Disney Claymation Story About A Mom and Her Son

Disney Logo From Wikipedia

Animation Film Director for Disney’s “Brother Bear” Production, Discovers Polymer Clay:

Well I don’t know if she’ll be the next Disney claymation expert or not, but I just got the greatest letter from one of my subscribers that I’d love to share.

Hi Cindy,

Thank you for the wonderful knowledge that you share with all of the budding “Artists” out there.

I have to tell you, my son is really proud of his mom for doing something with the talent that god gave me and I am glad to have you to help me along and teach a great bunch of mini courses.

My son’s name is Aaron Blaise and he is an animation film director for Disney. He directed “Brother Bear” and is now working on a computer-animated film about Elves.

He is a gifted Artist and what is so ironic is I went to California and while I was out there I taught Aaron and my grandchildren how to work with Polymer clay.

It was so enjoyable to teach him something he didn’t know about and I have to thank you for the guidance.

I guess I have been long winded with this letter but I wanted to share this with you. Keep up the good work and keep in touch. Have a peaceful and wonderful Easter.

Christine Maher

How cool is that! Christine is not only excited about learning more about polymer clay, but she is also sharing what she has learned with her grandchildren and her Disney Animation Director son, Aaron Blaise!

Wow, Christine! I Googled Aaron and found this informative Disney interview article done by Anwar Brett of the BBC. You must be very proud of him!

Beginning his Disney career with Roller Coaster Rabbit and The Rescuers Down Under, Blaise became a supervising animator on such films as Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and Mulan. Brother Bear marks his debut as director.

I can see how it would be enjoyable to teach your son some tricks with polymer clay that he didn’t know about. Now you can can add Disney Claymation Consultant to your list of life’s accomplishments :)

Thank you so much for sharing your letter and that story Christine.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 23 March, 2008

    Oh Christine… I am so sorry for your loss. I am sure that your son and your grandchidren hold those memories of you all creating polymer clay beads together, very close to their hearts. The beads they made will always be a reminder of that special day. May you all heal swiftly. Cindy

  2. Christine Maher, 23 March, 2008

    I am thrilled to have you share the letter I wrote you but I neglected to add there was one other person who I taught while I was at Aaron’s home. It was his beautiful wife,Karen who was battling breast cancer at the time .She also sat down for”lessons”and as weak and frail as she was,loved working with her hands creating some neat beads. She lost her battle shortly after my visit and the Lord took her home March 11th of last year.Aaron and the children are still healing but they remember the day mom took lessons from grandma and it puts a smile on their faces. I have a great picture of all of them working together.
    Cindy thanks for shareing this story.
    Your friend,
    Christine Maher

  3. Christine Maher, 23 March, 2008

    I appreciate you printing my letter on my daughter-in-law,Karen.She was an acomplished artist and she also incouraged me to use my talents.Aaron and Karen met at Ringling School of Art and both continued on after graduation–Aaron with Disney and Karen, being the free spirit that she was,enjoyed working with glass,mosaics,jewlery making and just a variety of different mediums.She absolutely loved Dragonflies and I now make dragonfly pins in polymer clay in rememberance of Karen.I will always cherish the time I had “Teaching” the crew.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 23 March, 2008

    That is so interesting hearing you talk about Karen’s artistic endeavours and your continuing on with her passion for dragonflies. I have also worked with mosaics, jewelry, a multitude of other mediums and have a great love of dragonflies. I have made them in mosaic, in metal and paper. I have twisted them from wire and painted them on glass. I too have combined polymer clay with dragonflies but instead of pins I have made beads. We may just be kindred spirits, you and I.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 24 March, 2008

    If anyone else has any polymer clay sculpture or claymation stories to share, I’d love to hear them too. Cindy’s last blog post..Storing Polymer Clay – Plastic Wraps To Avoid

  6. Josh, 24 May, 2009

    Hi Cindy, my name is Josh, and I’m probably one of the most unlikely persons that you’d guess might be contacting you. I’m a 29-year-old male, an entertainment journalist by trade, and a big video game and rock music fan. ;)

    I started doing some Googling on the subject of FIMO and Sculpey modeling after seeing some really nice-looking mini sculptures and keychains, and I’m at the beginning stage of considering it as a hobby.

