Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

I received a special surprise!
 The Stylish Blog Award 
 From Trina, the very talented clay artist of Trina's Clay Creations.
Thank you so much Trina! :)

The Stylish Blog Award works like this:

You have to:

- Thank and link back to the person who awarded you;

- Share 7 things about yourself;

- Pay it forward to 15 blogs you like (but 3, 5 or any number is ok!);

- Contact those bloggers about the award!

7 things about me....

I am a Federal Officer for the Department of Homeland Security. 

I have 2 Keeshounds, Zoey and Doop!

I am obsessed with Etsy and playing Farmville.

I religiously watch, Say Yes To The Dress! 

I love crafts. 
I'm always trying out new things from
beads, clay, fabric, ribbon, wreaths, paint,etc!

I am a certified floral designer!

I am 5'0" - weigh 100lbs - and have 40% hearing loss!

I will share this award with the following stylish bloggers:


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kat's Handmade

Lena Mechieva
Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Let’s start by telling us a little about yourself.

My name is Lena.
I was born in Krasnoyarsk, Russia some….well…20 something years ago.
I work as a customer service manager and clay-clay-clay
when I don’t have to work as a customer service manager.
I always enjoyed making things since I was a kid.
With me being quite a naughty kid that would usually result in a little home disaster.
As I grew up my projects became more “environment friendly”
and I finally ended up making jewelry –
 first from ready beads and then from polymer clay.

Now I am making jewelry for sale,
and hold master-classes for those who want to start making jewelry from polymer clay.

Besides working with clay, what other things do you like to do?

I enjoy live music concerts, reading, swimming, travelling,
seeing new places and meeting new people.
Do some knitting now and then if I am bored during long winter evenings.
But for many years now it’s been mostly making things from
polymer clay that takes most of my spare time.

How long have you been working with polymer clay?
How did you get started?

I’ve been working with polymer clay for about 6 years now.
When I started doing it, it was not well known and popular in my city
so you couldn’t just see this material in a store.
I remember seeing a photo of a very beautiful necklace on the Internet
and wondering what it was made of.
I contacted the artist who made it and that was when I first heard of the polymer clay
and the things you can do with it.
So I ordered some clay at an online store,
received the parcel and decided to give it a try.

Do you have any formal training or are you self taught?

I am completely self-taught.
As soon as I found out the polymer clay existed
I started searching the web for online video lessons,
websites for artists working with the material, master classes.
I found a polymer clay artists’ community at Live Journal, joined it and… started claying.

How do you best describe your designs and your brand?

I would describe my designs and the entire “Kat’s Handmade” brand
as “something Lena would wear”.
Sounds selfish but what I mean is
 I am into classic style in almost everything except hair style.
So I think the jewelry I make is for women with similar tastes to mine –
women who prefer classic look,
but still always have that little item in their outfit that stands out –
haircut, a bracelet or a necklace, a scarf, shoes… can be anything.

How do you get ideas to create a piece?
What inspires you?

My most important inspiration is people around me.
Their faces, personalities, outfits, hair styles are where I find my ideas for jewelry.
Basically, I make jewelry for people with similar tastes to mine and who I see everywhere around me –
 in a store, on a street, at work…
To me it is always exciting and challenging to try and make a piece of jewelry
that I think would suit a complete stranger I just passed by on a street.

What is your favorite piece(s) to make?

I love making earrings.
Mostly because being close to face and eyes they can better emphasize one’s personality.
But most of the time my process is making beads.
It usually starts with colors combinations.
I combine colors of clay that I think would look good together,
decide on the beads shape, make beads and…put them in a box.
Some of them can then wait for months and months
until I suddenly decide they will look perfect in a necklace or something else.

What challenges have you faced in your work?

One of the major challenges I’ve had so far and I think always will is custom made items.
It is always a terrible internal struggle for me –
 battling with doubts of whether the piece of jewelry
I am making is exactly what my customer wants it to be.
It is so hard to not get carried away and make something totally different!
I always doubt and feel very excited and nervous from the moment
the ordered piece is ready and till the time the customer first sees it.

Have you ever had a clay project “disaster” happen while making an order for a customer?
 If so, what happened?

Not that I remember…
However my very first clay project was a real disaster.
I started with the wrong bake out temperature
 because I didn’t realize my oven thermometer was broken
and ended up with my apartment being filled with black smoke
and the beads I spent hours and hours making were just little black pieces in the oven.

How has the internet impacted your art?

To me it was and still is a great tool for what I am doing.
It is a way to follow the latest trends in jewelry fashion, e
xchange experience with other artists,
buy different supplies for jewelry making,
and sell the items I make.
As for the impacts,
I can’t say it impacts my art a lot as I get the ideas from people I see around me.

 What things do you do to market your business?

Since I have a full time job, jewelry making is a hobby for me.
 However at some point people just started buying the jewelry I make!
My best marketing tool is still “word of mouth” advertising.
Internet is helping here with crossing the distance, time, and language barriers.
I do have a Facebook page, and Etsy store for my jewelry,
and also market it at a couple of Russian websites similar to Etsy.
Whenever I can I try to take part in art fairs,
sales of handmade jewelry organized by local artists, and other events.

