||Meet the Designer-Artist
Multimedia artist Christi Friesen is most notably recognized for her innovative approach to polymer clay designs. Her cover piece, Peacock Pizzazz, began, like most of her complex necklaces, with sketches to bring to life a ''half-formed idea.'' Although Christi had experimented with peacock designs in the past, her idea for this necklace was to create a masterpiece full of dramatic color and design.
Christi has written a number of books on polymer clay designs and is a regular contributor to beading magazines. She specializes in combining glass beads, pearls, found objects and gemstones with her sculpted polymer clay pieces for one-of-a-kind art jewelry--with a single goal--to amuse herself every step of the way. Creatively combining her sense of humor with her love for sculpting, Christi's designs express her lively, one-of-a-kind personality.
''One of the things I find most enjoyable about being an artist is the reaction I get when someone else enjoys my work. It is a special thing to be able to share a piece of yourself.''
''I've been an artist all my life ...''
Christi's artistic journey began when she was four with an oil painting class that ended with more paint on her than on the actual canvas. And, although she didn't return to oils, her ''enthusiasm for artistic expression has never diminished.''
''When I was about eight, my dad brought home a kiln and clays and I took to sculpting naturally--it has always been my favorite medium, although I did other forms of art for years before returning to sculpting. I was introduced to polymer clay by a bead artist in my hometown who has worked with polymer for years. I had never heard of the stuff, but once I bought some, took it home and started experimenting, I was hooked. I picked up all the technical bits in a polymer clay book--as you know, polymer clay is very user-friendly! So the technical bits were easy to master.''
After seeing an image of a polymer clay piece with a pearl accent, Christi's curiosity was ignited and she began adding beads to her designs, which she feels ''really makes the clay come alive and adds a whole new level of creative possibilities.''
Christi worked hard to find her ''look,'' and discovered the beading community was interested in her work as small, focal pieces using beads and original shapes. She was soon featured in Bead and Button magazine just before their big show, in which she was an exhibitor. ''The response was amazing--it really seemed to touch a creative nerve and I was so excited by the enthusiasm over it. I have been writing articles for the beading magazines ever since.''
It was at that same show that Christi met Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Advertising Designer, Arbel, and was asked to design a piece for a Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' back-cover advertisement.
''You know what they say, 'it takes years to become an overnight success!' Like so many people, I've tried many things for many years to become an artist professionally. Once I set my mind to really devote myself to bead-embellished polymer clay creations, I looked for every opportunity I could--contests, shows, articles and later books. It takes effort, dedication, talent and of course a nice sprinkle of luck and good timing! I've been very lucky that what I do has found such a wide and generous audience.''
Christi's Advice to Other Designer-Artists:
''Work hard on your craft--the technical aspects of your claying or beading--be as clean [polished] and professional as you can. But mostly, try to find your voice if you wish to be noticed. Of course, many people bead and sculpt and craft for the sheer joy of it, or the social contact (in groups and guilds) or just to fill the days--not everyone needs or should feel like they have to push themselves to 'be somebody'--creating for the fun of it is a goal in itself. But if you do want to take it to the next level, you have to develop something that is uniquely your own--that usually takes time. I suggest that you look at lots and lots of art--beading magazines, books, shows, museum exhibits--the more you see, the more your creative gears will turn and with any luck, you'll combine all those things in some new and fascinating way that brings you joy and makes others stop and take a look at your creations!''
View more of her incredible designs in the Gallery of Designs and on her website: www.cforiginals.net.
Browse Christi's product line available at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.
View all of Christi's resources here.