Along my creative way I was fortune enough to get introduced to Donna Kato, who is in a nutshell ” THE Queen of Polymer Clay”.
Donna and her husband Vernell run CraftEdu an online craft and art faculty and I’m so thrilled that I’m part of this amazing and professional group of artists and the outstanding platform.
During Winter CHA 2011 I was finally able to meet Donna in person and she is for sure a sweet and inspiring personality. I enjoyed the time with her lots and it was so fascinating to hear her experiences in the crafty world. She has been visiting CHA for 16 years and it was more than interesting to hear about the changes etc. Donna is an extremley supportive artist and I cherish her more than she probably knows :)
Donna has worked with just about every clay company, Cernit, Polyform, Fimo and, working with Van Aken International, has had her own brand of clay for almost 10 years, Kato Polyclay.
She wrote 3 books all beginning with “The Art of Polymer Clay”, shot videos and dvds, was a regular guest and became a galpal of the lovely Ms. Carol Duvall, went on some other shows and taught all over the world.
Donna and husband Vernon live in the Rocky Mountains outside of Colorado Springs, CO with their 6 horses , 2 dogs and the sweetest black cat on the planet.
Here are the five questions :)
1.What do you do to get into your creative zone?
If I’m in a real creative slump, I look at books I like and ideas start popping! I’m a visual thinker so my inspirations are generated by things I see. It could be color, pattern, ancient artworks. At other times, my creativity is spurred on by challenges – like movement. The Spinner Rings started because I wanted my pieces to move so then it was solving the problems associated with that challenge.
What I don’t do is worry about it. I know I haven’t reached the end of my creative output so no need to worry. If I’m wrong about that, I still don’t worry because my creativity isn’t exclusive to polymer clay! We’ve built our business, CraftEdu and it may seem to be as far from a creative endeavor as it can be but, it isn’t. Designing the website, designing the content management. Some of the challenges and decisions we’ve met and made have required the ultimate use of my creativity! So, creativity extends to many parts of our lives. If I never did polymer clay again, I would use my creativity in some other way.
2. Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages into your work?
My husband, Vernon owned the first alternative process photography gallery in Chicago, Gallery 954. Vernon says, art is about the message or about the medium. My work is definitely all about the medium, what it will do, what it is so you don’t see much in my work other than polymer clay and it is my message.
I’m a salt person – in other words, if I have my choice between a big bowl of chips or a big bowl of M & M’s, I’d head to the chips. My work is more to the sweet, though, I think of marzipan!
Hmmm, this week it would be my Springtime Heart. This changes week to week, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute! Today, I love this heart. Maybe I’m just wishing spring were here and that’s why it’s so appealing. I see my work through the lens of what I’m feeling at the time so I don’t have any full on favorite piece. I definitely have pieces that I don’t like and those end up in the trash. For me, I just don’t think that way and I think that’s one of the reasons I just keep moving along. We can get caught up into how much we love one piece and then, everything after is affected by that feeling. I make and I move on.
5. What is your biggest creative success so far and why?
I’ve been really lucky in my career. I started at a time when it was much simpler to connect with manufacturers and get books published – it was less crowded than it is today. My biggest creative success has to be my career in its entirety. Let me say, luck has played a huge part in this, much of what happened to me was not part of any plan, but the result of being in the right place at the right time.
Being able to travel abroad and teach. Writing books, having Kato Polyclay and now, CraftEdu. The things I appreciate and enjoy the most are meeting new people, helping people along their creative journey and now, helping other artists spread the joy and passion they feel in their own media to others. That would be the biggest creative success, I think, because it’s a growing thing with the capability of touching and connecting so many people. At heart, I am just an old hippie chick – it’s about the “we” not the “me”. It’s about working with good, talented people and walking together to the same goal. It’s about making the world a better place and being a content human being. That, to me, is begin successful, obtaining success through creative pursuit is icing on the cake.
Thank you Donna !