PCC Chats With
The Clay Alley
Click Here to Download a Zipfile of this Chat
April 24, 2002:Guest Chat Log Index
SUNNISAN: We shall begin now -
please refrain from
salutations and please keep side conversations in Private Message mode.
Karen, I am
curious - how long have you been claying?
CLAYALLEY: I have been working with clay six years.
Started carving and
soon wanted my own models for carving. Then I started playing with clay
and never looked
SUNNISAN: Do you still carve in clay?
CLAYALLEY: It's on again and off again. Mostly I have
all these ideas and
need time to play.
SUNNISAN: Ah, ok. How did you come up with the idea of
a clay oriented
CLAYALLEY: In one word: Frustration.
SUNNISAN: Oh? Do tell!
CLAYALLEY: I ordered some things and it took 90 days to
get it. I knew
sources and I was a buyer, so I just started thinking I could do it
KELISA3: -- And fast, I might add...
CLAYALLEY: Mostly I bought for me and then I thought I
would just keep on
SUNNISAN: Was it difficult putting it all together?
CLAYALLEY: Not really.
SUNNISAN: So you already purchased wholesale?
CLAYALLEY: I bought for my old boss. Her business is
giftware stuff with
lots of sources to interesting things. I just expanded on it and
directed it towards clay.
SUNNISAN: So you actually had a business license to
work off of already.
CLAYALLEY: No, I was a buyer for giftware.
SUNNISAN: When you established The Clay Alley, did you
get your own
CLAYALLEY: Yes, I have my own license now.
SUNNISAN: Are you able to get good wholesale prices
CLAYALLEY: I try my best. Sometimes the vendors make it
I am not a retail store.
SUNNISAN: Is your business internet only at this
CLAYALLEY: Yes, it is - although I have had people say
they are coming
here to see what I have.
SUNNISAN: The suppliers balk cuz you don't have a brick
CLAYALLEY: Yes. Polyform will not sell to me cos I do
not have a store.
Polyform sends out reps to bonafide stores and only sells that way.
BOOBEARNS: Just think what polyform is missing out on
because they won't
sell to you.
CLAYALLEY: I think polyform has gotten huge and doesn't
want to mess with
people who they consider small potatoes.
SUNNISAN Is there a loophole for that or does it matter
with you stocking
CLAYALLEY: No... and the manufacturer of Kato Clay is
different and has
SUNNISAN: When do you think you'll be carrying Kato
CLAYALLEY: I do plan to carry the Kato Clay and I just
ordered the syndee
holt traveling studio from Jacquard. The studio set is on backorder till
they get a
machine to wrap it.
SUNNISAN: Are you working full time now with The Clay
CLAYALLEY: I am working part time for my old boss - one
day a week now.
DUKKYG: You said you were making tools. What kind of
tools & will
they be for sale?
CLAYALLEY: Yes, I am making tools - plunger tools in
3/16" and in
1/2" like the Kemper Tools only in different designs: hex, square,
oval, triangle in
3/16" and the 1/2" is a set of 12.
SUNNISAN: Do you have a date for sales yet?
CLAYALLEY: I just put them up on my site about an hour ago.
SUNNISAN: ok everyone - POP UP!! so don't panic if you
get a page jumping
out at you. http://www.clayalley.com/cutters
Who manufactures them for you?
CLAYALLEY: I do. I hand make each one.
JOLIE9: When are you going to make the new shapes for
the clay gun??
CLAYALLEY: I'm working on that, too. I have so much in
mind that it's
hard to keep track of it all.
SUNNISAN: You are? Metal shapes?
CLAYALLEY: Yes, they are all metal.
XAZAVIA: The plungers sound really nice. I can't
DUKKYG: I had the opportunity to try the 3/16" and
they work very
BOOBEARNS: Now that was just too cool!!!
SUNNISAN: Those are neat, Karen. You must be good at
CLAYALLEY: I can also put on springs if you prefer them
THEAUNTJUDY: I love the little cutters.
JOLIE9: Me, too!
CLAYALLEY: They are so cool. I want to do them in more
SUNNISAN: Larger or smaller?
CLAYALLEY: Both. I have some 1/8" metal to play
with and up from
there. Up to whatever size you all would like - I'm flexible.
THEAUNTJUDY: Tiny! That would be perfect for a flag pin
I want to do.
JOLIE9: My nieces made charm bracelets using the tiny
cookie cutters that
I got from you!
SUNNISAN: You collect an odd assortment of tools for
the clayer - things
I don't see on other sites. Do they sell well for you?
