The Fishworks Blog

Clay in Carved Chronicles – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Posted by on Jan 14th, 2016 in Clay in Carved Chronicles, Pop Culture | 0 comments

Clay in Carved Chronicles – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

My latest venture using polymer clay takes the form of a new series called Clay in Carved Chronicles.  I’ve been thinking about how I would tackle this project for about a year now.  My first few attempts were not successful, so I had to think about the process of how to create this book. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my favorite books as a child, and I recently read it to my oldest daughter, who loved the book as well. I want a golden goose, Daddy and I want it NOW!  (although in the book, there are no golden gooses, they are actually squirrels. P.S.  Read the book. P.S.S.  If you’re interested in supporting your friendly neighborhood polymer clay artist (that’s me), this sculpture is available for sale.  Buy it...

read more

Have you been flossing? Don’t lie.

Posted by on Jan 11th, 2016 in Caricatures in Clay, Ink Slingers Pens | 0 comments

Have you been flossing?   Don’t lie.

Over the holidays, I was commissioned to create a pen for a man who knows my bicuspid molars better than anyone in Greensboro.  And the United States.  And, well…  I guess planet Earth too.  The super staff at Dr. Hyman’s office wanted to give him a personalized gift this year, one that featuring all the little inside jokes that make their office a great place to work.  I feel it’s one of my best Caricatures in Clay yet. And please… don’t forget to floss.  You can’t lie to your dentist.  He’s like the Santa Claus of dental hygiene.  He...

read more

Sparty the Spartan

Posted by on Feb 10th, 2015 in College / Sports Mascots, Geekdom, Ink Slingers Pens | 0 comments

Sparty the Spartan

I’m back in the artist chair after a pretty long hiatus from working in polymer clay.  This was my first piece back in the saddle.  The challenging part was all of Sparty’s muscles, I really wanted to make the muscles anatomically correct for muscle placement (although Sparty’s muscles are anything but normal).  I hope Sparty enjoys his new home on this young man’s desk. Some background on the Sparty costume / mascot for Michigan State: Made of hi-tech materials, including a vinyl chest plate and fiberglass molds like the ones used for making Muppets, the seven-foot costume weighs in at 40 pounds, allowing enough flexibility for playful gestures and animation. Sparty is a far cry from the many papier-mache heads that have popped up since the 1950’s, mostly from fraternity efforts. The first official one apparently debuted in 1955 courtesy of Theta Xi. By contrast, the current Sparty costume is a state-of-the-art, full-bodied uniform that costs $12,000. Today students – their identities kept private – take turns being Sparty. Because of the costume size, Sparty aspirants must be between 5-10 and 6-2 in height. Candidates who fit the physical needs are chosen after a hands-on process that includes tryouts and interviews...

read more

You’ve got to run like an antelope

Posted by on Sep 10th, 2014 in Geekdom, Ink Slingers Pens | 0 comments

You’ve got to run like an antelope

I was asked my friend EP to create a runner pen for his wife, Julie.  When finally completed, it turned out to my tallest piece to date. There were a few personal details he wanted to me to include, such as her style of running shoe, a bottle of wine (because who doesn’t love to run on a belly full of wine) and her favorite book, Harry Potter.  I started with the pen (the head) and then began sculpting her running shoes.   I think I did a pretty darn good tootin’ job of recreating her shoes.   (To see images of the work in progress, see second gallery below) I also wanted to capture the figure in a natural running stance, which would later give me a headache as I tried to figure out a way to keep him from falling over (note the wire-ring support under the right foot). It was a challenging piece to create!  Thanks EP and Julie for the chance to make you something special. Pen creation in process:...

read more

Caricatures in Clay – Carmen was a Race Car Driver

Posted by on Sep 5th, 2014 in Caricatures in Clay, Ink Slingers Pens | 0 comments

Caricatures in Clay – Carmen was a Race Car Driver

My latest (and most detailed piece to date) is a Caricature in Clay of Carmen, a fine gentleman from New Jersey.  His wife wanted to give him something really different for his 61st birthday, so we worked together to create a clay pen of him driving one of his favorite remote controlled cars. I tried a new method with this piece as well.  I always had a little difficulty with the clay shrinking slightly after it is baked, so often the pen would not fit as smoothly as it did pre-baking.  I’ve started using small pieces of copper piping inside the bases, and that seemed to do the trick. Thanks to Carmen’s wife, Virginia, for working with me on this piece!  ...

read more

Caricatures in Clay – The Fly Fishing Edition

Posted by on Jul 21st, 2014 in Caricatures in Clay, Geekdom, Ink Slingers Pens | 0 comments

Caricatures in Clay – The Fly Fishing Edition

There’s a saying that goes, “A day spent fishing doesn’t count against your allotted days….it’s a freebie….you get to live a day longer!” Sam is an avid fly fisher.  And he loves his fishing bandanas.  So much, that his fishing buddies are always asking what color he’ll be wearing each day.  This was a fun piece to make, as I had a chance to add some fun details with the three trout and fishing vest.  The bandana was challenging too, as I’m learning to focus in our how fabric folds and lays when it is worn....

read more

Can’t I live while I’m young?

