Memories for a Lifetime


IMG 0275 350x421 - Memories for a Lifetime

ellen talk S4 430x256 - Memories for a Lifetime

I know I showed you a bit of the sample “Into the Forest” installation last week, but I didn’t get in this mosaic created by Julie Eakes for the exhibition that will be installed in November. I think Julie gets the prize for the most intense and biggest piece to go into the installation. I uploaded a fairly large image of this so if you click on the photo, it should open up in a browser window and you can zoom in to see all the individual canes that make up the idyllic scene.

I wish you could zoom in on the screens you see here in the main assembly room as Ellen Prophater presented her talk on mokume gane. Oh, the secrets and the great tips and tricks she gave away during this talk! This kind of thing was happening all over and made the price of this event well worth it on that basis alone. The friendships and conversations, however, they make it priceless.

If you didn’t get to make Synergy and haven’t been to any major events lately or ever, keep them in mind. Save up your pennies and plan to get that time off from work for the next big event you can possibly work into your schedule. They are each an experience you’ll keep with you all life long.


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - Memories for a Lifetime    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Enticing and Entertaining

Bonnie Bishoff necklace 350x327 - Enticing and EntertainingIMG 0237 430x280 - Enticing and EntertainingThe art jewelry at these events is also a big draw. There is nothing quite like seeing masterful polymer work in person.

Here is a gorgeous piece by Bonnie Bishoff. She wore it to the final gala event and I just could not stop looking at the delicate forms and sunset-like colors. The picture (and the poor lighting in these places) doesn’t quite do it justice.

Another bonus to coming to these events is the local color. In this case, Sherman Oberson, a board member of the IPCA and a local Pennsylvania resident, treated a small handful of us to a tour of his insanely packed and ever-entertaining collection of flea market and thrift store finds. We did this, in part, to honor Nan Roche whose birthday it was. A huge collector of the curious and visually enticing herself, it was a perfect birthday outing for her and an immensely entertaining evening for those of us who got to tag along.

Poke around on Instagram and Facebook for more on Sherman’s place and other Synergy events.


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - Enticing and Entertaining    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


On my way to Synergy!

img 0221 1 338x450 - On my way to Synergy!Off to catch a plane but wanted to give you a heads up. Since I am at Synergy all week I’m going to be visiting you with pictures from the event as there will be no time to research online. Not sure exactly what the posts will be, and it might just be twice this week with a nice recap on the weekend, but I hope to get photos of some eye candy and fun people to send your way.

Here is one of my older pieces coming with me to the show. Not sure why I stopped wearing it so pulled it out dusted it off, and we’ll see if it is up to snuff. There always so many beautiful pieces at these events!

Soon to be reporting from the trenches… over and out for now.



Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Neverknead 052217 - On my way to Synergy!    The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog


Winter is Here and so are 20% Discounts

collage-16p4-v1Some quick news for you today then we’ll resume with eye candy and design ideas on Wednesday.

The Winter 2016–On the Surface issue is here and if you are a subscriber, it’s either in your inbox or being shipped as you read this. It’s release was yesterday so if you are due a digital edition, check your inboxes (or junkmail/spam folder if it’s not there) or start keeping your eye on the mailbox.

If you don’t have your copy on order yet, head over to the website and get yours now.

In addition, we thought we’d start the holidays off right by getting a big sale going for backs issues and copies of Polymer Journeys, just in time for holiday present buying or just treating yourself.

The 12 Days of Savings Sale: 20% off all Print and Digital editions of our Single Magazine Issues and Books

… even off already discounted books, packages, and shipping (where it’s not already included)! Discount will be applied to your cart total. Save up to 30% off the cover price when purchasing already-discounted multiple issue packages! Good through December 12th … use promo code: 12Days20

Okay … off to wrap up things for the Winter issue. Enjoy your Monday and the new issue when you get to it.


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners.

Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog  never knead -july-2015c-125   The Great Create Sept 15 blog   businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front


Into the Forest

13576637_10154283234709491_7192967860885552779_oOkay, so this might just be a week of announcements but they are exciting announcements, let me tell you.

