About Fionna Bottema
My name is Fionna Bottema and I hand sculpt creatures form polymer clay, mainly animals, birds and fish. I went to art school (a long time ago) to become a nature illustrator, but never actually worked as an illustrator. My love for nature has always been there though. I love to go bird watching and take pictures of birds, insects and flowers. I love to beach comb beaches all over the world, which I can do for days, even weeks in a row. Collecting sea glass, shells and driftwood, stones with holes, and gems. I like making jewelry out of what I find.
But I most enjoy making little creatures from polymer clay. They don't have to look realistic but I try to capture the soul of the animal as I see them. The animals I use for my jewelry are inspired by the Inuit who make beautiful and simple carving out of bone and tusk. And I like to add sea glass and beads to them, inspired by Native American people who put little offerings on the back of stone carved animals. And large amber like the Berber and Tuareg people use. All these things I enjoy so much come together in my work, painting, photography, adding collected things and my love for nature.
I live in the countryside in the North of Holland with my husband Olaf and our cats, tortoises and lots of birds. We have a wild garden that attracts all kinds of animals like hedgehogs and red squirrels, several species birds from wrens and green finches to barn owls. It is like living on our own little “island” of wilderness. I work from home and there will usually be a cat sleeping in my chair or an orphaned bird sitting in a box with a heat plate next to me waiting to be fed.
Since I was a kid I have been collecting things from nature. I am like a magpie picking up things that appeal to me. It is fun to use to use these treasures in my jewelry. Together with the animals, birds and the amber that I make of polymer clay. It is a long process of sculpting, baking and polishing. They are combined with natural materials, like wood, horn, ceramic, vintage glass beads and trade beads. Every necklace is handmade and unique.
The sea glass is collected from beaches in Spain, France and the England. A lot of my glass I have collected together with my cousin Barbara who lives in Florida. We are both enjoying looking for glass so much that we plan trips together to go look for weeks in a row. It is so nice to do this together with someone who enjoys this as much as I do. All my sea glass is presented as it is found (maybe just a little coconut oil has been rubbed on).
The polymer clay creatures are all handmade and no two are exactly alike. They are baked in a oven and hand painted or polished by me. And sometimes decorated with small pieces of sea glass or pearl beads and charm, or used in jewelry.