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Kaaren Poole

09/30/2008 05:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

Surrounded by pets and wildlife on her 10 acres in Diamond Springs, artist Kaaren Poole does what she says she was meant to do; she creates art that embodies her love of animals.

Though she created paintings and drawings in the past, her current medium is wearable art in the form of polymer clay jewelry. While she makes some pieces almost exclusively from clay, her favorites are necklaces with clay animal heads, elaborate backgrounds and bead or gemstone accents. “The subject I most enjoy is animals,” says Poole, who remembers drawing horses during math class in elementary school. “I’ve always been interested in art.”

A career in the information technology department of Kaiser Permanente forced Poole to pursue art as a hobby, but she was able to keep her hand in it by traveling to Arizona once a year for 10 years to attend workshops. When her husband died after a long illness four years ago, Poole knew she had to find a way to fill her time, and she chose to do it with art and wild animal rescue.

She joined Sierra Wildlife Rescue as a volunteer five years ago, working on the Squirrel Team. It wasn’t long before she got involved in rescuing water fowl and crows as well. This year alone, she rehabilitated around 18 ducks on her property until they could be released back into the wild. In addition to the myriad squirrels, waterfowl and crows passing through her care, she has her own animals, currently numbering nine cats, three dogs and five ducks.

Cats happen to be some of her favorite animals, but pose an unlikely challenge to her. “Even though I have nine cats I look at every day, they elude me,” she says with a laugh at her inability thus far to capture their likeness in polymer clay.

It’s possible that she is being a little hard on herself. After all, she only started working in polymer clay recently, when a friend at a local bead shop showed her a book about it. She enrolled in an online course, but got so caught up in pursuing her own work that she didn’t even finish the class project.

Her polymer clay work really took off in March, and one of her pieces, MacGregor’s Garden, a necklace with a rabbit in a vegetable garden, is one of the finalists in Bead and Button magazine’s Bead Dreams contest and can be seen in this month’s issue. Poole also teaches one-day classes on polymer clay at Basically Beads in Diamond Springs. Visit basicallybeads.com for information on upcoming classes. In addition to teaching, Poole has also written four books on how to draw and paint birds, landscapes and animals.

Poole says she is looking into showing some of her work in galleries, but for the time being, you can find her work at wildharestudio.org. Poole also donates the proceeds of her sales to animal charities, another way in which her two loves are able to work together.

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