Rhododendron Garden Art and Inspiration for Polymer Clay Beads

Rhododendron Bloom

Spring 2008 to Spring 2009 – Reminiscing:

The rhodies (rhododendrons) are blooming again and it’s got me thinking about all that has happened here at this blog since the last time they bloomed. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, I was just finalizing the details for the May 28, 2008 launch of the Polymer Clay Bead Making for Beginners Course.

It’s been exciting to have so many of you enjoying and learning from the course since then, and to be able to watch you grow as polymer clay artists.

Hi Cindy, Your “Polymer Clay Bead Making for Beginners Course” is exceptional. I can’t agree more with all those who have said what a great teacher you are. And the presentation of the material you cover is easy to understand. The lighting in your studio is beyond professional. I have tried to learn another subject through tv video and the quality you have just wasn’t there. So I have an experience to compare to and you have it all. I have learned so much and now the fun begins to be able to play with the clay and make things happen. Of course I will need to refer to the tuts and their being available 24/7 is such a plus, no waiting for the class to begin, it is only a click away.

Also, your video library has so much more and I’m excited about trying out the recipe cards.  It is difficult at times to come away from your blog. All these artists who willingly share their talents also are wonderful. Its like an extended family in the clay world. Sometime I hope to be able to contribute an experience but for now I will be there with questions as I share this experience with my twin granddaughters who will spend their summer vacation here in sunny Florida. Thank you, Cindy.

~Joyce Folsom

Seeing the Rhododendrons blooming again, also reminded me of the introduction of the polymer clay color palette series which has now become so popular here at the blog and in the members library. It was those vibrant pink rhodo’s set against the bright green fern bushes, that inspired the whole color recipe concept.

Speaking of the library, that is also something that got added as a service for members within the last 12 months. For those of you who do not yet know about the Polymer Clay Library, it is a membership service where you can receive ongoing polymer clay tutorial videos and color mixing recipes pretty much every single week (4 per month).

Here’s another comment that came in recently from Linda. She shares a very inspiring story about how the course and the library videos have had such a positive impact on her life. This one actually made me cry and it constantly reminds me of why I love to teach.

I’m thrilled to have found your course! I had played with polymer clay for a short time a few years ago but set it aside. Your course has helped to ignite a passion, and I’m very grateful for the work you put into it, along with your blog and your library.

You see, I had a stroke in 2001. I’m okay physically, but the depression can really get in the way. One day in February was unusually warm, and I decided to go out and run a few errands (which is sometimes difficult when depression rears its head). I stopped by our local Barnes and Noble to have a cup of coffee at the café, and of course I had to find a magazine to read while enjoying the coffee. PolymerCAFE jumped out at me. Reading it caused me to feel something I hadn’t experienced in a long time – enjoyment! When I got home, I googled polymer clay, and found your course. Cindy, I’m hooked! I’m a rank amateur, but the passion is there.

This feeling – being passionate about something – is one I haven’t experienced in many years, and your work has played a big part. I simply cannot thank you enough. Serendipity is always such a wonderful surprise, and that’s what happened – the warm weather, the magazine, your course. I never expected any of them, but together they have set me on a course that I’m thoroughly enjoying.

What I love about your course (and your library videos) is your wonderful down-to-earth, chatting-with-a-friend attitude. Your depth of knowledge comes through, but it’s in a quiet way that I appreciate. It leaves me feeling encouraged, not intimidated (as many experts often make me feel). Thank you so much for being there!

~Linda Dube

It’s amazing how much we have all learned together this year. There are now over 100 tutorial videos that have been filmed and hundreds of polymer clay articles posted on the blog. Not to mention the thousands of comments and questions that have come in over this time!

It’s funny how these pretty flowers could bring back so many memories of this past year like that. I love Spring, it always makes me reminisce about the past and look forward to the future.

