CFCF 2010 Conference Instructors: Grant Diffendaffer

24 08 2009
Grant Diffendaffer

Grant Diffendaffer

Grant is a perfectionist when it comes to making his beads. From his website, he tells more of his process in creating. “I make art for the thrill of discovery and for clarity of mind it brings me. Sitting in front of my clay I feel centered as I do nowhere else.  I feel tapped into all of creation, as if I am simply fulfilling my natural role as a conduit for creativity.  As beautiful things flow from my hands, I know that they are coming not just from me, but straight out of the creative energy of the universe.

“I am fascinated with the how natural things come into being.  I am inspired by the fragile beauty of diatoms and the prolific repetition of seedpods, how water beads, and bubbles form and gather.  I am interested in our roots as living species and the basic building blocks that all of nature is built upon.

“Making beads is a way for me to engage these natural forces.  Creating symmetry immediately evokes living things.  Simple variations in technique are irresistible, and each minor shift reveals new forms, patterns, and colors.  I explore systematically, quickly becoming bored if I repeat something.  The result is that each of my pieces is a one of a kind artifact of a dynamic engagement with creativity.  I hope that the sense of immediacy and discovery that I feel while making this jewelry is carried to all who encounter it.”

Diffendaffer - Recursive Bead
Diffendaffer – Recursive Bead

It’s the bead that built itself. This simple technique, when repeated in layers and with small variations quickly results in a multiplicity of complicated and beautiful textured shapes. Students can turn these forms into beads as you go, as models for molding silver clay, polymer, or other materials, or just use them as tools as you play with the endless variety of forms that flow forth.

You will begin by creating and transforming texture sheets using polymer clay, and carving and sculpture tools. You will learn how to make smoothly domed forms in any shape. Then, using Grant’s latest techniques, students will transform the textures created into dramatic and deeply textured three dimensional form. Starting small and progressing towards larger shapes, will learn how to use the shapes created to modify each other and evolve them using sculpture techniques.

This technique is a great low pressure way to just play with clay and get creativity levels flowing. Class will begin by making tools using scrap clay, so you won’t have to be concerned about whether you are in the process of creating a special piece of art. This workshop will teach you to move quickly and get into the flow of the process.

After getting warmed up, color will be added and you will begin transforming your work into beautiful beads (which are great for pins too!).  This workshop is a combination die forming, mold making, sculptural techniques and alchemy and Grant believes it’s the most fun you will ever have.

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