Artist fired up about colorful clay jewelry | UToledo News

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Artist fired up about colorful clay jewelry

Kimberly Arden fabricates canes from polymer clay to make jewelry.

Kimberly Arden fabricates canes from polymer clay to make jewelry.

Kimberly Arden can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t creating something.

“I have to create, it doesn’t matter where I am,” Arden said. “I’ve always been this way; that’s how I’m wired.”

Arden, of Temperance, Mich., recalls selling arts and crafts on her father’s card table when she was a kid, making everything from coasters to jewelry. Whenever she made something she was particularly proud of, she would give it as a gift to her mother, who was an artist.

Arden’s specialty these days is jewelry, which she will showcase at The University of Toledo’s Art on the Mall Sunday, July 28. Her jewelry features beads and medallions made from polymer clay, a medium she’s worked with for 25 years.

Polymer clay comes in a large variety of colors and can be cured with the use of an ordinary oven. Arden uses this clay in her creations by designing canes — large chunks of clay with designs of flower petals, leaves, etc.

Kimberly Arden models some of the jewelry she makes from clay and sterling silver.

Kimberly Arden models some of the jewelry she makes from clay and sterling silver.

Arden then squeezes the ends of these canes to reduce the design and make it more intricate. She then slices off small pieces and uses the individual leaves and petals to create tiny pieces of art, which are assembled to make jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Because of this technique, colors are actually baked into the jewelry, making the pieces more resistant to scratches or fading than if they were painted. Arden uses sterling silver to complete her pieces, creating jewelry both affordable and fine.

This week, Arden will be replenishing her stock of handmade jewelry, having sold many of her pieces at the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, one of the largest art fairs in the country with more than 1,000 artists.

“I love the fact that I’m coming out of Ann Arbor with a week to go before Art on the Mall because there are so many people there that know me,” Arden said. “They’re going to want to see what’s new, and I’m going to have to pull it out of my hat.”

Take a close look at her work at kimberlyarden.com.

Art on the Mall will take place Sunday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall on UT’s Main Campus.

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