I’m a long-time desktop publisher, technical artist, and computer geek with both a creative side and an entrepreneurial streak. My hobby is polymer clay, which has rapidly taken over my life, as well as my house. It’s also turned into a business which I’m still in the process of developing.
I learned about polymer clay in a rather roundabout way. I watched a story on CBS Sunday Morning about 12 years ago about a program that donated beads to pediatric cancer hospitals, called “Beads of Courage“. Whenever a child went into the hospital or underwent a procedure, they could choose a bead. Stringing these beads into a necklace was a way to commemorate each portion of their journey through cancer.
They featured an adorable 2-year-old girl who was wearing a necklace of these beads. Her father was with her, and he was also wearing two necklaces. He told the reporter that he was wearing her necklaces, because they were too heavy for her to wear.
Well, that story really touched me – for one so young to have endured enough procedures and hospital stays to create not one, but three necklaces of these beads, was unbelievable. So I started researching.
At first, I thought this was a program only for glass bead artists, but I later learned other artists also participated in the Beads of Courage program. I learned that to make glass beads, you needed a torch. At the time, I had two cats, and I could just envision them running through the torch’s flame and setting themselves and the house on fire. Also, the glass rods used in this technique (called canes) could shatter if heated too quickly. Neither of these possibilities appealed to me!
In the course of my research, I happened upon a medium I had never heard of – polymer clay. It solved both of the issues I had with the glass beads. The clay is moldable while working with it, and is baked at 275°F. No shattering and no flaming torch!
I found a polymer clay group (called a guild) in my city that met once a month, so I attended their meeting and became a member. We had a class or a demo of some technique or other each month, and I made like-minded friends in the group. And from that beginning, the rest is history….