Iveta Kalinova is the mother of two daughters and works at a health insurance company during the day. She enjoys working on computers and playing video games. Iveta has also illustrated a number of children's books and used to spend her free time as a gymnastics trainer. During the summers, she usually goes to children's camps as a lector. Between all of that, Iveta somehow finds time to create adorable dragons with polymer clay!
We wanted to learn more about Iveta and here's what she shared with us:
pcPolyzine: How did you get into polymer clay?
Iveta: My older daughter, Sofia, introduced me to polymer clay. She showed me a picture of polymer figurines and animals, and asked me if I would like to try it out. Because it seemed very interesting, I did—and enjoyed it a lot.
pcPolyzine: How long have you been working with polymer clay?
Iveta:I have been working with polymer clay for about 2 years. It was a completely new experience for me and I am still learning and discovering new things. There's a lot I would like to try, buy since I'm working full time at the insurance company, I do not have a lot of free time.
pcPolyzine: How do you come up with an idea for a project—do you plan it or just start working?
Iveta: I often get ideas when I go to work in the morning. The way there takes me almost an hour, so I have a lot of time to think. I think of different color combinations and imagine what the dragon should look like. I often wonder how to improve some things and how to make them to my liking. Generally, I try to make the result cute, but compact at the same time, so that it does not get easily destroyed or broken.
pcPolyzine: What inspires you to create pieces in polymer clay?
Iveta: I look for inspiration on the internet. I examine a lot of products from different artists and I consider what I do and don't like about it. I notice things that bother me about the work of others, and try to do it better or differently. Color combinations are mainly influenced by my momentary mood, but after this whole time I have learned what people like and sometimes I just try to incorporate the dragons. However, I primarily craft them to my own preferences.
pcPolyzine: What's your favorite piece or project you've made in polymer clay?
Iveta: My favorite dragons are the ones with rainbow wings. I also like fire or photoluminescence ones. Forest or floral dragons and ones that have leaves, flowers, or berries on their body are also types I love a lot.
pcPolyzine: Does your work have a theme or message?
Iveta: I don't know if my dragons have any mission or message. I am very pleased when the dragon makes someone happy. I see the figurines as friends. They sit on my desk while I work, looking at me and making me happy. This is exactly the purpose of my dragons—to please and improve the day. Moreover, a dragon is a mystical creature, I am sure that it will make any dragon lover happy.
In recent months, I have also made several pieces for Dungeons and Dragons players. It is their dragon partner while wandering through the mystical landscape and it certainly illustrates the atmosphere of the whole story.
pcPolyzine: What are your favorite (or most important) tools you use when working with clay?
Iveta: In general, my tools are very simple. My most important one is probably the cuticle pusher which my mom gave me from her manicure set. I also use a metal scalpel knife and a set of ball modeling pens. My polymer press is also crucial. I bought one in a shop with household items—originally it was a pasta press. Besides that, I do not have any special pad—I use a casual smooth chipboard.
pcPolyzine: Do you have any advice for new artists to polymer clay?
Iveta: In this time of social media, it was very good to find some artists who appealed to me and whose work I like. Watching their videos, getting ideas, you can learn a lot from them. Then just go and try it on your own. Some artists are very nice and they will be happy to help you. Start with smaller, simpler projects that you can improve upon later. Try to test out what is the best material for you to work with. The internet is truly an awesome helper as it is full of inspirational ideas.
pcPolyzine: Any final thoughts for our readers?
Iveta: On this question, I remember a 15-year-old boy who addressed me. He liked my dragons and said he would like to make them, too. But he suffered from incipient muscular dystrophy and he did not have much strength in his hands. I advised him to try and work with softer clay and ask his mother to prepare the clay for him, so he would be able to make something pretty. He wrote back to me that his mother discouraged him even more by telling him that he just doesn't have the strength. I felt really sorry for him because the boy just wanted to try. Working with the clay would definitely be beneficial for him. I urged him not to get discouraged and to try and not be disappointed if his results won't be to his liking. There is always room for improvement and we always need to work on ourselves. Don't be discouraged by failure. Setbacks happen, something breaks, fails, burns while baking...it happens. Try again and again and it will get better.
pcPolyzine: Iveta, your dragons are absolutely adorable and we are excited to share your work with the pcPolyzine community. Thank you for taking time to share with us!
To connect with Iveta and see more of her work, check her out on Facebook, Instagram, and through her Etsy store.