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Your Company Name: Shirley Rufener Designs
Email Address/Web Page: srufener@verizon.net
City & State: Brookings, OR
Type of Craft: Polymer Clay, Embossing Metal, Wire etc.

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

In 1985, at a holiday boutique. A young woman named Kandi Judy was selling adorable teddy bears (like hot cakes) made out of polymer clay. I caught the poly fever that day, and I've been using it ever since. I've had great fun experimenting with polymer clay for 20 years now!

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

Yes, many. At the beginning it was Tory Hughes' videos, Maureen Carlson (HIA demos), City Zen Cane (book), Donna Kato (TV appearances and seeing her and her work in San Diego), and Kathleen Dustin (talking by phone). Pier Voulkus, Lindley Haunani, Sue Hauser and Amie Helm (at Ravensdale and Embellishment workshops), and all of 'The New Clay' artists! More recently Lisa Pevelka, and the contributors to PolyCafe Magazine.

What is your specialty?

Translucent Liquid Sculpey, color, imitative techniques, embellishments for altered books/journals/scrapbooks, reproducing Antique jewelry, Italian mosaic and glass techniques and using texture. I enjoy teaching beginning to advanced classes!

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

I love working with my hands. Creating something 3-D from a cube of clay is thrilling. There seems to be an endless array of color mixing possibilities around every corner. It's versitility in an art/craft medium is unsurpassed. The possibilities are endless with looks and techniques yet to be discovered and refined.

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

Yes! In the order of publication: "Clay Jewelry Boutique" (Plaid); "Fancy Fimo Jewelry" (HOTP) currently available online at amazon.com. I self published "The Fimo Color Mixing Chart" (available on my website www.shirleyrufener.com). My Artlamp is featured on the cover of the Premier Issue of PolymerCafe magazine (thanks Joan!). I am on the PolymerCafe Advisory Board and my articles have been published in several PolymerCafe issues. I've had agazine articles in Jewelry Crafts, Doll Designs, and others.

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

I have never entered any shows where awards were given, but I won a Bank of America Art Achievement Award in High School.

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

I have only been on TV singing, but hope to be a guest someday on craft shows! I plan on having my third polymer clay book published, and to take classes in 'color' and 'sculpting'. I hope to develop many friendships with other polymer clay artists at retreats, through email and on the message boards/newsgroups, and be teaching my techniques and polymer clay knowledge to many more crafters!
   UPDATED August 19, 2005: I've had the privilege of taping episode #1705, #1831 and 1863 of the Carol Duvall Show, as well as appearing on the popular AM Northwest show (KATU the ABC affiliate) demonstrating polymer clay and many other craft techniques, every month for past 5 years! I've been on HSN and was part of an infomercial for a huge craft company.
I've written craft publications for Design Originals and I'm working on getting a few full size coffee table books published, 2 using polymer clay!

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

Yes, let loose a little when creating. Take classes yes, but also take time to experiment with the clay until you find your voice and unique style of work.

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

NWPCG and NPCG. I am also a CPD "certified professional demonstrator" with CHA (Craft and Hobby Association).

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

PREMO! Sculpey for the ease and time saving pliability and beautiful range of colors. I love Translucent PREMO as well as Polyform's Translucent Liquid Sculpey and plan on doing a lot more with it this year!

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

I am married to the world's best husband, and I have the privilege of being 'mom' to two wonderfully talented and smart young adults, one that sings very well (has a CD out!), and the other who is a great dramatic actor and straight A studnet headed for great things with MATH! I belong to the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and Foursquare Women International (FWI). My talents were given to me from God to use in the best way possible, which is my plan! I am basically a self taught polymer clay artist, although I have had the privilege of taking workshops from some very talented PC artists. My 'entrepreneur' tendencies are from my father and mother, both graphic artist. I grew up with supportive parents who even allowed me to take painting lessons when I was 13. I learned at a young age that one of life's pleasures would be found in my God given creativity. You can't go wrong when your business is also your hobby!

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