CLAYALLEY: Most of the time, yes. I like to get things
that intrigue me
and then pass it on if I think others would like it.
SUNNISAN: I love the wavy blade with the handle. Great
THEAUNTJUDY: Are you going to get in more/different
CLAYALLEY: Yes. More findings, more tins, pearlex, more
SUNNISAN: Tools! ar ar ar
CLAYALLEY: more power... I am always looking for
MYSHANTI: ooooooh goody!!! More findings and
CLAYALLEY: Yes, Donna, gold bails.
SUNNISAN: Have you considered trying to carry the
scumbuster? With disks
CLAYALLEY: I hadn't thought of it, but I will check
into it. The discs
are still on the drawing board right now.
SUNNISAN: Karen, do you keep your stock onsite or do
you use a drop
CLAYALLEY: I order the merchandise and keep it here.
This room is almost
too full for me! The cats love it though...places to hide.
TERI_G: I KNEW you had cats!
CLAYALLEY: three and one dog
TERI_G: Mine love the packages from you
CLAYALLEY: Why does your like my packages?
TERI_G: Because they come from a cat house.
SUNNISAN: "Other cat" smells!!
TERI_G: Uh... You know what I mean.
JOLIE9: She is magical -- that's why her boxes get to
us so quickly!
CLAYALLEY: You are bad! I love sending those triangle
ones - makes the
postal clerks' day.
SUNNISAN: Karen - I notice you sponsor some of the PCC
contests. Do you
plan to continue your participation in the future?
CLAYALLEY: Yes, I do...
SUNNISAN: Yahoo! Your gift is most generous and much
CLAYALLEY: I don't have a counter on my page, so I
don't know how the
sponsorship works for me with hits, but I figure, heck, I gotta give
back to the people
who make it possible for me to get nice stuff.
SUNNISAN: Don't you have a statistic application
available from your
CLAYALLEY: I don't bother with that stuff....too busy
playing with clay,
tools and other stuff.
SUNNISAN: You give back by faboo customer service and
CLAYALLEY: Thank you. I really try.
SUNNISAN: Come summertime, it gets hot throughout the
states. How do you
keep your clay from cooking enroute?
CLAYALLEY: That's why I ship Priority Mail - 2-3 days
tops. The Post
Office doesn't let the mail sit in a van all night like UPS.
SUNNISAN: Ah. That's good to know.
TERI_G That's good to know - I wasn't aware.
CLAYALLEY: It's always delivered to the interior of the
Post Office in
air conditioning. Plus they deliver on Sats - while UPS doesn't.
SUNNISAN: Has your business burgeoned quickly or
CLAYALLEY: Steadily. Word of mouth is great.
TERI_G: Tell me about weldbond. Do you carry it?
CLAYALLEY: Yes, I have Weldbond.
TERI_G: Is it as great as they say?
SUNNISAN: Have you used it personally?
CLAYALLEY: Yes, it really is. I love the stuff. I cover
all my wood,
papier mache, glass....
SUNNISAN: Huh? It works like Sobo Glue, too?
TERI_G: How fast does it set up?
CLAYALLEY: 15 minutes to set up and it's clear and
SUNNISAN: How's it hold up to heat?
TERI_G: How about clean-up?
CLAYALLEY: No problems with it - soap and water. You
can dilute it, too.
SUNNISAN: You can? Why would you? And with what?
CLAYALLEY: Works on blackboard, bricks, cardboard,
JOLIE9: Are you reading the back of the label??
CLAYALLEY: Ceramics, china, corian, cork, fabrics,
foam, wood, glass
SUNNISAN: Sounds almost too good to be true.
CLAYALLEY: leather, linoleum, marble, masonry, metals,
plastic, plywood, porcelain, rope, rugs, slate, stone, textiles, tiles,
JOLIE9: Go back and tell us why you would dilute it and
CLAYALLEY: It's concentrated. It can give up to twice
the coverage of
TERI_G: Like Tacky Glue?
SUNNISAN: So it's thick like TLS?
KELISA3: How do you dilute it??
CLAYALLEY: You can get more out of it - dilute with
water. 3 parts water
gives up to 400 square feet per gallon.
SUNNISAN: Holy cow! That's a lot. Can you use it
between 2 baked pieces
CLAYALLEY: Oh, yes! works. like a charm.
JOLIE9: Have you used this glue for pinbacks?
CLAYALLEY: Yep. Used it for pinbacks, too. I've used it
to cover wood
prior to claying, and glass, papier mache and light bulb vessels with
KELISA3: Karen, do you dry your wood first or just use
CLAYALLEY: Never dried wood in my life.
