The fascination of whimsy

What's the story behind Tina Wu's whimsical sculptures on PolymerClayDaily.com

Does this sculpture from Tina Yu belong in PCD’s whimsy week? “I used to collect Barbies when I was little and growing up I was always fascinated with unique and one-of-a-kind ball jointed dolls,” says Tina.

She is a Chinese-raised New York-based artist/designer who studied graphic design at Pratt Institute. This twenty-something admits that even though she often spends up to nine hours a day working on her sculptures, she doesn’t plan out what she will do beforehand.

Whimsy is defined as extravagant, fanciful, playful, or odd. Her works surely check off those boxes. And she has hundreds of thousands of followers. She’s struck a nerve and amassed an enthusiastic following on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and elsewhere.

How do you explain the fascination of this whimsy?

Polymer that protects

Marchal's sharks on PolymerClayDaily.com

It’s summer and you know what that means. Sharks and other sea creatures will be in the news. Like this strange polymer species from Estelle Marchal’s Les Ptitsmobiles.

Estelle moved to Grenoble, France where she’s unpacked and back in the creature business. A scroll through her Facebook collection of stylized octopuses, carnivorous plants, stingrays and other oddities is sure to make you smile. They will soon populate her shop and her Instagram page.

She often turns her creations into mobiles that protect children while they sleep. Estelle is a molecular biologist when she’s not making sharks. The polymer community attracts lots of scientist/artists who enjoy reinterpreting the lifeforms they work with.

Lam’s leaves

Lam's leaves on PolymerClayDaily.com

Loretta Lam keeps me coasting on photos taken at last week’s conference. These lightweight sculpted leaves are not-quite-finished samples for an upcoming European class.

Even unsanded the shapes were silky smooth. Loretta lays thin fabric-like veneers over FIMOairlight bases.

Thank you for your comments on yesterday’s post that taught me another meaning of the word goolies. While the creatures in the Christi Friesen post are cute, some goolies are certainly better kept not so free!

Freeing your goolies

Friesen's Goolies on PolymerClayDaily.com

Christie Friesen is possessed by Goolies, small polymer sculptures that fly from her fingers.

In Virginia an admiring crowd gathered around the oven, waiting to adopt the figments of Christi’s imagination. She really can’t say where or how the Goolies originate or what they mean. You can see on her Facebook page that she’s made legions of them. And they keep coming.

What do the gremlins, grouches and goofballs that live in your imagination look like? Have you ever tried to capture them in polymer?

Adopted artwork

Jacobs on PolymerClayDaily.com

New Zealand’s Amba Jacobs (TheLittleMew) makes small sculptures and charms based on games and comics and popular culture icons. Here the 2.5″x3″ Dusky Sky Lantern Dragon’s body and feather-like scales are rendered lovingly in pastel sunset colors. It was one of three sculptures auctioned off recently.

When she was a child, Amba liked to rescue kittens, drawn by their vulnerable mews. “My spirit charms are also small, sweet and fragile creatures who want to be adopted,” she says.

She sells her creatures in several online venues (Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, her blog). She shares her methods on her YouTube channel.

Her attention to detail is apparent not only in the carefully crafted works but also in her approach to placing them in good homes. Do you feel like your artwork is up for adoption?

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  • I'm Cynthia Tinapple, an artist, curator, and leader in the polymer clay community for over 20 years.

    On this blog I showcase the best polymer clay art online to inspire and encourage you. I also send out weekend extras in the premium newsletter, StudioMojo.

    You can find my book, Polymer Clay Global Perspectives, on Amazon.


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