This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Russian artist Tatyana Salun, who is excited to share her polymer clay journey and advice with the members of Society.

Tatyana has lived and breathed art ever since she was a child and her passion continued to grow through her years in art school and now in her adult life, the only change being her preferred art medium.

As Tatyana searched for a hobby to enjoy in her adult years she tried oil painting, porcelain painting, stained glass painting until she finally discovered, and became engrossed with, making beaded jewellery.

‘’At that period, I came to the realisation that ready-made materials limit my fantasy rather strongly. So, I endeavoured to create the missing elements myself. When I took a piece of polymer clay in my hands, I realised: this is exactly, what I need. This is it: the Universe at my fingertips, ready for millions of transformations,’’ remembers the artist.

Tatyana started to study the unknown material by watching workshops showcasing different techniques and works of famous artists, she was learning how to interact with clay and how it responds to being combined with other materials like metal, leather, fabric and natural stones, whilst also thinking about how to take all her gathered knowledge further in her own direction.

The artist soon found new direction in her art in combining polymer clay with glass. ‘’The cold glass details with their transparency, the flecks of the colors and the deflections of the light are in harmony with polymer clay. This symbiosis of materials captivated me, It was time to study glass fusing.’’

Tatyana explained that her first few experiences with trying fusing method for creating tampered glass in a muffle furnace were unsuccessful. Glass is a very complex material to work with and the most important thing for the artist was not to despair and persevere.

Slowly, everything became clear on how the perfect results can be achieved and Tatyana has now established the following rules for her work:

  • Use only good quality materials;

  • Make glass elements in a simple and laconic form;

  • Avoid extreme naturalism/realism and lean towards stylish minimalism;

  • Adjust the design idea to make it achievable;

  • Secure the areas where glass and polymer clay meets with two part epoxy resin;

  • Consider the weight of the glass;

  • Do not overload the work with too many details;

  • Remember that the aim is to make wearable jewellery for ordinary people instead of creating an art object alone;

  • Listen to customer ideas as your ideas may differ;

  • Look for inspiration in other crafts like textile painting, interior design, wire jewellery etc;

  • Know when to stop, overcome the infinite desire to improve, change or correct;

  • Put your creation aside and look at it after a while imagining yourself as a buyer, not a critic.

Being a creative soul, Tatyana always has new jewellery ideas spinning in her head, however transforming these ideas into reality is always a different story. The artist cannot start her work without a plan or sketch despite the sketch rarely looking exactly like the finished necklace.

Tatyana enjoys having a clear vision at the start and then just going with her gut and doing what feels right.