30 Years Later and Polymer Clay Is Even More Popular Than Ever:
It’s funny how things change over the years. Jewelry styles shift and morph (kind of like hair styles). Popular colors come and go. Even the way crafting materials are used, such as polymer clay, change with time.
Over the last few days, I’ve been doing some reminiscing about how much polymer clay techniques have changed since the 1980’s, as well as, how we learn about them.
If you read my recent post abut the colorful J Earrings, you’ll see that the 80’s are making a bit of a resurgence as far as fashion trends go. Rainbow colored accessories seem to be coming back into style.
The vintage picture of me above (circa 1980), has me wearing a pair of huge polymer clay earrings. No I didn’t make them myself, I bought them, but it did get me to thinking about how polymer clay was back then.
Everyone called it Fimo. It was the only brand available at the time and it wasn’t really considered all that ‘classy ‘ of an art material. I did play with Fimo clay back in the 80’s for a bit. But it always looked a little bit ‘hokey’.. OK a lot hokey!
People made large sculptural jewelry pieces with thick globby lacquered coatings. I dabbled around and made a few beads and earrings which usually ended up breaking due to improper baking. Now we’re talking about the same clay that today polymer clay artists are making museum quality pieces with, so it wasn’t the material… it was the knowledge of it.
Today, with the help of TV, the Internet and the creativity of the pioneers such as Donna Kato, the knowledge that can be shared about how to work with polymer clay has improved vastly and quickly.
About ten years ago I came across a few packages of Fimo leftover from my dismal attempts in the 80’s. After kneading it for about an hour, it finally got pliable enough to make into a few beads. Better than the 80’s ones, but not by too much.
When I was nursing my youngest child, I watched a lot of HGTV and saw Donna Kato make a Skinner Blend on the Carol Duvall Show. It looked so easy. Cool! I was interested again!
This was the late 90’s and things had changed a lot as far as I could see. But there was still little available as far as information. So I just continued to play with the clay off and on, trying to figure it out.
It wasn’t until probably the last 5 years that I got anywhere with the clay. More books were coming out and I was slowly finding info on the Internet. It wasn’t easy though. Not like today. You had to plow through a lot of junk to find any gems so the learning was slow. And there weren’t any workshops or craft classes to learn from around here either.
That struggle is the main reason my DH Doug and I started this blog, the Polymer Clay Tutor Library and the Beginners Bead Making Course. I know it can be very exciting when you see what is being made with polymer clay and very disappointing when it doesn’t turn out right. And I wanted to use my experience as a craft teacher, to help you avoid the pitfalls of having to learn all on your own.
So we created a place for you to come, where you can learn all the secrets of working with polymer clay, without ever having to feel foolish or frustrated. Where you can learn by my mistakes, so you don’t have to make them yourself. And where you can have success right away… not 30 years after you pick up your first block of clay!
I am happy that things do change over time. I am happy to be teaching you how to make polymer clay beads and that we can all learn together in such a positive community. Thank you so much for being part of this community and making that possible!