Polymer Clay as Creative Art Therapy for Muscle & Shoulder Injury

Spoon Jewelry by June FredericksonSpotlight: “Working with polymer clay has helped to strengthen my muscles and puts me in a zone where… all cares are moot.” ~June-F

We all have our own reasons for working with polymer clay. To some, it’s the desire of having original beads with which to make truly one-of-a-kind jewelry. For others its simply a creative outlet that provides relaxation.

But did you know that immersing yourself in a craft such as polymer clay bead making, can have significant health benefits as well?

Well in today’s Spotlight Feature, June Frederick touches on a story about how polymer clay helped her recover from shoulder injury. Hurray for polymer clay!

Related Links for today’s Spotlight: (1) Spoon Pendants; (2) Sculpted Rose Beads; (3) Leaf Canes; (4) Polymer Clay Art Therapy

Read June’s Story Below…

Here are some of the rose butterfly spoons I’ve made. I used some scrap clay to fill the hollow of the spoon and covered it with a layer of lacy clay. Then made 3 dimensional roses with butterflies on top.

The majority of my jewelry is made from polymer clay and I thank people like you Cindy, for sharing your knowledge. I have been a decorative painter for years and I’m really enjoying this great polymer clay medium.

I started out making homemade dough ornaments about 20 years ago and selling them at craft fairs. What inspires me is all the polymer clay people and their beautiful work and flowers.

Challenges: Several years ago I fell and fractured my shoulder which meant a lot of therapy. Working with polymer clay has helped to strengthen my muscles and puts me in a zone where I’m concentrating and everything and all cares are moot.

Mistakes: Oh haven’t we all made them cooking the clay to long and burning it. Not challenging myself to do bigger and better shows.

What’s Next: Just to continue with what I’m doing and always trying to improve. My husband will soon retire so I don’t know exactly what we will be doing yet.

Thank you for your interest,

~June Frederick (Cedar Rapids, IA, USA)

Spoon Jewelry by June Frederickson Spoon Jewelry by June Frederickson

Aren’t June’s Spoons lovely?! I love the dimensional look she has achieved with the layering of the leaf canes, sculpted roses, butterflies and pearls.

It is heart warming to know that not only did the polymer clay help to strengthen June’s shoulder, it also kept her mind off the pain while she was healing.

How about showing June how impressed you are with her choice of physical rehab as well as how much you appreciate her work.

Do you have any polymer clay art therapy stories of your own? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

** If you have been inspired by my teachings and would like to be featured in an upcoming Spotlight Article, then please do write up something creative and email it to me along with a selection of your project pics. Make sure to send me high resolution photos that I’ll be able to zoom in on to show the details of your work. If you don’t already have my email address, simply leave a comment below and I will get it to you right away.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. JoyceM, 27 November, 2009

    What could be lovelier than roses, pearls and butterflies? Your art is lovely, June and also being therapeutic. Love it when there is a way to give the digestive system a break and relax the mind. Continued success and a very happy retirement to you and hubby when the time comes. Aren’t we fortunate to have found Cindy?

  2. Freda K, 27 November, 2009

    What pretty spoon necklaces. I love the delicate look of lace on the bottom of them. I didn’t know that working with polymer clay could help the shoulder. How great is that?

  3. Anna Sabina, 27 November, 2009

    Really pretty work. I bet your injury was very painful. It is so great when people put their location by their name. I noticed you are from Cedar Rapids. I am from Des Moines. I met Chris D through this site, she is from Indianola. Is there a clay group in your area ? We have a small group of that meet once a month, you are welcome to attend. Cindy has a sister in law in Fairfield and I am trying to convince her to come for a visit…just not in the winter.

    Anna (Des Moines, Iowa)

  4. Elizabeth S., 27 November, 2009


    These are exquisite! Thank you for sharing the photos and your inspiring story.

  5. Ritzs, 27 November, 2009

    I have acquired a couple of spoons and want to have a go after some of the other things i want to make, you have given me some ideas yours are truly beautiful June I have just finished three of Cindy,s little book beads they are so interesting to make.now onto the next on my list mica shift beads uhmmm a challenge me thinks.

  6. Helen Sperring, 27 November, 2009

    Hi June. Isn’t it great when you get to that point where nothing else matters but what your working on? No pain at all. Sometimes I can just roll beads for over an hour, pain free!! It’s hard to get to that point but when you get there its great!!!! I have fibromyalgia and a pinched nerve in my back and the pain is horrible. Cindy’s web cite has done amazing things for me. I now have all these people and so many other things to look forward to and take my mind off of pain. Best To You Honey

  7. DJ, 27 November, 2009

    I love the care and detail of your pieces June, they’re so intricate. You’ve created beauty from a painful experience – thanks so much for sharing your work and offering some inspiration as well.

  8. Melinda, 27 November, 2009

    Wow! Beautiful! I think art is one of the most therapeutic things in the world. It frees the mind to play in the right side of the brain where the magic of humanity lives and you can find that so much is possible. Love your pendants! Fabulous.

