31 December 2016

A Review of 2016

This is when I usually review the past year but this year I do not feel like I have accomplished much. Moving home at the beginning of the year took a few months out of my creative time. Four polymer clay workshops at the Estuary Arts Centre were all cancelled due to lack of interest, I had to close the Auckland  Polymer Clay Guild due to lack of participating members, and a few ideas/experiments did not amount to anything. Also, I have tried very hard not to be obsessive and spending every spare minute creating. So all in all it has been a rather depressing year in terms of promoting polymer clay and creating with it.

However, on a more positive note, I have continued with my dot mosaics and received a lot of encouraging comments on the few pieces I have shown, winning the People's Choice award at the Puhoi Art Show and selling a couple of pieces at exhibitions. This year I joined the New Zealand Mosaic Art Organisation (as the APCG no longer exists) and definitely want to continue with the dot mosaics, even if only as a hobby due to the time they take to create.

I do have another 'pocket money' project in the pipeline (Swirl-StoNZ) that needs refining before trialing it in 2017. Maybe this could provide the balance with my dot mosaics, allowing me to create some small items that are profitable to sell, as well as creating the dot mosaic artwork that I am so proud of. 

I made one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2017 to 'be proud of my creative artwork', so I must not lose sight of this in the forthcoming year.

06 December 2016

Puhoi Art Show - People's Choice award

Found out tonight that I won the People’s Choice award at the Puhoi Art Show. I had three entries in the show but I believe it was for my polymer clay mosaic titled ‘Watching the sunrise over Rangitoto’. This news made my evening.

25 November 2016

Puhoi Art Show 2016

Tonight was the opening night of the Puhoi Art Show. It runs from 25 November to 4 December in the Centennial Hall, Puhoi. I have entered three pieces: ‘Green Kiwi’, ‘Lady Aotearoa’ and ‘Watching the sunrise over Rangitoto’.

15 November 2016

Here are the results, so far

Thank you all so much for taking the time to vote. Yesterday I reviewed all the responses over the last week (from my Facebook page, the International Polymer Clay Association page and the New Zealand Mosaic Art page). Here are the combined results:

15% preferred ‘A’
80% preferred ‘B’
5% liked both or did not choose

So the real mosaic made from polymer clay tiles ‘B’ triumphed over the computer generated mosaic ‘A’. It is good to know, as I plan to do more, that it is worth investing my time in creating this type of mosaic artwork. Thank you again for your interest.

08 November 2016

Please vote

It is the same image made up of round mosaic tiles:
A – computer generated mosaic using the Percolator app from Apple
B – actual mosaic created with handmade polymer clay mosaic tiles 

29 October 2016

'A New Approach'

This is my entry in the 2016 Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards exhibition, being held at the Estuary Arts Centre, Orewa. Below is a little more information about the piece.

When I first started this mosaic, towards the end of 2014, I thought I would title it ‘A New Exploration’. This does not relate to the flower in the picture so much but to my first exploration into a new way of creating mosaic artwork with round tiles. The design is from a print on canvas, which I chose to use for my first experimentation. However, the close up view of the flower with the layers of petals and the deep colouring do also give a sense of exploration.

After moving home and doing a number of smaller mosaic pieces in between, I finally completed this artwork in time to enter it for the Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards 2016. When I filled in the application form, I put ‘A New Approach’ down for the title, as I had forgotten what I was originally going to call the artwork. Once submitted, I could not change it.

Although there has been a slight change of name, this does not change the fact that this piece was the starting point for a new approach to my mosaic artwork. The use of different sized round mosaic tiles has now become my signature style.

This artwork is made up of around 7,000 handmade tiles. They are colour blended, cut and baked from polymer modelling clay. After gluing all the tiles in place, on the canvas, it has been grouted with coloured acrylic gel medium. It took well over 150 hours to complete. 

28 October 2016

Opening night of the Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards

Attended the opening night, which was very busy

General shot

Me with my picture above
Now that the exhibition has opened, I will post a photo and the details about my entry - see next post.

18 October 2016

Mission Bay Art & Craft Market - Monday 24 October

Monday 24 October is Labour Day and the bi-annual Art and Craft Market will be on at Mission Bay. Once again I am having a 'Studio Clearance' to make room for my new mosaic artworks. There will lots of small pieces, mostly jewellery and some small artworks, which would make ideal Christmas presents. Start shopping early and grab yourself a bargain, as most pieces will be priced to clear - I disparately need the space!

05 October 2016

Submission accepted for the Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards 2016

I was thrilled to receive the news that my latest dot mosaic artwork, submitted for the Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards, has been selected for the exhibition.