    Right now I’m just doing research to find out what kind of clay to buy that would suit my needs best (for making simple, mini-models or keychains of various video game/pop culture nostalgia).

    I just wanted to let you know that I really like some of your work that I’ve seen on your site, and I’ve gotten some good info from some of your blogs, like your suggestion that beginners use Sculpey’s Premo instead of III. I’m sure this info will help me make the right choice when I finally make that first order…and undoubtedly mess up the entire stock on my first attempt. ;)

    Anyway, thanks for the site! Cheers. ~Josh-B

  7. Cindy Lietz, 24 May, 2009

    Hi Josh,

    Good to hear from you. I get questions from 9 year olds to 90 year olds, male and female, living in countries through out the world that I’ve hardly even heard of. Polymer clay is really developing a diverse following of creative folks. It’s very exciting! As an entertainment journalist / video gamer that loves rock music… you definitely fit right in :)

    Glad to hear you are enjoying and learning lots from my blog. Definitely avoid Sculpey III for sculpting projects… way to weak. Premo is your best bet for sure. BTW, there are specialty clays available for sculpting but they are hard to find and quite expensive. I would not suggest starting out with them.

    Since you are brand new to clay, I’d really encourage you to consider “investing” in my Polymer Clay Beginners Course BEFORE you buy your supplies. Based on lots of positive input that comes in almost daily, I can quite confidently say that purchasing the course will likely save you money. Here’s some recent feedback from happy students…

    “I WISH I had bought the course (which I did a few days ago with birthday money) before I bought a bunch of Sculpey a couple of weeks ago while it was on sale. I now know first hand that it’s too soft to use for canes. Never having played with polymer clay, I would have thought I was doing something wrong because it was way too soft and I couldn’t cut the log without squishing the whole thing flat.” ~Joyce-R

    “I have been reviewing the Basics Course I purchased from you, I am so excited. You have covered so much wonderful information for beginners to polymer clay and thrown in some neat little surprises that most all crafters would enjoy learning. You have provided us with 39 different videos for an unbelievable price. Again, thank you for a delightful way to gain instruction for the polymer clay medium!” ~Debbie-M

    “Hi Cindy, I am very pleased with the course. It is great to have a visual learning tool and the quality of your tutorials is great! There were many things I wouldn’t have known if not for your helpful tips. And your service is wonderful! I can’t believe how much I got for the money. I’m also a member of your library. Glad I found you.” ~Sue-W

    “Hi Cindy. There are not enough words to describe all the wonderful and helpful information I’ve received from your polymer clay beginners course. You’re step by step instructions are great, and I can stop the videos and start them wherever I need to. I refer back to the videos when I get stumped or just need a refresher. Please email me when you’ve finished the next course, I promise to purchase it. Newbee and learning more every day thanks to you.” ~Paul-A

    “Cindy I want to say that your beginning course is the best I have experienced. I have purchased several dvd’s and found your on line course to be the most informative with basic information and tips which I am sure will lead to a better product and a more confident “clayer”. Thanks for doing this. I don’t think anyone else has. You can tell your video camera person that they did a great job. Too many videos don’t show the close-ups so one can tell exactly what to do.” ~Lynn-S

    I’ve got pages and pages of positive feedback like this if you want to see more. Although the beginners course is not specifically about sculpting, it does cover everything you will need to learn about polymer clay in order to get started with sculpting.

    You can click the link by my name for more info about the course

  8. Lana Klassen, 01 August, 2009

    Hi, Cindy;

    I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple of months and have found it to be a great resource for ideas and techniques. I do not yet subscribe to the videos (that will have to wait until fall, when I will be back at school with High Speed access!) I have a question about baking the clay. I’m sure you get these inquiries all the time, but I am so frustrated I’m almost ready to quit claying! I have checked the temperature of the oven (130C) with 2 separate thermometers. I have baked with tiles to keep the temps stable. I have baked for over an hour. I am using Premo, which is supposed to be strong. And yet my projects just snap in half with very little pressure. They are small molded faces, about 1/4″ at the thickest.

    I want to be able to teach my High School Art students how to use Poly clay, but I can’t get past this problem!