I’m excited for what will be coming up over the next 12 months. When the Rhodies bloom again next year, I know they’ll be many more great things to reminisce about.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Jen Rosenberry, 15 May, 2009

    I’m just starting out, and purchased a lot of “sculpey III”. Quickly learned that it gets gummy quickly and is too soft for a lot of projects I’d like to create. Went online and purchased books – have some ideas as to which art-quality clays to purchase now. BUT, where is the best place to purchase clays online? There are no stores locally that sell clays other than sculpey and Fimo. Can you point me in the right direction? ALSO – is there a way to make Sculpey III into a harder finished project? I’m thinking of making key chains, jewelry, and other things that will have to stand up to a certain amount of use / abuse. Would really appreciate your help! Thanks, Jen Rosenberry

  2. Anna Sabina, 15 May, 2009

    Not sure where you purchased you Sculpy III but maybe you can return some unopened packs. Packs of Premo and Sculpy III look real similar becasue they are made by the same company, I find the Premo is usually on a lower shelf; below the Sculpy III. Fimo Classic is pretty hard too but I like premo best. I am in the Mid Western US and get mine at Michaels, Hobby Lobby or JoAnns but it is also available in Dick Blick stores.
    I have found that Dick Blick Online store had the best prices; they had lots of brands too. You might also check the Polymer Clay Super Store, the Clay Store.

  3. Jocelyn, 16 May, 2009

    Linda, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your inspirational story….art and crafts can heal. I, too, am returning to polymer clay after an long absence due to MS. The great thing about this site is that it’s loaded with “tryin'” folks. Cindy leads the way….LOL!

  4. Cindy Lietz, 16 May, 2009

    @Jen: Good questions. I think Anna helped you out quite well! You could also add Polymer Clay Express to your list of places to order online. The people who run it are excellent people! As far as making Sculpey stronger, you can mix it with the other brands of clay if you want. That will help considerably!

    @Anna: Thank you so much for your help! You are such a tremendous asset around here! :-)

    @Jocelyn: Thank you for the sweet comment. There are many reasons to craft and one is to help you through painful or difficult times. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  5. Linda Dube, 16 May, 2009

    Cindy, what a surprise to see my email to you! I’m still going slowly with the polymer clay, and it’s still a source of great enjoyment. (Of course, now that I have my brand-new pasta machine, I’ll be able to do more. The old one was ancient — and when I took it apart to clean, thanks to instructions in your library, I found it to be all rusted inside. What a mess!)

    Jocelyn, we all get better when we keep “tryin'”! Thanks for your comment, and hang in there!

  6. Jocelyn, 16 May, 2009

    @Cindy It is I who thank you…..


    The soft Sculpty can be a great learning clay. I started out with soft clay, because that’s the kind my nieces used.

    To firm it up, try leaching it. I used to roll it through the pasta machine in sheets, then put it between sheets of white paper, then into pages of a notebook. Once a lot of the plasticizer was removed, it handled better.

    Try to keep your designs thicker and rounder, the edges won’t crack and fall off. Also, cool it off frequently, and keep your hands cool.

    I like using the “search” facility and the key words to find out more about a topic here, and I am sure there are plenty of hints and designer ideas for the soft clays on the site.

    Best of luck, and I feel for you. But I can tell you, once you move on to the other harder clays, joy awaits.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 17 May, 2009

    @Linda: Holly Cow! Rusted inside! No wonder you were having problems with it. Glad to hear your new machine arrived and you’ll be able to do more now! I loved your email and thought others would appreciate what you have been through as well. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! :-)

    @Jocelyn: Thanks for all your support around here!

  8. Debbie McLelland, 18 May, 2009

    Hello, I have been a member on Cindy’s site since September of 2008, and I love it! First of all, Cindy Lietz is a real sweetheart. She really appreciates all her members and even those who just stop by for a visit. If for some reason you can’t find the answers to your questions . . . just email her personally and she will get back to you almost immediately.

    She has created a vast library of information and adds to it every week. A great deal of her instruction and information is Free, no cost. Her videos are well done: she shows you close-up angles, details, and tapes at a speed that is easy to follow. But my goodness, for $3.32 per month, how can you go wrong!

    I feel very fortunate to have discovered her site. I have found nothing else online to compare with what she offers. Also her blog has great commentary from Cindy and other Poly artists.

    Polymer clay lovers. . . I highly recommend this wonderful site!

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