Saturday, June 30, 2007

Somethings Old, Sonethings New

For the last three years I've been eating, sleeping and breathing polymer clay. Er... That didn't come out quite right. Hmm. Well... suffice to say, if there were a masters degree program in polymer clay, I would be up to my eyeballs in it. Ok, ok, I'm no Steven Corbert when it comes to metaphors. What I'm leading up to is this...

Over the last few months I have purchased (on line) three polymer clay books that I was pretty sure I wouldn't learn much from. I mean, I probably have 90% of the books out there that have anything to do with polymer clay (hey, I'm in a masters degree program, remember?!), and I have actually read most of them. And then there are all the videos and DVDs I've purchased (yes, and watched) by some of the greatest polymer clay artists out there. Add in the many articles I've read and workshops and retreats I've attended in the last three years and I'm feeling pretty saturated by polymer clay information.

So when I bought these last three books it was more because of my addiction for new books than a hope that I might learn something new. Boy, was I wrong. Over the next three posts I will share some of what I have learned in each of these three books. Here's the first one:

My Boston Buddy Betsy Baker (sorry, I couldn't resist!) turned me on to the book "Creating with Polymer Clay: Designs, Techniques & Projects", by Steven Ford and Leslie Dierks. It's an older book, copyrighted in 1999. Many of you folks who have been messing around with polymer clay for years have probably read this one. Reading this book gave me (the nu be) a real perspective on where polymer clay is going, and how fast it's gone (since 1999).

For instance, I'm thinking this book was written before Judith Skinner created the Skinner Blend (is that true?). It looks like all the color gradations in the book are layered, not blended. This gives a very distinct, and I might add beautiful, quality to them. It inspired me to play around more with layering my colors and gradations. I'm finding it gives a piece another type of texture.

The book features a lot of polymer clay artists who don't Google well... is that because they've moved on to other media? Or are they from a pre-Internet wave of artists. Many folks have mentioned the importance of the Internet in expanding the interest of polymer clay. It seems to me that the number of people who are now using polymer clay has boomed since the information resource of the Internet has become available (any long time clayers like to comment on this?). There's also a section in the book that looks at where polymer clay might be heading, which I found fascinating.

I won't drag this blog on any longer and end by saying if you don't have a copy of this book, at the very least, borrow a copy from a friend or your local library. It might give you a fresh look at the colorful clay we all love to mess with.


Polka Dot Creations said...

Ooh, I've had that book since it came out, and I love it! I think maybe everyone who has spent any time in this medium has a particular fondness for the first few books that fueled their passion... I've been at it since 1996, and since there weren't a whole lot of books published on the subject, the ones I had got a lot of use. I do think you're right about the Skinner Blend. If it was around then, it wasn't yet part of the basic vocabulary as it is today. As for the artists who don't google well, I wonder about that, too. Many of them don't show up in any recent clay books, either, so it's likely that they've either moved on to other things, or are working in relative obscurity and eschew the online polymer clay community, or the internet in general.

I just found your blog today - thanks for linking to my store. And I love your new bracelets!

Raven's Clay said...

I love the Polka Dot website, and want lots of people to buy things from you so you'll stick around! lol. I just have to ration the number of times I go there because inevitably I buy something I "just have to have?. ;) So, expect more links!

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