Fimo Leather Effect Clay: An Introduction to a Jewellery maker
Hi, my name is Valerie Anderson and I am a jewellery maker. I won a competition to try out the new Fimo Leather polymer clay and here is an introduction of me, what I do and what I thought. I hope you enjoy.
I have loved crafts since I was a child doing everything from sewing and knitting for my dolls (and later for myself and my own children) and sketching ideas. My mum taught me to knit and sew and I also did it at school. Which I don’t think is the case now, which is a shame.
Once my children were grown up I re-emerged myself in crafts, starting with paper crafts and altered arts. Moving on to making jewellery incorporating beadwork and wirework. I love the fact that now, working with clay, I am able to make my own beads and components.
I haven’t had any formal training. I have picked up lots of tips on Polymer Clay Blogs such as The Blue Bottle Tree. There is also a wealth of information on YouTube with online tutorials etc. I try to attend a workshop at least once a year, mostly at Polymania in Bristol. Here we are taught techniques by some of the great names in polymer clay such as Donna Kato, Bettina Welker, Kathleen Dustin and more.
Always condition your clay well before working with it as this will prevent cracks in your pieces after curing. Always wipe your equipment when changing colours, as colour can transfer onto your next piece. Finally if you are not sure of something you have made, walk away and come back to it later and re-assess. Don’t forget, all is not lost and you can sometimes recover something you don’t like with a new layer of clay. Its all about learning from your mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes turn out great!
Challenges Working With Clay
As a new clayer, my biggest challenge was opening a packet of clay and creating something. Clay doesn’t need to be wasted, if you end up with muddy colours, it can be used for the cores of beads etc. We have all had things that don’t go right. I was at a recent workshop and I was very disappointed with the piece I made, it didn’t have the required effect. I didn’t get upset about it but waited until I returned home and tried the technique again and this time it worked.
Sculpture I find challenging as it really isn’t ‘my thing’ I entered a monthly challenge to do a sculpture of an animal and actually made a fish. He is a little quirky looking but I was proud that I challenged myself. Its all a learning process. You don’t need expensive tools. I love bamboo skewers for rolling tube beads and you can utilise lots of household tools for clay (icing bag nozzles make great textures in clay! )
My Biggest Commission
It is a long time since I did a commission but I would say it took about 16 hours. It was important to discuss all the customer’s ideas and what to incorporate in the piece and the colour palette Keeping the customer updated with progress and sending through designs and ideas
A Few Tips From Me To You
Enjoy yourself ! Don’t feel under pressure to create something, we were all beginners once and we still make mistakes. Play with your clay, get the feel of it, blend colours and have fun and never put yourself down.
I am fortunate in that my children have grown up and I decided to give up work to concentrate on clay. I work during the day, setting aside time for household tasks (now and again!) If you have young children, it is important to find ‘you’ time, set aside a couple of hours for yourself.
To shop Fimo Leather Effect click here
My Goals for the future
To improve, there is always room for improvement and to carry on enjoying what I do.
If you would like to see more of my work or follow me on other social platforms then please click the link below.
Thanks for reading
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