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Karen Lewis

Your Company Name: Klew Expressions / Spirited Bead
Email Address/Web Page: klew@klewexpressions.com
City & State: Tehachapi, CA
Type of Craft: Polymer Clay / mixed media

Updated 7/25/99

Tell us in your own words, how you discovered polymer clay and how long have you been using it?

It was a very difficult time in my Life when this clay found me. I was in mourning for the loss of my Father when I turned to drugs for comfort. Short and sweet- I was at "rock bottom" and I knew it. Too proud to tell my family of my addiction, I prayed for help, that's when one single creative came to me in a dream state. I saw a twinkle and felt a stirring in my soul as I thought my creative side was gone forever. Remembering a white bakeable substance my sister used to use for Disney I thought this would be the perfect medium for my idea! Off to the craft store I went. To my surprise, it now came in colors, it was 1987...no books on the shelf...who cared-not me. I had no idea that this was my salvation, and that I was about to begin the road to recovery! Yes all I did was to swap one addiction for another in essence, doesn't matter now though. My prayers were answered.......thank Goddess!

Are there any special artists that you can attribute your interest to or that have inspired you?

I first met Marie Segal and her hubby at a trade show,I watched Marie for hours. I left that hot summer day with goose-bumps, and took that as a sign! Several years later I met Jamey Allen as well. I will always be grateful for their encouragement and support over the years. Kathleen Dustin, Peir Volkus, and Sarah Shrivers work have also inspired me to no end!

What is your specialty?

Creatively, I enjoy making unusal talisman beads that inspire and tell a story of my Life's Journey. My Drum Beads were inspired when I took up "drumming" for spiritual growth. I felt that there was a need for small works of Art for the Jewelry Designer, as well as the bead collector-so thats where my path led me.

Can you tell us why you find polymer clay the expressive medium for you?

Truly, as so many of us have come to realize---it's like 3-D paint in your hands! It has a forgiving and playful nature which we all need in our lives!

Have you published any polymer clay books or do you have any in the works?

I have not actually published any books, although I have been published in two, Handmade Jewelry, and Barbara McGuire's book "Foundations in Polymer Clay". Then there's "Bead x Bead" which will be out in spring 2000, as well as Sue Heaser's book, which the name has yet to be announced. I also will be on the month of Feburary 2000 in the Polymer Clay 2000 Calendar! Two videos round out my portfolio at this time, Animal Imagery and one on Bead Design produced by "abba dabba productions LLC".

I know it is very difficult to express, but have you won any awards for your polymer clay work?

Well, yes on both accounts. First Place award in 1992 for new medium entry in the Doll World, and TV appearance in 1996 - it was on the Learning Channels' program called "Simply Style"... my 8 1/2 minutes of fame! ha!

What are your expectations for the future? Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?

I hope to continue teaching in the field I'm presently in, which is for young adults in detention centers who have found themselves on the wrong path. It is my belief that young adults who have a lot of creative imagination tend to get themselves in trouble when left without a venue to channel their energies.
In addition, since I cannot be all the places I'd like to be at the same time... MORE Videos !!! I'm such a ham!

Do you have any advice for the beginning polymer clay enthusiasts?

Don't be afraid of experimenting! Everyone emulates the ones who they admire, don't sweat it! Your voice will eventually come through when you get comfortable with the clay!

Are you a member of any Polymer Clay group,or any other craft organization?

Yes, NPCG as well as The Greater Los Angeles Polymer Clay Guild.

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

I call it "Fremo" because I mix Premo and Fimo together to get the consistencey I like and that works with my "hot" hands! The colors are as endless as my imagination!

Last and most important can you tell us all about you? Your family, your training?

I have lived here in Tehachapi since 1991, and found my soulmate here in 1992 - his name is Carl - and we have two dogs; Sydney and Pepper. In 1998 we bought our first house together and will marry here in our house on a hill in Sept-99. I have had no other art background other than K-12, and my Mother who was also an artist. She was always very supportive and never, never judged my work!

See Karen's Featured Artist Page Here!

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