Amber Cunningham not only taught herself the art of sculpture, but also how to make her own clay, which she dubs "trashclay". Amber says: "I adore sculpting and using my handmade trashclay. I save everything and cringe when I have to throw things away that I know fills up the landfills. I don’t follow a recipe exactly, but it’s mainly shredded, pulverized papers, various adhesives, plaster and water."
Amber uses various techniques to sculpt her trashclay onto substrates that include canvas, wood, metal or armatures she makes from recycled materials. After her pieces harden in her drying room, she dremels the areas she would like smoothed out before priming, painting and finishing with ArtResin.
Amber says: "I have this fondness for the unruliness and challenge of my textural paper based clay. I am an extremely tactile person. I’m affectionate with the people I care about and the material I work with. I love using my hands and feeling the clay change form. Sometimes I even close my eyes as I sculpt allowing my touch to guide over my vision."
Amber first used ArtResin about six or seven years ago after finding it on social media and felt it took her art to another level. She has been experimenting with layers and additives in the resin but still feels she has yet to truly explore possibilities. Amber says: "I'm starting to see it as an essential step to my sculptural reliefs and will be including and offering it more often for all pieces. I love the clarity and richness that it brings!"
Though Amber juggled creating her art around multiple jobs for many years, her art is now a full-time priority. Like most artists, creating is as necessary for her as breathing: "When I’m not in a flow state of creating or I’ve had a long hiatus (ahem, the past couple of years were stifled a bit) I feel unhealthy. My lungs and heart and brain just don’t seem to function properly."
The response she hopes to evoke in the viewer often depends on the piece: with her @rarebirdart work she hopes to inspire thought and wonder, whereas the commissioned and holiday work she creates through @scatterbirdie has more of a joyful, lighthearted purpose. Amber says: "I want people to laugh and release the heavy."
Amber says: "I recently used ArtResin for a 'Creature from the Black Lagoon' commissioned piece and it was perfect for bringing out more depth in his colors and making him look like he had just emerged from the depths! My customers loved it too."
Before Covid, Amber had two booths in Fredericksburg, TX that were open once a month but these days, most of her work sells online through her social media pages and her Etsy shop. She says: "I tend to have a challenge keeping a surplus of inventory since I make everything completely from scratch. I don’t currently use molds, templates, or make prints of my work." Still, Amber is a huge fan of selling face to face and is keeping her eyes and ears open for possible art shows and retail space in her area and as travel becomes more accessible.
To see more of Amber's work ...
Follow her on Instagram: @rarebirdart
Like her on Facebook: @RareBirdArt
Visit her on Etsy: RareBirdArt
Congratulations on your win, Amber!
To celebrate all of our amazing resin artists, every month we will be sending out a 32 oz kit to a couple of folks who have tagged us on Instagram—and we'll share their work with the world!
Don't forget, tag YOUR ArtResin work with @art_resin on Instagram, and YOU could be our next winner!!
ArtResin: Made For Artists, By Artists.