01 October 2016

NZMA - a new way forward

Members of the New Zealand Mosaic Art organisation
This was all very last minute but earlier this week I become a member of the New Zealand Mosaic Art organisation, just in time to attend their Symposium and Workshops being held today at the Estuary Arts Centre in Orewa. I had attended the opening of the NZMA national exhibition last night and already met some of the members. Today turned out to be an interesting and exciting event, being present as this organisation (mainly on Facebook) voted to move forward and become a National organisation.

I have always been drawn to stained glass/mosaic work, particularly contemporary styles, but was not sure how my polymer clay mosaics would be received. From the members I spoke to, they were appreciative of anything mosaic, and several actually used polymer clay. I received many complimentary comments on the photos I showed of my dot mosaics. Unfortunately, as I only joined last week, it was too late for me to enter anything in this current exhibition. I will have to be patient, as the next national exhibition will not be until 2018, in Whangarei.

I now feel quite inspired to continue with my dot mosaics, and become involved with this group (as the Auckland Polymer Clay Guild is no longer running). There may even be future opportunities to demonstrate/teach how to incorporate polymer clay with more traditional mosaic materials. 

So many ideas, I just need to decide what to start next - but first my studio needs a thorough clean and tidy! 

23 September 2016

My entry has been submitted

Photo coming soon of 'A New Approach' 

My entry has been submitted, for the 2016 Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards, by photograph. Hopefully it will be selected for the exhibition. I will wait until the exhibition has opened before posting the finished photo. It will run from 28 October to 11 December 2016 at the Estuary Arts Centre, Orewa, north of Auckland.

17 September 2016

The final tile is in place

Today I stuck the final tile down on my latest mosaic artwork, titled ‘A New Approach’. Just got to grout it now and then it will be ready to photograph and submit for the Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards 2016. 

12 September 2016

My tile in the FIMO 50 World Project

Photos have been released of the THE FIMO 50 WORLD PROJECT. The yellow circle shows the tile I contributed. 

This was a collaborative art project, open to polymer artists from around the world, in celebration of FIMO polymer clay being 50 years old. You had to make a 10cm x 10cm (4” x 4”) polymer tile. The submissions were to be displayed on a large framework representing a globe but as you can see, the number of tiles received was way more than the globe could hold. The original idea was that the individual tiles would be auctioned off and the proceeds go to two charity organisations, Samunnat (Nepal) and the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies (USA). However, Staedtler (the manufacturers of FIMO) have decided to keep the globe together in one piece as a collaborative artwork, and instead will present a generous donation to the two charities. This means the globe can remain a global art piece and will continue in existence as a symbol of unity that links the Polymer Clay Community throughout the world.

11 September 2016

Work in Progress - September 2016

I have 3 weeks left until the submission deadline of 3 October 2016, for the Hibiscus & Bays Art Awards. Not only do I have to finish making and sticking all the tiles in place, it then needs to be grouted and photographed, as initial selection for the competition is by photograph. Will I get this finished in time? Yes, I have to!

02 September 2016

Great Art Sale at the Lake House Arts Centre

I went over to the Lake House Arts Centre to take a photograph of my two pieces in the Great Art Sale, which has just opened. To my delight, I found my glow in the dark ‘Out-of-this-World’ sculpture had just been sold, so the photo only shows my other sculptural entry, ‘Lady Aotearoa’.

26 August 2016

No more polymer clay workshops for the time being

Sadly, I have decided to take a break from teaching polymer clay workshops for a year or so. This year, like previously, there has not been enough interest for the workshops to run. With only one or two, if any, students signing up, it is not viable for the local art centre to run them when they need a minimum of six students.

I will instead concentrate on my own creative work. Maybe in a year or two I will try again, looking at some new teaching material and ideas to try and attract interest in polymer clay as a creative medium.

13 August 2016

Work in progress - August 2016

This is what is currently on my studio work table. I think I first started this in October 2014 but I did not get very far with it. It was my first dot mosaic picture but after doing a small portion of it, I decided it would be better to practice on some smaller pieces before continuing with this large picture. Several dot mosaic pictures later, and a house move, I have finally got back to completing it.

Work in progress - August 2016

I have been working on it for the last couple of weeks, particularly making a lot more tiles in different colours. My plan is to submit it for the Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards 2016, which has a deadline of 3 October, if I can finish it in time.

24 July 2016

Last week of the 2016 Members Merit Awards Exhibition

I was thrilled to discover that one of my three entries, 'Flowers in the Round', has been sold. There is only one week left, as the exhibition closes on Sunday 31 July.

Lady Aotearoa    -   Flowers in the  Round   -   Light Sphere

13 July 2016

Auckland Polymer Clay Guild - to close

It is with regret that I am taking the decision to close the Auckland Polymer Clay Guild, which I have given my time voluntarily to run over the last three years, since its inception in August 2013. 

