Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I was browsing the Etsy forums the other day and came upon a thread about how someone decided to try polymer clay, because, and I quote: "I thought, how hard could it be to roll out a couple of flat globs and cookie cutter out some circles and rubber stamp em and bake em, right? HOW HARD could that be?? Well, if someone can tell me how to get the polymer clay boogers off of my little plastic rolling pin and work surface and rubber stamp, I *might* be able to clean up and throw the stuff away! urg!!". It never fails to amaze me how some people think they can try something for the first time and be perfect at it. And, incredibly, how they think it's the medium's fault when it doesn't come out right!

All of which made me think about a trait that most dedicated artists and craftspeople have in common, and that is persistence. You hear about passion and creativity and vision, but it's the dedication to keep working at something until you get it right that sets them apart. Or conversely, being comfortable in going in another direction if that's where it takes you.

I'm sure glad I didn't "throw the stuff away!" after my first try! Here is a photo of some of my early, and very amateurish, attempts at polymer. And another of my humongous reject jar (it is 24 inches tall and it's almost full):

Because I'm a persistent person and dedicated to good craftsmanship, my work has progressed to where I feel I'm in control of the medium, instead of the other way around. But I still contribute regularly to that big reject jar in the corner of my studio!


  1. When I'm asked how hard it is to make what I make with clay I am always honest. The technique is simple and straight forward but to get good results requires a lot of practice.

    I've found this to be true with any art or other subject I've ever done - I'm a quick study and can usually do OK right off the bat. But good? takes work. And that's all in the user, not the medium

  2. Betsy,
    I'm always happy to know that I'm not the only one who has a "reject" jar!
    hope you are well-
    love from afar,

  3. what an interesting idea to have a "reject jar" to remind you of how you really put your heart and soul into each well-made piece! I think I might start up a jar, right now all of mine are in a plastic bag :P