Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Secret of The Death Valley - Treasure Box

As many of you know, I love to work a lot with polymer clay journals and create one of a kind books. Though sometimes I like to divert from this route in order to create something very special. Some ideas just don't fit on journals any more and they are eager to break out of the 2.5D into a 3D space. 


This time me and Ashley were brainstorming about where does my art career is heading and I was feeling quite lost really, stuck up in custom orders without having much space to breathe and give life to my own creative ideas. It did happen like this couple of times before and he was always there to support me and push me towards the right direction. It's true they say that behind every successful man there is a wise woman. But I can also say that it's a complete Ditto! It works both ways as well! 

So while brainstorming and having a bit of a creative argument, as we both are very artistic minded people with strong characters, we came up to some sort of agreement on what we wanted to create. 
The plan required some good crystal hunt and so we went to my favourite crystal shop in London, Merton. I like going there as I never seen a place with more crystals anywhere else. I have selected a good set of stones for this and some other projects in future and I was very pleased with the hunt. You can see on the picture on the right the large beautiful labradorite which I used in this project. 

I started this project with a great desire and a wish to complete it, although I knew it will be quite challenging as I never worked with wire before to support the elements that are very thin and are not attached to the actual base of the artwork (like it is in journals). 
So the challenge was there and I think I had to bake the actual head 3 times before I actually attached it to the base of the artwork. Then it was easy and I was completely in peace about working on the base for as long as I could without baking it. I think the second time I baked the deer's head, I actually burned some antler parts, but it looked so nice, that I decided to use it as if it was supposed to be like this. 

It was also quite interesting to work on the actual background as I wanted to create a scene of the deserted place, where it is so dry, that even the earth is cracking onto millions of shingles. To imitate an effect of sand, dry earth, cracks and dirt, I have used a needle tool to draw the outlines of the cracks and then I worked around them, inside them, outside them and everywhere else with the Dots & Scratches tool to create an amazing effect of a crumbled hardened sand and clay. I do always use this tool for this effect as I find it's the best way to do it. 
As for the small thin and thick root-a-like strands, of course I used an extruder as I had to apply way too many strands.


I also very much  enjoyed working on tiniest details of this project like the little old snake skin on the back of the deer skull or the actual special feature of this journal, a tiny little iguana lizard with some microscopic spikes on it's back or the thorns in the dead branches. 
Unfortunately thought the majority of them just fell of while I was painting the artwork afterwards. Perhaps I should have used more liquid clay to support them. But anyways, here you can see how the iguana looked like before it was baked. It had so many miniature little spikes and thorns on it's face and back as well as it had every little toe on it's legs, nostrils and eyes. 

The actual idea from the very beginning was to create a huge Art-Necklace in a shape of a stag with very large and branchy antlers that look like two trees. The actual timber was supposed to be very dry and full of texture and the roots of these trees would go around the head crystal and would worm the shape of the deer's head. But when I started working on this project, I understood that it will be very heavy and brittle to wear, even if it's just for an artistic photo shoot and not for an everyday wear. 
I decided to use it for a treasure box project. I had these wonderful great quality leather boxes which I wanted to use for a while and so this was the time! 
The name of this Treasure Box is "The Secret of the Death Valley". I wanted to show that even in the most deadly and dry hopeless places, there always can be life found. So the thorns, branches, roots would symbolise death, thirst and where there are labradorite crystals, they would form a shape of a stag with antlers. A deer or a stag always meant to me something as beautiful as life itself. The symbol of a stag is always used in the most wonderful and spiritual ways, therefore in my mind it was a right symbol to use. Labradorite crystals do always associate with water in my head, so it was a perfect crystal to use. So, where there is death, there is death, but where there is water, there's always life. And all the living creatures are attracted to it. And this is the Secret of the Death Valley. The secret of the survival of it's living beings. 
So here is what I came up with in the very end. Enjoy and comment bellow to let me know what you think. 




























Thank you very much for reading, 
Namaste.


Friday, 8 January 2016

Вопросы и Ответы на русском Nr. 8 от Утки Мандаринки. ГЛИНА, ЛАКИ и КРИТИКА!


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Вопросы и Ответы на русском Nr. 7 от Утки Мандаринки. ЧТО Я НОШУ?


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Вопросы и Ответы на русском Nr. 6 от Утки Мандаринки. ГДЕ ИСКАТЬ ВДОХНОВЕНИЕ?


