Meet the Team - Linda Gielen

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Born in Laredo and raised in Brownsville, Texas, I come from a family who has several artistic members. Ever since I can remember, I have always participated in some form of art: painting, drawing, ceramics, metal smithing, etc. I have always struggled though with the fact that I have a practical side as well as an artistic side. It was only after I received my bachelor’s degree in Business that I returned to get my certification in Art. While getting my Masters in Education, I found my other passion which is computers. Now my time is divided between my art and my computer pursuits.
I am currently a Technology Facilitator at a private all boys school in San Antonio, Texas and I teach 7th and 8th grade computer electives. It’s kind of the best of both worlds because I am able to combine my two passions, art and computers, by teaching web design, graphic arts and animation. However, I still have the need to create strictly artistic items. So in the summer and during holidays, I focus on passion, my jewelry. Three-dimensional art has always been my favorite form of art with my first experience being ceramics. Ceramics, however, was not a portable art and I just wasn’t ready to invest in what I needed to have a complete studio. So I looked to other forms of 3D art and soon started working in polymer clay. I really enjoyed creating pieces, especially working with all the colors, but I just felt something was missing. While working with polymer clay, I learned about Precious Metal Clay and decided to take a class on it. After that, I was hooked! What was great about this medium was all the tools I have for polymer would work for PMC and so I was off and running. I took more classes and eventually took a certification course and I haven’t looked back since.

Have any special hobbies?
Lately, I‘ve just been focusing on metal clay, but I am an avid reader and spend many hours reading science fiction and fantasy. I also read juvenile and young adult books to review for our school library.

What is your business name and website address?
My business name is Clayology and my website address is http://clayology.etsy.com/.

Your shop address?
I only sell online or friends.
Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?
Yes, I sell metal clay and polymer clay pieces at http://clayology.artfire.com/.

How did you find out about metal clay and then start working with it? How long?
I found out about metal clay through an article in a jewelry magazine I subscribed to when working with polymer clay. I ordered a kit from my jewelry supplier and tried it on my own first. Although I was able to create a few simple pieces, I sought out a live class to expand my horizons. Our local arts and crafts center was offering a two-day weekend course and I jumped on the chance to learn more. I was instantly hooked and I haven’t looked back since! I’ve been working with metal clay for about six years.

What drives you to make jewelry?
When I was getting my degree in Art, my focus was jewelry and metalsmithing. It was a strange passion since I never wore much jewelry, but I just love making it!

Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
I tend to go with my flow and work when I feel like creative. Although I sketch a lot of ideas, I never have the discipline to follow through with my designs. I am trying to break that habit and follow my ideas more.

Won any awards for your jewelry? for anything else?
When I was in college, I did win an award for a necklace I made out of brass and wire. However, since then, I never have tried to submit any of my work to any contests. Life keeps getting in the way!

Do you do any other type of art?
Yes, I have dabbled in polymer clay, lampworking, acrylics, oils, ceramics, tinwork, beading, weaving . . . the list goes on. What is your art sensibility - precise or organic?I fight my tendency to be too precise because I have to be in my regular job as a Technology Facilitator and teacher. So, I try to let my “inner natural goddess” out so I can create more organic pieces and try to work at letting my work flow in that direction.

When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities? Although others thought my work was good, I never felt confident that it had any value or that it was something I could sell. It is only when I began working with metal clay three years ago, that I thought my work had some value and I could actually sell it.

What is your favorite tool for working with metal clay? Since I love making vessels, my favorite “tool” I guess would be wood clay and dowels!

Where do you work? A photo of your work space is attached.I have set aside one of our bedrooms as my workspace. After many years of working out of this corner or that, I finally have a dedicated room.

What is your favorite thing to make?
My favorite thing to make is vessels. I guess I like that 3D sculptural feel of making one. I also love construction type pieces like boxes and hollow forms.
Do you ever add commercial components?
Yes, I do incorporate cubic zirconia stones, casting grains and dichroic pieces. I also sometimes use commercial earwires, chains and chokers.
How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
I work usually several pieces at once and have several pieces going in different stages. However, most of my pieces are one-of-a-kind because I always want to try something new and I do not make duplicates. I do think it is wise to make at least two of the same design and I am going to try to do that this summer. Since I am a teacher, I tend to work the best and longest during holidays and summers, summer being my most productive time.
Do you have any kind of creative ritual?
No, but I think I need to get one. Especially for those days when I get artist block.
How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
I sketch out ideas in a sketchbook to remind me of what I may want to try out next.
Do you ever use a sketchbook?
Yes. It has been a habit since I began to take art courses over 20 years ago.
Do you ever teach classes and where?
I have taught art courses to elementary students, but I have not taught any metal clay classes.

Do you make a living at it?
Not yet . . . I just hope to make enough cover my metal clay “habit!”

Dichro Decorated Pendant

Do you do custom orders?
I am too fearful of rejection or issues that may occur in the process, so I have not tried any custom work.
What are you working on currently?
I am currently experimenting with BronzClay and am enjoying the fact that it is so much more affordable than PMC. I feel I can try out designs without worrying about bad outcomes. I am also trying to perfect my lampworking techniques to incorporate lampwork beads in my jewelry design.

What's next on your agenda to make?
Rejuvenate my shops this summer, take better pictures and try out some of my designs. I also purchased some copper clay to experiment with.

How do you make time for everything you want to do?
I try to squeeze some time during long weekends and occasionally at night after school if I get inspired, but I do the majority of my work during holidays and summer.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I have three great “girls”, Frida and Kirby, who are tri-colored brown Chihuahuas, and Java, a border-collie mix. I will be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary this November to a man who has always supportive my artist endeavors and believes everything I make is wonderful!


Clever Endeavor said...

Thank you for sharing Linda! I too have a technical job during the day, so it is great to come home and play.

Chocolate and Steel said...

great interview! It was so nice getting to know Linda more.

Janice said...

Linda, I am so happy to get to know you more! I can't wait to see your creations with lampwork beads as well. I am a HUGE lampwork fanatic.

Aiden Carns said...

What's great about arts is that you can always incorporate it in fields like web designing. Web designing requires artistically passionate hands in order to create appealing products. The more it is creatively done, the more it fascinates the visitors and keeps them from staying and coming back. As a result, this creates more traffic. Anyway, I am very much amazed by her talents. Look at all these jewelry! Aren't they lovely?

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