SUNNISAN: And no warping of clay? Does it fill in all
the air pockets on
CLAYALLEY: No warping of clay with wood. I swirl it so
there are hills
and valleys in the glue to better hold the clay. Yes, it fills in the
KELISA3: I have a lop-sided wooden egg from Tacky
Glue - now I'll order
Wellbond... Among other things....lol
CLAYALLEY: That's my girl! I use it on light bulbs and
then break off the
metal top. It keeps the glass from flying.
SUNNISAN: Before you clay you break the top?
CLAYALLEY: Yes, I break the top before I clay. I just
make sure I have a
lot on the top and it's full strength. Then I run a glass cutter around
it and hit it with
the wire cutter...real professional here.
SUNNISAN: You're definitely a tool person!!
TERI_G: My kinda woman!
KELISA3: Is the glass cutter just to make the cut
CLAYALLEY: The glass cutter is just to get that dang
metal top off
without busting it to pieces.
KELISA3: Ok. Ever tried smashing the bulb after
CLAYALLEY: No, never smashed the bulb after baking.
Always did it first.
Well, I cover it with glue first, then smack the top off, then clay,
then I leave the bulb
in (great conversation starter) and rinse it out with soap and water.
Make a top and hit
it with Flecto or Future or something.
KELISA3: Now I see - almost had to draw me a picture
SUNNISAN: So, the glass remains with the vessel making
it versatile enuf
to hold a beverage....
SUNNISAN: I like that idea.
TERI_G: Very clever, Karen!
CLAYALLEY: Think of mini-buds in the Spring sitting in
water in your
light bulb vessel.
SUNNISAN: Without adverse effect to the clay!
KELISA3: --with those new Pearlex coverings......wind
in your hair.....
SUNNISAN: Can you give us a sneak peek or preview of
any other new
items/tools you're thinking about getting in?
CLAYALLEY: I think I mentioned all of them - Pearlex,
plunger cutters, multi-blade cutting tool, claygun discs, but I am
always playing with
something, so you never know....
JOLIE9: And she is known for running ideas past us at
Things Clay Yahoo Group].
TERI_G: Which we love.
CLAYALLEY: I like to run ideas past you all... it helps
me help you - to
know what you want. To find out what you are seeking. OH! I do have
another idea. Anyone
want to hear it?
CLAYALLEY: Armatures in scale with wire and foil.
SUNNISAN: Like the ones at Artdolls?
KELISA3: Now we're talking!
JOLIE9: Explain more....
SUNNISAN: Better!? Do tell!
CLAYALLEY: It's just something I thought of right now.
Told you I have
ideas popping at me constantly.
SUNNISAN: I would buy. Figures only or animals,
CLAYALLEY: How would a 6" with bendable arms and
Actually be able to rotate and move your figure into different
TERI_G: Oh - animals!! Great idea... put me down for
one of each: people
and animals. I need a cow.
KELISA3: Yes, yes and yes!
JOLIE9: Mythical figures or animals!
CLAYALLEY: Maybe other sizes too.
SUNNISAN: Miniature posable armatures would be
something I would
definitely be interested in.
JOLIE9: Kewl, 'cause I want some of the 3" and
CLAYALLEY: I'll put it on the drawing board and start
playing with it.
SUNNISAN: Thanx Karen!
TERI_G: I sure am glad you have such an expandable
drawing board, Karen.
CLAYALLEY: Darn thing takes up a lot of room. Pretty
soon I won't have
room in my house!
JOLIE9: But finish the shapes for the claygun first,
TERI_G: I'm sorry I missed the first part of chat. Did
you talk about
specific shapes for claygun discs?
CLAYALLEY: I want to do all sorts of shapes for the
gun...geometrical, things that are interesting...native american, asian,
SUNNISAN: Like the cool cookie cutters only
CLAUKKONEN: One shape that I would like to see is a
smaller half circle.
I think that would go really nice.
SUNNISAN: Half circles and quarter moons.
CLAYALLEY: I'm working on plunger tools and a half
circle is next. I will
add the quarter moon, too.
XAZAVIA: I would like a rectangle cutter.
CLAYALLEY: I made triangles, hex, square, and oval in
3/16" - what
size of rectangle do you need?
XAZAVIA: Well, I make 1" boxes. I'm horrible with
CLAYALLEY: I can probably do a 1/8" rectangle.
Need to play with
XAZAVIA: That would make my box making a breeze.
TERI_G: I think I mentioned before, but I'd love shapes
with sides that
can be put together to build a quilt cane.
XAZAVIA: That would be neat, Teri.
