Artwork for Bridget Derc
Mossy wall in low sunlight, 44 x 60 cm, soft pastels on Pastelmat
Bananas, peaches and plums, 30 x 40 cm, soft pastels on Pastelmat
Decorative plate made from polymer clay
Necklace made with polymer clay components and glass beads
Bead woven cuff bracelet with polymer clay components
Pair of beaded rope necklaces with beaded pendants
Bead woven cuff bracelets in Peyote stitch and embellishments
Bead woven bracelets worked in three dimensions
I live by the beautiful and inspiring river Wye in rural Herefordshire. I have many pastimes that compete for my time: painting with soft pastels, polymer clay, off-loom bead weaving, gardening, hiking, and cooking. I love nature and I love to make things. In the winter months I like to weave beads. I mostly make bracelets and necklaces and sometimes I incorporate pieces of polymer clay. I use various stitches, but my favourites are in Native American Peyote stitch and the South African Ndebele or Herringbone stitch.
When the weather is fine, I like to hike. I take my camera with me to capture special moments that I can then render in pastels back at home. I love pastels because of their vibrancy and immediacy. There is no canvas to prepare, no mixing of paints, no drying time, and no cleaning of brushes, although I do need to clean my hands. People often debate whether pastel pictures are drawing or paintings. In a way they are both: you can create a painting that is indiscernible from an oil painting from a suitable viewing distance, yet the surface is vulnerable and needs the care you would give to a drawing.
Polymer clay is not something that I had planned to take up but did so when my mother returned a Christmas present that I had given her, thinking that it would suit her creative nature. Polymer clay is a versatile medium that can be used for so many different forms of artistic expression. I use it to make decorative jewellery, objects and veneers. I use the veneers to upcycle bottles, other containers, and old furniture. I create eye-catching patterns using a technique called Millefiori caning. It is comparable to the Millefiori glass technique often associated with Venetian glass, except that the canes are made of polymer clay. I have been fortunate to attend a Master Cane workshop with the world-renowned polymer clay artist, Carol Simmons, which has had a significant influence on me. My works have featured in various Polymer Clay journals and I am a member of the London Polymer Clay Group and the British Polymer Clay Guild.