Asia, Perspectives, Perspectives, Travel Journal

The Joys of Being an Artist in the Miniature World

“You never lose a dream, it just incubates as a hobby.”

Searching through Google, I saw this Polymer Clay Workshop in Makati, Philippines. I was seeing several cute works of art on Instagram.

There were many people around the world making whatever design they wish to create through Polymer Clay. And it got my attention. I have been wanting to create my own, but YouTube did not work for me.

So when I saw that MAARTSY is offering this workshop, I did not let it pass. I enrolled myself in, did some search and saw that Tish Valenzuela is our instructor. I do not have a clue who she was, but I looked through her Facebook (my apologies, I searched you in advance! Hahaha) and checked her photos.

I enjoyed looking at her creations and inspired me to do more. I also sent her a message right away and asked if I can interview her. Luckily, she agreed.

It wasn’t a formal interview at all. It is actually the first time that I was very excited to interview somebody. This is new to me. And I wanted to hear her story.

And in all honesty, I don’t know anybody who makes polymer clay art in the Philippines. For every field, there is a community. But this community is the one I haven’t explored.

Who is Tish Valenzuela?

Tish works as a Copywriter in an independent Advertising Agency, and an artist by heart. She learned sculpting during her time in the University of Philippines as a student.

How did you come about starting these workshops?

It was between 2014-2015, when we learned about Sculptures in the University. The materials were expensive and requires a lot of time.

So it was 2015. I saw my friend with this realistic bacon. I remember how excited I was to have my own. When i flipped the bacon though, it was just plain. I was disappointed. I told my friend to make me a realistic-looking bacon (back to back). Making it takes a lot of time. And I know that it took a lot of energy. Anyway, I paid for that cute miniature bacon.

Afterwards, I decided that since I love food and I want to express my love of it other than eating (lol), I created miniature foods. I chose to brand it.

The number of people interested in this type of art is increasing too. So I started holding workshops in my apartment–and sometimes, in restaurants.


In 2016, CraftMNL reached out to me. It made happy and proud to see that my efforts are appreciated by more people. I also collaborated with MAARTSY.

How do you balance being an artist vs. making it a business?

At first, it is with a heavy heart that I sold my work. It took a while for me to make those and selling it made me feel quite bad.

I’d say that in this process, I learned that there are two types of artists:

  1. Purists – artists who are purely making it as a hobby
  2. Artists who enjoys art as much as sharing it to the others, but as a business and hobby.

In my case, it is more economical to do workshops rather than creating Polymer Clay art one by one and sell it. I did not want to just sell it. It felt like I was just a factory and a businesswoman, rather than an artist.

Conducting these workshops gives me joy to see that there are people whom I shared my love for art. At the same time, seeing the beauty of their artworks touches my heart.

How long before a newbie becomes good at this?

I can see 7-year-olds getting better so quickly. For some, within 5-8 hours. For others, it can be months or years. But it varies. There is no definite timeline for that. Just keep doing it and you’ll get better.

What are your Do’s and Don’ts for beginners like us?


  1. Focus on making memories
  2. Be hungry to do your work at your own pace.


  1. Don’t be discouraged
  2. Don’t give up.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Yes, that’s right. We often feel discouraged and compare ourselves to others. I, myself is guilty of that. It is a constant battle within but with time, I learned how manage it better.

Anyway, thank you Tish for your advice. It was a short moment but I’m glad that it reminded me of these things.

There you have it! And for those of you who wants to share a dream, here’s one from Tish.


What is your biggest dream? 

“My biggest dream is to have the ability to walk to a tree-filled park anytime i want to and make lots of money at the same time.”

 Do you consider yourself successful?

“Success is a lie.”

What is one thing in your Life that you are working on one step at a time? 

“My independence.”

 How do you balance time between work, hobbies and vacation? 

“Hahaha i don’t. i just make time for what’s important— if a relative is visiting, make time.. less work. if there’s a big project, gotta work extra hard and focus on that. like it changes when necessary as i weigh the pros and cons. but every now and then i’ll hit the breaks and end up backpacking bangkok with a friend for a week.. life’s crazy that way.”

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