I am a newbie at this polymer clay creating! After trying a couple of times to attend a polymer clay class in town... they always ended up being canceled at the last minute because of low enrollment... to learn the basics, I finally just threw my arms up and decided I'd just have to learn this "art" on my own from books!
Off to the library I went. I was pleasantly surprised to find tons of books on polymer clay that I could take home with me to plunge into this new world! I was determined to figure out the ins and outs of polymer clay.
Uh huh... easier said than done! Some of my first attempts looked nothing like all the lovely pictures. Mind you I was lacking in tools, "clay conditioning" by hand was no joke and all the talk about "cooking" polymer in your home oven scared the pants off me.
Well first things first. I dug into my Art Piggybank and off to the big box hobby store I went to buy a pasta machine, some clay and a few tools. Good thing I had a 40% off coupon with me... it made the cost of the pasta machine much more bearable. It was confusing when it came to buying polymer clay... all those brands... so I just bought colours I liked. I thought you could mix and match them. Well ya... but...uh huh... sure... my adventure in experimentation and no, no's was just beginning. Ignorance is not always bliss!
Next on the list was a toaster oven. I asked around and nobody had one they wanted to pass along to a budding polymer clay artist! A friend suggested asking around on "freecycle"... a Yahoo group of folks who give stuff away rather than see it go to the local landfill. It took a couple of postings but I finally found one. It was at least 20 years old and rather beat up but it seemed to do the job! Oven thermometer... what thermometer??? I'd just do it by guess and by golly. I was anxious to get started. It had taken me a couple of weeks to get all of this *stuff* together. Enough... already...I plunged in... head first.
I won't talk about my some of my disasters... In short order, it was pretty obvious I needed more "hands on" instruction than I could get out of any book. My fingers were bloody from cutting myself with blades. I contemplated buying shares in Johnson & Johnson... my consumption of bandaids surely added to their bottom line and pushed up profits. I had a mound of scrap clay darn near as big as a basketball. Whatever would I do with it all? The frugal side of me didn't want to have to toss it all out. I had questions and no one to answer them. It was definitely "do or die" time. I wasn't about to give up quite yet.
Being a kinesthetic-visual learner, what I needed wasn't to be found in books! I needed pictures and lots of them. I needed someone to answer my questions. I needed some hints and tips I could try out. There was stuff I needed that I didn't know I needed. What's a gal to do? Well go online and see if she can find a group to hang out in. She did... and much to her surprise... two of them (The Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild and the Vancouver Island Polymer Clay Guild) were practically on her doorstep. Clayamies even had some tutorials. Yippee...
Here I am a year and a half later and I think I am finally getting the hang of it! The old toaster oven has been replaced with a brand new convection oven and a real, "honest to goodness" oven thermometer. A nice big tile to clay on rests on my art table. Sharp blades have their own holders to rest in and tape along the top prevents me from picking them up on the sharp side and cutting my fingers to shreds. My gosh, now that I think of it, I haven't contributed any blood to my projects in months now. Baby wipes, Future Floor wax, texture plates, corn starch, molds and brushes, randomly scattered on my art table, show just how far I have come. Pure stubbornness and a tenacious spirit to conquer this art form have served me well.
I was ready. Ready to try out something that the thought of even two months ago made me break out in a cold sweat. Ready to jump in and go where I had procrastinated about going *forever*! My drawing was ready. Blade poised, I sliced off some clay and began to condition it. My heart pounding, I made a log. I was on my way... one eye coming up. I was about to tackle a face cane.
Are you ready for a good chuckle and to have some fun? If so, drop by my blog to see the results of my adventure into face canes! And while you are there, help me name some gossipy little old ladies made from the cane. Just leave a comment with your name suggestions and you will be entered into a giveaway coming this Friday, June 11, 2010. The giveaway... a very pretty raku lentil rattle pendant similar to the one below. This one was made last weekend with three of my clay friends... Janet, Wanda and Barb... at our clay playdate last weekend. I just had to make a second one before I forgot how to do it! You can see a photo of the second one, which is the giveaway, while you are there...
Thanks for reading and Happy Claying from Victoria,