CLAYALLEY: Yes, I know about the quilting thing...I'm
working on it.
TERI_G: In plungers and claygun discs. Thanks, Karen,
You're a doll.
SUNNISAN: Jennypat got a set of those quilt shaped
tools special-made by
Sue Lee. She sez they're wonderful.
CLAYALLEY: What special tools?
SUNNISAN: She asked Sue Lee for them custom order.
They're some kind of
thing to help her make the components of a quilt cane.
SUNNISAN: They've cut her manufacture time and upped
her accuracy, but it
was just a one-time order.
CLAYALLEY: Wonderful! For me, I need a multidirectional
CLAYALLEY: Like a.... miter box. Slide your cane into a
box that has lots
of precut slots.
TERI_G: OOOOoohhhhh - now I see what you mean. And yes,
that would be
cool! Another tool I just discovered I "NEED."
CLAYALLEY: Are you placing an order?
SUNNISAN: Oh!! OH!! Gosh!! I was thinking of one of
those only the sides
would be adjustable, too, to compensate for cane sizes.
SUNNISAN: And have a slide to push the cane around.
TERI_G: Put me down for one of those, too, Karen.
CLAYALLEY: I'll make them!
SUNNISAN: Gee - that'd be great. I won't hafta see my
KELISA3: Have you used the cane slicer thing from
TERI_G: I've never used the JASI slicer, but have
wished for something
like it. I didn't like the idea of having to buy the special blades.
KELISA3: I have one - used - and no idea of how to use
it -- but had to
SUSANTUTBO: I'm dying to get a slicer. No matter how
hard I try, I can't
get the cane slices to be equal.
CLAYALLEY: You need a marking tool.
TERI_G: Me either, Susan, and it drives me nuts -- the
marking tool helps
tons, but I'm still crooked.
SUNNISAN: Susan - I don't even worry about equal slices
what a pasta machine is for.
CLAYALLEY: Where can I see this JASI slicer?
CLAYALLEY: That would be so easy to make.
KELISA3: And http://members.aol.com/pol
-- I think you can use regular blades with this.
CLAYALLEY: I could do that quickly. Are you all
interested in this thing?
SUNNISAN: I looked at slicers, but none met my needs. I
am interested in
something similar, but more cosmic. The JASI style is useless to me, but
definitely use a slicer.
CLAYALLEY: How do you mean similar, Sunni?
TERI_G: I like the idea of the multidirectional
CLAYALLEY: I think the multi-directional tool with the
ability to do
these cuts would be a good combo.
SUNNISAN: The design I'm think of has a moving
"floor" like the
others do so you can push it ever so slightly with your thumb to move
the cane forward.
But the others don't have the adjustment SIDEways for different sized
canes. I want
something that presses against the sides of the canes to avoid
distortion so it actually
moves in 4 directions. It needs to be able to use ANY tissue blade.
CLAYALLEY: I can do that. I'll start playing.
TERI_G: Oh, I see Sunni - yes, that would be great.
JOLIE9: Just so you can get equal and even nondistorted
slices!!! I have
such problems with that!
CLAYALLEY: I think this is doable, girls.
JOLIE9: If anyone can do it -- you can, Karen!
CLAYALLEY: Thanks, sweetie.
TERI_G: Seriously, Karen - I think it's a much needed
tool for lots of
SUNNISAN: Karen - the blade slide needs to move
smoothly and quickly and
have a latch that operates with a light touch of the thumb. This would
lock the blade
safely up while cleaning the board.
CLAYALLEY: Ah, like a paper cutter.
SUNNISAN: Yes. Only locked UP instead of down. Think
CLAYALLEY: That's possible.
XAZAVIA: Reminds me of that medieval cutting of the
head thing. LOL
SUNNISAN: Yes. Guillotine. Exactly.
CLAYALLEY: That would be so cool.
XAZAVIA: That is such a morbid reference! ;)
SUNNISAN: But apt!!
TERI_G: Maybe Xaz, but on target.
SUNNISAN: Imagine a face cane!! Truly a guillotine!
CLAYALLEY: Off with the head!
KELISA3: ---sick bunch of puppies today, aren't we?
CLAYALLEY: I love brainstorming like this!
SUNNISAN: Anyhow, Karen - those are the specs I've been
for about a year. If you make it, I'll buy one.
CLAYALLEY: I will toss it on the ole drawing board and
start playing. And
I'll make it, honey!!!
SUNNISAN: Karen - aside from the drawing board,
working, doing inventory
and claying, don't you write for magazines or something?
