The April edition of pcPolyzine features polymer clay artist, Courtney Gordon!
We wanted to learn more about Courtney and here's what she shared with us:
pcPolyzine: How did you get into polymer clay?
Courtney: I got into polymer clay around the time I graduated college, so about 10 years ago. I was looking for a creative outlet with clay that didn't require expensive equipment and a large space to create in. I had just gotten a degree in graphic design and pottery and was searching for a job. While looking in every surrounding state for a job, I was able to just pick up and take polymer clay with me and sell it on the streets in lots of towns. It was an easy way to earn some quick money and also keep using my hands and creating. I loved that time because it allowed me to connect with other artists and really find my way and who I was as an artist, travel and learn about other place's art scenes, and it made me more appreciative of the beautiful connection that Mobile has for its own local artists and how many we actually have!
pcPolyzine: How long have you been working with polymer clay?
Courtney: I'd say it's been 10 plus years. I wasn't doing anything serious with it until about a year ago though, I was just having fun and learning the medium. Which I still am and my style has evolved a lot over the years.
pcPolyzine: How do you come up with an idea for a project — do you plan it or just start working?
Courtney: When I'm coming up with a collection for earrings, I usually start with the colors I want to use and figure out how to make those colors. I always try to make my own colors so they are unique to me. That in itself is quite a long process and trying to make a color palette that works well together, it is honestly one of my favorite parts. Then I usually let the design process just flow, trying new techniques, using different cutters, putting things together that I haven't before, and just enjoying the process of creating. Sometimes I try to draw things out, but they never end up the same way I draw them. I like to have more of a stream of consciousness work style, where it's in the moment and not too planned out.
pcPolyzine: What inspires you to create pieces in polymer clay?
Courtney: Honestly, the same as day one. I just wanted a place to create something that I liked without having to need for more than my hands and a small oven. There is obviously more to it nowadays, but I can still fit everything in a tote box and go as I please for the most part. It was also an outlet to share with my daughter. She loves art and clay and it was something we could easily do at home together. It's fun to share a passion with her and for her to also love creating is just such an amazing thing to watch grow and evolve.
pcPolyzine: What's your favorite piece or project you've made in polymer clay?
Courtney: So far, I would probably say my latest collection of earrings is something I'm most proud of. It wasn't until recently that I started making earring collections, but people are just really loving polymer clay earrings right now and I love seeing people wear my art! I loved this recent collection because I tried lots of new and different techniques that I haven't used before and also went a little outside my comfort zone with colors.
pcPolyzine: Does your work have a theme or message?
Courtney: I don't necessarily think it has a theme, but the message is definitely to make people feel good and feel beautiful when they are wearing my earrings. I want them to feel like it shows their individuality. These aren't made quickly and most of them are made as one-offs, so no one else has an earring that will look like yours. They are special and made with lots of love and time and hard work. I hope people feel like they are wearing art when they wear them and feel special knowing they are made by someone's hands.
pcPolyzine: What are your favorite (or most important) tools you use when working with clay?
Courtney: Obviously my hands are by far the most important in the process, but I literally could not live without my pasta machine. It helps make mixing colors more effective, but there are also just so many unique techniques you can use it for. If I didn't have that, I would have some serious arm muscles from mixing colors on my own and it would just take so much time.
pcPolyzine: Do you have any advice for new artists to polymer clay?
Courtney: I think for me, learning how polymer clay worked and all the things that can be done with it was a process and still is. The most important thing is just to have fun with it, learn by making, don't look at other people's work, draw inspiration from other places other than polymer clay jewelry. There is so much fun to be had with it and people will like your art because they like you and your vision.
pcPolyzine: Any final thoughts for our readers?
Courtney: I am so excited to see where this new adventure takes me! Short People Handmade is definitely a labor of love just like any small business. I'm thankful for all the local support I've had in Mobile and surrounding areas and I can't wait to continue showing more of my art! I'm working on a website, but for now I'm just enjoying doing local markets. If your wondering where the name came from, it shouldn't be hard to guess that I'm short, but also my partner said my earrings looked like little short people shapes and I have always loved the Randy Newman song "Short People." It's a hilarious song if you have never heard it! Thanks for reading and I can't wait to meet and talk to you!
pcPolyzine: Courtney, your jewelry is beautiful and so unique. We are excited to share your work with the pcPolyzine community. Thank you for taking time to share with us!
To connect with Courtney and see more of her work, check her out on Instagram -- @shortpeoplehandmade.