This week, I thought we’d counter the theme we did on Eastern Europe a number of weeks ago by doing a sampling of Western Europe. To get a sense of this region’s tendencies, we’ll be visiting European artists from this other side of the continent, all of whom I have not yet talked about on the blog.
The Western side of the continent has a dominant edginess and a lot of experimentation with form. There wasn’t nearly so much of the floral and dominance of bright color that we saw in Eastern Europe; instead, rather subdued or limited color combinations and stylized organic or graphic forms and textures were more common in the work I sampled. I couldn’t begin to answer why this might be, but I find it interesting that although we are a very global community, certain characteristics can be found dominant in given regions.
So this week we’ll start in France with artist Sonya Girodon, a relative newcomer to polymer but an absolute natural with it. In her prior work, you could see the strong influence of other polymer artists; but the work posted most recently is really quite unique. She does credit Christine Dumont’s “Ways to Wow” course conducted on Voila for her breakthrough and Donna Greenberg’s work as her design inspiration, but the end result is all Sonya’s own.
I so love what she says in her profile text on Flickr that I decided to quote it whole here:
“My new Hobby started in November 2011 with a set of Fimo bought for my daughter. I quickly realized that polymer clay is the medium I’ve always dreamt of. What a feeling when the brain shuts down and inspiration overflows into the fingers, hours fly by in seconds, and wonder is created out of nothing.”
Very poetic. And so very, very familiar: a sense of letting go, of letting the process of creation guide the work. That state is what I always think of as the goal when getting into the studio. Not so much the making of a particular thing, but getting to that point where you are working in a flow state and the clay translates who you are and what you want to say as you work. For me, the works that comes out of those kinds of sessions are the most satisfying and true to who I am.
If you are interested on reading more about getting into that very creative state of mind, we touch on that in the Flow article in last year’s Fall 2012 issue of The Polymer Arts magazine. I also recommend a book called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. But in the meantime, do explore more of Sonya’s work on her Flickr pages. She’s only been at this a couple years, but she has had amazing growth in her work during that time. I find it fascinating to see the progress of someone’s growing artistry and you can definitely see Sonya’s here, going from her older photos to the above piece, her latest work. It looks like she has really come into her own this past summer. She is definitely someone to watch.