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Your Company Name: Jamey D. Allen Designs
Email Address/Web Page: beadman@jdallen.cnchost.com
City & State: Santa Rosa, California
Type of Craft: Fimo beads & jewelry

Tell us in your own words, how you discovered polymer clay and how long have you been using it?

I was first told about Fimo by a friend who is a miniaturist, who thought it would be an interesting medium for me to use to explore my involvement in ancient glass beadmaking procedures. Upon finding it and working for a VERY SHORT period, I found it to be exciting and artistically fulfilling in ways I hadn¹t imagined possible. I made beads and other components, both historical reproductions and wholely original creations, and have been having a lot of fun ever since then. (That was about 10 years ago.)

Are there any special artists that you can attribute your interest to or that have inspired you?

I am entirely self-taught with Fimo, but am well-grounded in traditional glass beadmaking from very early times through the present (which is an important aspect of my bead research). With my initial experiments, I was helped by my good friend Nan Roche, who advised me on certain technical details. the first work by other artists I saw were Martha Breen and Pier Voulkos, whom I greatly admire (and who are good friends), but by that time I had already mastered millefiori work myself. Still, their work, and that of Michael and Ruth Anne Grove, the Kathleens (Dustin and Amp),City Zen Cane, Tory Hughes, and many other really excite me.

What is your specialty?

My speciality, I suppose, is beadmaking. I use every technique I know, but am probably most famous for my millefiori work, and for "reinventing" the Folded Bead, which hadn't been made for about 1,000 years.

Can you tell us why you find polymer clay the expressive medium for you?

Its versatility, and the relative ease of its use. Also, great potential color schemes.

Have you published any polymer clay books or do you have any in the works?

I wrote FIVE ARTISTS - FIVE DIRECTIONS IN POLYMER CLAY in 1994. It is widely available, published by Flower Valley Press.
Order Now?

I know it is very difficult to express, but have you won any awards for your polymer clay work?

I don¹t have time to enter awards shows! However, my work has been featured in several major invitational shows (including those given by Beadazzled in Washington, DC, and most recently MIPCES in New Jersey). I have been interviewed for local TV in Boston; appear in the documentary The Bead Movement (due for release soon); and for local TV in Taipei, Taiwan (October, 1997).

What are your expectations for the future? Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?

I haven¹t the vaguest idea. Why do you ask?

Do you have any advice for the beginning polymer clay enthusiasts?

Experiment to your heart¹s content. Take a class with a good teacher (like me). Work slowly and carefully for precision; then with abandon for expression. Have fun!

Are you a member of any Polymer Clay group,or any other craft organization?

I¹m a past-member of NPCG, but have just been too busy to keep up (though I regret this). I am a founder of the Northern California Bead Society, and co-founder of the Society of Bead Researchers. I was involved in the development of a local Bay Area group a few years ago, but it did not fly. I would be interested in participating in any local group that tried to organize.

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

I use only Fimo (for all the usual reasons). Recently, I have experimented with CFC, and think it has great potential.

Last and most important can you tell us all about you? Your family, your training?

Please refer to my book, which has biographies of all five of the artists respresented, as well as great illustrations of the work we were creating at that time (1992-4).

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