Monday, September 5, 2016

Every Story Needs an Introduction...

"At day's end" - Polymer clay pendant

The beginning is always the most exciting time but also one where doubts and worries are highest. It is not the best part of an story because that would be (at least for me) when you are attached to the other people involved. But it is the moment where everything may be possible and every moment still needs to be told.

Why do I start with this? Because for me creating jewelry or sculptures or other "things" always are about telling a story. This may just be an idea or an emotion, a memory or an inspiration. It is not that all my work hold this depth but all that have a meaning to me, that I really fall in love with, do. 

However, I am still astonished every time again that it is not only me that likes what comes out of my mind and hands. This is why I really felt so honored when I was asked if I want to be a part of Art Jewelry Elements. So do start with this story I'll take a moment to introduce myself...

Me in the reflection of the glass door at our balcony (Leipzig).

My partner (I will call him by his nick Rumpel) and I are living in Leipzig in Germany. If you are ever to visit Germany, you should come and visit (especially during summer time). Even if I originally come from Bremen, believe me, I just feel home here. Right now while I am writing this I can hear a concert from the park in front of our house (an old apartment house like most houses here around 100 years old or so?). It is the Leipzig Song Festival and people are singing and dancing in the park. They are relaxed around in this city. My family moved to Leipzig when I was still a teenager and I was a gothic (still am in my heart and when I go out). In all other cities in germany I would have been ignored or looked down in a quite suspicious way. Leipzig? An old lady came up in the supermarket and told me "My dear, what a lovely dress! Sadly I am too old to wear something like this!" 

 Tiny wee elephants with pink flowers because everyone needs and elephant... or two... - Ear studs

Why am I telling you this? After all this is an Art Jewelry Elements blog. But it shows who I am and that I was always drawn to the weird and to an aesthetic that is not always fitting to the mainstream. There is not THE gothic but there is a longing, a sensuality and sometimes a beautiful melancholy. I could let my defenses down and drown myself in music and dancing. I come from a loving family and we discuss and argue and appreciate each other. But I think this is true because of the ingrained painful and difficult times my grandparents, my parents (my mother as well as my stepmom), our friends and myself had. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath to realize how happy I am right now with Rumpel. You know, it is easy to forget in all the worries and fears of the day. This is not the right moment to tell all the uncounted stories but we had them, from addiction to cancer to attempted suicide. To create was always a way to understand the world around me and my own feelings. After my mother attempted suicide I was empty inside but started to paint for hours, the whole night without stopping in a frenzy. I painted myself without even knowing it but I had to. There was no other way to cope with the helplessness and pain.

"Silver Rain Drops" I love to recycle/upcycle old and found materials and this pendant is made from an tea tin box

To create keeps me sane. People smile when I tell them this not realizing I mean this literally. My head is full of ideas and thoughts, sometimes it may get a little loud there. I tend to worry too easily and too much. To work with my hands, to form a story in my mind and before me, this helps me to relax. My whole attention is focused on this moment- You'll find a part of me in all my work.

"Ancient Woods" A necklace combing my favorite colours as well as my love for handmade art beads!

I experiment a lot and love to try new materials and techniques. My day job is in research and being a scientist defines a lot of myself. Actually there are so many people in research I know that are creating next to their work. They sew, solder metal sculptures, cook and paint and are the reason why I believe that scientists and artists are quite similar, driven by the same desire to grow and the same curiosity to play. The downside is that I easily get bored too. So you'll see me jump from idea to idea just to come back to the first again after a while.

"Purple Wings" Made with some of my own etched copper wings and uglibeads from Julie Wong Sontag

You'll see beads and components made by me using metal, polymer clay, ceramic clay, resin, fabric, yarn, bones, shells, wood and whatever else I may find! Oh, and there is a childlike pure joy in me to take broken and old jewelry apart and sort all the single parts just to use them again in my own creations. I still can tell you where every single "bead" I have comes from, be it cheap glass beads, found objects, artisan components or old jewelry parts. If you ever see my chaotic and gigantic stash, you'll be impressed by that! But there is something special in ever piece because it has it's own story and I'll also remember what happened in my life at that time. It will add so much more to every piece I make.