During her general assembly presentation at Eurosynergy, Laura Tabakman spoke about her projects, many of which are huge undertakings involving installations of her work and the work of others in anything from organic floor compositions in a gallery to entire bridges yarn bombed by the whole of the local community. So it wasn’t a complete surprise that she has a very ambitious project up her sleeve right now. The difference is that this project can include you!

Laura paired up with the very organized and motivated Emily Squires Levine to work on a project inspired by their time under the aspens in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Living here, I completely get what got their creative juices flowing. I am constantly amazed by the color, variety and just stunning beauty of the mountains here. I honestly have yet to find a place in the world I think is more beautiful than the scenery here. Laura and Emily were similarly impressed and started working out an idea for a large Rocky Mountain forest inspired installation. Later on they got Julie Eakes on board and between the three of them the seeds of the “Into the Forest” project was born. And just hours before Laura’s presentation, the threesome set up a Facebook page to help facilitate what is certainly to be an immense and fascinating project.

So what is “Into the Forest”? The image here is their first assembly based on the project idea and here is their description:

“An international collaboration of polymer artists and enthusiasts inspired by the high altitude aspen groves in the Rocky Mountains, “Into the Forest” is an evolving mixed media international installation organized by collaborating artists Laura Tabakman, Emily Squires Levine and Julie Eakes. Imagine yourself in a forest. On the ground beneath a canopy of branches and leaves, unexpected life exists. Look closely, be amazed at the variety of these organic forms. Be a part of our Forest and help it flourish! Create pieces which will form its life elements. We will combine them into living colonies of varying shapes, colors and sizes. We are looking for 1000s of elements, created by our international polymer community, to inhabit our Forest.”

To get involved, request an invitation to the “Into the Forest” Facebook group. There are already over 150 polymer artists and enthusiasts that have pledged to help. I know I’m excited. Jump over to the Facebook page to get more information and follow the project on Instagram (intotheforest17).


Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Here’s a simple one … join the project! Make one element a day or at least every other day, to send off to the project. I started on leaves on the weekend and ideas for lichen and other creeping color. We have until April 4th of 2017 which, making one little simple piece a day means you could have a couple hundred to contribute by April!


Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners:

Shades of Clay  Polymer Clay TV

2Wards Polymer Clay  The Great Create  The Polymer Arts Subscription


Polymer Color Recipes in an App? Why, Yes!

color MixrSo I spent my day at Sandy Camp in San Diego with a wonderfully enthusiastic group. I taught a mokume gane workshop with my little clayers coming up with some gorgeous results. However, I was too busy chatting and answering questions to direct my in-room photographer (thanks Mrs. Friesen!) to get some close up shots of the really wonderful color combinations and patterns that filled the tables. But what I did get, as did the rest of the lucky attendees, was a first look at a great new app created by our community’s own Nancy Ulrich. It may not seem like digital apps would have a place in hands-on craft, but this one was created just for clayers like you and me. Especially if you like color.

Well, that’s a silly thing to say. Who here doesn’t like color? But who here dreads trying to work up a color palette then figure out the color recipe for each color? If you raised a virtual hand in response to both those questions, then the ColorMixr app is going to be your new best friend! This is a purely polymer-clay-centric, color-picking, and palette-creating app. It was just released last night–it had just gone live in the Google Store hours before the demo I saw and the first Apple downloads happened by people in the room as Nancy presented it.

Here’s how it works: You take a photo, upload an image, or pick something you find online and feed it into the app . The app has little circles that will automatically pick out 5 colors to create a palette but you can also move over the image until each circle is over a color you want (see the screen shot upper left). You can also choose colors in a color wheel to adjust the color choices (screen shot upper right). Once you have your palette saved inot your palette library (screen shot lower left), tap on the palette to get a list of the color recipes for each color in it (screen shot lower right) … based off your specified brand of polymer! That’s pretty darn nifty! And know that Nancy has personally mixed and checked all 2000+ colors recipes available in this app–she even brought all the boxes of samples she made to prove it. Phew! She has been one busy lady!

