Saturday, September 17, 2011

Go figure: these clay animals are delightful

When you are at farmers markets be sure to watch for -- and buy from -- young entrepreneurs. They might be selling homemade cookies or homegrown vegetables. Some will be budding artists. All of them will be eager to talk about their products.

Eleven-year-old Emma Phipps is a particularly talented artist, who has created a collection of clay figurines that will delight anyone.

You can buy individual sculptures, which are about 2 to 3 inches high, but they are available in several groupings. Emma's wildlife set includes a moose, deer, elk, antelope, bear, and, upon request, buffalo. Her country set comprises a pig, cow, horse, and cowboy. And many varieties of cats of course form their own independent group.

Although you won't see them displayed at farmers markets, Emma also creates oil and acrylic paintings and especially enjoys using watercolors: "I love watercolor because it blends so easily, and you can do lovely skies."

For a 4-H project, she recently made a large (5-inch) Chinese dragon. Her general entrepreneurial endeavors can also be applied toward 4-H experience.

Emma has been forming these adorable figures since she was old enough, at age four, to play with the clay she makes them with. She learned the technique from her mother, Lynn, whose own style, which she calls the Funny Farm, is more whimsical. Says Lynn: "Emma definitely has her own style."

Homeschooled on a ranch 19 miles north of Reed Point, Emma sells at farmers markets throughout the area: Absarokee, Big Timber, Columbus, Red Lodge, and sometimes Billings. You can also find her at the Reed Point Sheep Drive over Labor Day weekend, where she sells sheep figures in keeping with the general theme of the event.

In addition, Emma does special orders for the same price as her ready-made figures.

To find Montana farmers markets, visit Yummy Montana.

PS --It's Saturday, September 24, and I have a couple of new photos of things Emma made.

First was a special order of unicorns (not for me, unfortunately!). Aren't they neat?

Then, a special order for me: figures of my cats. First, the real ones.

Now, the clay ones. Can you tell them apart from the real ones? :) They are made to be grouped together like this, but they can also stand as separate figures. I love them! Thanks, Emma!

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