CLAYALLEY: I had an article in the Wood Carving
Illustrated mag, a
project on Sculpey, an article in Crafts Report and a new article in
SUNNISAN: I love the PCPolyzine. Are you doing an
article or a project,
CLAYALLEY: It's a project: Fabric and clay. Think
TERI_G: Really? How intriguing!
SUNNISAN: Oh!! I was just getting into that the last
couple days with
book binding!!! I must see that one! Fabric and paper and clay are meant
to be together...
CLAYALLEY: Think fabric embellishments for pins or
ornaments. I was happy
to do the article.
SUNNISAN: Think books, bracelets, even clothing,
purses, window shades.
JOLIE9: Sunni -- now you sound like you are reading the
back of the label
SUNNISAN: *giggle* Yup - the one on the inside of my
KELISA3: --and bake the fabric right into the clay?
CLAYALLEY: Put the clay and the fabric together and run
it through the
pasta machine so the clay gets into the weave of the fabric, then bake
KELISA3: Like a netting or lightweight fabric.
CLAYALLEY: Any fabric... I prefer cotton. Velveteen
frays like crazy.
XAZAVIA: I saw that in a book somewhere.
XAZAVIA: One of the clay books, it was in Joanne's. It
was about making
outfits for the dolls in clay.
JOLIE9: Fairy clothes!
CLAYALLEY: Yes, fairly clothes, too.
KELISA3: Could you glue with Wellbond?
TERI_G: It would work well for hinges, too, yes?
SUNNISAN: Karen - do you do all your own photography
for the eStore?
CLAYALLEY: My scanner kills my computer every time so I
try to rely on
the digital camera.
SUNNISAN: Speaking of doing your own photography -
where did you come up
with the idea for a Sculpey III
fashion show? That's a hoot! It's nice to see the colors in
TERI_G: I agree, Sunni - very original
CLAYALLEY: I might get around to doing that with
SUNNISAN: Or the Kato Klay!
TERI_G: Karen - I really do appreciate all you do for
CLAYALLEY: I'm a clayer at heart.
SUNNISAN: Actually ladies - we're at the end of our two
Karen - thank you SO much for this most interesting and fun chat!!!
Everyone is invited to
stay on if they would like to, I'm opening up the floor for general
CLAYALLEY: Thank you for inviting me.
SUNNISAN: It is Leigh's and my pleasure.
SUSANTUTBO: Karen, you're appreciated for all you do,
and especially by
me for all your good advice and work for free!!
CLAYALLEY: Remember everyone, new plunger
cutters are up! Guess everyone's leaving, huh?
STARGAZERCA: I just got here... :)
SUSANTUTBO: The only reason I would leave is to go and
LOL! Still want me to stay?
CLAYALLEY: Yes. Stay.
SUNNISAN: Sit. Stay. Good girl.
CLAYALLEY: Meow. If anyone wants the syndee holt
Studio, I can add to my
KELISA3: Karen - can I order one Holt with my order
CLAYALLEY: Sure. Just make a note of it and I will add
it to the order.
SUNNISAN: How much are you asking for the studios,
CLAYALLEY: $59.59. Jacquard is asking $69.99
SUNNISAN: You must've ordered a bunch to undercut the
STARGAZER: Karen, will you also be carrying the black
CLAYALLEY: Yes, I will carry that, too. The holt kit
isn't shipping 'til
mid-May, so I won't get them 'til the end of May.
STARGAZER: Will you have the Fiesta Inks available
separately (as well as
in the kit)?
CLAYALLEY: I'm looking into that as well. I will have
the new fashion
colors of Pearlex. As long as I know what you need, I can add it to my
inventory order. So
best to email me so I can put your name down. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
STARGAZER: I'd like a bottle of black Pearlex... I gave
some of mine
CLAYALLEY: What size bottle?
STARGAZER: The larger size... Don't have any with me on
CLAYALLEY: Okay, will add it but email me so I have
your name and
STARGAZER: Will do! :)
KELISA3: Got your number, I'll call ya.
CLAYALLEY: Love talking on the phone, too! Sunni, send
me a copy of the
transcript so I get the specs for that tool. Supper is ready, so I must
----thanks and salutations extended----
CLAYALLEY: You are most welcome Sunni... love to do it
SUNNISAN: We'd love to have you again as a guest
CLAYALLEY: Lots of goodies, new plunger tools, pearlex,
new tools - just
let me know when, Sunni!
SUNNISAN: How about once a month?
CLAYALLEY: That might work.
SUNNISAN: We'll email and negotiate, k?
CLAYALLEY: K. Okay, I really got to go ...the chicken
SUNNISAN: Thx again and have a good dinner!