Friday, October 30, 2015

My Polymer Clay Journey: Make Your Own Logo or Signature Stamps

My handmade "logo" clay stamp...first a few words about signing art work...
If you draw, paint, doodle or make art in any way shape or form, you learned early on, to sign and date your pieces. It was my Dad who showed me that. Every beautiful drawing or painting he did, had his name and the date on it.

This article is about how I was able to create a stamp that I can use to "sign" my polymer clay pieces. To watch the YouTube video with details not in this write up, click here or right below.

"You're Not Van Gogh!"
A self taught artist for the majority of my 49 years here on this earth, I was able to finally enrol in our local Lakehead University's Honours Bachelor Of Fine Arts Program. By then I was about thirty
Vincent Van Gogh Self portrait painting
years old.  I hadn't been able to attend there out of high school, due to the inaccessibility of that particular program. As the years passed, one thing lead to another and eventually, a new, pretty much accessible building was made.
Yay, finally! It only made sense for me to apply. My portfolio in hand, I applied and was accepted. Part time, I was able to complete a full year of credits in about three years. Even though I was already a professional artist, I did learn a lot about composition, printmaking, painting, drawing, art history, and design.

Now, remember I mentioned how most of us learn early on to sign and date our art work? In fact, I tell every child I receive art from, to do the same. Well, here I was in a first year painting class, later in life, established already with my own style and such. After completing an assignment one day in our 4 hour studio class, I did what I always did, I signed my name neatly, in the bottom right hand corner of my abstract painting assignment. As my professor walked toward me to check out my masterpiece, my heart racing anticipation of her praise, my jaw dropped when she asked me, out loud, in front of my entire
Digital Drawing Self Portrait, by Anita Berglund
- Nope, Not Van Gogh, clearly!
"Is your name part of the composition?" Embarrassed, and shocked, and yet understanding her point,
dribbled down my chin. She then proceeded to inform me (yes publicly)...
"You are not VanGogh. "
With a hand to my forehead, I exclaimed,
"I am not?" 
Just kidding, I was too humiliated and confused to be such a smart aleck. I bit my tongue. I wanted to ask her how on earth were we to sign our paintings?  She never taught us anything about that, and I never asked even after that day because I assumed it was what all artists, of all ages do!
Hmmm....I admit, I had been proudly and boldly writing my name on my pieces, my whole life. It was what I saw when I looked at other artist's work, Dad's included and rightly so. Perhaps over the years I was getting a tad bolder, wanting my name to pop out. After all, how else would anyone know it was an Anita Harris original? (Since 2001, Anita Berglund original)

Lesson Learned
Needless to say, from that day forward, understanding fully, that I am not Vincent Van Gogh, I sign
My Dad, by Anita Berglund -
see, look to the right, discreet right?
every painting as discreetly as I can. It doesn't pop out, you have to look for it. A part of me wishes I wouldn't have changed this but, she was correct. I got it, my signature did add to the entire look and threw off the composition. In fact, a recognizable element, such as a name or word, has more visual weight to it and through off the balance compositionally speaking. Silly me, thought that all viewers expect a  signature and automatically know that it is not to be considered part of the overall composition.
But, when you pay hundreds of dollars for a university class, it makes sense to glean all the useful, life changing information you can, otherwise what would be the point? I still don't understand some of the students I meet who pay thousands to a post secondary institution, yet, they seem to care less about actually learning and retaining, what they paid for - BY CHOICE, to learn! Hmmm....oops, bunny trail...

Discreet, can you find my name?
My professor would be proud, I hope!
On that note, I still sign my work, but I make sure it is blended in better, or at least not popping out in neon lights.  My husband Craig, signs his on the side edge of the stretched canvas, I always want him to at least sign the front, but he won't.

Now, on the subject of "signing" your creations, be they two or three dimensional. I want to share what I have discovered about how to personalize work done in polymer or other clays for that matter.

Three Dimensional Signatures
Since 2008, when I added jewelry making to my portfolio, signing my work is not possible. Other than packaging your pieces with your logo and signature on the card, it is pretty difficult to sign or mark your pieces. I don't want to be scratching or engraving small earrings or necklaces.

Since 2014, when I began my polymer clay journey,  I discovered that it is possible to imprint your pieces with a signature or logo of sorts. I learned this from watching one of my favourite polymer clay You Tube artists, Cindy Lietz, click this video click here to see where I got the idea, or click this link to see her article about the company that makes and sells these nifty stamps.

Frugality Births Invention
Of course with me, I always like to try to be frugal and try to figure out how I can make something
myself, if possible. So her video inspired me and voila, here is my first attempt at a couple of three dimensional stamps made from polymer clay, to stamp into my clay.

Above is my short video to show you, if you are interested in what I did. I didn't actually film the "making it" process, but if you are interested, I am more than happy to make a video or tutorial with more details. Let me know below.
Hope you learn something useful.

What Do You Think?
Have you had any issues or experiences regarding signing your art work? I would love to read about them in the comments below. If you have any questions, special requests, or thoughts and feedback, also, I would love to hear from you. Just write it all down below and if you are interested, you can subscribe to this blog by clicking the button to the right.

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