  9. SANDRA G, 27 November, 2009

    I LOVE YOUR WORK!! How do you get the rest of the spoon handle off? Thanks

  10. Peggy, 27 November, 2009

    Simply gorgeous, Cindy just brings out the best in all of us. You are quite talented and what’s better than to have a form of therapy you enjoy and so rewarding. Congradulations to you. I have some spoons I have picked up at the thrift stores and elsewhere. I also am so inspired to get busy creating. Thanks for sharing and sorry for your injury.

  11. Catalina, 28 November, 2009

    Amazing! I love the color choices! You are doing great and I’m glad it is helping you recover. The butterflies are may favorite. I have been very interested in making them but I have yet to try my hand at it. I think you have inspired me to try, thanks for sharing.

  12. j frederick, 29 November, 2009

    to sandra g. to get the handle of the spoon i have a dremel which has
    a cutting wheel the handle gets hot so you have to watch where you
    put your hands also i sand the sharp ends after they are off and use the
    handle also for jewelry necklaces thanks for your inquiery

  13. j frederick, 29 November, 2009

    no i’m afraid there isn’t a clay group i think there use to be there wasn’t much interest as with the decorative painting we can’t seem to get
    any things like this going here. i tried teaching decorative painting thru
    kirkwood but it didn’t last everyone to busy working and now with the
    economy its hard to get anything going even at Michaels

  14. j frederick, 29 November, 2009

    thanks cindy nice to see my work on your web site j frederick

  15. Phaedrakat, 16 February, 2010

    @j frederick: Beautiful work, June! I hope you’re much stronger and feeling better now.

    Wow, I’m so happy that “Spoon Pendants” are coming up soon. That is going to be a great tutorial; the more examples I see, the more excited I get about the technique! June’s examples here are really lovely. I’m waiting for a “good back day” so I can get out of the house to a second-hand shop or perhaps some yardsales to find some silverware…

  16. Phaedrakat, 01 April, 2010

    No fair. Last Saturday, my back wasn’t hurting too bad, so I set out to hit some yard sales. Luck was not on my side — my car broke down! So much for my plan to get some silver spoons for the technique Cindy just taught us. Bummer! I really wanted to get started on some pretty spoons pendants like June’s! I was also hoping to find a used food processor. I’m seriously thinking about using the almost new one in the kitchen for my clay. I’ve had it over a year and never use it for cooking…!

  17. j frederick, 02 April, 2010

    hang in there you’ll find some spoons and hope your car works out
    good luck

  18. Cindy Lietz, 29 November, 2009

    You’re welcome June. It was my pleasure to feature you and your work!

    Thank you everyone for the lovely supportive comments to June and myself! It means a lot to all of us, that you take the time to express how you feel. I can’t thank you enough!

  19. Sue Werner, 30 November, 2009

    June, these are wonderful! I am an occupational therapist and especially interested in collecting stories such as yours, because this is what my field is all about! You found a passion that turned a negative life experience into physical healing AND a new found interest. I agree with Cindy that polymer claying can help with physical healing and stress management and an important part of healing is the support and company of others. I think Cindy has created a community that meets so many needs…learning and fellowship. Thank you for sharing your story,and to Cindy for creating this lovely space for us to meet.

  20. Cindy Lietz, 30 November, 2009

    @Sue – thank you for adding your input to this thread. It is so nice to hear your thoughts and opinions as a professional occupational therapist.

    If anyone is interested in reading other polymer clay related, health and wellness stories, you can click on the link by my name for more.

    And Sue, I am glad you are enjoying the community atmosphere here. I too am happy with the direction it is going.

  21. Tina Adams, 05 December, 2009

    Love the use of the spoon in her designs, so very pretty and the roses are just WOW !

  22. j frederick, 06 December, 2009

    @Tina Adams:
    thank you tina for your kind words

  23. Barbara Peck, 01 October, 2023

    I have a customer who has requested a weighted bracelet. We use them to help manage hand tremors. I was wondering if you have ever made a clay bead embedded with split shot or anything to add weight to the finished bead.

  24. Cindy Lietz, 03 October, 2023

    Hi Barbara, that sounds like a really cool idea! I have not tried that, but I think it would be possible. You may need to experiment with the shot and the type of clay you used. The shot will absorb some of the heat and the clay may crack a bit if it is a more stiff or brittle clay. Something more stretchy like Cosclay may not crack from the heat. The other challenge I see is the hole in the bead might interfere with the shot. You did say ‘split shot’ so perhaps there is a way for the cording to go through the shot… not sure. I would play around with a few ideas and see what you can do. Let me know how it goes.

  25. Barbara Peck, 03 October, 2023

    Cindy, thank you for the Cosclay suggestion. All I have on hand is Sculpey but I’ll experiment and see what develops.

    I’ll keep you updated.


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