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“I hope that people will come away impressed by the incredible versatility of polymer clay and the amazing possibilities of things you can do with it,” wishes Jennifer Arthur, an American artist who creates three-dimensional pieces, such as vases, boxes, and various decorations.

Besides being pleasing to the eye with their diverse patterns and color combinations, her works are also practical.

Due to their complexity, their creation requires assembling multiple sections before the underlying box or vase is covered with decorative cane slices. Making these items is thus more challenging and also time-consuming due to the need to bake them in the oven several times. She employs different color palettes, structures, and designs to create a finished piece and often uses recurrent patterns and kaleidoscopes.

“I often sketch and measure the dimensions so I know what size and shape the cane pieces need to be to cover the inner object I have made. For complex designs, I sometimes do a sketch on the computer to see if my idea will work,” Jennifer explains how she balances structure and design.

Inspiration comes to her unexpectedly. Sometimes, it is a color palette that intrigues her. Other times, she sees a pattern or shapes somewhere that capture her interest, and she tries to replicate it in clay. She takes inspiration from inlaid wood items, museum ceramics, building facades, and even once from a blouse worn by a woman she passed in the street.

Growing up in New England and attending Smith College in Massachusetts and Stanford University in California, she took painting and drawing classes for 15 years before discovering polymer clay in 2018. These art classes proved very valuable in her clay work, giving her a good understanding of blending colors and making pleasing combinations, composing a piece to make an attractive, balanced, and proportional design, and she “learned to take risks and be willing to make mistakes or have a total failure, which does happen now and again,” as Jennifer says. “I truly believe that if you only make things you already know how to do, you’ll never create anything extraordinary.”