Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My inspiration? Creative process? Challenges? Ambitions?

August Featured Artist Lynn Cobb

Welcome to Metal Clay Heads Team Blog Feature and Giveaway! This time we have well-known and talented metal clay artist Lynn Cobb talking about her inspirations, her creative process, her challenges and ambitions on metal clay art. 

My  challenge, overwhelming at times,  is to remain fresh and creative. I feel best about my work when it feels really authentic to me. Something that has welled up from within my psyche.

A question that artists often consider, "Is this original?" raises so many others. Most of us probably agree that since women started painting the walls of the caves at Lascaux over 17,000 years ago (yes, recently, archeologists have determined that the hands pressed on the walls were female) that there have been millions of men and women artists who may have designed just about anything and everything the human mind can imagine. And, so, by calling a piece of art an original design, an artist may be saying that the piece is their own interpretation of a style or representation that most probably has been interpreted by many others over the millennia.

Silver flower statement ring with gold accent by Lynn Cobb

My flower necklaces and rings are a good example of this. They are certainly not the first flowers created in metal and worn to adorn the body. And, yet for me, they felt very authentic in that they were a culmination of my use of simple leaves as design elements, my admiration of Georgia O'Keeffe and Judy Chicago as strong women artists and my own feminist sensibility.

Those flowers came together after I had accumulated a dozen or so leaves using metal clay paste. Just playing with them, unfired, I realized that I could make them into flowers. Oh, that all designing could be so organic!  Frequently, I find myself with an idea, and having a pen and paper at hand, I will often either just make a note or a very rough sketch so that I remember. At the bench, later, I may begin to build on that idea.

Taking an idea  into a solid piece of jewelry leads me to think about how to execute it. This inevitably brings me to the work of others, and how I want to emulate the skills that I admire in others' work.
  • I see the production work of very successful metal clay artists and business women and men, and I admire their ability to see their creations as a job, a way to make a good living working with their hands and to be able to make more creative pieces during "off time."
  • I see the work of others who make exquisite classic designs, fine jewelry, by anyone's standards. I admire their perfection in fabrication and stone setting.
  • I see the work of still others, driven by culture, and other iconic symbols, to develop complex pieces from their own drawings, but that bring together those deep psychic connections that many find relevant.

These are just a few of the skills that I want to bring to my work, in equal parts:  Marketability, Perfection, Meaningfulness. And, add these:  beautiful, unusual, cost-effective, humorous, personal, prolific, dynamic...and a hundred other adjectives that I would like to apply to my work.  Such a mountain I have placed in front of myself!

Tribal shield silver necklace with purple and yellow enamel by Lynn Cobb

All of this brings me to today. STUCK! I am still jotting down ideas and sketches, but being drawn to the bench to execute those ideas is currently alluding me. I hope to pull all of this together, make an exciting piece, enter it in Saul Bell, or send it off for publication, but not sure of when, what, or how that inspiration will return.

I do enjoy using natural elements, leaves, shells, plants...molding them, sometimes adding stones, gold or enamel. These are not pieces that I consider particularly creative, but, they can be pretty, and others do seem to like them. And, I use abstract textures from my own polymer carvings to mold the clay. The immediacy of metal clay makes these kinds of pieces fairly easy to make and they aren't too costly.

One of the best things about metal clay is its universally accessible process. Although I love the silver the most, and it is expensive, it requires few tools to get started, keeping it available for many to try. It drew me in, and, like many, I didn't have a ton of money to invest in major equipment in order to begin. I was able to add tools, a kiln, more tools, oh, and more tools, and some more, over the years and I believe many of us who love metal clay have found this to be one of its greatest equalizers...we are able to make beautiful metal jewelry, sometimes from the very first day.

Tree of life pendant by Lynn Cobb

Which, brings me to my giveaway piece. This is a simple pendant, and, it is a copy of  the very first piece that I ever made! (It is a little thicker...that first one was not very evenly rolled. And, the patina is more interesting, took awhile to learn that variations in temperature and additions of salt and ammonia could ramp up the colors.)  The design is my own, a carving that I made in polymer clay and have executed in polymer both with texture and using mica shift, and in silver.  While trying to figure out a tag to use on etsy, I came up with "tree of life" which seems to fit it, although, this one is more wintery, having lost its leaves. And, it has a bit of feminine symbology as well. Over the years, it has been one of my most popular designs. I hope you like it.

So here are the rules to enter the MCHs blog giveaway:

Every person is eligible to enter the blog giveaway with up to FOUR (4) entries. How can you get an entry? You can do any of the following and then let us know that by leaving a comment here so we can keep track.

  1. Follow our blog = 1 entry
  2. Check out featured artist and post favorite piece on the blog = 1 entry
  3. Heart featured artist’s shop = 1 entry
  4. Follow featured artist on Facebook = 1 entry
  5. Make a purchase = 2 entries
  6. Refer a friend = 1 entry
  7. Tweet about the giveaway using key word metalclayheads = 1 entry
  8. Share the Metal Clay Heads blog giveaway link on FB (Go to and click Share) = 1 entry
  9. If you voted and commented on our last challenge = 1 entry

The giveaway will run for two weeks. We will announce the winner on August 28th. Good luck!


  1. Awesome! Lynn you inspire me everytime I touch clay!
    I shared on my business page and personal page. I hope some new admirers see your creativity and inspiration!
    These are my favorite things that Lynn creates.

  2. Fabulous Lynn! You are very inspiring! Shared on our page and my own page. Already a fan on FB and Etsy!

  3. Tweeted pinned and shared ( twice)... hope we get some traffic

  4. Love the colors and details