Friday, September 27, 2013

Polymer Clay Collective -- Conversations

I belong to a group on Facebook called the Polymer Clay Collective. People of all creative levels gather there to talk about and share their love of polymer clay and the beads, figurines, jewelry, and art created with it.  We recently started a feature within the group called “Conversations” for the purpose of getting to know one other better. Today is my day to share answers to the feature questions …

Tell us a bit about where you live.

I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin ~ home of the annual Bead and Button Show! Although I’ve always found the bead show to be quite awesome, it wasn’t until last year, when I had the opportunity to meet online friends in person and make new friends along the way, that I realized how incredibly lucky I was to live so close to this show!

Beyond beads and buttons, Milwaukee truly is a “Great Place by a Great Lake.” We are known for our Beer (Miller), Brats (Usinger’s and Klement’s ), Racing Sausages,

Cheese Curds (if they’re the right consistency and temperature, they squeak against your teeth as you bite into them =), Friday Night Fish Fry, Summerfest Music Festival, and all things Harley-Davidson, just to name a few.

We're also known for hosting all four seasons, the current one being my favorite.

The Fall Firework Finale as I like to call it, is that time of year when many trees explode with color and give you ample time to enjoy and soak in their beauty before disappearing under a blanket of white snow … which can also be quite beautiful … sometimes.

What do you do when you’re not polymer claying?

I’m a mom to three teenagers and a wife to one incredibly supportive husband. I chauffeur, cook, clean, read (I’m a self improvement junkie with many, MANY necessary renovation projects in the works), make jewelry, crochet, embarrass my kids, laugh a lot and enjoy the company of my dear sweet family and friends whenever possible. I’m currently in the process of looking for fulfilling part-time employment … easier said than done I’m afraid.

What did you want to be when you were little and do you think you ever will be?

All my life I’ve wanted to be an entertainer … a singer, actress, comedian … anything would do, really. Unfortunately, every opportunity I had to fulfill my dream always seemed to result in memory loss, lips so quivery they were visible from the back of the room, or the annihilation of each and every sentence I attempted to speak. Put me in front of a roomful of friends and I will totally rock it! Put me in front of a roomful of strangers and, assuming I have not passed out, I will most certainly come across as dazed and confused. So, do I think I’ll ever become a performer? Believe it or not, I do still secretly hope that one day I will have enough courage (liquid or otherwise) and, more importantly, enough good material to do an open mike night or something just to say I did it. I promise to let you know when I do …

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know.

I wore an eye patch on my glasses for nearly a year to eliminate the double vision caused by Graves Disease before having surgery to correct it.

(I recently found a photo of me wearing this patch, but then somehow managed to lose it again -- you'll just have to use your imagination as to the beauty I was to behold.)  As you can see, it looks JUST like a beige toilet seat lid and it completely intrigued those around me. Some tried to spy the gross disfigurement they envisioned behind that toilet seat lid. Others were so sweet, always offering to help me with my groceries and such. I had to decline knowing they might just freak out seeing me get behind the wheel of a car.   Mostly, however, people made poop and potty jokes … every … single … day.

The good news regarding the eye patch is that the lack of depth perception improved my pool, bowling and dart games tenfold. (I was quite the bar athlete back then!) My volleyball and baseball teammates, however, eagerly awaited the repair of that bum eye!

Tell us your polymer clay story: What made you first try polymer clay and how long has PC been a part of your life?

Polymer clay has been a part of my life since 2012 when I began participating in Jeannie Dukic’s Echo Creative Club. Although I had been making jewelry for years, it wasn’t until 2011 that I really starting learning about art beads and getting to know different bead artists from different mediums. In late 2011 Jeannie put out a call for designers who were interested in participating in her Echo Creative Club by designing with and blogging about her polymer clay art beads. From the moment I received my first art bead from Jeannie – a beautiful gin blossom – I fell in love.

After designing with her pieces, I wanted to try my hand at creating my own polymer clay beads. I loved conditioning the clay with my hands in the beginning because I didn’t really know what to do with it beyond that! I loved making molds, making clay pieces with the molds, and then squishing them all back together again because I sooooo wasn’t ready to commit to the permanence of baking them! Now I use a pasta machine for the conditioning process and actually even bake some of my pieces. ;-) I'm still, however, very much a PC newbie … there’s just so much to learn!

What’s your favorite PC technique?

Anything “organic” that requires a minimal amount of precision. =)  Mokume gane is awesome too!

What are your art/design inspirations?

I don't know that any one thing or group of things inspires me, but I love working within a color palette, as well as with art beads and gemstones.

Show us something you’ve made with polymer clay:

My clay pieces ...

Jewelry made with my favorite art bead of Jeannie's -- the gin blossom:

Question from Elsie Deliz-Fonseca: What is your favorite polymer clay creation and why?

My favorite polymer clay creation is a bracelet I made for a blog hop a little over a year ago and is a bracelet I often wear.  I love the rich colors!


If you’re still here and reading this, thank you so much for sticking with me! In two weeks, on October 10th, Ginger Davis Allman will be our “conversationalist” and I am so looking forward to getting to know her. I’m a huge fan of her work and have several of her tutorials on my wish list! My question to her is: What kind of creative routines or rituals do you have?

Thanks for stopping by!


Therese's Treasures said...

Hi Lola,
It was nice to get to know you a little better. I love your earrings that you have made with your polymer clay beads they are so pretty. I still have my beads in my art bead box and I take them out every once in a while and look at them and think of you. I am glad that you are doing good and still creating.

ladelizchica said...

Wow Lola for a newbie you have some nice pieces .It's was nice to know a little about you.

DM Wigginton said...

What a great Conversation - I really enjoyed reading it (and laughed a little at the toilet seat for your glasses). Love your mokame gane (sp?) - can't wait to see more beauties from you!

Nelly May said...

What a lovely post Lola.
You're so lucky to live where sausages can run free ! (And of course the B&B show ). Looks like a wonderful place to be.
I think your beautiful beautiful beads with their warm colours and gentle swirls reflect your gorgeous personality to a tee.
It's truly been such a pleasure getting to know you Lola, you are such a warm and beautiful person.
Penny Jane xxx

JeannieK said...

Awesome Conversation Lola. I would pay big money to come and see you perform. Your PC beads are awesome and I LOVE the beads and rich colors in that bracelet too!

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

This was a wonderfully written post! My father was born in Two Rivers...I spent many summers flying kites on the Great Lake! Your favorite piece of jewelry is the colors! And anything made with jeannie's beads is an instant hit!

Thanks for sharing so much about yourself!!

Linda Britt Design said...

I so enjoyed hearing about your journey with polymer and about your hopes for performing. It's so important to have those dreams! Thanks for letting us get to know you.

Stories They Tell said...

First off, I'm going to tell you that you ARE already a comedienne! Your writing is very funny. Maybe you were meant to be a comic writer, not a performer. Ever read Jean Kerr's books? Or The Egg and I (very popular back in the 50s but is still hysterical today)? As for part-time meaningful employment, I think you should approach your local paper and offer to do a daily column, just commentary on daily life from your point of view and then, if they like it, they can pay you per article. Serves dual purposes of keeping you motivated and bringing in income. As for your clay ambitions, I think you should come up to Vermont and do my Intensive workshop. I'll also be teaching at ArtBliss in 2014 ( If color is your thing, my thing might be the thing for you. Thanks for your share!