Where Japanese and Ukrainian culture merge
How did it all begin?
Everything was started by my daughter :) To be more precise, it all started from the Ukrainian traditional costume for her. Ukrainian girls were supposed to wear a floral wreath decorated with ribbons, fresh and artificial flowers. As the range of flowers wreathes in the shops were not particularly suitable for this occasion, I decided to make some myself. A friend of mine, professional clay designer, introduced me to Japanese clay. I found that the clay allowed me to create life-like flowers which was a fantastic solution to what I was trying to achieve.
Are you an artist or painter by profession?
No, I am a journalist. I was never trained in painting or clay crafting. During my youth, when kids were given a choice of sport, music, art or dance, I chose ballet. As a result of my childhood selection, I started my craft skills from a beginner level, at 35!
How did you find your first DecoClay instructor?
That time we were living in Moscow. I went online and used a search engine to find information on Japanese clay and where to buy it. As a result, I ended up with number of links to various websites of ClayCraft schools. If I remember correctly, I placed an order for a ClayCraft starter kit on the very first link I opened. My next move was to search for a YouTube video on how to work with clay but, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I did not find anything helpful. However, my journalistic mind encouraged me to research Deco Clay schools in great depth and I discovered that majority of the class instructors were trained by one professional – Ms Olga Petrova. Olga is an absolutely fabulous craftswoman who brought ClayCraft over from America. Conveniently, Olga was teaching in the next street along from me and I decided to give it a try. I first tried a trial lesson, then sampled a full course. Nothing stopped me after that!
Could you please tell us a little bit about the origins of this unique clay?
Polymer clay was created by Japanese chemists especially for the founder of the Academy, Kazuko Miyai. ClayCraft by DECO is an innovative, air-dried modelling clay that is light, pliable, easy to work with and versatile. The texture of this clay is really similar to the texture of zephyr. It does not make a mess and does not stick to the hands. It is the ideal material for the simplest to the most imaginative project. With an endless array of colour mixing possibilities, it’s perfect for detailed work. Finished creations are not only beautiful they are lightweight, soft to the touch and exceptionally durable for a lifetime of enjoyment.
Does that mean that there is no need to bake it?
That’s the beauty of it. Finished pieces just need to air-dry for 24 hours. After that your creation is ready to be used or displayed.
How much time does it take for a student to be able to create/make finished pieces?
Honestly, most of the students can achieve this in their very first lesson. My favourite class is the introductory ClayCraft lesson. Usually, first the first thing that I hear from students is “I am not very creative, and I am not sure I will be able to complete the piece”. Fast-forward two hours and my student is holding a finished piece saying: ‘I cannot believe I have created this beautiful thing!’.