Rafaela Wickstrum is a clay artist who loves to create something from nothing. Her hands project her feelings into the clay as she works it.
Her work is figurative, sometimes fantastical, sometimes medieval, sometimes more contemporary figures. She isn’t afraid of texture and using other elements to accent the clay, as you can see in the photos.
She doesn’t know precisely what she will create when she begins. She just knows she will be creating something.
“Most days I don’t know whether to pick up the paint brush or the clay as my compulsion to create is overwhelming. I have never given thought of not being to create something.”
The eyes of her figures appear to her first. It is through those eyes that she sees into the soul of her subject, and it appears as she deftly models the clay. She uses every type of clay to create her pieces, which range from just 5 inches tall to life-sized
She is used to hard work: she has been self-employed her entire adult life. She used to work in the printing industry and a folk art gallery. Being a working artist isn’t that big a stretch from these careers.
This self-taught clay artist has won state awards and been recognized by Early American Life magazine and her work has been published in doll reader magazines. She has also been commissioned to develop product lines for other companies.
Rafaela gets endless inspiration from her three wonderful children and her old rescue cat, Tyrone. She also teaches others to express themselves through clay, including volunteering to teach art to men in recovery at the Rockford Rescue Mission.
You can learn more about Rafaela, her artwork, and her classes on her Facebook page: Art Lessons in Sculpture
All images are courtesy of Rafaela Wickstrum.