    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Lana Klassen

  9. Cindy Lietz, 04 August, 2009

    Hi Lana, I’m sorry to hear that you are having so much trouble. Hopefully we can figure out what the problem is.

    Sounds like you are doing a lot of things right, maybe it’s just one little thing. I’ll need to ask a few more questions in order to help.

    Are you baking your little faces on cornstarch by chance? If the thickest parts are 1/4″, what are the thinnest areas? Also are you thoroughly conditioning the clay before putting it in the mold?

  10. Lana Klassen, 05 August, 2009

    Hi, Cindy!

    Thanks so much for getting back to me! I appreciate that you are a busy woman. I also asked for help straight from Polyform, and their advice was to bake at a higher temperature than was listed on the package (which is frustrating, ’cause why not just print that on the package, you know?) So I baked at 145C for an hour, and lo and behold- strong clay! No breaking, no cracking, I can bend it, it stays strong! I am so happy! Now I can go on the try more of the techniques featured on your blog, knowing that the results will not break.

    About your questions- I am not baking on cornstarch, though I did use it as a mold release, brushed on gently with a small paintbrush. The thinnest parts of my little faces is about 1/16″ at the edges.

    Thanks again for your reply,
    Lana Klassen

  11. Cindy Lietz, 05 August, 2009

    Geez Lana that is interesting! They’ve been playing around with the formulas so much lately it’s hard to keep up!

    So good to know! Will let everyone else know this as well. People will need to be careful not to burn their clay but if they use an oven thermometer this will help.

    If you tent your pieces this will help in scorching as well.

    As far as the cornstarch goes, that amount will have no effect on your clays strength.

    Thank you so much for coming back here and sharing this information!

    **For those of you who do not know, 145C = 293F which is quite hot as far as polymer clay baking goes, though Kato Clay has been know to bake at the 300F mark and a little higher, so it does make sense.

    There is more discussion about baking temperatures and cracked/crumbling clay issues over in a more recent thread. You can follow the “Polymer Clay Videos” link by my name above to check it out.

  12. Jocelyn, 05 August, 2009

    Excellent information, thank you so much for the share!

  13. Sue, 05 August, 2009

    Hi Cindy,

    Just to clarify your second-last paragraph, Kato is RECOMMENDED to bake at 300F/150C. It is “known” to bake higher (e.g. at 325F/163C or even more). There’s a bit more info on the following web page: katopolyclay.com/about.html

    From the testing I’ve done (and info from Van Aken) you really have to bake Kato at at least 300F for proper strength, so I didn’t want people to think 300F was an “option” for Kato, which is how it sounded.


  14. Jocelyn, 05 August, 2009

    Christine, what a wonderful story and legacy left by your Mom. I am so sorry that she lost her battle with cancer. My Mom did too, and it was terrible. But, my fondest memories of her are remembering her crafting, especially with the grandchildren.

    She was a hot ticket, and very inventive. Unfortunately, her hands were affected by arthritis in her later years, so polymer clay manipulation was beyond her. Still worked out, we made her the official antique-r and dipper into finishes for all our projects, lol. And she loved that pasta machine….

    She also took beautiful photographs of the natural world, and, some of her pictures of frost patterns backlit by dawn or dusk were amazing.

    Cannot wait to get those out, and try to replicate some of those patterns in polymer clay this winter.

  15. Craig Sutherland, 13 July, 2014

    I am working with Fimo and Claytoon clay to do a stop motion project.
    Problem is that I’m using a smooth-foam body and the clay melts the foam if it’s kept on for a period of time making it impossible to re-use the bodies for other characters.
    Any insight on this? Is there a coating I could use first to stop the reaction?

  16. Cindy Lietz, 17 July, 2014

    Hmm, I haven’t done claymation myself so I am not familiar with the foam body that you are referring to. Would it be possible to make a body form out of polymer clay instead, so this wouldn’t be an issue? Are you actually baking the fimo portions of your figure or leaving it raw? Does the foam handle the heat of the oven? Or is it a raw clay on foam incompatibility issue? Either way you could possibly coat the foam body with acrylic paint or gesso or something as a barrier between the clay and the foam. Acrylic paint is compatible with polymer clay, so if it will stick to the foam then that might work as a way to stop the clay from reacting to the foam. Good luck! Let us know what ends up working for you!

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