In the Russia Pages

Polymer clay of RussiaWhile doing my research this week on Russian polymer, I finally  got to see what their polymer magazine looks like. I knew there was one out there but it’s really hard to search for “Russian Polymer Clay magazine” when you don’t have the corresponding keys to type Полимерная глина on your keyboard. The title you see says “Polymer Clay” and in the pink says “in Russia”, at least that is what Google told me. But it took me a while to figure that out since I couldn’t copy it from the image. In other words, there are barriers to us seeing the full range of what the world is doing in polymer because language can get in the way. But some of us are determined … or just plain obsessed with seeing everything people are doing with this wonderful medium!

This cover piece is by Maria Vidova. I feel pretty sure it is not 100% polymer clay but I can’t read it to find out–not yet at least. It is a beautifully laid out piece with the green of the succulents being repeated in the green stones. With both plant and gems being important focal points, having the same green color presents the plants and stones as equally precious objects of beauty, which I have to agree with.

Those succulents look perfectly real, don’t they? Well, their perfection comes from silicone molds and she uses liquid polymer to give it that partially translucent look. The molds look to be of her making and she sells them on her Creative Molds website. You’ll need Google Translate to navigate (if you use the Chrome browser, it usually does this automatically for you) or you can write them for instructions at

Now, how about getting our hands on a copy of this beautifully presented magazine? Well, I’m going to! And since they do have this available in a digital format, all of us non-Russian speaking folks should be able to copy out the text and get some kind of translation on Google. But you know you want it for the art, even if it will be a bit more challenging to read.

You can get issues of Polymer Clay in Russia in digital or print on the polymerclay-guild-ru site.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Find work from a region of the world you are not familiar with–and it doesn’t have to be polymer, it could be any medium–and pick out the elements that you like as a source of inspiration for a new piece. Don’t copy what you see; just take the time to determine what makes it work and why you like it then take that knowledge and create an inspired piece of your own.


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Try Your Hand at Hollow Translucents

trans lpc beads youtubeHow about creating and exploring your own translucent beads this weekend? These beads you see here are from a video tutorial by Sandrartes.

The translucent beads were created with liquid polymer and colored with markers. The video is pretty thorough, showing you how to create a form from a wrapped ball of cotton, covered in a simple air dry clay slip, all the way through making liquid polymer caps embedded with headpins to hang your beads. There’s no accompanying documentation or verbal instruction, just a few text screens to further instruct, so you need to pay careful attention to the visuals to catch everything she does.

Click here or on the image to see the video. These beads are actually quite different for her. Everything else she posts is of figurines and cutesy decor. But she is very generous with her tutorials, so if you are in the mood for something fun and light to play with this weekend, check out her YouTube channel.






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While Waiting for your Pardo Translucent Clay …

It’s funny how many comments and emails I got on Monday when I mentioned that I had untouched blocks of Pardo translucent clay in my studio. There is such a demand and yet so little available. I have had email conversations with a contact at Viva Decor but I never got a straight answer as to why its in such short supply or when we might expect to see it more readily available. So what’s a frustrated artist to do? As far as actually getting your hands on some, your best bet in the US seems to be getting on’s waiting list. (Is it any easier getting it in Europe by chance?)

In the meantime, I say go play with our other options. Pardo may be the clearest (so we’ve heard) but only in the clays themselves. The absolute clearest polymer you can work with is Fimo Decorating Gel. Although it can also be tough to locate in some places, it’s not impossible to get a hold of. (See our post last year regarding Fimo Gel and a false rumor; I listed places to find it.) You may not consider Fimo Gel to be a primary polymer to create forms with but with a little outside-the-box thinking, you’ll find you certainly can work with it as something other than an addition to the surface of clay.

Kathrin Neumaier has been playing extensively with both Pardo Translucent Art Clay and Fimo Gel, sometimes interchangeably. Here is a piece in Pardo Tranlucent clay (and what a fun piece!):


And here are basically the same forms but created in Fimo Gel:



So, yes, you can form pieces from liquid polymer and get a translucene as good if not better than with the elusive Pardo. And just think … there’s no conditioning!

The easiest way I found to work with liquid polymer as a form is to start out making sheets of cured lpc. You simply drizzle then lightly brush out the liquid polymer on a clean and very smooth, flat surface and bake it like that. A piece of tempered glass or polished sheet metal is an ideal surface. If you don’t have either, you can use a sheet of window glass (you can buy small panes at hardware stores or take the glass out of a picture frame) but you should put untempered glass into a cold oven and wait until it’s completely cooled before taking it out–rapid temperature changes can cause the glass to crack. (And tape up the raw glass edges with masking tape–let’s not cut ourselves!)

If the liquid polymer comes out of the oven still a little milky in spots wave a heat gun over it, keeping the heat a couple inches (50mm) away until it goes clear. (If you baked it on untempered glass, take it off the glass first.) Then you can cut whatever forms you want from that sheet. You can even add more liquid polymer to build it up or add color.

I would say about half the work I did in the first couple years I worked with polymer was created with lpc forms made this way and not just with Fimo Gel. After practicing for a bit, I could get any lpc to got completely clear. It just takes a little patience but its wonderful fun.

Kathrin has made all kinds of forms from liquid polymer including hollow beads and one piece collar necklaces. If you have the translucent bug, you need to take some time to browse through her Flickr pages for some inspiring ideas on what you might try while waiting for your Pardo.

Scribbles and Dots

A simple idea to share today–the use of liquid polymer as a textural medium applied with a free-form drawing approach. A nice, thick liquid polymer such as Fimo Deco Gel or Sculpey’s Bake and Bond will stay raised so that you can draw lines, squiggles, dots or whatever you desire onto the surface of your clay or the surface of anything you can then bake.

I remember seeing these pieces by Libby Mills some years ago but never got around to playing with the idea … but for some reason I’m thoroughly enamored of the idea this week and have been scribbling away.



You can see that Libby often colors her liquid polymer or burnishes it later on. Alcohol inks, oil paints and mica powders can be used to color your scribble medium.

My experiments with other liquid polymers lead me to discover you can actually scribble with them if you take a couple extra steps. I found that adding an abundance of powdered colorant such as pastels, iron oxides or mica powders can get thinner, self-leveling liquid polymers to stand up quite a bit … but only for a little while. They will eventually spread. However, if you use a baked piece of polymer and warm the clay first, the lpc will set on the clay at you scribble. I use my trusty hot plate/mug warmer to heat up the cured clay then, leaving the piece on the warmer, I can draw away. It even works on perpendicular surfaces. You can also warm the cured clay in the oven and then draw on it but you’ll need to work quickly before it cools down too much.

So what do you think? Time to put your scribbling skills to work?

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