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Click to Order From Amazon.com The Weekend Crafter - Polymer Clay
20 Weekend Projects Using New and Exciting Techniques

by Irene Semanchuk Dean
Lark Books
List Price: $14.95

Reviewed by Martha Aleo

This book of polymer clay projects starts out with basic information: choosing your clay, tools, conditioning and baking, as well as elementary cane-building techniques, inclusions, and surface treatments. There are detailed instructions for 19 separate projects designed by the author, Diane Villano, Harriet Smith, Debbie Krueger, Heather Roselli, Jody Bishel and Edith Siegel. The instructions are clearly written and beautifully illustrated. There is also a mouth-watering gallery of the work of several polymer clay artists. If you never make anything in the book, it would be worth having for the gorgeous pictures.

The projects are varied and include functional and decorative items. The directions contain instructions for making pens with caps that fit, attractive bookmarks and a heart-shaped box in which a cookie cutter is used as a template. The other projects include frames, jewelry and buttons.

One criticism is that there are no directions on how to make the beautiful canes used in the cabinet knob and kite magnet projects. This could be especially frustrating to a beginner. It would also be helpful of there were suppliers listed for some on the non-polymer items used in the projects such as the clock mechanism used in the Mosaic Face Clock.

Those criticisms aside, this is a worthwhile book for all levels of expertise. Beginners will find clear, basic instructions and more advanced readers will learn new twists on old projects and techniques.

Editor's Note: In keeping with the close-knit community of Clay Artists, Martha shared her review with Irene before publishing, and Irene was able to explain reasons for the minor criticisms that Martha noted. We felt that our viewers would enjoy Irene's "behind-the-scenes" look at book publishing, and see some of the situations that authors face as they prepare their work, so we are including her comments with this review...
"My Comments on These Points (though your points are valid):
Regarding the lack of instructions for the canes used for a couple of projects, I was limited by the "Weekend Crafter" book format to only 80 pages. I wasn't able to devote the couple of pages that would have been necessary for these specific canes; I could only cover very basic caneworking. Since there are many excellent caneworking instructions already available in books, videos, and on the internet, I felt the information could be easily found elsewhere. Also, I didn't want to put too much emphasis on caneworking; I wanted to show that there is so much *more* you can do with polymer clay!

Regarding Suppliers:
Clock mechanisms are readily available at WalMart, Michael's, nearly any craft stores, even some Ace Hardware stores. It's faster and easier than mail order to get them locally, especially just for one or two.

It wasn't easy to get the few suppliers listed that I did! :) The ones that are listed are included only because they carry Liquid Sculpey, which at the time of printing, was only available via mail order. As you can see, I had to search for international suppliers as well, since the book is for international distribution.

Sterling (Lark's parent company) has some specific rules about suppliers and name brands because (reasonably enough) they don't want to "endorse" any brands or suppliers and thereby exclude others. So I was unable to recommend any specific brands of anything. I'm sure you'll note the references to "cyanoacrylate glue" instead of SuperGlue or Zap-a-Gap, "heat-resistant PVA glue" instead of Sobo, "liquid polymer clay" instead of Liquid Sculpey, etc. I wasn't even able to recommend the generally preferred Atlas pasta machines over other brands. This required some hasty rewriting at the 11th hour!"

Readers' Comments!

"I received this book as a gift when I first started using polymer clay. It has been a very helpful book for a newcomer, explaining the many techniques and clays available.I found the projects very easy to follow too."

Jeanie McHenry
We'd like to thank Martha and Irene for this fascinating review, and for giving us an inside look at some of the situations that face authors and reviewers as well!


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