Monday, February 4, 2013

Polymer Clay Artist: MARLENE CUPO of Amazing Designs


Real Name? Marlene Cupo

Location? Longwood, FL (just north of Orlando)

Marital Status or Relationship? Married, 44 years & counting!

Children? We have 5 grown children (3 boys and 2 girls) who have given my husband and me, 9 beautiful grandchildren (4 boys, and 5 girls). If you count both, it’s a tie. Wonder by whom and when the tie might be broken?

Pets? Two dogs, Princess (named by our oldest grandson), a cocker spaniel, who believes she has as much right as anybody to be on the sofa, and Pepper (rescue dog), a black labradoodle, who has become my husband’s shadow.

Other hobbies or interests? Is there anything other than Beads? Yes, well I do have an orchid garden of about 40 plants, that deserve more attention than what I give them, but they just keep presenting me with gorgeous blooms. I also enjoy photography, but am definitely in the amateur category. Then, of course, there is that closet full of half finished needle crafts which might get done if I beat Methuselah’s record.


SHELLEY: What do you do with beads? (Weaving, stringing, lampworking, polymer, etc.)

MARLENE: I work primarily with polymer clay. It is an amazing medium that can mimic so many other stones, looks or techniques. When I am creating a piece of jewelry, I often use gemstones, crystals, metal components and art beads from the many talented artists out there, to enhance the design.



SHELLEY: How would you describe your role in the beading world?

MARLENE: I create. I love simplicity in design and my pieces usually fall in the category of “every-day wear” but have enjoyed making more challenging pieces for the many Blog Hops I have entered. I have recently started teaching classes, and love sharing what I have learned with others just starting out with polymer clay.

SHELLEY: How long have you been working with beads?

MARLENE: Polymer Clay, just a few years, although I have had the “creative gene” all my life, for which I credit to my beloved mother. Do you remember crepe paper? She could make anything with it, and more than one bridal or baby shower had her work as a centerpiece. When I was a young teenager, I found a long defunct jewelry company that sold pre-made components and “jewels” you could glue into them. That aforementioned lady would smile and say Thank You, when presented with one, but have since come to realize she was just doing what a mother does.

SHELLEY: What is your style? And what attracts you to this style?

MARLENE: I don’t think I have any particular style. Just when I think I have settled into one, something new catches my eye, and again, thanks to the versatility of polymer clay, I am off trying it. Some of the latest things I have made incorporate symmetry, and then asymmetry, metal work, wire wrapping, and the use of fibers and silks, along with my beads.

SHELLEY: What are your favorite metals to use?

MARLENE: Right now I am in love with copper. The shades and hues of it complement so many different colors. For wire wrapping I like to use silver, as it is so malleable. I suppose gold would be too, but since I don’t own a mine at this time ….

SHELLEY: What is your favorite stringing medium to use?
MARLENE: Soft Flex Beading Wire, 49 strand, which is so flexible and drapes so softly in necklaces. It is also nylon coated, so there is no worry of it damaging any of the beads.

 SHELLEY: What is your favorite color palette?

MARLENE: I find myself drawn to the colors of the ocean and forests (blue and green). Autumn also has an amazing and endless array of possibilities. 

SHELLEY: Your technique(s)?

MARLENE: Smooshing clay (that is an actual word). Once it has come out of the pasta machine, as a Skinner Blend, a mica infused sheet, or shapes that are placed one on top of each other, the things that can be done with it are endless, whether a lentil bead, a stamped and antiqued pendant, applied alcohol inks or patina, a Mokume Gane sheet, a millifiori cane or hand shaped flowers, to name just a few.
SHELLEY: What else would you like to try your hand at?

MARLENE: Well, I have no desire to learn anything that would cause my home to burn down, such as lampwork. I can tend to be clumsy. Seed Bead work fascinates me, but I know I don’t have the patience for it. Sculpture is something I have wanted to expand into but my few attempts, until now, are in the hands of my son.

SHELLEY: Other artist/designer(s) you admire? Any special reason why?

MARLENE: You ask this question of everyone you interview, and I understand their reluctance to name others, for fear of leaving someone out. There are SO MANY fantastically talented artists out there. To name just three, I would have to say, Lea Avorch, the lampwork artist extraordinary, has to be on my list. There is also a sweet lady in AZ, Lupe Meter, who floors me every time I see another of her Southwestern themed creations. Cindy Lietz is a great polymer clay artist, who shares her love of it, and knowledge with so many on her video site.

SHELLEY: Where do you want to be in 5 years from now?

MARLENE: Besides breathing? On a Disney Cruise with hubby, our five kids, and all the grandchildren.

SHELLEY: What’s your favorite quote or saying?

MARLENE: The same one I had in my nursing school yearbook: "Thou crossest desert lands of barren years, to reach the moment of fulfillment "- Togare

SHELLEY: Any advice you'd give to new artists who are just beginning in your medium?
MARLENE: Learn, work at and with it. Experiment. Ask questions. Keep trying; realize there are no mistakes with polymer clay, that can’t be fixed. Above all: Have fun!

SHELLEY: What is your favorite blog that you like to follow?

MARLENE: Why yours, of course!  (READER: Insert YOUR name here!)

SHELLEY: What has been your favorite Blog Hop or Challenge?

MARLENE: I would have to say Lori Anderson’s Cup of Soup Challenge, which I was fortunate to back into. It challenged me to go above and beyond, to come up to the level it deserved.


Quirky questions often give us a better understanding of the real person behind the artist, so here goes…

 SHELLEY: If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy?

MARLENE: The biggest state of the art research center, that the scientists and researchers who worked in it had the best opportunity to find cures.

SHELLEY: As a child what was your favorite cartoon or TV show? Why?

MARLENE: We did not have a TV until I was about 12 years old; by then it was American Bandstand, daily, right after school.

SHELLEY: Favorite toy as a child? Why?

MARLENE: Actually I had two. That naked doll (who didn’t have one of those) but with all kinds of bandages and band-aids, I could pilfer when mom wasn’t looking. Guess that was a forecast of my future nursing career. The other was a book entitled “365 Bedtime Stories” for obvious reasons. I cried when the coverless, torn and stained pages had to be thrown away.

SHELLEY: Favorite subject in school? Why?

MARLENE: Mathematics, it came naturally to me. The sciences were great too, which I have come to find out are linked to anyone with a mathematical mind.

SHELLEY: What was your favorite YEAR of your life thus far? Why?

MARLENE: I couldn’t begin to give you an answer to this one. They have all been memorable, even if not that “favorable”, because they have all led me to where I am now. As content as I can be.

SHELLEY: Anything you’d like to add, Marlene?

"Many people consider me an enigma. I have been privileged to care for the sick and dying, and also love a good joke, or pulling a prank on someone. I can be serious and silly all at the same time. I am often misunderstood, especially by my kids, but that does not bother me. I know who I am, because I made me this way. "
I know you too Marlene. You try your best to be a toughy but you have a heart of gold, you aren't fooling me Sister!  XXOO


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Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised her favorite subject was math; I often find when people have a real sense of proportion and understanding of angles, their artwork is realistic and pleasing to the eye. It makes me jealous! My father-in-law was a naval architect and when he retired he decided to take up watercolors for fun. Even his beginning painting are better than anything I could paint because he understands the math--perspective. Great interview Shelley.

Marlene Cupo said...

Thank you for this "sis", "cousin", Blogging buddy, FRIEND. I consider myself fortunate to call you any one of these.<3

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