We’ve come a long way, baby!

In St. Louis in 1981, the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts held a national convention. It was there that Esther Olson introduced her process for making miniature candies from FIMO®.  Today we would recognize these techniques as millefiore caning.  From that inconspicuous beginning, caning has evolved into extraordinary art, as seen in the work of accomplished artists like Sarah Shriver.

The inspiration for Esther’s techniques came from her experience working in a candy factory during the 1950’s.  As a result of the enthusiastic response she received at the convention, Esther published a manual called “That Incredible Fimo.”  While I have not been able to locate an extant edition of this manual, I did find a copy of her later booklet, “Fimo Sweets” published in 1983.  In this small 14 page booklet, Esther illustrated the construction of many cane designs including flowers and bull’s eyes.  Most astonishing are her illustrations for a complicated butterfly, a bow and a Santa face,  canes which she built using needlepoint charts.

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.