I’ve been claying since 1989. The first time I saw anything ever made in polymer clay was on my honeymoon—so it’s easy for me to remember how long I’ve been at this. My husband and I were honeymooning on St. Martin, and there was this jewelry case chock full of—to me—the most intriguing designs in I didn’t know what! My husband bought me a pair of earrings. From that moment on I was hooked. I had to have this material. I had to start claying!

I’ve been claying ever since. For me there is almost as much fun collecting polymer clay items as there is making them. I have carefully collected a little something from almost everywhere I’ve been. The point has been made to purchase polymer clay items from other artists with whom I’ve taken workshops. I’ve traded numerous of my own handcrafted artworks, as well, to increase my collection. Wearing, trading, hunting for, and purchasing polymer clay art has become a passion of mine.

The Life in My Polymer Clay Collection

The pieces in my collection mean so much to me, because they represent a point in time where that artist was when he or she made that item. There’s a story connected to every piece: where I was when I acquired it, where the artist was in their personal journey when they made it. They are all truly one of a kind. Sometimes the selection is part of a series of exploration that the artist was involved in. Usually that artist was pushing themself to some new level or some new direction, technique, color scheme, or pattern.

I’ve loved holding them, studying them, sharing them with others in show-and-tell fashion. I’m getting a lump in my throat just thinking about it.

—The bracelet I bought from a mom who is so passionate about caring for her daughter that she moved half way around the world to be closer to family and roots.

—The pieces I traded from a guy who shares an unlikely adventure of life and health with me.

—All the jewelry that just showed up at my home one day to let me know that someone was thinking about me and praying for me and encouraging me when I really needed it.

—The beautiful buffalo pendant piece I acquired in the Southwest from an artist who talked me off the crazy ledge.

—Where I was and who I was with when our mutually-admired Anthony Bourdain died.

Just a few examples of the memories I have when I wear one of my collected pieces...

I wish I had photos of each and every one to share here. But sadly, I don’t. And even more sadly, some of the above mentioned pieces are gone from me forever. In June of this year, I was traveling and I had thoughtfully selected some clay jewelry to wear with all my outfits. I carefully placed them in my carry-on bag so that they would be safe with me all the time. Even this fail-safe plan failed.... My carry-on luggage was stolen when a thief vandalized my vehicle, removing only my carry-on. Along with my carefully selected collection of jewelry, I lost my laptop, iPad, makeup, prescriptions, etc.

But you know the thing that hurt most was that one-of-a-kind jewelry! It, in most cases, cannot be replaced, and those crazies who took it don’t even know what they took! I hope that it is at least being enjoyed, that it was not simply discarded, that it did not go to waste.

I still have the stories associated with those pieces that I miss so dearly, and sadly, I now have this story.