Jill’s own labour of love

Jill Curran with her piece on the church in Earls Barton
Jill Curran with her piece on the church in Earls Barton

If you think of art and clay combined, your mind might be lead to the scene from the film Ghost, but a Daventry woman is turning the traditional artform on its head.

Jill Curran is the only house and building polymer clay artist currently working in the UK.

A teacher at Braunston Primary School, Jill creates houses and memorable buildings using the material.

Jill said: “Throughout my life, I have dabbled, and created and am never happier when trying out crafty ideas. Two years ago in a craft shop I picked up a small packet of polymer clay and wondered what I could do with it.

“My enquiries led to me being shown a selection of beautiful beads which had been made in the shop. I bought three packets of this strange plastic clay. I was hooked.”

After making her first pieces of art, she was encouraged by her family including husband Graham, daughters Anna and Jenny and son-in-laws Mat and Mark, to expand upon her hobby.

Jill added: “A huge turning point was when a beauty salon in Daventry was holding a launch night for new treatment rooms. My daughter, a client at The Beauty Spot, suggested that I might like to create an image of the building as a gift to celebrate this event. The salon owner was overwhelmed and compliments were flying that evening.

“From having praise from family and friends, all of a sudden, members of the public, people who did not know me, were involved.

“One very nervous day, I went to a craft fair. I took showcase examples of my work and an empty order book. I was over the moon and totally amazed to receive three commissions that day, and within a couple of weeks, three very delighted customers. It takes me a few hours on and off to finish a building. It it something I would rather do than sitting in front of the television.”

She starts work from a photograph and scale is then worked out. From there she uses a pasta machine and experimenting with different colours to find the right one for the building. She then enhances the scene with flowers to bring the piece to life.

When it is finished and the customer is happy, she fires it in a low oven for half an hour before giving it to the client.

Jill said: “The support and encouragement of my family has been enormous, their patience, positive comments and never-ending loyalty has inspired me along my exciting journey so far.

“I do not promise photographic likeness. I offer a totally unique, personalised and totally ‘One Of A Kind’ interpretation of each commission.”

To find out more, visit jillcurrancreations.weebly.com