Photos Andy Calvert
For Kittie Watts, art is about making something magical. She uses polymer clay to create custom fairy garden pieces and figurines to sell online and at craft fairs. “To just take a lump of clay and make it into something magical — it gives you a really good feeling,” Watts explains.
Watts says that she has always been creative, taking every art class in school and often participating in contests. A few years ago, she was feeling motivated to rediscover her creative side. After buying some polymer clay to experiment with, she fell in love with the versatility of the medium. “When I got into clay and saw all the things that I could do with it… it’s incredibly versatile,” she says. “You can make almost anything with it. It opens up my creativity and it gives me a new thought process… I’m always trying out little experiments here and there.”
Most of her work comes from custom orders. Because of the versatility of clay, Watts has made everything from goddess statues for pagan altars to items for bachelorette parties. “Nothing surprises me anymore,” she says. “No request will be denied. I’m used to everything and I am not a shy person.”
Her favorite things to make, though, are custom fairy garden pieces. “Any time I make fairy gardens, those are always fun to do because I love making the tiny little houses,” she says. “The customer always gives me what they want and I try to elevate it as much as possible to give them a little more, and usually I hit it right on the head.”
Depending on the request, a project can take Watts anywhere from one to three weeks. Customers start by making their requests, including any specifics such as color or other detail. Watts shares pictures with the customer throughout the creation process and gives them the opportunity to request changes. When the customer is happy with the final piece, she bakes it to harden it and glazes it to prevent cracking.
In a normal year, Watts will attend 40-60 craft shows a year to sell her creations. She sets up booths at festivals, fairs, and conventions across the country. Here in Rome, Watts has enjoyed discovering the art community. “I’ve met a lot of really good people here, great artists, amazing crafters,” she says. “I really like it here.”
She has also discovered a very popular new figurine: miniature clocktowers. “That is one thing that I consistently make here,” Watts says. “I make little theme ones when the holidays come around, I’ve done Halloween ones and Christmas ones.”
To see examples of Watts’ art or to place an order, visit her on Facebook at Black Cat Creations.