Posted by on Jul 16th, 2014 in Animals, Geekdom, Ink Slingers Pens, Pop Culture | 0 comments

Can’t I live while I’m young?

I’m heading down to Charlotte in a few weeks to see one of my favorite bands Phish.  I’ve spent a lot of time recently listening to their new album and recent shows and made this while zoning out to a few sets one night. Phiiiiiiiiiiiii-sh!!! Check him out on Etsy and have him on your doorstep in a few...

read more

The World Traveler

Posted by on Jul 7th, 2014 in Caricatures in Clay, Ink Slingers Pens | 0 comments

The World Traveler

I’m getting better at creating caricatures in clay of actual people.  Well, I should say, that I’m getting better at creating MEN in clay. I still am working on my techniques with creating women.  Maybe I should just try the techniques like the kids from Weird Science. I’ve got a few creations of women coming up that will put my skills to the test.  I better start brushing up. Until then, I wanted to share a recent commission for Father’s Day.  This gentleman loves to travel the world, and I enjoyed the opportunity to create his sticker-embossed, old school suitcase and globe as props.  The glasses were a particular challenge, until my wife suggested small pieces of lamination for the lenses.  She’s one smart cookie.   Maybe she can teach me how to sculpt a woman too....

read more

It’s time for the Ort Report!

Posted by on Jun 25th, 2014 in Caricatures in Clay, Geekdom, Ink Slingers Pens | 0 comments

It’s time for the Ort Report!

Those were the days… Way back in another lifetime (circa 1998) I wound up in New England teaching environmental education at a great place called Nature’s Classroom. If you can imagine a situation where a group of 10-15 educational misfits, pulled from every corner of the globe, are hired to live in a secluded area of New England under one roof  (this kind of sounds like an episode of the Real World) and:   are entrusted to supervise 12 middle school children while exploring a 1000 acre woods… and at random moments scream “CAMOUFLAGE!” in which you expect the kids scatter like rats encouraged your field group to  walk across a frozen lake (that was tested by driving a truck across it – that makes sense, right?) have students role play as insects, snakes and eagles while they run through the woods trying to assimilate each other into their food chains re-enact the Underground Railroad while they scare the bejesus out of kids in the dark woods at night teach classes like Food Dissection, Roller Coasters, and dissect an ocean’s worth of sharks. Pass around a plastic bead, looking for kids doing IALAC-y type things.  (IALAC is an acronym for “I Am Loving And Caring”…  Yeah, I know… those damn hippies…) … you would have a good idea of what it’s like to teach at Nature’s Classroom. So….  one of my most cherished artifacts from my time at Nature’s Classroom was my 20th anniversary NC mug.  And then, one morning, while turning around too quickly, I slammed my treasured mug into the side of the cabinet and blammo… I put out a bat signal to my old Nature’s Classroom comrades.  Surely, someone would feel my pain and might have another mug stashed in their attic, basement, or tucked away at back of the cupboard. An old friend came through and sent me a new mug (never used!) to replace my broken relic.  I was very thankful to this gentleman.  So, I was inspired to create something special for him to show my thanks. I’d like share with you the Nature’s Classroom field group leader pen…  complete with yellow anniversary mug, IALAC bead and t-shirt, and keen sideways glance, used for guarding against kids doing mischievous things. Go Bananas, Go Go...

read more

Royal flush beats a straight?

Posted by on Jun 22nd, 2014 in Geekdom, Ink Slingers Pens, Pop Culture | 0 comments

Royal flush beats a straight?

I know nothing about poker. Except maybe that I lose almost every time I play.  That’s not the case for the recipient of this custom pen.  He plays poker almost every week, and usually comes home with the big pot of dough.  I hear the big pot of dough is mostly in quarters, but it still probably adds up...

read more

Featured Photos

Have you been flossing? Don’t lie.... Posted by author icon MattFisher Jan 11th, 2016 | no responses
Sparty the Spartan Posted by author icon MattFisher Feb 10th, 2015 | no responses
You’ve got to run like an antelope... Posted by author icon MattFisher Sep 10th, 2014 | no responses

The Fishworks on Instagram

  • Hey there Mona
  • Keep on truckin
  • Just catching up some old television shows tonight reruns ofhellip
  • Its Ms Saperstein
  • Whos this?
  • Almost done querkles
  • Hes coming out of the circles querkles
  • Next up at the plate querkles
  • We finished two giant crayon pixel art mosaics this weekendhellip
  • 2 am nights will have to stop 6 am arrivedhellip
  • His majesty
  • Need to finish tonight The real world kicks back inhellip