Sunday, November 11, 2007

Polymer Clay Community

I have been using polymer clay since 1982 and started teaching it in 1987. Polymer clay has been in my home since and I assume it'll be there when I die. I've joked with my kids that at my funeral I want everyone to take home a clay souvenir. (they don't think it's funny, but I'm serious about it)..

Through my experience and journey with clay I've never joined a clay group, a swap or taken a class. I just love it so much, I dove in and found it was something I was good at. I've never considered myself an elitist or part of the "art" community when it comes to clay. I do my thing, you do yours. I admire other people's work and am inspired by some. A lot of people know who I am because of all of the shows I've done and now, because of the Internet. I still have a day job though, cause I've never been quite able to only live on my clay alone. It supplements my income and satisfies my creative cravings.

So, it really amazes me at all of the negative postings I've read on some clay forums in regard to the Polyform/Donna Dewberry partnership. A lot of clay "divas" are mad that they weren't consulted or chosen to be a part of the decisions of the clay and some complain about the certification. Some didn't bother applying for it, so they have nothing to whine about. Others did, but were cynical and negative. I personally applied cause I didn't want to miss out on it and thought it would be fun. If something comes of it, cool. If not, I'm not going to be disappointed.

When I read the comments that people make on the boards, I wonder where their egos come from. Some of the complaints: that they weren't chosen to be a part of it, they weren't consulted about the new clay , they doubt the competence of the manufacturers , they make fun of the trainers and they even have made fun of the names of the clay colors. I've noticed an arrogance mixed in with a lot of ignorance and wrong assumptions.

I've not made any comments on my own on the boards. It's a waste of time to argue and try to justify what Polyform has done. My goodness, they've been in business for 30 plus years and they sell clay around the world. The polymer diva's who buy clay couldn't have kept them in business that long. Too bad these complainers couldn't have taken the factory tour with me. They'd soon realize that the thousands and thousands of bars of clay that were EVERYWHERE weren't being sold to just an elite few.

My opinion is that polymer clay is what it is to the person that is using it. If you make stunningly beautiful canes and it takes you hours to complete a piece then I can see how you would feel that your piece is valuable and an expression of art. Maybe it can go into the Smithsonian Museum. Or maybe you are like me and make cute little characters that make people smile. Finally, you might be a 6 year old cutting out a Christmas ornament and baking it for your mother. Each one of us feels our work is meaningful. It's not the median we use, but what we do with it.

Clay is like crayons. Some people scribble and others make beautiful artwork.

Here are two links to show what can be done with crayons....

Jeffery Robert

The Crayon Artist

Now let's all stop arguing about the medium and start creating with it.:)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ups Nightmare and Snowbabies in Ireland

Now I know why I only use USPS to ship. The reason; United Parcel Service is inept and rude.

Today I got the chance to "attempt" to pick up my big box from Polyform. It's been waiting at the UPS station in Detroit for about 5 days. The driver only left me a final attempt notice on Friday night,,failed to leave me the first and second attempt notice.

Anyway, I live about 8 or 9 miles from the UPS location in Detroit, and it's not the nicest of areas. It's funny, cause it's directly across the street from the neighborhood I grew up in back in 1960s. I could see my front yard as I turned into the UPS parking lot. The lot was busy with big UPS trucks and people with packages; however, those people with packages were finding out (as did I) that the office hours were 11:00 am to 7 pm.
It was 9:30 am..a wasted trip for me and three other customers.

I guess it wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't taken me 26 minutes to drive 8 miles. I wasn't prepared for the road crew that had completely taken over the main route to UPS. Warren Avenue is undergoing major road repair and it was horrible driving. I drive a little metro and it was stop and go along the way with huge tractors and machinery turning, backing up, stopping. There was a slight drop off to the right of the road that I was trying like heck to avoid. Someone has an accident and there were cops everywhere, glass, ambulances. Construction workers were measuring out lengths of the road and were standing in the middle of traffic. I actually was relieved when I crossed from Dearborn (where all this construction was) to Detroit. The graffiti scribbled on burned out buildings was looking pretty good compared to the nightmarish traffic I had just endured. So, when I discovered that I had just wasted gas and 30 minutes of my time because UPS was closed, I started to get upset. I think I may have been swearing to myself as I pulled out of the congested driveway and headed back home (avoiding Warren Avenue)..

I called UPS and complained about the driver's inefficiency and was tossed around to different departments. Finally, someone from the Detroit station called me back and told me that I had to be home to sign for the package. When I informed her that I had to be at work, she told me that most people don't have packages sent to their home if they weren't going to be there.
An argument ensued and before I knew it, she had hung up on me.

By then, I had started to feel my chest tighten up and I called customer service. I'm usually an easy going person, but UPS's unwillingness to help me out and inability to proclaim it's fault in this matter, made me mad.

Thank God, the customer service woman did her best and suggested that the package be sent to my job. I liked this idea, and from now on, all packages sent to me will be delivered to my work address. After I receive my package, I'll take pictures of some of the projects and all that wonderful clay and post it here...

Ok, for some happier news...

My Snowman cake topper arrived in Ireland safe and sound.

The couple who ordered the topper sent me a check in Euros and my bank wouldn't cash it. I was supposed to send it back to my customer so they could send me another form of payment. I hadn't mailed the topper, and time went by, so I sent the check and the topper to Ireland. Shipping was around $15.00 and it arrived in 5 days. I sent the buyers an invoice through paypal and even though they didn't have an account, by evening they had signed up and paid me in full.
Leap of faith on my part to send something across the ocean without payment. I am not the sharpest business person, so luckily it worked out.

I've shipped clay pieces to Australia, the North Pole, England, Germany, and South America, and, now, Ireland. My clay babies have traveled more than I have.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Step by step picture tutorial

Here's a quick and easy way to make a turkey. You can adjust the size by adding more quantities of clay. I've included a penny in the pictures to give you an idea of size.

First you roll a ball of brown clay about the size of a walnut...

Then roll smaller ball of yellow, one of red, one of orange and one of brown...

Roll the smaller balls into snakes....

Then, twist all the colors together,,kind of like a candy cane...

Smooth the candy cane and break into 7 equal pieces (we will call these feathers)

Roll out each feather smoothly in your hand and bring to a point. Flatten slightly. Place one on top, one on each side, then fill in the back with the remaining feathers. Put slight pressure to attach to back.

Roll out a tube about 1/2 inch long, this is the neck and head. Attach to middle front of body.
Add a yellow beak, red wattle...
Back in oven for 20 minutes at 265 degrees..let cool.

You can use this as a decoration on your table, or make several and use for each person's place setting.

If you have any questions, email me at

Friday, November 2, 2007

UPS,,final attempt notice

Tonight, when I came home from work, I found a final notice on my door from the UPS man. I have been expecting my box of goodies to come from Polyform Products (my clay, my projects we worked on, etc.), however, I wasn't expecting a "final notice".. Seeing that really irked me, what happened to "first attempt", and "second attempt"? If the lazy driver would have taken 5 seconds to leave me a notice the first two tries , I could have driven over to their office during the day. But, it's Friday evening and now I have to wait till Tuesday, since I can't go on Monday. Oh well, patience is a virtue, so I guess I'll be waiting.

I'm going to do a quick tutorial (very basic,,just to give you an idea) of a clay project Saturday, November 3, so check back in the evening for a free lesson and pictures!

See you later..

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