SILKCREEN MAKER • Hanni Viktorová

Hanni Viktorová, a smiling lover of nature, good coffee, tea and especially polymer clay, which she fell in love with ten years ago and on which she is literally dependent today. She remembers when exactly she discovered the polymer clay for the first time. In December 2010, she searched the Internet for a Christmas present for herself, but at the time she had no idea that she would have a lifetime gift under the Christmas tree that year or even that the art would become her main job.

Hanni was born in what was then Czechoslovakia, and despite the fact that she has lived and worked in South Moravia all her life, she is Slovak in origin and in her heart. She characterizes herself as a sensitive, calm, but sometimes on the contrary crazy and spontaneous woman who loves her family infinitely and always wears something blue or black. She likes to accept challenges and is a very punctilious person, which is visibly reflected in the precise design of her pieces. In 2017, she left her job and began to devote herself fully to creative work. Although she did not graduate from art school, she has a theory and practice in the field of ophthalmic optics, which makes it very easy for her to work with polymer clay. Working with different materials, colors, grinding, polishing and much more has contributed to her better understanding of the overall polymer clay concept.

"My first experiments with the polymer clay were very unsure. I learned everything from books and I found a little on the Internet,” describes Hanni her beginnings with the clay. "Like any beginner, I was very excited and wanted to try all the techniques right away. Even then, however, I see a parallel in the fact that I never liked large, unbearable jewelry. I mainly wore earrings, so I logically made them. I only created other types of jewelry when someone wanted them from me, or when I created them for sale at a fair.

They were rather simple canes with flowers or bull eye canes, bit messy, without backs. Today I would probably be ashamed of my work then,” says Hanni, who today masters all the techniques you can think of. Recently, however, she has become most popular with the Mica Shift technique, thanks to the new metallic shades from Cernit. "I love everything shiny, glittery and colorful, moreover, after polishing, the jewelry is incredibly beautiful with this technique," she adds.

Her work is diverse. The main inspiration comes from nature, but it is often influenced by the current mood. She likes to experiment with new tools and explore the new approaches to work with them with polymer clay as it is a medium of endless possibilities. She thinks it is a material with great potential for development. Hanni has not yet fully explored the area in the field of combining other materials and hopes that this will change in the future. She is planning to explore the combinations of polymer clay with new technologies, such as 3D printing, laser or computer programs in the coming years.

When working with a polymer, she likes the versatility, endless approaches to this material and the possibility of making an original piece from a „piece of plastic”, which she can give to her loved ones.

"I can make anything out of it, a brooch for my grandmother whose eyes shine when she sees it, earrings for my sister so she can be proud that they were made by hand and with love just for her, I can decorate my mother's pocket mirror, which she always have on her and every time she uses it she remembers me, even if we don't see each other every day... I make jewelry and accessories that have a soul, just like the person who owns it, and that inspires me on polymer every day.”

Hanni sees another positive thing about this material in the large and friendly polymer community. The workshops are a social event for her, where she meets old friends but she also likes to meet new faces. "I probably can’t choose just one workshop that would be my favourite, but what I have to emphasize is the mood and atmosphere that prevails there. That's probably the most I'm looking for in the courses,“ describes Hanni.

In addition to the polymer community, she is of course supported in her work by her family and friends, who proudly wear her jewelry and share her work on social networks. She has a group of great women around her, polymer enthusiasts thanks to whom it is a pleasure to work with polymer clay. They attend each other's workshops and support each other. Hanna's workshops, which she has been organizing regularly since 2015, are more about a simpler way of creating, as the author herself prefers simplicity and minimalist style in her work. In addition, since January 2019, she has been lecturing at the Polymer Clubhouse in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, where she also invites other skilled Czech lecturers. Hanni is currently organizing workshops, both in polymer and in other areas of art.

“My polymer studio is located throughout our small house. In winter at the table in front of the fireplace, in summer in a small room overlooking the garden and forest. In the future, I will have my own room, which will be equipped according to my wishes and possibilities. Now I spend at least a few hours a day at my desk, either in my mind or physically,” says Hanni. "Every day is different, no routine. I work from home, so I usually try to combine household and work, which is sometimes not an easy task. Sometimes the day is just too short.”

Hanni considers her artistic career to be her life's success, especially the creation of screen printing templates, which are now sold all over the world. "I'm very grateful for every purchase, it really pushes me forward." However, she does not want to predict the future of the polymer clay community. "I'm afraid to guess what the community will look like in the future, because some for me big names have already fallen out of the polymer scene. Some thanks to parental responsibilities, which is quite understandable, but some have been attracted by other artistic techniques and I am afraid that for them the polymer is gone forever. That's why we need to keep the community going, create, share, meet in person, learn, get polymer clay more among creative people and also children.”