Category: Tools


While researching her essay for the upcoming RAM exhibition catalog, Rachel Carren has encountered lots of interesting historical material too detailed for that volume.  One example is this story of Marie Segal’s first encounter with polymer and the business which she and her husband Howard started in the early 1980’s. Before the Internet, there was one “go-to” source for information on how to handle polymer.  That was the Fimo Factory. When we artists had technical questions about polymer or when we had discovered something new, the recurring refrain was, “Call Marie and Howard.” It would be hard to underestimate the …

A Seminal Clearinghouse Read More »


There is the saying that “Necessity is the mother of invention”. While making precise uniformly-shaped beads from polymer clay isn’t exactly a necessity, it can be challenging to do so.  This is particularly the case when you want to make uniform elongated oval beads with two pionted ends. I first met Carl and Jean Hornberger at the National Polymer Clay Guild’s Annual retreat at Shrinemont in Orkney Springs Virginia. I was fascinated by the notion that they both were artists who used polymer clay, often collaborated on pieces together, had a blended family of thirteen children and complimented each other’s …

Mechanical Intervention Read More »


“One small change for man, one giant leap for an entire creative community.” Admittedly, it doesn’t have quite the ring of Neil Armstrong’s moon-landing quote, but it does mark a historic step in the development of polymer clay art. Of all the innovations in the medium, perhaps the most consequential and defining one came from the single leap of imagination that made the connection between polymer and a pasta machine. Consider how limited the progress would have been without this facile means to condition stubborn clay. Without it, precision caning would never have been possible nor the Skinner blend which has become …

On Creative Leaps Read More »