Throughout 2015 and 2016 (to date) there have been minimal, if any, members come to meetings and no new interest from potential members, hence my reason for closing the Guild.

I would like to thank those of you who have participated over the last few years and wish you all the best with your polymer clay and other creative ventures. If anyone wants to meet on a personal basis, please feel free to contact me, and of course I am still happy to answer questions or give advice at anytime.


10 July 2016

Members Merit Awards Exhibition 2016

In the foreground: 'Flowers in the Round' and 'Lady Aotearoa'

Have just returned from our two week trip to the UK, so went to visit the Members Merit Awards Exhibition at the Estuary Arts Centre in Orewa today. I missed the opening night on 7 July, as we were flying back from London, but was pleased that two of my three entries had a very central position in the exhibition.

For more details of the exhibition, which runs until 31 July, see 

21 June 2016

Lady Aotearoa

I started this sculptural piece while we were waiting for our New Zealand Citizenship applications to be approved (November last year) and I have incorporated some NZ icons (two Kiwi, the Pohutukawa flower, a fern leaf and Koru/fronds which are repeated as curls in her hair) into the design, so it seemed appropriate to call her 'Lady Aotearoa'. Now she is finally finished, here are four different views.

The core of this sculpture is a polystyrene head, which I used a few years ago as display prop, covered in several layers of papier mache and modelling paste and then sealed with acrylic paint and PVA glue. Onto this base I glued round mosaic tiles, made and baked from polymer clay, and then filled the joints with white tile grout.

Lady Aotearoa will be one of my three entries in the forthcoming Members Merit Awards Exhibition at the Estuary Arts Centre at Orewa (north of Auckland, NZ).

02 May 2016

'Polymer Journeys' - arrived in the post

The hard copy of this fabulous book arrived in the post today. It showcases the most innovative use of polymer clay over the last two years. I am so proud to be included on page 117. To order your copy, go to http://www.polymerjourneys.com/

25 April 2016

New Beginnings - taking shape

For the last few days, I have been working on my ideas for a range of jewellery and accessories called 'New Beginnings'. This is a little project to satisfy my creative desire to make some tasteful souvenirs for tourists to our country, and to get back into the market/craft fair scene, which I have missed. My long term plan is to use images of my original dot mosaics, but until I have actually made them, I will focus on using one design, based on the Koru.

New Beginnings – hand painted jewellery and accessories by Claire Fairweather

The ‘Koru’ symbol, widely used in Maori art, carving and tattoos, has also come to represent New Zealand (Aotearoa). Derived from an unfurling silver fern frond, it represents new beginnings, growth and harmony. New beginnings both literally, in terms of new life and growth, and also a new start or new phase of life involving personal growth. To be in harmony with life is to understand, grow and change.

The circular balanced shape of the Koru design is attractive to the eye and is a very positive symbol, to be worn with pride. It makes a wonderful gift, especially for a new parent or child, newlyweds, for a new home or anyone starting on a new phase of their life.

New Beginnings seems a very appropriate name for this project, as it has meanings on many levels. Apart from the symbolic meaning of the Koru, this will be my first serious attempt at turning my creativity into a small business, it will also be my first project in my new studio, in my new home. I am hoping that this will be a new phase in my own life, the beginning of a successful venture into a new creative career.

22 April 2016

'Polymer Journeys' book has just been released

The long awaited Polymer Journeys book has just been released. It is a fabulous book showcasing the best polymer art and craft, and I am so proud to be included on page 117. To order your copy, go to http://www.polymerjourneys.com/

15 April 2016

Plans taking shape

Part of my indecision about what to do is because although I really enjoy creating artwork with my ‘dot mosaic’ technique, it is very time consuming (making all the tiles as well as placing them to create the design/picture). I do not think I will be able to sell the pieces at a price that will justify the time I have spent creating them, when I could be doing more paid work. I have also missed not taking part in the markets/events, where I get to meet people and gauge their reaction to my work. For this reason, I came to the conclusion that the ‘dot mosaics’ should be my hobby and that I should try and find something else to develop as a small business.

I still keep coming back to the idea that I want to make small souvenirs for visitors to our country that are actually made in New Zealand. I have dabbled at various ideas (some not even with polymer clay) but have not really come up with anything different that I think I could make profitable. It is very hard to compete with souvenir items made in China.

Then this morning I had the idea of creating original ‘dot mosaic’ designs, which could be photographed and the images used for greetings cards, prints, jewellery and possibly other items like t-shirts, bags, mugs, etc. I might be getting a bit carried away here but I think it is worth trying out on a small scale to start with, to see how it works out. The images will be mine, and totally original, from my own mosaic artwork created in New Zealand. Being able to reproduce the images on various different items may mean that I can gain some ongoing income from my original dot mosaic artwork, which I so enjoy doing.

