Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
Polymer Clay Global Perspectives:
Emerging Ideas and Techniques from 125 International Artists
Author: Cynthia Tinapple
Publisher: Potter Craft (July 30, 2013)
Originally a material invented in the 1940s for children's use, polymer clay has since established its place in the fine craft arena, and rightfully so. Just one look at Cynthia Tinapple's new book "Polymer Clay Global Perspectives" and you know that as playful as a lot of the depicted work is, in the hands of the experienced maker the medium has moved about as far away from the nursery as one could possibly imagine. There is quite obviously tremendous skill involved in handling the material and designing the objects.
Tinapple starts her book off with a history on Polymer Clay, a chapter I thoroughly enjoyed because she briefly reflects on FIMO, the polymer clay material I grew up with. Next up are chapters on tools, material properties, brand options on the market, colors and special effects, all well written and easy to follow. Tinapple then devotes a chapter to the, wait for it, pasta machine - hint: if you don't know why this is important when it comes to polymer clay, you really need to get this book - followed by helpful images explaining color blending.
I could go on describing all the interesting topics Tinapple covers in her new book but I don't want to spoil the fun of discovery for you. Let me just say on the topic of images that they are both plentiful and descriptive and that the work shown covers a wide range of artistic expressions. Another interesting facet is the book's international scope: Tinapple features artists from the US, Canada, Spain, Israel and Nepal.
Bottom line: If you already are a polymer clay lover this book will encourage you to tackle exciting new projects. If you've never played with the material, watch out: you will very likely soon find yourself in a store buying polymer clay and giving it a try.
Bonus points to the publisher, Potter Craft, for making this available in print and ebook format.
- Melanie Muir: "Skye Line Necklace", photograph by Ewen Weatherspoon
That is the perfect title for this review. I don't make with polymer clay myself but in recent years have collaborated with makers who do and have found their products - especially the "faux" bird-skulls by Dee Wilder - to be quite amazing, especially for a medium which was so heavily associated with awful 1980s design and horrid, kitsch "crafter" output. It is not until you see complex and subtle work that you realise what an incredibly versatile material it is.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts: I will certainly be ordering a copy.
Thank you for reviewing this book and helping raise awareness of the medium of Polymer Clay. We are proud to say that 2Roses work is in the book along with examples of some of the finest international polymer clay work being produced today.
As a medium, polymer clay presents a deceptively easy entry point for hobbyists and casual creative expression, which all too often look like overworked playdough refrigerator magnets. It wasn't until skilled artisans and craftspeople started exploring the more advanced capabilities of this incredibly rich medium that its true possibilities emerges.
The International Polymer Clay Association (yes, there is such an organization) has been active for many years in organizing conferences, exhibitions and other activities to promote artists working in this medium.