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B. CHRISTINE BRASHERS

Your Company Name: Chrissy's Frippery
Email Address/Web Page: ChrissyFri@aol.com
City & State: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Type of Craft: Polymer Clay

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

I discovered polymer at a San Diego craft show about 1987. Someone named M.K.Urban was selling jewelry with the most fascinating beads. She explained that it was "FIMO". My interest was aroused, to say the least, so I looked around until I found some very old Fimo in a craft store. It crumbled to dust so I returned it. Undaunted, I searched for someone who could tell me how the darned stuff worked. I found a local bead merchant who had taken a class from Jamie Allen. She was kind enough to teach me the basics and I've been addicted ever since. (I understand there was a 12 step program for this affliction, but it died due to lack of interest.)

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

I adore Pier Voulkas!! Her use of color and shape are unequaled in my book. I took one of her seminars and found her unstintingly generous with her knowledge and techniques. She is so far ahead of most of us that, even if she shows all, by the time we catch up, she on to something else. I also admire the work of City Zen Cane (again for use of color) and Margaret Maggio And Lindley Haunani, The Color Mavens.

What is your specialty?

I love to make complex canes. I usually start with a color palette that I have taken a day or so to develop. Then I make several sketches of related subjects in my palette. I chose at least 4 related sketches and those are the ones I develop into canes. For example, a recent series was a mermaid, a fish, a scallop shell, and a seahorse in blues purples and greens. When the beads are completed, I combine the polymer beads with glass and other beads to make jewelry. I find the juxtaposition of the matte polymer and the shiny glass creates an exciting textural contrast.

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

B.P.C. (Before Polymer Clay) I worked in oil on canvas. I prefer representational as opposed to abstract art, which tends to be limiting as relates to color palettes. I also am very tactile, so I ended up with my fingers in paint alot. Polymer satisfies both my need for color and my desire for "touchie/feelie". The potential for unlimited colors palettes and the requirement that I actually manipulate my medium has me hooked. (Do you think Eberhart Faber et al include some sophisticated addicitive ingredient in polymer clay?)

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

No books. That would take too much time away from polymer!

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

I've been in Jewelry Crafts Magazine twice. I taped a segment for Collector's Favorites, a local cable show in October 1996.

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

I think I'll probably do polymer for the rest of my life or at least as long as my hands hold out. In 5 years I'd like to be doing the exact same thing; maybe I'll have turned a corner and gone a different direction, but I'll still have a piece of polymer in my hands. And I'd really like to be doing it on a sparsley populated Caribbbean island!

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

My advice is "If you like it, don't give up." All of us were "beginners" at one time. Challenge yourself; pick a polymer master who you admire and try to make your work look as good as theirs. I don't mean copy their work; find your own voice, but strive to do your own thing as well as they do theirs. And last, but definately, not least, THERE ARE NO RULES. There are guidelines and things that work well and opinions. If it makes you happy, if you like it, if it brings joy and fulfillment to your life, it's good.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT NOT TO BE HAPPY!

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

I am a member of NPCG; Greater Los Angeles PCG:1st Thursday, 7:00 P.M., Farrin O'Connor Design Studio, Pasadena; Inland Empire PCG: On hiatus due to lack of meeting place; San Diego PCG: new member, haven't received information.

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

I prefer Fimo, because it canes well and is stiff. I have recently tried CFC and so far am pleased with the results, especially the translucent. But this old dog has been using Fimo for almost 10 years and I can't give it up completely yet.

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

I,ve been married to a wonderful, supportive man named Steve for 31 years. We have a 30 year old daughter, a 20 year old son, a 9 year old Yorkie Terrier and 3 cats of various ages. We've lived in our home for 18 years and hope some day to retire and sail our boat to the Caribbean, where we chartered a sailboat for 1 week for our 25th anniversary. For my 12th birthday I received a set of oil paints and have been persuing art ever since. I was trained in public school and college, as well as private classes and seminars. I have sold my paintings professionally and am now supporting myself with my polymer jewelry and collectables. I do several art shows a year and currently sell my work in 4 galleries.

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