If you had been paying attention in your ornithology class, you would already know that there are more than 150 species of owls flying around the planet. That means that Sue Springer won’t have any shortage of models for her latest obsession: recreating owls in polymer clay. Here are some of her latest creations. Click under the pictures to see the real-life owls that served as inspiration.
Sue builds her owls on a polymer clay tile with a wire attached to the back for hanging. She fashions the owls
from her ever-growing collection of canes she designs to suggest the different feathers of the inspirational owl.
Sue employs complex Skinner Blends, translucent clay and color mixing to good effect, achieving a look of depth to the feathers despite the limited color palate.
Sue builds more colorful canes for the eyes but employs similar subtle shading that gives the eyes dimension and a lifelike quality.
Don’t you feel like he’s staring at you?
- The Polymer Clay Avengers
Sue and Wilma
Now that I have your attention, here is some Owlish Trivia
You can find owls on every continent but Antarctica.
Owls have three eyelids and zygodactyl feet
and asymmetrical ears.
Owls can’t pivot their eyes
but they can turn their heads 270 degrees.
Owls’ feathers make them noiseless fliers
which is good because they’re predators.
Not all owls hoot
but some can bark.
A flock of owls
is called a Parliament
and the largest owl fossil ever found
was over three feet tall.
Be careful Sue when you venture out into the forest.
Find out more about owls here
by Arlene Groch
It all started when my son Mike called from San Diego, and asked if I would cover a resin deer’s head with clay to hang on the wall of his office.
When I stopped laughing, I realized he was serious. Always game for a challenge, I agreed. He sent me the head; it came broken. That gave me a spare ear to test in the oven. The ear didn’t melt or send us running out of the house to escape poisonous fumes. So I called Mike and told him to send me another head. He must have really wanted this badly because the second head arrived in the next few days.
Mike wanted the deer covered with a hounds-tooth pattern. I scoured the Internet for ideas and found a tutorial for a hounds-tooth cane. I made some samples and Mike chose the plain pattern without the red silk screened design. I smeared the deer with Genesis and then covered all of its skin/fur with a medium thickness of “junk” clay. Then I applied the cane slices all over the deer’s head, chest and ears blending in the seams of each section to match the pattern. I blended the seams of each section together using Dan Cormier’s rag paper smoothing technique.
When Mr. Deer was ready for curing (some 30-40 hours after his arrival at our home) I had to use our regular kitchen oven because Mr. Deer’s head was too big for my convection oven. I settled him on a cookie sheet, wrapped him in tented tin foil and baked him for about 45 minutes at 300 degrees. I added a few clay patches on missed spots behind the ears, and some very thinly sliced canes where needed to improve the overall design. I cured those with a heat gun.
Mr. Deer was ready for sanding. Rough sanding to clean him up and smooth a few bumps was all the sanding I felt a deer deserved, no matter how cute.
After a good apres-sanding bath, it was time to finish him off. I applied three coats of matte red Golden paint to his antlers. I tried clay tips on the antlers, but both Mike and the Deer felt that it was too much so off they came.
Following Mr. Deer’s final photo session, George and I escorted took him to the Fed Ex office for some serious bubble wrapped, double boxed packaging and sent him off via ground transportation to his new home across the country. When the Fed Ex guy asked for a value for insurance purposes, and I just laughed and told him, “A week of Mother Love — it’s invaluable”.
I hope you enjoyed Mr. Deer’s journey, and do say a prayer [or just send some good vibes] for his safe arrival. And now for the pictures
Wilma, Gwen, Jacqueline and Mary
Patti and Terri
Guest Artist Jacqueline Cherie
Mary and Sherman
739 Mount Road, Aston, PA (For GPS purposes, the intersection of Red Hill Road and Mount Road, Aston)
Look for the signs directing you to Heron Studios at the old mill with the front painted chartreuse and purple.
Emily will be on the first floor.
Friday Opening Party, November 9, 6 pm – 9 pm
Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11, 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18, 11 am – 5 pm
You can also catch Emily at
Featuring 60 artists
Water Tower Recreation Center
Hartwell Lane, East of Germantown Avenue
Chestnut Hill, PA
Saturday, December 8, 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday, December 9, 11 am – 4 pm
For directions press here
This means that Arlene’s work will be displayed at the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft. She’s not sure which piece she entered was selected. I think it’s a safe bet it would be any of them.
This means Arlene is moving in some pretty fast company. What do I mean? Check out the 2012 list of polymer clay finalists here.
For more information on the Niche Awards, press here.
Martha Aleo, Deputy Blogger
This class is being offered by Doreen and will be held in her studio in Hopewell, NJ. The class size is limited to 10 people. Contact Doreen at DoreenKassel@gmail.com for more information or to register.
In this case
three, four! Sarah, Sherman, and Arlene and Emily! Well, each person could have made one alone but they decided to help one another produce an extruded border cane using Bette Jo Hendershott’s tutorial from her blog, Knightwork.
Here are the results.
Why don’t you try to make one too?
Martha Aleo, Deputy Blogger
Emcee Terri announces another winner.
PAPCG President Eileen presents her winning ticket.
Janet waits for Terri to announce the next winning ticket, “Is it me? Is it me? Please let it be me!”