Laurie Mika is an artist best known for her mixed-media mosaics made from polymer clay incorporating words, stamping, gold leaf and much, much more. She teaches at workshops and retreats around the world, including Art is You…Petaluma, Artfest, and Stamping Details. Her work has been published in many magazines including Somerset Studio and other Stampington magazines; Laurie is also the author of Mixed Media Mosaics published by North Light Books.
Q: What are you working on right now?
A: A fairly large piece inspired by a trip to Australia and the aboriginal art I saw (and loved!).
Q: Why do you make art?
A: It feels good to make tangible/visible the ideas in my head and heart.
Q: What’s your current favorite, can’t-live-without-it tool?
A: My huge 15 drawer architectural flat file that my husband bought for my birthday while I was in Israel (for only $300.00)!
Q: What is your least favorite technique that you still use anyway?
A: Conditioning polymer clay and rolling it out by hand instead of using a pasta machine, which doesn’t really work for me.
Q: What’s your favorite tool or material?
A: Right now it is gold leaf on clay because of the sumptuous surface effects that can be achieved.
Q: What is on your workspace right now?
A: I have clay bits and pieces that are the beginning of my aboriginal inspired art piece with an Indian inspired clay quilt in the center of it; an odd blend of ethnic influences which I love creating. I am also surrounded by a sea of doo-dads!
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
A: The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I love all of his books because of their quirky sociological implications.
Q: What’s the most inspiring trip you’ve ever taken or adventure you’ve ever had?
A: That would have to be my family’s safari to East Africa nearly 20 years ago. It was the trip of a lifetime; an amazing and magical experience for each of us including our four kids who were 4-8 years old at the time.
Q: What’s the last thing you cooked?
A: This morning I made a green chili and cheese baked egg dish thingy for my mom for mother’s day brunch!
Q: If you could surround yourself with only one color, what would it be?
A: It used to be periwinkle but I would have to say it is gold now!
Q: Do you have a talisman/power garment/magical thing you wear?
A: I have a charm bracelet with all kinds of meaningful personal symbols that I have added to it, some that I made out of art clay silver.
Q: What’s your favorite place in all the world?
A: Venice, as cliché and touristy as that sounds, it is still my favorite place.
Q: What one thing do you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
A: Create a product line of art stuff I would like to see on the market like a polymer clay slab roller and a line of rubber stamps.
Q: What’s the best day you’ve ever had?
A: Back to the trip to Africa—waking up at dawn and going in a hot air balloon ride with my husband and kids over the Masi Mara, watching the sunrise and quietly floating just above the tree tops where you could look into birds nests and see herds of animals on the ground. This was followed by a delicious breakfast in the middle of nowhere which was set up by our wonderful guides.
Q: What’s today’s Word to Live By?
A: Mindfulness—really trying to pay attention
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: American Idol!!!
Q: What do you listen to when you create?
A: Pandora on my computer with my favorite stations currently being Fleet Foxes, Radiohead and Kings of Leon.
Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: To see into the future… I want to know how things turn out!
Q: With whom would you love to spend one day making art?
A: I would love to spend a day with Michelle Ward whom I have only met once. She has been an inspiration from early on. (Or Marc Chagall if he were still alive!)
Q: When is your favorite time of day?
A: Mid-morning when I get into my studio and have the whole day ahead of me.
Q: What is your earliest memory?
A: I have really strong memories of flying around the house at night when my family was asleep and dusting off the light fixtures and then checking to see if everyone was safe and sound in their beds. I think I was only 4 or 5 years old.
Q: What’s your one favorite material thing?
A: My iPad—I love it and it goes with me everywhere!
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for artists?
A: Allow for time to just play, without a goal, because that is when creativity is most likely to flow. I love that fleeting second when an idea first germinates.
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