Yuliya Svitsiashchuk from Belarus has been in love with sculpting from an early age. Her parents say, that in the age of five she was making tiny and very detailed princesses from modelling clay. Yuliya has been working with polymer clay for nine years and after trying a lot of techniques she chose a floral theme and tries to achieve maximum similarity with the live plants. Get to know more about her in this lovely interview.
Do you remember who or what brought you to the world of art?
I think my parents did when I was five. They brought me to the Art school. I loved it there and six years after that I had art lessons 2 times a week. It was not fundamental education, we had just been drawing kids pictures but I think these were the lessons that determined my interest in art.
When and under what circumstances did you first discover polymer clay?
It happened in my first year at university. I moved from my parents and my new neighbours were big lovers of imitation jewellery. They were always buying something new. Their rings with big roses of polymer clay was the moment I saw the polymer for the first time. I almost don’t wear jewellery at all and I have been interested in making something similar, to try my capabilities, it seemed to me it cant be that hard. My first pieces of polymer clay were made for kids craft and were very simple, however my friends liked them. They bought my artwork and I continued to create.
Is there anyone else in your family who is dedicated to art?
No, there is only me who is connected to art. And although my parents didn’t understand my passion for the first time, they are very proud of me and of my successes, now.
What three words do you think characterise your work the best?
Tidiness, vividness, durability.
Was polymer clay the first material you have ever made jewellery from?
If we consider something serious, then yes. I have been making beaded bracelets as a child but I think that doesn’t count :).
The main motif of your jewellery portfolio is succulents. Why did you choose these plants?
At a certain time, I loved succulents as plants, I had a small collection of them at home. I tried to create some and then I came up with an idea to make a lot of single brooches to have a possibility to put them together into different compositions. I got so captivated by making them and my buyers liked them so much that everything else was put aside. The world of succulents is very diversified and I still have a lot of ideas that I haven’t brought to life yet, so I think I will stick to them for some time.
What kind of jewellery and accessories with a succulent motif do you create?
Basically these are brooches but I have a constant demand from my buyers for other types of jewellery, too. That is why my assortment includes earrings and rings and I love to make hair clips as well. I have been making them for the last six months.
What does the succulent creation process look like?
Different succulents demand different approaches. But broadly speaking the main stages are the color mixing, leaf form analysis, shading test on separate leaves, modelling itself and general shading.
Which kind of jewellery is most popular among your customers?
Brooches because they are represented in the biggest quantity. But I think if I had a good assortment of earrings they would be more popular.
Why are you performing under the brand name Fly Bunny? How does this name relate to your work?
Honestly, this name has stayed from the earliest times when my friends called me “bunny”. It is not the case anymore, however I got used to the name, so I haven’t changed it. I let it stay that way :).
What would you tell us about the colour palettes of your succulents? Do you draw the inspiration from the natural colours of these plants or do you sometimes experiment?
The color diversification of succulents is so wide that I see no reason to invent anything by myself. However, to my regret, sometimes I cannot make a complete match in color of some succulents. But I strive to achieve that.
You create jewellery and hair accessories which means that succulents must be very small.
To present day the diameter of my largest succulent is 4.5 cm. But I have plans to make larger succulents because I want to try to create interior compositions.
Can our readers see examples of your work somewhere or even buy some of your pieces?
Your work also created the front page of Polymer Week magazine. Are there any other successes that made you happy?
I have had several publications in Belarussian magazines as well. But if we talk about what makes me happy, the biggest satisfaction and joy is to participate in designers’ fairs. That is where I can receive the maximum feedback about my art and such events charge me up for months ahead.
How do you pass on your experience and skills? Do you organize workshops or share your tutorials online?
I don’t make any tutorials now. I had been doing it before I started to make succulents, I taught a big polymer clay workshop at art school. Now I like to spend more time making jewellery.
Do you combine any other materials with the polymer or are you creating only from polymer clay?
To this moment I use only polymer clay, pigments and metallic bases.
And is art your part-time job or just a hobby?
Yes. This is my full time job.
Looking at your elaborate miniature succulents, it is clear that creating one such piece of jewellery would certainly take a lot of time. How many hours does it take to create, for example, one pair of earrings?
This is a hard question to answer. The process of making the succulents includes so many stages, so it is more efficient to make several pieces of jewellery with identical succulents at one time. So it is hard to evaluate the time I spend on one item. However I can say that I need 2 - 4 hours for one succulent brooch.
What has taught you such patience you need to create miniatures? Was it a desire to achieve the most credible result or are you a naturally patient person?
I think this is just my trait of character. Nothing would work out without it. I always loved to work with small elements.