Melissa Terlizzi is an “accidental” polymer clay artist. She stumbled onto the material in 2011 while looking for a way to create her own buttons and brooches for her handknit scarves. Something clicked inside her—all other hobbies fell away and she began to focus full time on creating polymer art. Today Melissa is well known in the polymer art community for her whimsical nature-inspired wall pieces and small sculptures. Her subjects are often the creatures she calls “overlooked”—reptiles, amphibians, bugs and birds that are familiar to most of us, but not necessarily beloved. With polymer clay she can satisfy her curiosity about science, and share what she’s learned with the people who enjoy her art.
Melissa works with the colored clay, blending and combining different colors into complex, patterned “canes,” which are then sliced and textured to become everything from a beetle’s wing or turtle shell, to a shaggy piece of tree bark. Finished creations are enhanced with oil paints. Her work is detailed and lifelike, but almost always whimsical. Melissa doesn’t take herself too seriously and believes her art shouldn’t either!
Melissa loves sharing her passion for polymer through teaching. She teaches workshops and at a summer camp near her home in Virginia, and has published online tutorials on the “Polymer Clay Universe.” Her work is featured in galleries in Virginia and Europe, and has received numerous awards. Her art has also been profiled in several publications: the “Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review” (2017), “Polymer Week Magazine” (2018), “Polymer Journeys 2019: The Art & Craft of Polymer” (2019), and the popular online blog, “Polymer Clay Daily.”
Melissa lives in Virginia with her husband, 4 kids, 2 cats and 2 turtles. Her polymer clay critters move out as soon as their paint dries—and live in collections around the world!