When I was about six years old, my mother came back from a trip to the mid-west—what she was doing there, I don’t remember. However, while she was there, she visited a local craft store. There she was introduced to polymer clay in the form of beads. She brought some clay home for us to experiment. While we sat at the kitchen table, I listened to her talk about these amazing beads she saw and how they were made from the packs of clay that sat before me. Keep in mind, this was in the day before we had cell phones and easy ways to take pictures, so she had to explain them to me from memory. As she described all the beads she saw, I opened the packages of clay and began to knead some small pieces in my hands. I had no clue what I was doing and the only real experience I had with “clay” was Play-Doh at this point in my young life. Her stories continued to flow as I played with the clay. As the clay got softer, I would work with another color to the same consistency. By this point, she was telling me about these beautiful blue and pearl swirled beads that were separated by small gold spacer beads and were strung into a necklace. As she finished this part of her story, I remember holding up the clay I had been working on and said, “You mean like this?” She was astounded! I had been able to recreate those marbled beads she was memorized by in the store without even seeing them myself. I think it was probably that moment when her polymer clay obsession took flight.
For the next few years, I remember sitting at the kitchen table swirling different colors of clay together to make various beads. We’d gently push a thin knitting needle or wooden dowel through the center of the bead and then place them across a deep cookie sheet so the beads wouldn’t touch anything while they baked. We’d then cover them with glaze. Once they were finished drying, we’d string them and make necklaces. Mom and I went to many craft fairs to display and sell our creations. These were the early days of polymer clay and most people had never seen such a thing. They’d fly off the displays—everyone loved them.
As the years went by, I grew out of the polymer clay craze and focused more on being a teenager, but this fascination never ended for her. At some point, she bought what is today pcPolyzine from a lady she knew. She had big plans for it. She worked day and night for many years to build it up and make it an online portal for polymer clay…well, everything. She would share some of the newest techniques with me and show me pictures all the time, but it wasn’t really my focus.
As many of you know, mom struggled with her health and it caused her to have to take breaks from pcPolyzine. She did the best she could, but I know it bothered her that she couldn’t always work on it like she wanted. Unfortunately, in March 2018, she passed away leaving me with a lot to handle. Over the last year and a half, I have been working to get her affairs in order one at a time. And honestly, pcPolyzine was pretty low on the list. It’s been over a year since she passed and I’m just now feeling able to tackle this project. At first, I was extremely overwhelmed with trying to locate all the files, images, accounts, and login information. I was to the point of wanting nothing else to do with this site. But after talking to family and friends, I have a renewed sense of determination and a solid game plan for moving pcPolyzine forward. I don’t doubt it will be tough and I definitely have a learning curve. But I got to a point where it seemed wrong to just get rid of it. Mom worked really hard to make pcPolyzine what it is today.
I know I don’t have her years of experience watching this community and field grow, but I feel like I should try. My goal in taking this over is to keep what she created alive and try to take it to the next level. I hope to do it justice and make her proud.
Over the next few months, I will be working to update the site and get things rolling. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any feedback you may have—I value and appreciate it all. I am also on the search for new (and seasoned) polymer clay artists who I can feature on this site. I’d love to share new techniques and applications as well as showcase some up-and-coming artists. I appreciate all the love and support each of you have given me and my family and I look forward to developing relationships with all of you as we move through this process.
Here’s to 2019 and to pcPolyzine!