How do you decide upon what products you are going to sell?

There are 3 major categories of the jewelry I make –
for myself,
for customer orders and
 “free for sale” jewelry which I make inspired by something or someone.
So the decision is easy to make –
anything which is not a customer order or made for myself is for sale.
 However, an item will never make it to any of the three categories if there are any quality issues–
either with the material, design, or the process itself.
That’s my rule.

Where do you create?

I create at home, in my room.
Basically, my studio is just a big table with shelves and drawers next to it.

Is there a favorite polymer clay supply you can’t live without?

I wouldn’t be able to live without my pasta machine for clay I think.
That is such a useful and handy tool for lazy girls like me :)

What are your upcoming collections that we should look out for?

I would like to keep it a secret for now,
but spring is usually “new collection time” for me.
So there will definitely be a new collection in March-April 2011.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trina's Clay Creations

Artist Trina Prenzi of Midland, MI 

                                   Let’s start by telling us a little about yourself:
 I am the mom of two wonderful and amazing children!
A daughter and a son, all grown up. 
I live in Michigan and work in a law office.
Creating with clay is my passion and I feel so fortunate to also be able to
spend time in my studio, sculpting and creating with clay.

Besides working with clay, what other things do you like to do?
 Spending time with my family is important to me. 
Photography is one of my favorite hobbies and I also love to write. 
I enjoy being outside, I absolutely LOVE the beach. 
I enjoy cooking (love getting creative in the kitchen!), 
 I also enjoy a nice long walk and reading a good book.

How long have you been working with polymer clay? How did you get started?
 I've been working with polymer clay since about 2004. 
I was obsessed with this medium from the minute I opened my first block of clay! 
Lots of creativity in my family while I was growing up,
and we did a lot of dough ornaments every year at Christmas time...
I always enjoyed sculpting from when I was a little girl.

Do you have any formal training or are you self taught?
 I am a self taught "clayer"
and the small details of clay creation is definitely my favorite part.

How do you best describe your designs and your brand?
 I have done a lot of sculpting, from figurines and boxes to clocks and vases. 
Most recently I began creating cake toppers.
My clay creations are very fun and whimsical.

How do you get ideas to create a piece? What inspires you?
 I am inspired by so many things! 
 Life itself is very inspirational to me. 
I would say that I have a very artistic eye,
 I can see so much in the smallest of things,
and it can really get my imagination going. 
I like to keep a notebook with me all the time,
to jot down my ideas for later clay creations. 
I always say that I hope to have all my ideas come to life from a block of clay one day!

Do you work with any specific styles or subject matter?

 I especially love creating animals and children...
I like to play with the poses and expressions on the faces.

What is your favorite piece(s) to make?

 My newest creation is most times my favorite creation!

What challenges have you faced in your work?
 I like to be challenged, so if I think it'll be difficult,
it's usually more fun for me to create. 
In the beginning it was challenging for me to create sturdy pieces that had substance. 
 I wanted to make sure the delicate details on my creations would not break off. 
As a newbie to polymer clay back in 2004,
it took me a while to learn all the important ways to create a nice sturdy item
worthy of presenting for sale.  

Have you ever had a clay project “disaster” happen
while making an order for a customer?
If so, what happened?

 My biggest clay disaster happened a couple of years ago
when I finished the cutest Dalmation and put him in the oven for curing. 
Not realizing that the oven temperature was too high,
the little guy burned right up! 
 What a big mess that was. 
Then, of course, I had to re-create the whole thing. 
In my mind the first one was cuter! 
 Poor little burned up thing.

How has the internet impacted your art?
 I just love the internet because it reaches out to a much broader audience! 
 I have buyers from all over the world now, and that is wonderful!

What things do you do to market your business?
 I have my Etsy Shop where I showcase
and sell my creations from cake toppers and figurines to boxes and vases.


How do you decide upon what products you are going to sell?
 I've made many things that I have not put in my Etsy Shop to sell. 
 I start with an idea and begin working on it. 
I think it's just a matter of whether or not I really love my creation...
 if I am really happy with it, then I will list it in my Etsy Shop. 
My Website is up and running as of December 2010,
and my plan is sell my cake toppers there as well.

Where do you create?
 I just recently set up my studio and love it. 
It's a whole room here at our house. 
 After working where ever I could find a flat surface for such a long time,
my studio is a dream come true!

Is there a favorite polymer clay supply you can’t live without?

There are many,
but probably can't live without my pasta machine.

 What are your upcoming collections that we should look out for?
 I am planning to add clocks to my collections. 
 I have so many ideas for different clocks and can't wait to showcase them all.

To view more of Trina's Clay Creations,
You can find her at any of the following sites:

Trina's Etsy Shop

Follow Trina's Blog

Trina's Clay Creations Website

Happy February

Happy February 1st Everyone!

For those of you that don't know I am a team leader on Etsy's Polymer Clay Team.  Everyone on the team is so friendly, helpful and seriously amazing artists! 
I wanted to help people on the team get noticed and recognition for
their hard work, skills and talents; so starting today,
the Too Sweet Magnolias Blog is going to begin Polymer Clay Artist Features! 
 Please take the time to read these artists stories
 and view all the wonderful items they have to offer!