Paper Clay Art by Rogene Manas

A newsletter reader alerted me to the paper clay art of Rogene Manas and I'm very glad she did. The simple wonder that is paper clay hasn't been featured often enough on the blog... I'm happy to do so today via Rogene's fine examples. 


black and white carved dimensional rabbit


A mixture of cellulose fiber and clay, the process of working with paper clay is described in the description of an online course that Rogene teaches via Curious Mondo, "Create bas-relief images that have the look of carved wood and leave people wondering how they were made. Paper clay is an easy-to-use, air-dried clay that holds amazing detail, is non-toxic, and does not require baking or firing. It comes out of the pack ready-to-use and is available at most art supply and craft stores."


colorful carved hollyhock stems and flying bird


Rogene, who lives in Eugene, Oregon, describes herself as a mixed media artist. Originally a graphic designer/illustrator who owned an international card company and also painted landscapes, she became fascinated by primitive folk art while visiting Mexico.


carved leaves covering nude figure holding bird

This led to switching paths... she began making art with mixed media materials on canvases or wood panels, predominantly working with paper clay to create textural paintings and bas-relief artwork. She uses acrylic paints, mediums, and collage materials to finish the pieces.


carved blackbird on tree branch

Rogene launched The Going Away Party Project (of which the zebra below is one example) to draw attention to the drastic decline in numbers of some of our most popular animals. The goal is to create a traveling exhibit of animal portraits, each wearing an attention-getting party hat, to encourage activism and donations to help prevent the extinction of these animals.


black and white zebra illustration wearing colorful party hat


Our Lady of a Good Night's Sleep is included in an ongoing series of illustrated Everyday Saints that Rogene creates based on personal experiences. I found myself nodding along with what she had to say about her, as well as the description of each one of the female figures in the collection. 


illustrated woman with halo lying on back with eyes closed


A teacher at heart, Rogene offers workshops throughout the year in Oregon and California in which she shares how to create with paper clay. She finds the process of working with clay to be calming and comforting, and the painting part fun and energizing.

If you can't attend a workshop in person, Rogene has posted videos on her YouTube channel about working with paper clay and painting it. She also has an informative Instagram feed


colorful carved birds and flower displayed in circle on woven circular mat


For example, she shows her paper clay process in this Instagram post and gives many tips on making reproductions of an original design.


 cover of Artful Paper Clay book features floral designs


In addition, Rogene is the author of the popular how-to book, Artful Paper Clay, published by North Light Books. 


flyer for art exhibit shows nine images of artists' artwork

This month she is deep into the planning of, and making art for, a collaborative exhibit, The Art of Bricolage, at Maude Kearns Art Center that will feature the work of nine Oregonian artists who use recycled materials. Bricolage, which means "something constructed or created from a diverse range of available things" will open on February 23 and run through March 22. 



carved white polar bear face and chest on light blue background


I think you can expect to come face to face with this handsome polar bear at the show, as it's an example of Rogene testing new ways of creating with recycled materials that she gathers from places like Goodwill and a used building supply store. Spackling over tissue and magazine paper collage are two techniques she is currently trialing.

smiling woman with long gray hair wearing dark frame glasses


Visit Rogene Manas's website. You'll also find her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.


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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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