This bibliography is a selection of favorites from our own personal bookshelves. The list below will provide countless benefits for those seeking inspiration to create their own polymer art, or just information about the medium itself.
This first group includes books written by our contributors, others of historic interest, and yet others showing polymer works of artistic interest.
Adams, Dan and Toops, Cynthia. BEADS AND MORE, 2008.
An in depth view of Cynthia’s and Dan’s masterful work.
Aimone, Katherine Duncan. THE ART OF JEWELRY: Polymer Clay, 2006.
High quality, fairly recent “how to” volume that presents projects and images by Jeffery Lloyd Dever, Lindly Haunani, Wendy Malinow, Sandra McCaw and others. It also has gallery images by: Judy Kuskin, Steven Ford/David Forlano, Kathleen Dustin, Elise Winters, Cynthia Toops, Margaret Regan, Barbara McGuire, and others.
Allen, Jamey D. FIVE ARTISTS-FIVE DIRECTIONS: Working in Polymer Clay, 1994.
Focused view of 5 well respected early polymer artists including Pier Voulkos, Jamey Allen, Michael Grove, Ruth Ann Grove and Martha Breen.
Ashcroft, Pierrette Brown and Haunani, Lindly. ARTISTS AT WORK: Polymer Clay Comes of Age, 1998.
A gallery-style book rather than a “how to” that includes work by: Jamey Allen, Kathy Amt, Kathleen Dustin, Steven Ford and David Forlano, Michael Grove and RuthAnn Grove, Lindly Haunani, Victoria (Tory) Hughes, Margaret Maggio, Nan Roche, Sarah Shriver, Cynthia Toops, Pier Voulkos and Elise Winters as well as many others.
Belcher, Judy and Honaman, Tamara. POLYMER CLAY MASTER CLASS: Exploring Process, Technique, and Collaboration with 11 Master Artists, 2013.
This book offers an interesting commentary on the collaborative process.
Carren, Rachel, Curator, MASTERS: Polymer Clay, Major Works by Leading Artists, 2011.
A meticulously curated collection of some of the finest work that’s been done by polymer artists to date. The book profiles the careers of 42 polymer artists, both past and present; Each artist is represented with a portfolio of up to 12 large gorgeous images.
Carren, Rachel, Bruce W. Pepich and Lena Vigna, TERRA NOVA: Polymer at the Crossroads, 2011.
Accompanying the exhibition Terra Nova, the 140-page hardcover combines illuminating text and ideas about polymer, both past and present, with images and details on key artists. Beautifully illustrated with more than 130 photographs, this publication offers different frameworks for understanding the innovations of polymer in artistic expression.
Rachel Carren, exhibition catalog essay for A RE-VISIONING: NEW WORKS IN POLYMER, 2014.
The catalog for the exhibition which was organized by Diane Levesque, curator, H.F. Johnson Gallery of Art at Carthage College, Kenosha, WI Sept.9 –Oct 25, 2014. Catalogs may be obtained by contacting PAA directly
Cormier, Dan and Tracy Holmes, RELIEF BEYOND BELIEF, 2011.
This 140 page e-book teaches decorative deforming, the debut volume in a new series, Master Class Library for Polymer Clay. Masterful use of the medium as well as of the latest digital technology.
Dewey, Katherine. CREATING LIFE-LIKE ANIMALS IN POLYMER CLAY, 2000.
A “how to” for sculpting animal figures with an especially well done introduction.
Dewey, Katherine. CREATING LIFE-LIKE FIGURES IN POLYMER CLAY, 2008.
Another “how to” book only this time for the human figure. Dewey is an expert on sculpted form.
Diffendaffer, Grant. POLYMER CLAY BEADS, 2007.
A “how-to” book which seeks to take many artists outside of the normal practices of hand rolling and creating beads, by using small lathes and mandrels to form and shape a huge variety of beads.
Ford, Steven and Dierks, Leslie. CREATIVE CLAY JEWELRY, 1994.
A better than average early “how to” with good gallery images of work by: Kathy Amt, Kathleen Dustin, Steven Ford and David Forlano, Ruth Ann and Michael Grove, Lindly Haunani, Victoria (Tory) Hughes, Donna Kato, Nan Roche, Sarah Shriver, Cynthia Toops, Pier Voulkos, Elise Winters and others.
Haunani, Lindly and Maggio, Margaret. POLYMER CLAY COLOR INSPIRATIONS, 2009.
