Get back to Hand... by Allure’s Editor, Susie Mills
I’m quite pleased with myself because I have gone into the next decade by achieving that which I failed to do in 2009, which is snub the fashion industry and sew myself and the kids some clothes. I’m wearing a classic 1970’s Vogue design, which I made from a pattern inherited from my mother. ‘The more things change…’
Throughout 2009, I have admired the long, feminine dresses in the shops but hated the ‘one look suits all’ mentality of them. The spaghetti straps hint that they are all designed for gravity-defying pert breasts which don’t require a bra to maintain the edifice… I personally don’t like my boobs bobbing about or my bra and bra straps showing- unlike my mother, a true product of the 1960’s Feminist movement. She made all her own clothes, hardly ever wore a bra and, much to the delight of my father, earned the notorious title of ‘that bare lady’ in Que Que, the conservative Rhodesian town I was born and raised in!
This is what participating in an art or a craft does. As we become more skilled at it, we are empowered and this gives us a means of expressing our individuality. It gives us more choices in what we use, wear or display. It makes us more discerning in our purchases and therefore wiser with our money. It also makes us more appreciative of fine craftsmanship, and the great worth of those artisans who have achieved the highest levels in their practices and products. Melanie Dilday, our featured artist, certainly fits the abovementioned criteria.
Happy Easter to you all, and may your Creative Addictions highlight the exceptional person that you are and give you pleasure and peace in the magical process of making.
Profile: Melanie Dilday
Mullumbimby NSW: Contemporary Clay Artist
Polymer clay beads are so lightweight you can enjoy the chunky style- without being bothered by the weight.
Nine years ago, it was a conversation with a ceramic artist that started Melanie Dilday upon her amazing creative journey. “I was telling her that I'd like to find an alternative to my ceramic clay work because I just didn't have the room or the money to set up a proper potter’s studio,” Dilday says, “and she happened to mention Polymer Clay.” A relatively new technique back then, Melanie had never heard of it so she Google-searched it and spent hours glued to the screen in absolute awe. “The very next day I'd found a supplier and ordered my first sample packs. I've never looked back!”
The process of making this beautiful wearable art became a passion which has resulted in educating others about Polymer & Metal Clay as the primary focus with jewelry-making coming a close second. Silver clay and polymer clay are fabulously versatile materials so Dilday’s workshops appeal to all ages. Her Polymer Clay beads are sold to young and old, locals and tourists alike, via bead shops and a gallery come collective she belongs to called ‘Hammer and Hand’ in Byron Bay where Melanie’s fine silver jewelry and one-off designer polymer clay creations are on exhibition.
Polymer clay beads are so lightweight that you can enjoy the chunky style without the issues associated with heavier materials such as stone or glass. This is a huge selling point. Also, in skilled hands, polymer clay can actually mimic all kinds of wonderful natural stones like lapis and turquoise, amber and rose quartz, stone and slate, wood and coral...for a lot less money and in sizes not generally found in the marketplace. There are no other bead-making practices where you can find the nuances of colours that can be achieved with polymer clay. As for metal clay, the strength is in it's ability to be manipulated and textured and built upon in stages like a miniature piece of pottery...so you are able to create highly original pieces not always possible in traditional Silversmith methods. Melanie says “I love both of these clays, but my favourite creations are wearable vessels...they speak to me of secrets and mysteries and something very deep inside of me.”
More people are turning to clay to make jewelry because it is relatively inexpensive to set yourself up and you can work on your kitchen table or whatever surface you have available within your home.
PROCESS: Polymer clay can be made into canes, braids or rolled and cut into any other shape you choose and fired in a kitchen oven. Metal clay lends itself remarkably well to textures when soft, but it needs to be fired in a kiln.
PRODUCTS: Polymer clay beads and pendants and fine silver birdhouses...
Contemporary designer clay jewelry and the workshops which teach people this art form.
CLASSES: Phone for a quotation. Senior instructor for the Contemporary Clay Instructors Program, offering certificated courses:
One on one workshops: For more flexible timing and the items we make. Group workshops: Maximum of 12 students per class.
*All workshops incorporate a guided meditation session.
Saffron Craig has a love for fabrics which led her into a career as a fashion designer, and now she has turned to creating the designs on the fabric herself. Drawing inspiration from the natural world which surrounds her, this designer seeks to inspire others through her creativity. These designs have a transformative quality on items we use daily, like bags, quilts, soft toys and more.
Often it is a just a whimsical sketch on paper that is the seed of an idea for a new range. This is then nurtured and refined on the computer and transferred onto silkscreens if the fabric is to be hand printed. As demand for the very specific look and feel that Saffron Craig fabrics give whatever they are made into, larger quantities are now being printed overseas, moving the business to a new level.
Fabrics may be ordered online in half-metre lengths and there are also quilt kits, softies and paper available for those who require a convenient sewing arrangement. http://www.saffroncraig.com
Here is a taste of the projects on the Creative Addiction Website.
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