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Вопросы и Ответы на русском Nr. 5 от Утки Мандаринки. КАК НАЙТИ ДРУЗЕЙ?


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Q&A by Mandarin Duck. Mixing clays and buying supplies.


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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Thoughts and Doubts

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

I know, I know it's the 6th of January, but I usually still say happy new year to everyone I see up until the 10th of January. So there we are. 2016!
The first week of January had passed and I felt very creative and made some paintings, practiced my calligraphy and meditated on some deep feelings and thoughts that were starting to boil inside my heart. 
Some of you, who are following me for quite some time or even new followers and people interested in my art, might think that I never struggle with my creativity. You guys are saying that I can't stop amazing you and each of my next work is better than the previous one... This is all very pleasant to my ears but in reality I am absolutely not feeling this. In anything, I am feeling like I am degrading, instead of progressing. This kind of sensations can have a couple of reasons and perhaps I have figured out a few and am ready to tell you about them. 

First of all, of course it doesn't help if you see some other people's art. It can inspire you a lot and it can also suck you in and give you obsessions and put you so much off track. Especially if you haven't yet strictly figured out what your track is.. I don't think that many artist do know where exactly they are heading... Or sometimes you marvel at somebody else's creations so much, that you waste all your creative powers and powers in general from just doing that. Some of the days I feel like a mother who is 10 months pregnant and still, nothing is coming out! I can have an idea in my head and perhaps even a sketch drawn somewhere, but I just can't start.
I have noticed that starting a project is actually the hardest part. Once you are in it, it's an ongoing process and you just add up some more and more until it's finished. If you are very inspired or had too much chocolate, then perhaps you can spend the night adding that little something or nailing through the whole project with a speed of light. But starting it, God, this is so hard for me. 
I remember once i needed to make a raven journal and I would walk around my room, clean it, go for walks, come back to my studio, move things around and I actually ended up painting the walls in my room ( this was during 2 days time and it felt crazy intense).. and in all this painting decorative mess, with paint jugs and brushes still standing on my table ... you know what I did? I pulled out my black clay and created a great Raven Samurai journal in the middle of the night in 3 hours. 3 hours!!!

 I don't quite know when exactly the "Working Energy Gates" do open and the flow of energy, inspiration and crazy ideas start to flow out of them, but it seems like that my gates are rather spontaneous and they don't get a clue what "business", "time" or "being organised" means. 
Some days I can just look at photos and pictures online and offline, go through other people's work, catalogues, books, movies, and I create nothing for days. Then Boom! and I am sitting and claying out of the blue or I have this vision before sleep in all the colour and motion of beautiful things and next morning I wake up at 5am from an urge to work and create. 

Seasonal depressions don't help either and even if my ones are more of an artistic mood swings, they still kick you out of your track for good. I am not mentally ill, I am just very sensitive to weather changes and to nature life cycles. And so I struggle. 

For the past couple of weeks I did put all of my clay work away as soon as I was finished with my urgent orders. I didn't feel like claying.. I was writing calligraphy and painting. I couldn't understand why, but I felt like my art had reached it's peak and not in a good sense. I felt like there is a block, but not in ideas, but in my skills, the way I do things and tools and materials I use, shapes I make, dimensions I work with. All the works I was doing were nice, but nothing like the great ideas in my head. And so I had even spoken to Ash about this, saying that I don't know what is going on, but it feels like I am shedding some skin and something is changing inside me, something is trying to grow out of me, something new but it haven't gone through the surface yet, so I don't know what it is. We discussed that I should not stop claying, that just painting might not bring me what I want from life and so on... To be honest I went away from this conversation even more dissatisfied than I was when it started... but then I went to my studio and put some music on (Solar Fields).. This music always keeps me energetic and gives me the sense of concentration and in good working state. 
I went googling for inspirations after inspirations, collecting ideas, visions, characters and after I did come up with a sketch of a journal I am willing to make. Yesterday I was positive this is going to be an A4 size journal. But now I am in doubt if I want this journal to be large A4 piece or a super detailed A5. I want the actual journal to be covered in leather, with book corners and all of the details that will make this book look very professionally made. Later on when this project is finally done, I will show you and will mention all the inspirations I had, as this picture contains bits and bobs from a few photographs and digital paintings of amazing artists and so I would love them to be credited for that properly. 
So here ladies and gentleman in my latest sketch of something I am willing to make.