Saturday, September 28, 2013

Me and Polymer Clay

Nearly exactly 20 years ago I discovered polymer clay and more specifically Fimo Classic polymer clay and a most amazing book: The New Clay by Nan Roche.
We had just moved to a new town and were looking for a house to buy. I found this new toy and it helped me deal with the stress of this move. We had lived for 13 years in what I thought would be my home for the rest of my life. But, my husband, 2 sons and I decided to move to Grants Pass, Oregon, 110 miles west. There was a better school. We would be closer to town. We were living 31 miles from the nearest big town, Klamath Falls, and 1.5 miles down a washboard dirt road in the summer and a mud pit dirt road in the winter. Yes, we chose to live there. I loved it there. I could ski out my back door in the winter and ride my horses in the forest anytime.

Now, back to the clay story.....
Nan Roche's book was the only book on polymer clay in 1993, at least the only one I knew of. I was fascinated by what CityZen Cane and others were doing with this stuff! Amazing!! I struggled to get the clay conditioned, but kept at it. And while I was excited to explore this new medium, my hands were rebelling.
In the meantime we found a house on 3 acres of pasture. This time it was my husband's turn to have his dream place, a mini hay farm. One of the bedrooms became my studio, we all settled in and I went to hand therapy. My hands had gotten so bad I couldn't pick up a glass and could barely hold utensils.

I had 3 months of no beading, no playing with clay, no using my hands for anything but the essentials. I learned what would make them hurt and how to do that task without hurting them. I played flute for my own entertainment and took a lesson to learn how to play without hurting my hands. Basically I learned that I was holding my flute all wrong to start with!

Sorry.... I get sidetracked... this story is about me and polymer clay.

So, on Thurs. this week I got my clay out to take a break from the beady Dragon patterns. Once I get clay out it is out for a while. For some reason it takes me a day or two to find my groove. To decide what I want to do. I rarely know when I start. I only know I want to play with clay!
When I look at what I make I am happy with some of it and disappointed with most of my work. After 20 years I think I should be better at knowing what I want to do and carrying out a technique. My end product tends to be accidental. I have written before about wanting to create a clay project with "intention". Something I intend to have happen, not the accidents of rolling up all the scrap I create and making a few interesting beads.
Which brings to me to the point of all this rambling:
I decided to mix up colors. More specifically, Julie Picarello colors. I love her book: Patterns in Polymer Clay: Imprint and Accent Bead techniques. If I could only keep one polymer clay book (I can't imagine why that would happen. And WHAT A NIGHTMARE!), this is the book I would keep. The book has wonderful creative projects and great ways to create unique beads and pieces to use in your beadwork. But, the best thing about his book is that Julie gives you specific color recipes for the colors represented in each project. She also has information about the different clays and how to adjust for the different color qualities of each or where to find information on how to make a Premo color with Kato clay (the clay I use).

Yesterday I ordered more clay and as usual I discover after I have placed the order that there a about 4 more colors I should have gotten. I get primary colors and mix from there, but I forgot to get the metallics I need as my metallic bases. Sigh. So, guess what I am doing after I post this!?!?? Yep. To order those metallics I didn't yesterday.

Now, once I get all these colors mixed up, then what will I do with them? Uh-Oh! I dont' have a clue.

All things beady,

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