Monday, July 21, 2014

Laura Burlis Turns Polymer Clay into Intricate and Whimsical “Paintings”

By Sharon Parker

Laura Burlis fashions polymer clay into detailed compositions that look like paintings, sometimes on a small scale with a practical purpose—on light switch plates.

“I love the fact that the switch plates are a ready-made blank canvas and that one must walk right up to the switch plate to turn the light on and off, giving one the opportunity to see this miniature work of art each time—so the art as well as the light is brightening one's day,” she says.

She also makes collages or mosaics from found objects with polymer clay tiles. “I love the layers of meaning and history that build with the juxtaposition of objects,” she says.

Laura is returning for her fifth LoLa art crawl, showing this year in the Minnehaha Professional Building, 3960 Minnehaha Ave. S., along with Jymme Golden and yours truly.

What inspires/informs your art?
A lifetime of observing nature informs my art, then add the quirky paths my brain pathways make ... whoa—didn't see where that was going!

What do you like about LoLa? Why did you join?
I love the grass-roots nature of the organization, the warm and generous spirit of the founders, and finding out about cool art being made in the houses, garages and gardens of my neighborhood.

What neighborhood within greater Longfellow do you live in?
Standish-Ericsson, or as I like to call it, the neighborhood no one's heard of. I included the name on a utility box I painted at 38th Street and 23rd Avenue South—a mural scene of Lake Hiawatha Park with Mermaids—to try to raise our name profile.

Are you doing anything special for the art crawl?
I'll be doing off and on demos of how to make millefiori canes with polymer clay—how to put different colors of clay together in a log to make an amazing design when you cut a slice from it.

I'm excited because last year was brutally hot and this space (the Minnehaha Professional Building) is AIR-CONDITIONED! Which will probably ensure that it's nice cool weather outside this year.

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