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Your Company Name: Creations by Kris
Email Address/Web Page: kris@creationsbykris.com
City & State: Michigan
Type of Craft: Polymer Clay

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

Polymer clay has been a part of my life since 1990 when a friend of mine who owns an arts and crafts store locally, suggested I try it. I gave it up immediately, as it was Fimo, and had been sitting on the shelf for too long and had hardened up to rocklik consistency! (However, I just thought the clay was LIKE that, and gave it up for about a year) Then I found my first book on Polymer Clay by Cecelia Determan. That book changed my life, as I learned that you had to beat that clay into submission! ("Condition" it.) From then on, I knew I'd be using it forever!

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

Yes! Of course since the "New Clay" came out, (another earth-shaking discovery for me when still a fledgling clay artist)I have discovered several innovative and wonderfully talented artists who use the medium of polymer clay as their medium of choice. I will always be amazed by what these artists create, the magic they make and the awe they inspire in me. I still have to say that Cecelia Determan was my first and foremost inspiration...she got me started and kept me going! Then, not to play favorites, or anything, but I am inspired by Pier Voulkos....her superb use of color, and her brave and uninhibited playfulness all are something to aspire to. I remember her words to me...that I should never be afraid to just play. It's how some of the best work is created. I have sort of made playing my first and foremost priority!

What is your specialty?

Playing! No, I really can't say there's one thing that "sets me apart"...other than maybe my ability to know instinctively what a publisher wants. I am very successful in getting my work published. I have only had one submitted article rejected, and it was a learning experience for me...the article and piece connectd with it just was not apporpriate to the overall look and theme of the magazine I submitted it to. I re-submitted it to a more appropriately-themed magazine, and voila! it too, was accepted. I have been extremely lucky as well, to have been so accepted in the PC community.

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

Pier Voulkos (again!) put it so perfectly when she said: "it's color you can hold in your hand". That is the single most compelling reason that I find PC to be so fertile a medium. If you can MOLD color, you hold the world captive. It is the answer to many design limitations. Three-dimensional paint! WOW!!!!Imagine what Van Gogh would have created if he had had polymer clay!

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

Yuppers. My first book, "Neato FIMO Menagerie" was my best-seller, over 78 thousand copies were sold. The second, "Two By Two, (Noah the Ark and All Those Critters") was the second, then came "Cutting Up With Clay" co-authored by myself and Donna Kato, and then "Create With Clay the Sculpey Way" was the final book I did under the Hot Off The Press name. My last book, "New Ways with Polymer Clay" (Chilton/Krause), has been out since 1997. It's done very well. The first four booklets are now out of print, but I have several "Cutting Up With Clay" books if anyone is interested. The "New Ways" book is on sale at all major bookstores, and on the 'net at Delphi and Amazon.com.

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

I've appeared on three different television craft shows, "Easy Does It", "Crafts and Company", and "Home Matters". I have two videos out as well, aimed at kids ages 8-12. The first, "Sculpting Cartoon Critters" Mindstorm productions is the producer. I'll be featured in the month of November in the upcoming PCC 2000 calendar, and won a schlarship award and one year's membership to The SCD (Society of Craft Designers) for a polymer clay sculpture I submitted to them.

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

I hope to continue doing videos for kids, and submitting work to the craft magazine market. I'd like to be able to travel more and teach more. In five years, I'd like to be retired from my "regular" job, and be a freelance artist 100 percent of the time!

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

As Pier Voulkos says, "PLAY"! Learn to relax with your chosen medium! Learn the techniques, but don't be so driven to learn new ones until you've explored all the possibilities of the medium. Don't be so darn concerned about your work "being perfect", or "looking exactly like the pro's". You are learning! ENJOY each moment! Yes, strive for perfection, but don't forget to let loose once in awhile and just play.

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

I am a member of the NPCG (National Polymer Clay Guild) and the MDPAG. (Metro Detroit Polymer Art Guild).

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

I love Premo! Sculpey. The colors, consistency, strength and all-over quality are superb. However, it is not the only clay I use and love. I have tried them all, and they all are wonderful in their own right for their own uniqunesses. Fimo has great color and firmness, it just takes a lot more time to get where I want to go with it, so it's not necessarily the clay I first pick upp to use. Sculpey III is a fantastic clay for caning. Yes, you read that right! For the canes I make, Sculpey III is always my first choice. I could write an entire litany about all the clays and why I use them and like them, but that's best left for another book!

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

I've been creating art since I was a child. I have had very little formal art schooling, a year of college, and have worked in the design field off and on my entire life. I am above all, a commercial artist who uses polymer clay as a medium of choice. I also love to draw and do pen and ink renderings. I love crafts, too, and I think my biggest strength is the fact that I can think and create on a very impromptu basis...I call it "clay-improv". Basically, companies or craft magazines can call me with a project, or a rough idea that they have, and I run with it...and can have it done and in their hands in a very quick amount of time. As far as "personal" stuff...I am quite a private individual, and rarely speak about myself in personal terms. I will say that I have a very wonderful, loving and supportive family, and I am very very proud of them. They are what keep me going, they are the people that believe in me and love me. Without them, there would be no real purpose in my art.

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