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News & Muse

A Magical Mystery Tour

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

I participated in this challenge event during Tallahassee Polymer Clay Guild's winter online retreat in February 2023. The guild sent a mystery box of supplies to retreat participants who requested it. All participants opened their boxes at the same time: 4 p.m. EST on day one of the retreat.

A table top scattered with clay and miscellaneous objects
I didn't take a photo until after I had started working. There was also a small block of beige clay in the box that I had already mixed with black. The blue glass beads were the item I left out.

Each box had the same contents and the rules were as follows:

  • Each participant had to use almost all the items in the package; you could leave out only one item (all items that were exactly the same counted as a single item, e.g. the two pearls).

  • Allowed: The addition of black, white, or translucent clay. Simple tools like blades, needle tools, ball stylus, etc. liquid clay or glue. No more than 2 shape cutters or shape templates.

  • Disallowed: Clay extruder, commercially produced textures, surface treatments other than those provided.

  • The time period allotted was from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. the following day.


A roughly oval abstract clay collage in black, silver, gold and turquoise.

My work is usually representative, but looking at these items, I couldn't come up so quickly with any subject to portray. So I went abstract--way out of my comfort zone. Here's what I ended up with for the reveal on day 2.


I was really happy with it and decided I wanted to make it a finished piece. I added another layer of clay to the back so I could embed wire to attach it to a board

Back of the piece showing embedded wires

The background for the finished piece is hand-painted mulberry paper (the lighter and darker turquoise) and colored art paper (the gray).


The finished clay piece mounted on turquoise and gray paper collage




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