We’ll be working on a review and a how-to-use-it article for the next issue, but in the meantime, download it for yourself and go play! It’s free to use for the next 30 days. If you like it, you can have this handy tool literally at your fingertips to capture any color sets you see out and about or online for a monthly membership ($3.99 with big discounts for pre-paid 6 & 12 month memberships) with regular color updates and/or new colors every week. Just search for “ColorMixr” (no ‘e’ in mixer) in the Google App store or Apple store.

Like this blog? Lend your support with a purchase of The Polymer Arts magazine and visit our partners:

Shades of Clay Sept 15 Blog - Polymer Color Recipes in an App? Why, Yes!  The Great Create Sept 15 blog - Polymer Color Recipes in an App? Why, Yes!  never knead july 2015c 125 - Polymer Color Recipes in an App? Why, Yes! 

 TPA McGuire blog ad - Polymer Color Recipes in an App? Why, Yes!  PCW kaleidoscope Oct 20151 - Polymer Color Recipes in an App? Why, Yes!  Print

Dreaming of Summer Colors (& New EU Taxes you should know about!)

Shall we get the not-so-nice stuff out of the way first?

The New Not-Well-Thought-Out EU Digital Tax Laws hit Worldwide on the First of the Year

If you haven’t already heard, the European Union has new laws regarding selling digital products and services to European buyers, and it goes into effect January 1st. Unlike past VAT taxes that rarely, if ever, affected micro businesses and solo sellers, this one affects everyone who sells any digital goods or services TO Europe because this new law is based on where the buyer resides, not where the seller works. Yes, even you, you seller of $3 PDF tutorials! It’s a tad insane, and most of us small, struggling businesses and artists just found out in the last couple weeks that we need to register with the EU, implement new bookkeeping & documentation storage for at least 10 years, update shopping gateways and our websites, and possibly change who/what we sell through, and we need to have it all ready before the year ends in order to offer digital goods and services to Europe in 2015 and forward. Or, we can change to whom or how we sell digital stuff. Ugh!

I wanted to inform you all of this, so you have a chance to find out if this affects you as a seller of PDF tutorials, eBooks, patterns, subscription or member services, online advertising, or automated online services of any kind and allow you time to figure out what to do. AND, to be heard if you agree that this tax is detrimental to micro and solo businesses.

Please Help. Take Action to Fix this.

Get informed, and sign the petition to have a threshold set, so small, unique sellers don’t have to pull out of Europe or go out of business because they can’t afford to comply. You can find out more about the issues with the new laws on and get the official summary of them on

The only possible salvation for many of us will be a service who can take care of  the nightmare of documenting,  setting up calculations, collecting and remitting the tax for you for all of the 28 European countries involved. There is only one viable service I have found so far, and they even offer it for free (up to 20 EU transactions a month), if they can integrate through your Paypal or similar payment service. If you think you’ll need this, write them at to find out if they can work for you.

Prices will Go Up; Buy or Renew Now  

This sudden news does not give us here at The Polymer Arts enough time to make the changes needed to collect VAT on our digital magazine sales, so we will be using an exception in the law and will have to individually email digital issues of The Polymer Arts to European readers as of next month.  This will be costly labor-wise, so we’ll have no choice but to increase prices for these manually sent issues. But, this will cost the European buyer far less than paying VAT. So, if you’re in Europe and you haven’t renewed or bought those back issues in digital that you were thinking of getting, now would be the time to do that. Just go to our website,, before the end of the year when prices for European digital purchases will go up.

10629427_755333247879748_993078646697291942_oBack to Color … 

How about today we have a moment of color indulgence with color maven and polymer pioneer, Lindly Haunani. Aren’t these colors just yummy. I know that’s not the most technical artistic term, but that about sums it up!

This image is a preview of what she’ll be teaching at Maureen Carlsons Center for Creative Arts. The workshop is entitled “Joy Garden: Translucent Polymer Innovations”, and it’ll be held Sunday, August 9th – Friday, August 14th, 2015. Yep, it’s about time to start planning for summer fun, don’t you think? Okay, maybe it’s a ways off, but you probably want to grab a spot in this workshop sooner rather than later and for those of us seeing snow out our windows, it’s kind of fun to dream about summer isn’t it?

