Meet the Designers/Creators of Swirly Designs

Named one of “New England’s Finest” by Yankee Magazine, Swirly Designs, created by a husband and wife team, Lianne and Paul Stoddard from Reading, MA, are hand-sculpted, hand-painted polymer clay ornaments that interpret traditional images through a playful, contemporary eye, producing one-of-a-kind original ornaments. Snowmen, Santa’s, stars, valentines, pumpkins, fern and fauna all come alive in three-dimensional detail enhanced with bells, ribbons, glitter and danglers. We hope that you enjoy the vibrant colors, the beautiful embellishments and the fanciful offbeat designs.

    The couple met while at The New England School of Art & Design in Boston. After graduating in 1992, Lianne entered the Graphic Design field while Paul pursued a career in Illustration.  They married in 2000 and soon thereafter began a joint venture designing ornaments using polymer clay. 

    It all began after art school, when Lianne dabbled in polymer clay as a hobby, making jewelry and gifts for friends and family.  She was attracted to polymer clay because of its chameleon-type finish, easily crafted to have the look of the other mediums.  Paul, too, took an interest in this technique and because of their love of the Holidays, the couple experimented with using polymer clay to create ornaments for their own Christmas tree.  They were so happy with the results that they began using this technique to create gifts.  After receiving positive and enthusiastic feedback, they decided to share their designs with a broader audience, and thus began Swirly Designs.  Lianne expressed her sentiments by stating that, “It was very exciting to be able to combine our talents to create these whimsical hand-made pieces of artwork for people who love celebrating the Holidays as much as we do.” 

   Best of all, after spending what seemed like endless years sitting at a desk in front of computer, they were both delighted when they once again found themselves working with their hands.  As a freelance illustrator, Paul (see his illustration site here) enjoyed seeing his drawings come to life as ornaments, especially when combined with Lianne’s design sensibilities and vibrant color palettes. 

    Each unique Swirly Designs ornament is sculpted by hand from white clay and then the distinctive signature swirls are added to give them style and texture.  This is followed by an application of carefully-chosen colors which are skillfully applied by hand.  Finally each ornament is signed on the back and laced with Chiffon ribbon and a gift tag, giving each ornament an elegant finishing touch.  Lianne and Paul use vivid colors, beautiful embellishments and delightfully offbeat designs, interpreting traditional images through a contemporary lens to appeal to every taste in every season!

    As their company grows, so does their family.  They have a four-year-old son, Gryffin Quinn, as well as a recent addition.  Their daughter, Chloe Paige, was born in April of 2009.

    It is their desire that each ornament will find a special place in your home to usher in and then capture the magic of the season.
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What is Polymer Clay?

claystacks.jpg Polymer clay is a synthetic modeling material and not clay found in the earth. A  versatile medium developed in Germany in the 1930's, it contains a mixture of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) particles and plasticizer. Unlike pottery clay, which needs extremely high temperatures to cure, polymer clay can be cured in your home oven.

During firing, the temperature causes chemical changes in the clay, making it hard and strong but the clay also keeps its shape and color. It can be finished in various ways to obtain textures from glassy to stone like. It can be painted, sculpted, carved, stamped, textured and even sanded and buffed to a high shine.

See our ornament process

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