"Urban Jungle" Made with connectors made by scorched earth that I actually won from Niky Sayers here last year! :)
I also thought it would be good to show you some example pieces of my work because an image can show you what I won't ever be able to tell. It was rather difficult to select examples (and I know there are still a lot but... but... I couldn't remove more, I am sorry!). In the first one you see the pendant to my necklace "At Days End". This is my most beloved piece with a deep meaning. I started to create it when the last of my cats (all brothers) was terminal ill. I had to come to a decision and she is the result of finding the strength to let him go. It is three years ago and I can smile seeing her, but still, writing these words, I start to cry. I didn't stop missing them, all of my three little ones. They were there in my darkest times when I had no words for the world to tell. 

Mixed media collage made on Formentera with limited holiday supply and magazine cut-outs

It was made with polymer clay as well a the tiny elephants with the pink flowers. The first ones I sculpted for friend with a love for elephants and pink  (she is a grown up and tough woman by the way). She now gets a pink advent calendar every year made by me. Sometimes with elephants...

I also chose some necklaces, one in my mixed style (even some old roman glass can be found) and one made with tin from an old tea box, long earrings, that are all about dangling as well as some with my beloved etched wings, and last but not least two mixed media pieces. All of them are me. 

Mixed media pieces with all the leftover items I could find - mostly polymer clay pieces gone wrong

Since I started very personal, I will also end on this note. This bunny sculpture is actually not made by me but by Rumpel. As I already said, an image tells more than words and maybe you'll get why he is so special to me. Next to this adventure here at AJE, Rumpel and I are getting married in october!

A bunny made from polymer clay by Rumpel (my partner) as a special present for a friend of ours

On this note I will also (finally) come to an end. What to expect from me? I love tutorials and weird things! I hope you are excited as me to see how this story may go on and I am so thankful for you to have me!

All the best from Leipzig,

PS: You can find my blog at and my shop at All other details and links can you can find at the contributors page here on AJE!


  1. I'm so happy to see you here. I love your work, and your posts on your own blog are great. I'm glad to see more from you!

  2. Great post Claire, I really enjoyed it ~ looking forward to reading more from you! Beautiful work! Your etched copper wings look amazing!!!

    Laura :)

  3. I so enjoyed reading about you and your work, all so wonderful! Thank you for sharing your Etsy store's url, I spied a few pieces I love! Now to make up my mind! Ann in USA

  4. You are always willing to show parts of yourself with your work. it was so moving to hear you tell some of the reasons behind the art. I loved all the examples...I could really keep looking at your pieces for hours, so don't worry that you included too many! I hope you will find a happy new place to be and share here. I do love the bunny, what original character and humor!

  5. Congratulations to you and Rumpel. I wish you both a happy married life. I love your blog as well as your creativity and looking forward to read your complete story.

  6. Nice to meet you Claire!! I enjoyed your story and your beautiful art!!

  7. Such a wonderful and touching insight to who you are and what you are about Claire, I love your work and can't wait to see more of it! :)

  8. Wow! Reading your life was like a mirror up to my own, although I don't live in Germany, anymore, am already married and am definitely not a scientist .. but... using art to cope with many parts of life. I love your work and will look forward to knowing you better through AJE :)

  9. I thought I was the only one who could name every bead's location, history, story... So lovely to meet you! I too feel art is as part of me as breathing. I look forward to discussing, sharing, and creating together!

  10. Your talent and your candour in sharing so publicly what inspires your creativity requires saluting. Smita from London

  11. I am so late in commenting and welcoming another newbie like myself! I LOVE your mixed media pieces as much as I love your jewelry. So many textures and layers to your pieces. Looking forward to getting to know you better and seeing more of your work.


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