Artist: Hazel Ward
Business name: Continuum Designs Beads
Location: Notts, UK
Websites & Blog:
Continuum Designs blog
How do you describe your work, Hazel?
Bold, subtle, rustic, geometric- I like to dabble in a lot of styles! If I had to pin down a common theme, I'd have to say that plant-life re-occurs a lot in my work, mainly because I love the curves and shapes that you find in amongst flora.
My business name stemmed from the fact that in my studies, I always chose to write on cultural continuums of some kind, and I thought, hey, why not carry on the tradition and name my business in the same vein?
What is your creative process like?
My creative process starts out in an organized way, but somewhere between designing and making, organization falls by the wayside. I start out with a sketch or a general idea of theme or colour, get out
my materials, and then let the clay decide how it wants to turn out. In general I like to experiment with all sorts of shapes and lines, play around with how they interconnect, and see how colour choice makes a difference. Then once I've found an interesting design, I try to explore it as extensively as possible, usually while nodding along to classic punk and indie!
What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I've never had formal training in an art or craft area, but I received so much freely-given advice from the polymer clay community when I started, and information from books and magazines that I never really
felt out of my depth. I came to crafts quite suddenly, after completing post-graduate work in Media and Culture and realizing I could either teach the same subject I'd studied, or do something completely different - and after a family friend gave me a jewellery making kit, I was started on the path that usually leads to
Is there a tool or material that you can't imagine living without?
Like so many polymer clayers, I find my pasta machine indispensable, especially now I’ve attached a motor to it - it makes conditioning clay and creating colour blends so easy and quick. But I also have a collection of random pointy things like tiny screwdrivers and empty pen nibs that I use for nearly everything - texturing, piercing, carving, detail work.
What inspires you to create?
Something about the potential in a few slabs of polymer clay make me want to experiment with what I can achieve. Because there are so many potential techniques and methods - not to mention design choices and
colour schemes - inside a medium that looks so simple, there's always something to prompt you to keep on going.
What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
Stubbornness. I'll walk away from the clay for a while, but I can't resist returning after an hour or two and trying to negotiate with the clay again until it works with me, not against me!
What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
In polymer clay, my tip would be clean everything as you go along - it's amazing how polymer clay attracts the slightest bit of scrap clay or debris, and that can ruin a really great piece! As for a tip in general, I would say just Keep Going - don't ever let your inner voice talk you out of anything before you've even begun.
What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
Sleeping and eating and hanging out with the cat. I am a complete book and media addict though, so when I'm not making beads (and sometimes when I am!) I'm watching geeky TV shows, or reading any book I can find. I'm also learning lampworking, which is the process of making glass beads, so I practice that skill when I get the time.
What's your favorite comfort food?
Cake and chocolate biscuits (of the vegan variety). Sometimes together!
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