For the first time, since we have moved, I feel inspired and with a plan to put into action. I just need to come up with some good designs!

01 April 2016

This is not an April Fool

As I keep chopping and changing my mind about what I am going to do next, I have purchased the domain name www.cfdesignz.co.nz. As this is very general, it could cover any designs or pieces that I create. By using a 'z' rather than an 's', for the spelling of designs, it reinforces that it is New Zealand made.

Creative Block

Now that we are settled in our new home, and most of my studio stuff is unpacked, I thought it would be easy to get back into the creative flow – but it is not. I keep chopping and changing my mind about what I am going to do next, even though I have several half started projects waiting to be finished. I am finding it really hard to get started on anything serious.

I just cannot understand this creative block. For months I could not do anything because all my gear was packed up waiting to move and I was getting frustrated that I could not put my ideas into action. Now that is past, and I have some time, I cannot decide what to do. Or am I just too scared that I have lost my creative Mojo?

02 March 2016

My entries for the 2015 International Polymer Clay Awards

Now that all judging of this competition has finished, I can reveal my three entries. The theme for this years competition was 'In the Round'. (I have given a description of each piece after the photos).

Entry 1 - Flowers in the Round

Dot mosaic picture

Close up

Entry 2 - Light Sphere 

Dot mosaic candle bowl - unlit

Shots showing six different colours

Entry 3 - Sherbet Fizz

Dot mosaic mirror frame

Close up

Description - Flowers in the Round

Continuing with my recent interest in creating polymer mosaics with round tiles, for this picture I have also chosen to work to a round frame, to fit with the ‘in the round’ theme. The mosaic is approximately 10.5 inches (27 cm) in diameter, set in the frame which measures 16 inches (41 cm) in diameter overall.

All my mosaic tiles are hand made from polymer, cut with round Kemper cutters from colour blended sheets of polymer (Premo) about 1/12 inch (2 mm) thick. The baked tiles are glued to the MDF base with Weldbond glue and then grouted with a dark grey tile grout. I chose pink for the flowers, as this is the traditional colour associated with love. Maybe someone will buy this picture to give to a loved one, as the flowers will last forever, unlike a bunch of cut flowers.

Description - Light Sphere 

Not only is this candle bowl spherical (as it uses a glass bowl as the form), it is made from round cane slices, in keeping with the ‘in the round’ theme. It measures just over 6 inches (15cm) in diameter and contains a colour changing LED (battery) candle.

A number of canes, of various sizes, were made by rolling up long sheets of Skinner Blend. I used translucent (Pardo) in the centre of the cane grading to a 50:50 mix of pearl and white (Premo) at the outer edge. The whole surface of the glass bowl has been covered with cane slices, approximately 1/12 inch (2mm) thich, which have been placed to touch each other as much as possible, and then baked. When switched on, the gentle colour-changing LED candle creates lovely mood lighting as well as enhancing the white/neutral colour of the candle bowl.

Description - Sherbet Fizz

This round mirror frame has been decorated with round mosaic tiles, made from polymer in shades of pink, yellow and turquoise. After baking the tiles, I stuck them to the frame and used white tile grout to fill the spaces. The tiles are about 3/8 inch (1cm) diameter and the whole piece measures 16 inches (41cm) in diameter.

Although I laid the tiles on the frame in horizontal rows, the repeated pattern of the graded colours creates an optical effect (from a distance) almost like waves. The small coloured tiles remind me of ‘Refreshers’, a sherbet candy that I remember from my childhood in England. This, along with the optical wave effect similar to the wave of sensation you get when eating sherbet, is why I gave it the name ‘Sherbet Fizz’.

01 March 2016

The March issue of the local Millwater Magazine (for the area where I now live) has just been issued. Each month it has a feature interview with a local resident – and this month it is me J

12 February 2016

Still without the internet!

It is three weeks since we moved into our new home and we still do not have an internet connection. Fingers crossed it will happen later today. So much to unpack and sort out. We are slowly getting there but I still have all my studio to unpack and arrange before I can get back to creative work.
This morning I was interviewed by the editor of the local Millwater magazine. Each month they do a feature interview with a local resident and I will be in the March edition. The main focus of the interview will be on my polymer clay work and why we have chosen to live at Millwater.

20 January 2016

The big move is on!

At 3pm today we finally got the keys to our new apartment. We will move in gradually over the next few days. There will be a lot of unpacking and sorting to do but I am so excited and looking forward to living in our own home again. It may be some time before I get my studio set up in our new home but I hope it will be a place of inspiration and that later in the year I can resume my creative work.