Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers

Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers
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Next stop Fantasyland

"Next stop Fantasyland" will be the page where I will show my polymer clay and air-dry clay sculptures. Sewing mink pelts by hand can really make my hands sore and  I have discovered that playing with clay helps to exercise my hands which eases the pain so that I can go back and make more mink bears and other mink animals.

My "Spellbinding Witch"
I treated myself to another Kathy Davis sculpting classes, Candlestick Witch, at the end of September 2017. It was so much fun and, as always, I learned so much from Kathy Davis. As you can see we sculpted the top part of a witch on a candlestick (no legs or feet to sculpt). I decided not to give her a traditional witches hat and instead gave her a spider web shawl to wrap on her head.

Bas relief ... My Koi Pocket Watches
A French term from the Italian basso-relievo ("low relief"),bas relief is a sculpture technique in which figures and/or other design elements are just barely more prominent than the (overall flat) background.
I created my first Koi pocket watch May 2015 and it
quickly became an obsession to create bas relief in
pocket watch cases (either new or old). Currently I am
fascinated with my Koi but I will probably try capturing other
creatures in my pocket watches in the future.

Characteristics associated with Koi:
Strength, independence, good fortune, success, prosperity, 
longevity, courage, ambition, perseverance.
Carp (Koi) is a symbol of strength because they swim upstream against the current

Fish coloring symbolism:
"Kohaku": white body with red spots: success in your career
"Kumonryu": white body with black spots or all black: life changes and transformations
"Kuchibeni": white and red patterns with red around the mouth (lipstick fish): love and long lasting relationships
"Yamabuki" gold: riches, wealth, prosperity

Please CLICK HERE to see all of my Koi Pocket Watches 
and other Bas Relief sculpts in pocket watches

First time to include my Koi Pocket Watch with one of my mink teddies.
This is "Carpe diem" Panda (June 2015) and you can CLICK HERE to see more photos

Sculpting koi fish inside of pocket watches is my newest personal hobby and this is the first time that I am releasing one of my Koi Pocket Watches. But it seemed to be a necessary detail to be included with the panda theme to honor my daughter's accomplishment ... because while it is a struggle for anyone to earn a Master Degree it is even more of a struggle when you have a serious chronic illness, like my daughter who has Cystic Fibrosis. So her struggle was very much like the legend of the koi that swims against the current to reach their destination:

The story of koi overcoming adversity has been in Japanese culture for generations. The story says that koi climb a waterfall in spite of the heavy current attempting to keep them in their pool. Koi battled perseverance to climb the falls because it wanted this outcome so badly.
An alternate version of the koi story from Chinese culture says that the koi swam the length of the Yellow River in spite of the current to reach the Dragon Gate. When they finished this feat they turned into a dragon. This adds a more advanced note to an already inspiring tale.

My hands can cramp and become painful after many hours of bear making
I find that kneading and sculpting with clay is great exercise for my hands
and a wonderful creative outlet for my imagination.

This came about quite naturally after recent outing at my local Antique Market where I came home with some broken pocket watches. As soon as I saw the watches I immediately knew that I had to sculpt koi in them. We used to have koi as pets that lived in a giant tank in our "dining room". So I spent many happy years watching them swim in our house.

I had almost forgotten how much I loved to sculpt until I started taking classes with my friend, Kathy Davis, who is one of my favorite artists and a great teacher. (I will post the projects I made in her classes soon.)

Now when my hands start to hurt I just take out some polymer clay and let my imagination soar.

My Class Projects
from Kathy Davis' classes

Needle felted and polymer clay duck

Fuzzy Friends Class
Polymer clay and fur (I used mink instead of faux fur)

I call this little guy "Worry Wart"
and I love it so much 
that I'm making more Worry Wart creatures
each one will be a one-of-a-kind creation

Lizard and Dragon Hiking Sticks
hand-sculpted One-Of-A-Kind
created February 2014

It has been a long time since I have had to time to sculpt anything new ... these are hiking sticks that I have added a lizard and a dragon to.

My husband and I have started to go on hikes at our local Nature Center. It is really beautiful there because even though it is in the middle of a busy city it feels like you are walking in a lovely little forest. So we bought ourselves some hiking sticks which I, of course, just had to add sculptures to. I added a lizard to my stick and a dragon to my husband's hiking stick.

This was a great change for my hands and my creative process. 
 I have lots of ideas for more fun sculptures.

This is my hiking stick when it was still a Work in Progress and my husband's stick was bare because his dragon was still just in my imagination ... but I had to take my lizard out for a walk before he was finished to see if he enjoyed to hike. I think he did! I know that we enjoyed bringing him along.

           Hand-sculpted Props for Teddies              

My hand-sculpted flowers
I love giving my mink bears and other animals props and sometimes when I have a theme idea I need to make the props myself. These hand-sculpted flowers are good examples:

My hand-sculpted mice:
When I decided that I wanted to give my mink fox a mouse companion I decided to sculpt it myself. So I did my research and surrounded myself with lots of photos of mice and even their skeletal system. I decided to use flexible clay instead of regular polymer clay because I wanted the tail and ears to have some movement. Of course, since I know little about polymer clay I had no idea that flexible clay was rather difficult to work with because it is very soft. And I thought it would be fun to add exterior fur once the mouse was sculpted. Well, it took me 4 mouse sculpts before I created a mouse that I thought would be a good companion for my mink fox.

Hand-sculpted Fortune Cookies:

When I decided to make a series of "Good Fortune Pandas" I knew that I had to hand-sculpt my own fortune cookies:

My Three-Dimensional Doodles:
I was playing with air-dry clay and designed these wonderful snails that I will pair up with a mink animal that I will create ... I just have not decided what animal would be a good companion with a snail. Any suggestions?

These snails would be a great craft project to do with a child, so here is a quick tutorial:

                                                      Air Dry Clay Snail Tutorial

You can make these happy little snails very easily.
Supplies needed: tin foil, air dry clay, a shell, wire, beads, a bit of mink
form the basic snail shape with tin foil
Using the air dry clay of your choice
cover the tin foil in clay
using basic tools sculpt into a snail shape
give it bead eyes
put a little clay round the eyes and glue on the shell
sculpt in a smile
insert wire and beads
in top of head
glue on a little bit of mink
let it air dry and finish with a wash of paint

My Dragons:
I love collecting dragons. Dragons definitely live very vividly in my imagination. I love fairies too but when I start playing with clay, dragons just magically start evolving from the lump of clay in my hands.

My goal is to start offering my dragons on my Etsy page in 2012 (LOL ... well here is an update, it is now 2015 and I'm still looking for the time to make more dragons. Maybe in my next life...)

My miniature dragons
I was inspired to create miniature dragons by the tiny brown bottles that I have collected.

My story of the miniature baby Garden Dragons
Dragons and fairies live in our gardens but we can't always see them because they can camouflage themselves or they can even become invisible. They are very tiny creatures. The Garden Dragons can only be temporarily captured because they are drawn to the magic crystals that are in the brown elixir bottle. When the little bottles are brought into the garden the baby garden dragons will attach themselves to the bottle and they will magically become visible. You can see that I've managed to capture a few. Their wings can resemble leaves and their scales can look like flower petals.