Sarajane Helm began making dolls and dressing them when she was a very young girl…the skills learned in drawing and sewing for dolls translated into a love of character and costume. She studied theater arts at Barat College and theatrical design at Ohio State University. She graduated summa cum laude from Front Range Community College with an A.A.S degree in Media Graphic Design and Art.
Since 1978, she has designed and sold dolls and wearable art in many forms, utilizing her skills with fabric and fibers, polymer clay, paper and multimedia works. She designs rubber stamps and textile prints, dyes and hand embellishes fabrics, draws paper doll art and coloring books and designs web sites.
Her work has appeared in magazine articles for Bead & Button, Jewelry Crafts, DOLLS, Lapidary Journal and others. In addition to serving as the Polymer Clay Editorial Advisor for many years with Belle Armoire Magazine, she wrote a bi-monthly column that appeared there on the business of selling wearable art. It ran from 2003-2008. Her books Create A Polymer Clay Impression and Celebrations With Polymer Clay continue to be well received and respected as being both beautiful and brimming with information. Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay is the title of her 2006 book co-authored with Judith Skinner, whose “Skinner Blend” technique has changed the look of polymer clay art throughout the world. In 2009 Helm released The Business Of Professional Art, a compilation of 30 columns from Belle Armoire Magazine. Several other books are in the works and there is a planned release of 1-2 per year. She released A Collection Of Polymer Clay Masks, in December 2010. This features more than 500 miniature and full sized masks created by 150 polymer clay artists. As an independent publisher for herself and other authors, Sarajane runs PolyMarket Press, and is now working to produce beautiful and enriching books for other authors. 2011 brought the release of Interloper|Fine Art Nudes and Photo-Paintings by Austin photographer Ricardo Acevedo, and the followup photonovella titled Night. In 2013, she produced Polymer Clay Gemstones-The Art of Deception with author/artists Kim Schlinke and Randee M. Ketzel, also of Austin TX.
Sarajane is a founding member of the San Diego Polymer Clay Guild, and of the Rocky Mountain Polymer Clay Guild (which is now three groups–the Rocky Mountain Polymer Clay Guild is in Ft. Collins, Colorado, Denver has the Mile High Polymer Clay Guild and the Pikes Peak Polymer Clay Guild in Colorado Springs). Sarajane works to explore and promote the many possibilities of the medium and to nurture creativity in others. She served as Vice President of Membership for the National Polymer Clay Guild and helped organize an annual polymer clay retreat with the Rocky Mountain Polymer Clay Network. She also founded the FRCC Art Club to promote classes and art at Front Range Community College in Longmont Colorado. She worked within the community of Longmont at local galleries to present more than 16 shows during 2013-2015, working with local artists from the concept through all the details of promotion and hanging the shows. Thanks to her current work locally and with the Community Festival in Columbus Ohio as an organizer in the 1970’s and 80’s, she is experienced in dealing with a wide variety of artistic temperaments and styles of work, and endeavors to present all in the best manner possible.
She and her husband Bryan collaborate on their larger pieces, and the entire family gets involved in the pursuit of business and art; their sons Ian and Andrew are film-makers, authors and artists as well. Together they have created mosaic pieces for private collections, for gallery sales and for the benefit of local community organizations such as the Humane Society and the Symphony Orchestra’s “Art of Music” fundraiser.
As part of the Artist In Residence program at Columbine Elementary School in 2005, Sarajane worked with hundreds of local elementary school children to create a polymer clay mask and flower garden installation and to promote the use of their creative skills. She works with adult artists and educators as well, and was an instructor at the week long Tougaloo College Summer Art Colony 2004 and 2008 in Jackson, Mississippi. By continuing to learn and sharing what she knows with others throughout the years, Sarajane has acquired many skills that she enjoys honing through use. She travels throughout the United States to instruct people of many ages and skill levels in classes and seminars on subjects including textile dyeing and decoration, mask making and costuming, dolls and miniature making, bead making and use, and about polymer clay in all its many potential applications.
“As an independent artist and author, I have learned the value of having many skills that interconnect. I have them all available to use in design challenges, and I instruct others on how to access their own artistic and perceptive abilities. When instructing on uses of dyes and paints in textiles, or thermoplastics used in jewelry and sculptural maquettes, the power of creative thought is emphasized and nurtured. These skills can be honed in any creative area for their own sake–or to bring about better use of mental and physical skills in all levels of work.
I am available for workshops with children, adults, those with exceptional abilities or special learning needs, and for corporate workers who wish to hone their abilities in perceptual skills and problem solving in previously unexplored ways. To see some of my work in building everything from web pages to artist in residence projects for schools, please visit polyclay.com and I can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
While beads, dolls, and wearable arts may seem of less import on the surface, aesthetic and ethical design qualities are at the basis of many endeavors–and these things can be learned in a comfortable, non-threatening, fun and satisfying way through creative arts.”
Perception and the communication of those perceptions are the key elements in all my art and other endeavors. An understanding of many kinds of applications of creativity and the nurturing of it in others is my specialty. Whether designing textiles, jewelry, sculpture, or writing about creative work in books and magazines, I choose to share in ways that are fun and informative while still incorporating a further understanding of ethical behavior and personal responsibility. Creativity in visual or tactile fields sparks improvement on many levels of brain and physical efforts. I make interesting and thought-provoking work, and show others that they also have the ability to do so and to develop their own artistic voices.
- Technical and instructional writing
- Paper and digital graphic arts (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
- Digital photography
- Desktop document layout, editing and publishing
- Branding and logo and packaging development
- Book, magazine, and cover design
- Website design and maintenance
- Textile design and embellishment including beading, dyeing , painting/printing
- Pattern design and drafting
- Sewing and costuming decorative arts
- Doll, puppet and miniature construction
- Animation and theater arts
- Faux-finish and set decoration
- Mask and figure sculpting and mold making
- Character design and development art
- Class and project development
- Instruction | tutoring