Heads above the typical polymer how-to books, this volume offers instruction and inspiration that focuses on polymer clay as a learning tool that readers can use to explore their own color instincts and preferences and develop their own palettes.
Hughes, Victoria (Tory). POLYMER, THE CHAMELEON CLAY, 2002. Lovely “how to” book on achieving faux effects using clay by the person who mastered many of them. Most of the images are of Victoria’s work but the book also includes images by: Nan Roche, Gwen Gibson and others.
Kato, Donna. THE ART OF POLYMER CLAY: Creative Surface Effects, 2007.
This is an entire book about creating surface effects. Lots of projects as well as gallery images by Donna Kato- author as well as Katherine Dewey, Kathleen Dustin, Lindly Haunani, Judy Kuskin, Margaret Maggio, Nan Roche, Pier Voulkos, Elise Winters, and others.
Lark Books. 500 BROOCHES, 2005.
Showing works by polymer artists, Jeffrey Lloyd Dever and Cynthia Toops as well as other art jewelers.
Lark Books. 500 NECKLACES, 2006.
Showing works by polymer artists, Ford/Forlano, Wendy Wallin Malinow and Judy Kuskin as well as other art jewelers.
Markowitz, Yvonne, ARTFUL ADORNMENTS: Jewelry from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2011.
Highlights over 100 works of the jeweler’s art selected from more than 11,000 in one of the most comprehensive jewelry collections in the world. Including ornaments from 2000 BC Egypt, this volume covers 4 millennia and closes with a piece of 21st century polymer jewelry.
Masters’ Invitational Polymer Clay Exhibition: The Cutting Edge in Polymer Clay, 1997.
Out of print catalog of the MIPCES exhibition held in New Jersey with images and artist’s comments about their work. Most of the content has been posted on Polymer Art Archive.
McGuire, Barbara. FOUNDATIONS IN POLYMER CLAY DESIGN, 1999.
“How to” with a large gallery section featuring images of work by: Jody Bishel, Martha Breen, Dan Cormier, Kathleen Dustin, Steven Ford/David Forlano, Gwen Gibson, Michael Grove, Lindly Haunani, Victoria (Tory) Hughes, Donna Kato, Margaret Maggio, Sandra McCaw, Barbara McGuire, Margaret Regan, Nan Roche, Sarah Shriver, Cynthia Toops, Pier Voulkos, Elise Winters and others.
Meilach, Dona Z. ART JEWELRY TODAY, 2003.
Showing works by polymer artists, Cynthia Toops, Barbara Sperling as well as other art jewelers.
Roche, Nan. THE NEW CLAY, 1992.
The first comprehensive book published on polymer clay. Both an informational and a “how to” format. This volume was the basis for many people’s early experiences and knowledge of polymer. Images of early work by: Jamey Allen, Kathleen Amt, Martha Breen, Kathleen Dustin, Steven Ford/David Forlano, Michael and Ruth Ann Grove, Victoria (Tory) Hughes, Lindly Haunani (Miller), Nan Roche, Marie Segal, Sarah Shriver, Pier Voulkos and others.
Segal, Marie. THE POLYMER CLAY ARTIST’S GUIDE: A Directory of Mixes, Colors, Textures, Faux Finishes, and Surface Effects, 2013.
This is a concise compendium of all sorts of techniques.
Snyder, Jeffrey B. ART JEWELRY TODAY 2, 2008.
Showing works by polymer artists, Elise Winters, Cynthia Toops and Judy Kuskin as well as other art jewelers.
Tinapple, Cynthia. POLYMER CLAY GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES: Emerging Ideas and Techniques from 125 International Artists, 2013.
Tinapple curates a selection of polymer art from around the world.
These are selected favorites of general interest on topics including aesthetics, the creative process, general design, and art jewelry design.
Aimone, Steven. DESIGN!: A Living guide to Design Basics for Artists, 2004.
On design with explanatory text, many illustrations and thoughtful exercises.
Audette, Anna Held. THE BLANK CANVAS: Inviting the Muse, 1993.
Inspirational reading for artists about the process of creating.
Bayles, David and Orland, Ted. ART AND FEAR: Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking, 1993.
About the process of making art. Inspirational in nature.
Bothwell, Dorr and Mayfield, Marlys. NOTAN: The Dark-Light Principle of Design, 1991.
More design principles, this time through the inter-relation of light and dark, positive and negative space.
Buster, Kendall. THE CRITIQUE HANDBOOK, 2009, 2nd Edition.
