Grave Hopping Into Polymer Clay

You may have heard me start (more than) a few stories this way: “So I met a man in a bar in New Orleans...”

But, seriously, that’s how my years-long exploration of polymer clay jewelry really began.

Here it is, the real true story of how I found polymer clay, in maybe 1993 or 1994:

I met a man in a bar in New Orleans – yeah, I realize it sounds like the opening line to a bad joke, but no. He had a cast on one arm, and a really great bead on a leather cord. We got to chatting, and one thing led to another – which, in New Orleans, for goth kids like us, meant jumping the fence and hanging out in the cemetery all night.

I asked about the bead, and he told me only two things about it: that he had made it, and it was Fimo®.

He refused to divulge anything further, which of course I took as a challenge. Right around that time, Threads magazine (which is shockingly still around) published an article on polymer clay. If memory serves (and it may not), the article was specifically about making custom coordinated buttons out of clay; but it had a lot of great information about the material itself. How to manipulate it, combine it and cure it. Things like that.

About the arm cast? Well, sure, I asked about that, too. He told me that he'd been with a girl and bounced off the bed wrong and broke on it the dresser. I told him that the same thing had happened to me. When he asked then why I didn't have a cast, I said it was because I cleared the dresser. Buh dum bum.

So I came away from that chance evening completely hooked on polymer clay. The guy....not so much. If you're reading this, Random Dude from Long Ago and Far Away, thanks.

It turns out that meeting you set my life on a different artistic course, and for that, I am truly grateful.