Janie, of My Polymer Clay Canes on ArtFire, creates a wide variety of gorgeous canes and beads. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work for us.
With all the mediums available for crafting why did you choose Polymer clay?
I love the versatility of polymer clay. Most of all, I love the possibilities of what you can create with it. It is endless. You are only limited by your own imagination. And, that there is no waste. If something doesn't work out the way you want, you can just smoosh it all up and start over.
How did you learn to use polymer clay? Internet, experimenting, books, classes.....
I began by just experimenting. When I started, there wasn't much out in the way of books, or classes. That all came later.
What is your favorite tool to work with?
I could never confine myself to just one tool...but if I had to, I guess it would be my pasta machine. Simply because it makes the conditioning so much easier and faster. On second thought, make that the pasta machine motor! I can no longer live without that.
Do you like to work with any mediums other than polymer clay?
Definitely! My other love is precious metal clay. I mainly work in silver. It comes in a clay form also, but is .999 pure fine silver after firing, versus sterling which is .925. The only draw back to it that I've found so far is the expense. Luckily, my customers don't seem to mind. I stay very busy year round in my local area with custom orders for silver pendants and earrings. I also work in resin. I will usually use resin to make dried flower or found object pendants.
What is your favorite polymer clay technique and why?
I love to make canes the most. Every single cane I make fascinates me after the reduction. It doesn't make a difference what type of cane it is either. My other favorite thing is making keepsake boxes. It's a great way for me to use my canes. I think I love putting the patterns and colors together. I especially love the ones that end up looking like quilt patterns. Like this one:
What is your least favorite technique and why?
Conditioning the clay, especially Kato clay. It takes to long and it's hard on my hands which are becoming arthritic. Oops, I guess that's not really a technique. I suppose sculpting would be my least favorite. I don't know why though, because I love doing that in silver clay.
What is on your "to do" or "to learn" list?
I think there will always be a million things on my to do list! To many things to list here. The latest thing that I just added to my list is Alice Stroppel's new caning technique. It can be seen in this Polymer Clay Daily feature:
Do you mix your own colors? Why or why not?
I almost always mix my own colors. I think it gives your work a more authentic look. So, I have this big bin of colors left from clay that I have previously mixed for past projects. Well, those end up getting mixed or blended for other things...and on and on. That bin is always full. Which is great, because when I need to make colors for a cane, they're already there usually.
How do you keep your designs fresh and original?
By exploring and experimenting. I also think working in different mediums besides polymer clay helps. It gives your brain a chance to rest from that and refocus.
What keeps you from getting into a creative rut?
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can end up in a rut. It can be very discouraging. But, I view it like a writer's block. For some reason, I think it's just a part of the creative process. At any rate, it helps me get my studio cleaned! Because that's usually what I do when it happens. Once I get my tables all clean and things back where they belong...BAM! Next thing you know, I'm back at it with new ideas.
What is your favorite brand of clay if you have one and why?
Kato is my favorite for caning and strength. Premo is a close second. It's just easier to use and condition.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
One of the things I love most about polymer clay is the community of people I have met. My first place of finding that community was www.polymerclaycentral.com . Those people and many others that I have met online, (and some of them in person), are the most caring, sharing, wonderful people! It has turned out to be that way with almost all of the polymer clay folks I have met so far. I think the more we all share, the better we all get, and the further our craft advances as an art medium.
You can also find Janie online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeartdesigns/ and http://lifeartdesignsbyjanie.blogspot.com/. Her work is truly amazing!
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