Think Tasmania has been working with maker Donna Griggs to sell her Seaside Expressions Jewellery online. When we posted a photo of her work to our Facebook page, positive feedback was quickly forthcoming, with many people keen to know more. Donna’s artistic journey is certainly an interesting tale, and we’d like to share that with you now.

Seaside Expressions - Polymer Clay
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Jewellery: Seaside Expressions

Seaside Expressions by Donna Griggs

Seaside Expressions was represented at an art exhibition at Nubeena on the Tasman Peninsula recently. There, Donna won an award for her jewellery and regards the achievement as a high point of her career. Such accolades are just reward for a lifetime dedicated to creative pursuits.

Seaside Expressions - Jewellery
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Seaside Expressions Jewellery by Donna Griggs

Born in Tasmania, Donna grew up in a small town in the south of the state. Not wanting to seem clichéd, she admits hesitantly that her grandmother taught her to knit and sew at a young age. Making has always been an important part of her life, as well as “making do”.

Knitting and Sewing: Skills for Life

Over time, craft was to become more than just a hobby. The fruit industry collapsed in the Huon Valley, bringing financial hardship to many families. In that environment, Donna raised four children and was able to make clothes for them herself. Knitting and sewing also provided a useful additional income for the family.

As more time passed, with children grown and some unwelcome health issues added to the mix, Donna needed a new focus. As an avid reader she discovered books on polymer clay at the local library. Then she started to play… eventually Seaside Expressions Jewellery was born.

Discovery by Donna Griggs:Polymer Clay

Donna attended an adult education class in jewellery-making; followed by a Visual Arts Jewellery course at TAFE,  a “huge learning curve”. Everything kept leading back to the question of how to succeed with polymer clay.

Seaside Expressions - Donna Griggs
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Donna Griggs: Seaside Expressions

There had been no time to experiment with polymer clay while studying. It was only once qualified that Donna could make inroads with Seaside Expressions Jewellery. There are no tutors in this medium in Tasmania and only now some international tutors are coming to Australia; so all Donna’s knowledge comes from books, Internet e-courses and befriending international artists. She is now gaining recognition amongst her peers although she readily admits she’s still playing and still learning in this relatively new medium.

Seaside Expressions - Tasmanian Jewellery
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Tasmanian jewellery: Seaside Expressions polymer clay

Polymer clay has only been recognised as an art medium for about 30 years. It is a plastic clay which can be manipulated in all sorts of ways. It can be used to sculpt and make Millefirio canes. Millefirio (which means a thousand flowers) is a specialty of Seaside Expressions Jewellery. Polymer clay artists use a range of textures and according to Donna, there is very little that can’t be done with this “great medium”.

Seaside Expressions - Handmad in Tasmania
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Handmade and inspired by Tasmania

Donna seeks to generate more recognition in her home state as an artist. At the same time, she’d like to see polymer clay recognized as as an art medium more widely in Australia, as it is overseas. Many locals have never heard of polymer clay, and that’s a situation Donna would like to see changed.

Seaside Expressions Jewellery: Colours of Tasmania

Almost all the colours used in Seaside Expressions Jewellery are mixed by Donna herself. Both small collections and one-off pieces are made in beautiful Tasmanian surrounds that inspire this artist’s creativity.

Seaside Expressions - Jewellery in Tasmania
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Beautiful jewellery, handmade in Tasmania

Seaside Expressions Jewellery is sold at various artisan-based markets and a select number of annual Tasmanian markets and fairs. Donna also accepts consignment and commission work and sells directly from her home when necessary.

Seaside Expressions - Inspired by Tasmania
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Jewellery: by artist Donna Griggs

While most of her now-adult children have spread their wings and left Tasmania, Donna Griggs is blessed to have two beautiful granddaughters close by. She sees them often and is proud to encourage their own artistic and creative leanings. And one day, those girls will also be able to credit their grandmother with a lifelong passion for making.

Giveaway Alert: for fans of Seaside Expressions Jewellery and readers of Think Tasmania… WIN A prize necklace. Exciting!!

For more information, email Donna Griggs. You can also follow Seaside Expressions Jewellery on Facebook, and of course… check out the beautiful polymer clay treasures for sale online via Think Tasmania! Images by Ceri Brose of CezB Photography.

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