry with the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen organization in October of 1995. I am juried in two mediums at this time, polymer clay and PMC. I was the chairperson on the standards committee that developed the guidelines to jury polymer clay into the League and I am a juror for new artists in the mediums of polymer clay and PMC.

My jewelry is sold through all the League shops, fine galleries and specialty shops. My jewelry and sculpture is available through my website.

 

To Contact Me:
beadunique@fairpoint.net
Tel: 603 694-3591
Barbara Sperling
2339 Green Hill Rd
Chatham, NH 03813