02 April 2020

Featured Artist: April 2020

This month's Featured Artist highlights Noa Shine!

Noa is happily married with two children running around the house all day due to the Corona virus quarantine. She lives in Israel and works for an international agribusiness company during the day. Night time is when inspiration rushes in and she can quietly work on her polymer clay pieces.

We wanted to learn more about Noa and here's what she shared with us:

pcPolyzine: How did you get into polymer clay?
Noa: It was back in 2006, I was an officer in the Israeli Defense Force back then. One of my soldiers signed up for a two-hour polymer clay workshop and asked me if I wanted to come along. I went of course, and that was the beginning of my love story with polymer clay. We made some simple millefiori canes in that workshop and ever since the millifiori technique is my favorite polymer clay technique. I continued to play around with polymer clay for a few months, and when I was discharged, my team surprised me with a pasta machine and a ton of polymer clay. 16 years later, I'm still working with the same pasta machine!

pcPolyzine: How long have you been working with polymer clay?
Noa: So 16 years, on and off. Mostly off because life can just get so busy. There were actually quiet a few years when I didn't touch polymer clay at all. Between work, kids, the house, and everything else, I just couldn't find the time. Because you know, an hour here, an hour there is not enough. I need to have a stretch of at least 3 hours for meaningful claying. The big change came just over two years ago, when I gave birth to my second child. He was quite a complaisant baby, and I spent much of my maternity leave with polymer clay. I was reminded of how much I love this art and decided that I need to make room for it in my life on a regular basis.

pcPolyzine: How do you come up with an idea for a projectdo you plan it or just start working?
Noa: There is some planning involved, usually in my head and not with pen and paper. Although I will probably advance to more accurate planning as I evolve.

pcPolyzine: What inspires you to create pieces in polymer clay?
Noa: Inspiration can come in many shapes and forms. A lot of inspiration comes form just taking in the amazing work of other polymer clay artists, there's so much talent out there. But inspiration can also come from the oddest places, like this week while I was playing a game of magnet blocks with my kid, and a certain shape we had created inspired me to create earrings in that shape. And of course, color combination inspiration can really come from everywhere around me.

pcPolyzine: What's your favorite piece or project you've made in polymer clay?
Noa: I think that it's a mezuzah which I recently made. A mezuzah is a small box placed on the right doorpost of Jewish homes. It contains a parchment scroll with verses from the Torah inscribed on it. You'd find at least one in most Jewish homes. They are very different styles and I can have a lot of fun when designing a mezuzah. I like to play around with different techniques on my mezuzahs.

pcPolyzine: Does your work have a theme or message?
Noa: Not yet. Maybe one day.

pcPolyzine: What are your favorite (or most important) tools you use when working with clay?
Noa: Give me a pasta machine, a roller and a blade and I'm set. Everything else is extras (which I love of course, but can manage without). Hoping to get one of those electric hands free pasta machines one day. Although during these crazy quarantine days, I guess it counts as my daily workout.

pcPolyzine: Do you have any advice for new artists to polymer clay?
Noa: First of all, the possibilities are absolutely endless. This material is so versatile and I'm always amazed and surprised at new techniques that are still being invented by talented polymer clay artists. Having said that, due to these endless possibilities, it is important to focus and to choose a few techniques to focus on and to master. Secondly, if you want to get started with polymer clay, don't run off and buy the entire craft store supplies straight away. You only need a few tools to begin with, see if you fall in love, and only then invest further. And lastly, you can never have too much white polymer clay. So stock up!

pcPolyzine: Any final thoughts?
Noa: I love that in today's connected world I'm always just a message away from some of my favorite polymer clay artists. I'm constantly learning and developing my techniques and having so much fun sharing my work with others. 

Thank you so much for this opportunity to be featured in pcPolyzine. And maybe just one last tip—never throw out your scraps. There's so much you can do with them, and sometimes, projects made up of scrap clay end up looking better than the original piece!

pcPolyzine: Noa, your work is beautiful and we are excited to share it with the pcPolyzine community. Thank you for taking time to share with us!

To connect with Noa and see more of her work, look for her on Instagram.

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