Monday, June 4, 2012

Inspired Artist: Donna The Dead

Blue Octopus Pendant by Donna the Dead

Every beader knows that creating our own jewelry, working with beautiful materials, and combining unique colors is the best hobby there is. Those artists that work with more than just the usual beads and chain have one more advantage. Creating jewelry components with versatile materials like polymer clay takes things to a whole new level, and often results in the most charming and eye catching pieces imaginable.

One artists who’s design really delight is Donna the Dead. Her sculptural polymer clay pendants are wonderfully wild, weird, and colorful. With themes like zombies and octopi, these pieces are truly one of a kind.

Inspirational Beading: How did you first get into polymer clay sculpture and jewelry design?

Donna: About two years ago, I found myself frustrated with a painting I was working on. I needed something new to do. I thought about how much I loved sculpting in high school. Then I thought about how expensive a kiln would be. That's when I did some research and found oven bake clay. I went to town busting out dozens of charms for my friends back home in Florida. They loved them so much, they encouraged me to sell them. But in order to sell cute food charms on the internet, you have to come up with something no one else has.

Pea Pod Fail Necklace by Donna the Dead

And that's where my falling peas came to life.

If you look at my sales history, you're basically looking at how much my skills have advanced since March of last year. Sometimes I look back at it and cringe a little, mostly with embarrassment. But you have to start somewhere.

Inspirational Beading: Where do you find the most inspiration for your designs?

Donna: Nature, dead things, dead things in nature, video games, horror movies, and dessert. MMMmmmm cupcakes.

I've been looking for a steady paycheck for the last two years. With all this time on my hands, I get to pretend I'm a kid on summer vacation. I can play outside, play video games, watch Netflix, and eat cake whenever I want! And with the crazy dreams I always have, I'm pretty much inspired 24/7.

Inspirational Beading: Do you remember your first piece? Where is it today?

Donna: I don't remember what my first piece was. But the first octopus necklace I ever made, and sold on Etsy, is with an acquaintance of mine in Florida.

Inspirational Beading: What was the inspiration behind your all time favorite piece?

Donna: I can't say I have an all time favorite piece, it's more like an all time favorite design. That would be my Intertwined Octopi. I love how symmetrical they are. Oddly enough, I got some of the inspiration from the symmetry behind most "tramp stamps". But mostly I wanted to create a piece with more than one octopus.

My new slogan for them will be "A tramp stamp for your chest!" Does that turn anyone off?

Day of the Dead Entwined Octopi Necklace by Donna the Dead


Heart Shaped Poison Bottle Necklace by Donna the Dead


Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite clay brand to work with? What’s your favorite color?

Donna: I love the Sculpey brand. They have soooo many colors to choose from, but I love working with their magenta pearl the most.

Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

Pink Squid Pendant by Donna the Dead

Donna: It's not really about inspiring someone for me. It's more about making the person wearing my art feel unique. It's hard for teens and adults to feel unique when there's so much mass produced fashion readily available. If someone out there is making a statement with one of my pieces and it makes them feel they're one of a kind in an ocean of clones, my job is done.

You can see more of Donna’s polymer clay designs, as well as her fabulous shrink plastic art jewelry and fun coffee cozies, at Donna the Dead on Etsy, and The Craft Star. To stay up to date with what’s new, check out Donna the Dead on Facebook.

Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading and Donna the Dead
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