Friday, October 18, 2013

Meet Katherine of Magnolia Fern Studios

I recently had the opportunity to interview Katherine about her lovely polymer creations.  I was interested in how she started, what her inspiration was and where she saw her business going.  Here is what she had to tell me:

Barn Owl Pendant

"Well, alright, I've always been artistic, but I was overly practical as a child and thoroughly believed that being an artist meant you would be a "starving artist." And that never appealed to me, so I attempted everything else under the sun before I ended up back here. I was in politics, I was a dog trainer, I was in sales, tried to study to be a teacher, I repaired watches, everything.

About 5 years ago my sister was broke for xmas and bought a pound of polymer clay to make presents for everyone. She sculpted a character from our favorite Anime for me, and I begged her to show me how she made it. After that I was self taught, pouring over every article and tutorial I could get my hands online.

I'm heavily inspired by anime, it's just such a limitless visual art form, I'm inspired by nature, I'm inspired by Greek and Norse mythologies and I grew up addicted to "The Dark Crystal" by Jim Henson. I need an emotion to drive a sculpt since one can take several sittings over weeks or months.

I work mostly with polymer clay, it's an affordable, safe clay that you can cure in your home oven. It comes in a few dozens colors, with many special effect clays available for experimentation, and stronger varieties for more serious artists. I've also started furring some animal sculptures with Alpaca fiber for added realism.

I make my creations in my home, since I work in miniature I don't need a full studio, but I do have a nasty habit of nesting in part of the house. My husband will come home and see me surrounded by strange tools and reference materials, and he often has to shoo me back into the craft room we have set up. It's a beautiful sun room that over looks our yard filled with birds and animals.

Next on the horizon I hope to expand my inventory by harnessing home resin casting. I've almost mastered pouring my own molds and resin casts of my sculpts. The owl you featured is my best example of that currently. The original took a full day to sculpt and countless days before that to waste on other projects before I found him in the back of my head. But with resin casting I can offer many people the same piece at a very affordable rate. Since it's still made in my home and I still paint each and every one, they're still one of a kind!

This January, I will start my very first Kickstarter campaign, to purchase a vacuum chamber so I can use better and more advanced casting materials. I will use the event to launch posable semi plush art dolls of various creatures. I'm still debating which creatures to feature first (my current choice is a Japanese Flying Squirrel, it's surreal how cute they are)

Wish me luck and thank you for your interest and support, I was raised in Richmond and one of my favorite things is to show off my city to out of towners."

Large Orange, Red and Yellow Sunset Shelf Mushroom Flirty Fungi Necklace

Deluxe Set of 8 Faux Sea Shell Wine Glass Charms

For more of her amazing creations, visit her shop on Etsy, Magnolia Fern Studios