Polymer blossoms, seeded by Flower Valley Press

The New Clay by Nan Roche, Flower Valley Press, 1991Many acknowledge Nan Roche and her book, The New Clay, as the source and the early inspiration for the explosion of information about polymer and its growth as a medium for artistry.

But how many realize that this could never have happened without the support and vision of Seymour Bress, founder of Flower Valley Press.  In those early years, FVP published 3 seminal volumes that remain as classics today in any polymer artist’s library.

Flower Valley Press published The New Clay in 1991, and almost instantly the book became known as “the Bible” in our artistic community.  Nan inscribed my hardcover copy which I once thought I’d be able to keep in pristine condition. No chance! Sixteen years later, I’m still going back to reread sections of this treasured and now dog-eared volume. It remains the most comprehensive introduction to the medium, a book I strongly advise you to buy if you don’t currently have a copy in your home library or art studio.

Five Artists - Five Directions in Polymer Clay by Jamey D. Allen, Flower Valley Press, 1995Five Artists – Five Directions in Polymer Clay by Jamey D. Allen was published by FVP in 1995.  Jamey interviewed some of the early pioneers and then elegantly outlined the threads of inspiration that linked their memorable creations. To this day, this book remains singular in its effort to record significant aspects of polymer’s early history.  When you read through the detailed personal profiles that Jamey sketched of each artist, you’ll feel a special sense of warmth that radiates off the pages.

Artists at Work by Pierrette Ashcroft and Lindly Haunani, Flower Valley Press, 1996In 1996, FVP followed up their first two successes with the publication of a third glorious book, Artists at Work: Polymer Clay Comes of Age, by Pierrette Brown Ashcroft and Lindly Haunani.  Those of you who know Pierrette and Lindly are well aware of their vibrant personalities and gifts for humorous expression. The colorful writing and thoughtful interview technique allows us to make a personal connection with a wide array of contemporary polymer artists. They not only profile artist’s vision and process, but fill their pages with humor and colorful images that provide pleasure for every reader.

To this day, these books remain the foundation of my own polymer library.  Though many project books have since appeared on the market, there is nothing to compare with these early books for readability, depth, informational content, and historic significance. If you don’t already own them, make an investment that will pay rewards for years to come.

I cannot remember a time in my life that I wasn't interested in looking at art, talking about art and the making of art. In 1990 I earned a Phd in art history at the University of Maryland. My first experiences with polymer clay were in 1992, but I consider my real work with the medium to date from 1999.