If you haven’t come across ‘LittleBigNose’ before then you are in for a treat with today’s Supplier Spotlight – I love these figurines and their talented creator Jen can make them for pretty much any theme or occasion!
Keep on reading to hear from Jen about her inspirations and creative processes and for even more gorgeous examples of her work, check out her website.
I work full time with polymer clay. I started using the medium when I was 9 years old and have dipped in and out of it steadily ever since, usually prompted by a request from a friend or family member for an unusual gift. Back in the early days there were lots of nativities, also Vikings, fairies and a massive amount of farmyard animals (most of which my mum probably still has).
I’d only ever considered clay to be a hobby until 4 years ago when a friend of mine asked if I could make her wedding cake toppers. I hadn’t attempted anything this complex before but said I’d be delighted and happily they turned out well. They prompted an unexpected reaction at the reception though, with lots of people stopping to talk to me about them, specifically to ask why I wasn’t making them for a living. Initially I dismissed the idea, but did gradually begin to wonder whether it actually could be a possibility and started to research the area pretty seriously. I wrote my business plans, test sold for a while and now I’ve been out of formal employment for just over a year now, building things up.
My favourite part of the making process is the moment when the job starts to come together. There’s always a Eureka moment, especially with the bigger models. Most of them take over 20 hours so it’s only natural they won’t look ‘done’ for most of that time. The moment when you actually start to see how they will look in the end is fantastic.
My favourite part of the overall process has to be getting to know the people involved. When a bridal request comes in there’s an awful lot of info to be gathered and a lot of this is really sensitive, such as dress type, flowers, hair, etc. Each time I go through the process with somebody, you’re not just privy to their facts & figures, but their excitement too, their secret world of weddings. You get a genuine sense of how happy people are to be getting married and that’s really joyful.
Possibly the most unusual request I’ve ever had was for a bride and groom, in their birthday suits. That’s to say wearing nothing, not even a fig leaf! I was in the process of trying to work out if I could accept the request AND preserve everyone’s modesty somehow, when the bride mentioned that the wedding was the following week, and all my work slots were full up. Which may have been a blessing in disguise!
One of the more unusual thing I’ve been asked to make was a tiny anvil, made to resemble the Old Black Smith’s Anvil at Gretna Green, even the tree stump was mocked up to look like real wood, and the anvil given a sparkly finish to resemble proper metal. That little topper flew all the way to Scotland to sit on top of a cake in the end. Small but mighty. And a joy to make in the end too.
In a general sense I offer three different services: cake toppers, Manx makes and jewellery, with an occasional crossovers between the three. For example I make Manx Viking wedding cake toppers, and am happy to take on jewellery commissions if you’d like a slightly more quirky gift for your bridesmaids, such as sweetie bracelets or biscuit earrings, perhaps to resemble the ones you’ll have on the day.
Strictly in a wedding sense, I make:
Viking / Celtic (£35)
Full Size (£125)
This range of styles was put together to try and offer different options visually, as well as in terms of budget. They are customised to various different degrees, starting with hair & flowers only for Vikings, working right up to Full Size which are a mini-replica of everything. Pets & hobbies can be added in too as you wish. Usually I send out a questionnaire and then work from the results and photos, although I am also happy to do things via the telephone, or meet in person if preferred.
If hand painting is needed this is done in acrylic, with glaze added for shine. Dolls house glassware is often added for a finishing touch too, with champagne bottles and flutes available on request.
Once its all finished, I hand deliver all cake toppers personally just to make sure they arrive safe and sound, and that you’re entirely happy with them.
I’m currently accepting wedding orders for dates in February 2016.