Polymer Clay Polyzine - December 2000 - Down Under
G’Day from Down Under!
by Jenny Dowde

G’day everyone! Welcome to Polyzine #2! There’s nothing to report guild-wise from either Australia or New Zealand this month, but I have some workshop dates for February 2001 in case any Down Under clayer is keen to learn how to make a doll with Shirley Dougan. They are as follows:

Saturday 3rd Feb at Beaufort (Vic) - Pirate Captain.

Saturday 11th Feb at Blairgowrie (Vic) - Pirate Captain.

Saturday 17th Feb at Blairgowrie (Vic) - Pirate Captain.

Saturday & Sunday 24th Feb at Yarram (Vic) - Pirate Captain.

Monday 25th Feb at Yarram (Vic) - Pirate Captain.

If you are in the areas mentioned and would like to attend, you may contact Shirley. HURRY, because Shirley’s workshops fill up almost before the dates are published!


The “Artist of The Month” is Petra from New Zealand. I first made contact with Petra a couple of years ago when I requested one of her catalogues. Now we “speak” several times a week via email, ICQ or Instant Messenger, (don’t ya just LOVE the Internet?) sharing ideas on how to find all the polymer clay artists we know MUST exist in Australia and New Zealand, and on how best to promote this wonderful medium Down Under!

Petra’s Story

My love for polymer clay began in 1992 when I decided I needed an alternative income to being a second hand dealer. My first child was due and shifting heavy furniture around while pregnant just didn’t seem a good option. After visiting a local craft show and watching Jewel Lewis make millefiori canes I decided that I would like to try this. A book and three blocks of polymer clay later I had my first Millefiori cane completed, and I was hooked!

In 1993, I read a small article in a magazine and discovered that there was to be the “First International Juried exhibition of Polymer Clay beads”. Because I wasn’t too sure where I was heading clay wise and we had just built a lovely studio that just begged to be “used”, I thought I would enter and to my continuing surprise and delight I was selected as one of the 12 artists classed as award winning entries.

During a trip to the US in 1996, I discovered that we here in Australasia were really missing out. The things that American clayers were using to add to or embellish their clay was mind-boggling, and I decided then that we needed a clay supplier in Australasia who could answer questions and supply the products that people would need in the future.

And so, Zigzag Polymer Clay Supplies was born. My business is dedicated to supplying the polymer clay artist with their every need. My next step was to create a Guild for clayers in New Zealand. The NZPCG which has members from New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

Last but by no means least, I decided that the Down Under clayers needed their very own polymer clay list, and ANZACS was born. Today we boast a tiny membership of 35, but we are growing, albeit slowly, with two new members joining up as this is being written.

In 1998 my family and I moved into a bigger home with a huge backyard for the children to play in and a four-car-garage which was destined to become my playground and my haven: “The Polymer Palace”. Here I can teach at least eight people at a time, have a well-ordered studio and a well-stocked shop, plus display my pride and joy, my “Gallery of Polymer Clay Art” by artists from around the world.

It is my ambition to promote polymer clay in Australasia, not just for ZigZag’s sake but for the benefit of all clayers Down Under, and to that end a few of my fellow clayers and I have decided that we should have a Polymer Clay Retreat! Plans are already afoot to hold this in early 2002, in Christchurch, New Zealand. Stay tuned!

While Petra indulges her clay creativity in a number of areas, including miniature Tiffany lamps, stamping and card making and experimenting with translucents, her trademark is the beautiful beads she makes. Below are some pictures of her earlier work. You can see her more recent work at The Polymer Palace.

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