Creative Polymer Clay
by Helyard, Heidi · Published by David & