God and Art Series: Artist's work puts her in touch with Creator

Anyone who has spoken to Daphne Seaman long enough soon realizes that she is as vivacious and energetic as her artwork.

Daphne, an artist who works mainly with polymer clay, owns Laurel Tree Studios on Etsy and fashions crosses, jewelry, wall art - even Rock and Roll Record art. While creating her work she feels a connection with her Creator.

"For me," Daphne says in her profile on Etsy, "the act of creating puts me in touch with my Creator God. The use of polymer clay in my art is the most recent means of expression that began with ceramics and fiber arts. I am passionate about 'junk,' scraps, and found objects, too. I love to recycle these into my art. The range of color possibilities in polymer clay and the intricate patterns made with millefiori techniques constantly amaze me. Polymer clay gives a voice to a playfulness in my spirit and captures my delight in life - in color, texture and form."

Here are some of her favorites:

Beauty from Pain

Daphne started her business on Etsy amidst a painful separation from her husband of 33 years.

"I opened my Etsy shop in January 2009, and although this was an exciting adventure, almost immediately I found myself in a very distressing situation: separation after 33 years of marriage!" she says. "My Etsy shop was the last thing on my mind, and I never worked at it. It sat empty for many months. I concentrated on getting my art into galleries and cute boutiques. In January 2012, my son Michael encouraged me to change my focus to work on my Etsy shop. I'm trying! I have a huge following of local fans who love to style my wearable art, and I am hoping that Etsy will become a world-wide stage for Laurel Tree Studio!"

Daphne has three sons, Christopher, 29, Stephen, 26, and Michael, 24. According to her shop banner, all three sons have Etsy shops as well. Here they are:

Early influences

Daphne's fascination with color began at an early age and continued into adulthood. "I think I was always more interested in color and art than playing with dolls or toys. My mom said that as a toddler, she could sit me in the driveway with a box of crayons, and I would color for hours! No cars came to this part of the driveway!" she says. "I was an art major in college. I did pottery for many years, and tried to keep at it while doing my mommy/wifey duties. Three very active boys who loved to be creative kept me busy. I had just discovered polymer clay when my husband and I moved to Belgium, and it was a Godsend because I could not take my potter's wheel or kiln. When I started working with polymer clay and realized how fun it was, I gave up pottery altogether. Like I said, I feel very in touch with my Creator when I am creating. I think creativity is a gift from God and I feel blessed every time new ideas come to me."

She was also influenced as a child by "godly parents" and a "faithful grandmother." Relationships held during childhood still influence her activities today, such as becoming Teaching Director for Community Bible Study, an offshoot of Bible Study Fellowship.

"I grew up in a tiny town--Cowan, Tennessee and was part of an original "gang!" (just kidding) There were a group of girls --seven of us--and the whole town called us the 'seven sisters.' There was hardly anything to do in rural Tennessee except lots of hiking, biking and playing. Out of the seven sisters, there were six different churches represented! Whoever you spent the night with on Saturday night, that's whose church you went to. Looking back on this, I think God knew all along, he would have me teaching a non-denominational Bible study group because I loved all the churches. I felt comfortable and loved in all of them," Daphne says.

Not only does she share about God in the regular Bible studies, Daphne uses her art as a witness as well. "God has always used my creativity and crafts as a witnessing tool, because when people want to talk about clay, I just naturally speak of the source of my creativity, too! You cannot be around me for long without hearing about what God is doing in my life. He is a friend. I give Him lots of credit for inspiration and guidance. I often have lots of scripture in my work. I make a lot of crosses-wearable art, and wall art crosses. I name my art with scripture references. Talking about God is as natural as breathing, and he just leads the conversation. I think I'm a good 'listener' and try to follow his lead!"

Here are some of her crosses:

Laurel Tree Studio also offers flowers, beads, scarf pins and hair pins. Be sure to check it out. Right now, Daphne is offering a 15 percent discount. At checkout just enter GROOVY15%.

Next Friday, I'll feature Agnessa from Icons Art in the God and Art series.