15 Apr 2024Mont Marte

Let’s get to know Chicago artist, Maria Brynza, AKA Gerda of @gerdasgardenboutique. Maria chose the pseudonym ‘Gerda’ in tribute to a childhood tale, Hans Christian Andersen's Snow Queen. The characters Gerda and Kai sparked her imagination, as she always wanted to embody the warmth, courage, and enchantment of Gerda. Maria now carries this essence into her work with the name of her shop and the magic of creating.

When was the last time you had a buzz after you created something?

4 small orange sculptures with faces and leaves on their heads


The last time I experienced that buzz was just yesterday, after finishing a set of fruit sculptures. My mind savours the adrenaline rush from the effort-driven reward cycle, finding fulfillment in bringing my creative visions to life.

How do you pick what to sculpt?

When I choose sculpting subjects, I find inspiration in everyday moments that evoke nostalgia or a sense of whimsy. I blend these daily experiences with my favourite animals, fruits, colours, and even holidays dear to my heart happening at that time. This fusion of elements allows me to create sculptures that not only capture the essence of my personal joys but also resonate with my audience.

What’s a creative project you’ve done that you weren’t sure how it would turn out?



A creative project I’ve done that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out was painting my polymer clay sculptures. I sculpted little blobs reminiscent of tiny ghosts from white polymer clay, but I had no further vision for them, so they sat waiting for their moment. I was gifted a set of Mont Marte Acrylic Metallic Paints by my partner for the holidays, and I thought why not paint them into a shimmery blobs instead of sitting pale blobs?


I recorded a process video painting the miniatures just for fun and posted it to my Instagram, receiving over 1.3 million views! This creative project that I had no aspirations for really, raised my confidence as an artist and received heaps of positive attention from the Instagram community.

What’s an art medium that you’d like to explore more?

The medium that I would like to explore more is painting! I love being able to express myself by mixing bright beautiful colours on both clay and canvas.

Who do you discuss creative ideas with?

I love bouncing ideas back and forth with my best friend and partner—they're my biggest support system, always there to lift me up and inspire me. Their unwavering faith in me fuels my drive to explore new horizons and chase after fresh ideas with enthusiasm.

What would you do if you had infinite time and money?



I would invest in expanding my business in innovative ways, such as hiring additional staff, acquiring state-of-the-art equipment, and exploring new markets or product lines. This would allow me to scale up operations while maintaining the high quality and attention to detail that defines the Gerdas Garden Boutique brand.


Furthermore, with infinite resources at my disposal, I would prioritise initiatives that contribute to the greater good, such as implementing sustainable practices throughout my business operations, supporting local communities through charitable endeavours, and fostering a positive work environment for my employees.


On a personal level, I would dedicate time to further honing my craft and exploring new artistic avenues without the constraints of financial limitations or time constraints. This could involve experimenting with new techniques, attending workshops and masterclasses, and collaborating with other artists to push the boundaries of creativity.


What’s a creative habit you had to unlearn?

2 porcini mushroom sculptures with eyes and blush


A creative habit I had to unlearn was being overly critical of my work during the initial stages of the creative process. I used to constantly second-guess my ideas and hesitate to experiment with new techniques or styles for fear of failure. However, I realized that this self-doubt was hindering my creativity and preventing me from fully exploring my potential.


Over time, I've learned to embrace a more open-minded and adventurous approach to my creative endeavours, allowing myself the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them along the way. This shift in mindset has ultimately led to greater innovation and growth in my artistic practice. Some of my finest pieces have originated from what I initially perceived as mistakes!

If you had no time frame, what would you love to create?

2 long tailed pink dinosaurs with fried eggs on  their backs


I'm drawn to the idea of crafting a children's storybook featuring my own whimsical characters. Storytelling and illustrating have always held a special place in my heart, evoking warm memories from my own childhood. The prospect of bringing my characters to life through the pages of a children’s book fills me with excitement and joy.


What time period or decade would you go back to for creative inspiration?

I find myself drawn to the early 2000s, my childhood era, for creative inspiration. It's a time filled with nostalgic memories of warmth, cosiness, and the cherished presence of family and friends. These enduring feelings of comfort serve as constant sources of inspiration that I weave into my art.


How does being a social media artist influence what you make?

Garlic bulb glossy sculpture with eyes and blush


Being a social media artist significantly shapes my creative output by guiding my focus towards trending concepts and seasonal themes. Having built a significant Instagram community and following, I strive to create content that resonates with my niche audience in my authentic artistic style.



We hope, you have a go channelling Gerda’s artistic spirit and explore creating on your own terms. She has taught us that it’s well worth diving into creating with confidence – a ‘mistake’ may just turn into your fave artwork!


See more about @gerdasgardenboutique by checking out our gallery, where her art journey is featured! Stock up on Gerda-inspired creative supplies by exploring our Polymer Clay and Acrylic Paint collections. If you do make something, #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what come up with!


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