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PC05: Ancient Images

Creative Living October 1998

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If you find "Ancient Images" intriguing, then an artist and how-to-do video will allow you to achieve such designs. In fact, there's a whole series of videos available to help increase your creativity... but we'll get to that in a moment.

International artist and instructor Gwen Gibson is one the Master Artisans in the MindStorm Production Polymer Clay Series. In her easy-to-follow video, she guides you through making unique jewelry pieces and treasured gifts. With polymer clays and the use of photocopy transfer and etching techniques, she shows how to simulate the time worn surfaces of ancient artifacts.

Gwen said that she wants to make these are forms "more accessible and share the images she loves." learn a faux enameling technique and simulate etching on ancient stone using acrylic paints. Alternatively, you can try the clay collage technique to petroglyph images or learn an oil-based etching technique to imitate Japanese woodcut designs.

The video has been well received. Gwen told me that people are thrilled because they can actually do the projects — they are able to follow through on them and are pleased with the results. People have commented that her approach is wonderfully relaxed and almost Zen-like.

If it seems intimidating - relax - people with no background can do it. Gwen refers to it as a "kitchen table art form" - involving kneading and working with the hands.

So who's the mastermind behind the Master Artisan series? Burt Johnson. Burt and his wife, Evelyn, produce the videos and actually run the cameras. They've become specialists in "table top crafts."

Burt explained that his passion for computers evolved into videos. He became fascinated by the equipment and learned quickly from experience. Burt's Mom was a miniature enthusiast and became the focus of his first instructional video series.

After that first series, as word spread, more videos followed. People have "oohed and aaahed" about the good close-up camera work. Burt, although not a fine artist, has a deep respect for those that work with him and calls polymer clay "a fascinating medium."

He brings some of the best artists to you, including Gwen and Donna Kato. he hopes the videos will give people a "I could do that" kind of inspiration. They are certainly important resources for those who don't have easy access to classes and other information.