Lindly’s blog and website, as well as her book and DVD set, are a wealth of information on color. Just jump over to her website to get links to all her wonderful stuff.


If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.


businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-front   butterfly ad 150x150 - Dreaming of Summer Colors (& New EU Taxes you should know about!)   TPA Blog Newsletter Ad  ShadesofClay 1014 v2  lpedit  tpa black ad oct 15 - Dreaming of Summer Colors (& New EU Taxes you should know about!)

The Future Faces of Polymer

sean mitchell smThis is Sean Mitchell. He’s 12 years old, home-schooled, and the youngest person to ever take a college-level polymer clay course.

Wait … is Sean the real news or is it the fact that this past year, the first college-level credit course in polymer art was actually accepted and implemented at an accredited American institution? Well, they are both news in their own way, aren’t they? Both Sean and the class are bright lights for the future of polymer art.

The class, “Art 200: Polymer Clay” was taught at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin by Diane Levesque who was also the curator for the exhibit at the H.F. Johnson Gallery of Art at Carthage CollegeA Re-Visioning: New Works in Polymer. Diane presented her overview and thoughts on the course at the Polymer 2.0 Symposium along with inviting a number of students who took the class to attend the presentation and symposium that day. Sean was one of them.

At 12 years old, Sean isn’t quite of college age and is not one of those kids skyrocketed into a university education at an early age, although I have to say, after hearing his participation in our discussions and talking with him myself, I think he could have been. He’s exceedingly bright, curious and well-spoken. It was fortunate that special circumstances and the need for a creative option in his home school curriculum landed Sean the opportunity to take this class in which he excelled. He brought this sculpture to share with us. That piece alone was pretty impressive.

So, I had to ask him … “Do you see yourself continuing to work in polymer?” His answer was yes, but he did confess that he was actually interested in going into industrial engineering. So, we may lose him to another creative area, but nonetheless, Sean as well as his fellow students, were very enthusiastic about their experience with the medium, which brought up the question, “How can we introduce polymer as an art form to more of the younger generations?”

Well, we can start with the kids in our own life. I’ve had quite the year of introducing the many facets of polymer clay to the young people in my family and beyond. I now have at least one niece that seems to be inextricably addicted to it, and she introduced it to her friends as well. Word of mouth works well in spreading the love of creating as well as in business! And, of course, if we can continue to push for college-level courses and maybe even introduce it into high schools and after-school programs, polymer can continue to expand its range and the world’s view of it as art, not just hobby craft. Wouldn’t that be exciting?


If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

Blog2 -2014-02Feb-3   polymer clay butterfly ornament sm   TPA Blog Newsletter Ad  ShadesofClay 1014 v2  tpabl-10-9072014

Get Ready to Hit the Wall

Well, if you are up for trying your hand at wall sculpture sometime soon, you may want to look at classes or supplies for your venture.

First, you might want to check out the series of articles on wall art that were published in the Spring, Summer and Fall 2013 issues of The Polymer Arts magazine. If you missed those, you can get all of the 2013 issues in a special package on our website in digital or print.

29a358bc-089c-4068-b77b-49bf9e1a3989Secondly, start gathering supplies!

I just got a sale notice from Poly Clay Play. Trish is putting Pardo clay on sale to help raise funds to pay some pesky hospital bills her hubby incurred this past summer. Sale clay and helping a fellow clayer? That’s a win-win for certain!  I personally am eyeing the new Viva Decor Inka Gold towers. Those are some yummy colors! So there’s a lot more than clay to search out here.

Trish also has great news about Pardo Translucent. There is a US supplier now, and her order is on the way. It’s coming by boat, mind you, so it might take a little while to get here, but hope is on the horizon!

So, do a little shopping at Poly Clay Play and help a really wonderful and long- standing member of our community.




If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

14-P2 CoverFnl-blog   Blog2 -2014-02Feb-1   marble cane ad

%d bloggers like this: