BEGINNERS' CORNER
BY DEBORAH HAYES

Hi all!

We have had questions from some new clayers about online groups and lessons. As many of us have already learned, the Internet can be a valuable resource for all sorts of clay information, and lessons with pictures are invaluable, especially for those of us who don't live near a city with a guild.

Polymer Clay Central, Polymer Clay Haven, Polymer Clay Express, and Prairie Craft are just a few of the places where you can find projects and lessons online.

Polymer clay newsgroups and mailing lists are also very helpful. You will find that the polymer clay community is very open and welcoming, and there is always someone willing to lend a hand or give advice.

If you are interested in getting e-mails from other people in the polymer clay world, you can check out the polymer clay groups on Yahoo. All 32 (!) groups are explained here, and you are sure to find at least one that meets your needs!

There is a also a polymer clay interest newsgroup at rec.crafts.polymer-clay. For subscription directions, see the help files that came with your newsreader/email program.



CONDITIONING CLAYS

I have received a couple of questions regarding the relative ease of conditioning the different clays. Both Premo and Fimo Soft are easy to condition. They can get too hot, however, and you will need to let the clay cool after conditioning and while you are using it. I am pretty warm-handed, so when I use Premo and Fimo Soft, I have to let the project "rest" before it gets too sticky and gooey. Both are great after curing, though. They are strong, and Premo has quite a bit of flexibility, too.

If you use Fimo Classic, you may find that it takes forever to warm the clay enough to knead it with your hands. I take a shortcut—I slice the clay and run the slices through the pasta machine. The clay may crumble and fall apart at first, but unless the clay has been subjected to heat stress, it will eventually come together. If the clay is simply too dry and unyielding, a tiny bit of mineral oil or polymer clay diluent should help soften it. A little goes a long way, though, and it is much easier to add more oil than to remove excess!



COVERING SWITCHPLATES

Finally, a note on covering light switchplates and outlet covers. People want to know if they should use metal covers instead of plastic covers. It might seem that the plastic covers would melt if you baked them at clay curing temperatures. However, they don't. I know metal covers can be more difficult to find, so fret not, the plastic will do just fine!

Have a great month—this time next month, I may be a grandma!

Deborah

 

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