Addressing the process of critique, “wonderful mixture of how-to manual, theoretical analysis, irreverent debunker and basic gameplan. “
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. CREATIVITY: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, 1996.
A discussion of Creativity, with a capital “C”. Fascinating read but not specifically about artists.
Dissanayake, Ellen. WHAT IS ART FOR?, 1988.
On mankind’s need to create and the whys from an anthropological point of view.
McCreight, Tim. DESIGN LANGUAGE: Interpretive Edition, 2006.
Simple and visual approach to the various elements of design. Concise and to the point.
Olver, Elizabeth. ART OF JEWELRY DESIGN: From Idea to Reality, 2002.
A wealth of visual options for different approaches to jewelry design. Olver takes a given idea along the lines of simple, more involved, complex.
Olver, Elizabeth. JEWELRY DESIGN: The Artisan’s Reference, 2000.
A conceptual approach to jewelry design though elements such as form, color, geometry, abstraction, etc.
Pye, David. THE NATURE AND ART OF WORKMANSHIP, 1968.
Pye’s book is a classic that explores the nature of workmanship and the perpetual possibilities of hand made work.
Jean Reist Stark & Josephine Reist Stark. CLASSICAL LOOP-IN-LOOP CHAINS, 1997.
Trilling, James. LANGUAGE OF ORNAMENT, 2001.
An overview of the idea of ornamentation and its history.
Untracht, Oppi. JEWELRY CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGY, 1982
Zwimpfer, Moritz. COLOR, LIGHT, SIGHT, SENSE, 1985.
A comprehensive book about the complex phenomenon of color which integrates the physical, physiological and psychological through the use of extensive illustrations.
There are thousands of pages of “how to” articles about polymer techniques and projects in magazines and on- line. Here is a highly edited selection of magazine articles specifically about polymer art and artists.
AMERICAN CRAFT, Aug/Sept 1996, vol. 56 no.4, profile article, “Pier Voulkos: Taking Color in Hand” by Patricia Harris and David Lyon
AMERICAN STYLE, Summer 1999, vol. 5 no. 4, “Movers & Shapers: Polymer Clay Artists are Pushing Beyond the Ordinary into Realms Where Imagination Leads Them” by Lee Lawrence. An overview of the medium at that time.
METALSMITH, 2003, vol. 23 no. 1, “Ford + Forlano: Serendipitous Sculpture” by Marjorie Simon
ORNAMENT, 1988, vol. 11 no. 3, article by Kathleen Dustin: “The Use of Polyform in Bead-Making”. This is one of the earliest mentions of polymer in print.
ORNAMENT, 1989, vol. 13 no. 2, cover and feature article on Tory Hughes, “Art is a Conversation not a Conversation Piece” by Barbara Hamaker
ORNAMENT, 1991, vo.15 no.2, article on early work of Ford and Forlano, “City Zen Cane” by Anne L. Ross
ORNAMENT, 1996, vol.19 no.3, article, “Pier Voulkos: An Irresistible Playfulness” by Chiori Santiago
ORNAMENT, 1997, vol.20 no.4, cover and feature article, “Kathleen Dustin: The Journey within” by Carolyn Benesh
ORNAMENT, Winter, 1997, vol. 21 no. 2, cover and article, “Dan Adams and Cynthia Toops: A Marriage of Media,” by Alice Scherer
ORNAMENT, 1998, vol. 22 no.2, “Shellie Brooks: A Master of Form” by Beth Frankl
ORNAMENT, Fall 2006, vol. 30 no.1, cover and feature article, “Steven Ford and David Forlano: The Delicate Balance of Equaivalent Terms” by Glen Brown
ORNAMENT, 2009, vol. 32 no.3, article, “Elise Winters: The Essential Lightness of Being,” by Jill A. DeDominicis
ORNAMENT, 2009, vol.32 no. 4, article, “Tory Hughes: The Path from Nothing to Something” by Jill A. DeDominicis
ORNAMENT, 2011, vol. 34 no. 4, ” Polymer Clay: A Modern Medium Comes of Age”, by Jill A. DeDominicis. A polymer art timeline
ORNAMENT, 2011, vol. 34 no. 5, article, “Rachel Carren: A Study in Beauty” by Jill A. DeDominicis
ORNAMENT, 2012, vol. 35, no.3, “New Jewelry in a New Medium”, review of 2012 polymer art exhibition at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, CA by Jill A. DeDominicis
AMERICAN CRAFT, Oct/Nov 2011, “How Polymer Hit the Big Time” by Monica Moses, Editor.