A few years ago I started a Polymer Clay Page and Pinterest Board to post some of our customer creations. If you are working with Polymer Clay and would like us to post photos of your work, send us an e-mail with your contact information.
I even had some fun experimenting with polymer clay for Halloween last year. Read about it Here.
As of May 2017 he has almost 7000 subscribers on his JakeFolger YouTube Channel. I wanted to learn more about why and how he creates his polymer clay videos and get some tips on photography.
Some of Jacob's work is featured in the photographs below. You'll also find these creations and more in his JakeCreates Etsy Shop
I visited your Etsy Shop and learned that you are "self taught". Did you ever take any classes or did you have a mentor that taught you sculpting or photography? How did you get started working with these mediums?
I consider myself more of a doer. I did not take any professional classes Per Se and I did not really have any mentors that I can speak of. I would decide I wanted to do something and started practicing.
For photography you need good equipment and lighting. People tell me I have a good eye. I frame and take shots then put them on my computer and use Gimp.org. It's a free software program to adjust light and contrast and colors. I use a Nikon digital camera. It's basically a point and shoot. It's not ideal; but it is what I can afford.
I call myself an artist and photographer because I photograph my art work and make videos. I spend a lot of my day working with a camera but I can't instruct someone else on F-Stops or other technical things about a camera.
You have an Etsy Shop; but do you also sell your work in other venues? Online, brick and mortar stores, or shows?
My main selling venue is through Etsy. Sales are a roller coaster ride for me. I'm constantly concerned about what and how to do my art for sales. I would like to start monetizing my YouTube Channel to help pay for my art supplies.
Your Youtube Channel has almost 7000 subscribers and your free video tutorials are filled with information about how to sculpt with polymer clay that beginners and experienced sculptors can use.
How did you get started creating Youtube Videos and why are you willing to freely share your expertise?
I think what started it was some bumpy roads. I was homeless for a period of time and staying with friends in North Carolina. There was some woods behind the house. I walked in the woods and found it was filled with moss. I love moss and started making moss gardens and terrariums.
I made a video tutorial about how to make your own moss gardens. My highest viewed video is about making a fairy garden with moss in a little jar. It has about 101,000 views. That was the beginning. A couple of my friends watching the videos told me I was gifted and a natural at making tutorials.
I don't do this just for money. For me it is my legacy. I can leave these videos and my art behind for other people and the world when I am gone.
What video equipment do you use to make your tutorials?
I'm on a very limited budget. I have used a phone to record tutorials. I currently use my Nikon Cool Pics to record. I purchased it on eBay. I have it on a tripod directly in front of me so I can watch what I am doing on the screen.
I use a white base for my work space and recently started using the computer monitor on white screen to give me better lighting. I have a back light in the room and the ceiling light. Good photography is all about the lighting. I keep experimenting with it and learn as I go. It takes patience and money for good equipment.
Do you use editing software to edit your videos?
I use Windows Movie Maker. It's a battle because this is a free software program so I'm limited to what I can do with editing.
There are lots of other software programs for editing out there. I'm on a limited budget so I work with movie maker. It's free and I've learned a few work arounds with it.
Do you have any suggestions for artists and crafters thinking about making video tutorials based on your experience?
Do some research and get a really good camera that takes good videos.
Have a good source of light or create it with the right lights.
Look at other videos to see how it's done.
You need to be able to take the information about your craft and put it out in a way that people can understand. Can you actually teach ?
Start out by making a few videos and share them with friends to see what they think about your videos.
I saw one of your videos where you are playing the guitar and harmonica. You are very talented and I was wondering where you learned music?
When I was growing up, my father wanted me to play saxophone and I took some lessons. I did not like it much at the time. I wanted to learn how to play a banjo and dad said if I could play the saxophone, then I could get a banjo.
I never really could read the music; but I did improve with the saxophone lessons and it made my dad happy. Then I took banjo lessons.
Now I play lots of instruments strictly for pleasure. I can play the saxophone, trumpet, banjo, guitar, autoharp, dulcimer, harmonica, bowed psaltery, keyboards. I just pick it up when I am in the mood to play music.
I read that you are actively working with FriendtotheHomeless.org
Can you tell us a little more about the mission of this organization or any other information you would like to share with our readers about it?
I was homeless at a young age until I joined the military. I started volunteering with the homeless after retiring from military service. I really started out with making care packages to deliver to the homeless in the Dupont Circle area of Washington DC.
I created the FriendtotheHomeless as an educational site where people could learn about homelessness through stories, poetry, music, and art.
I want people to know there are simple things that can be done to ease the life of the homeless person.
Through art I am hoping people will Make a connection, Learn about Homelessness, Develop Empathy, and be moved to Do Something - like making a care package for a homeless person.
He shares his knowledge and expertise freely with the world and teaches us about the human condition through his art work.
His story is also a testament to the vital role that nature, art, and crafts can play in healing the human spirit.
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