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Breaking into Print: Design Originals
by Trina Williams
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What do Lynne Kruke and Desiree McCrorey have in common with the more famous polymer clay names of Barbara McGuire, Gwen Gibson and Nan Roche? They have all had polymer clay projects published in Design Originals.

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Design Originals may be a good place to start if you too would like to see your work in print. More than an article and less than a book, the Design Originals booklet offers artists and designers a great showcase for their work.

Suzanne Mc Neill, founder and publisher, started Design Originals in 1984 before the big boom in the Arts and Crafts field, before crafting magazines and television shows about crafts became commonplace. She began as a designer for American Handicrafts, a division of Tandy Corporation, and wrote a column for Craftworks, one of the earliest craft magazines.

The best place for starting authors, says Suzanne, are craft magazines. They can help the new author get his or her feet wet and they build the artist's portfolio.

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According to Barbara Burnett, Media Director for Design Originals, whom I interviewed at the Hobby Industries trade show early this year, Design Originals tries to follow the trends in the crafting business.

If you have ever been to a show where Design Originals had a booth you know it is one of the most colorful around. With their boldly striped jackets the DO people are hard to miss. They even have polymer clay buttons!

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Barbara told me that Design Originals looks for what is selling in the marketplace. "Designers come to us", she said. "We ask them to send samples and photos. Digital photography is accepted."

When projects have been accepted the step-by-steps need to be sent in individual poly bags for final photography. After publication, designers get 12 copies of the book plus the ability to purchase more copies at 75% off retail.

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Last year I was able to show Suzanne McNeill some of my work. She was very gracious, looked at everything and gave me lots of good suggestions even though she decided my project wasn't for them.

Barbara states that Design Originals has a reputation of being ethical and easy to work with. Crafters like the basic directions of each and every title.

For a look through Design Originals' catalog go to their website, and, if you have a project in mind, send your idea to Barbara Burnett, Design Originals, 2425 Cullen Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107. Be sure to include your name, address, phone and photographs or samples of your work.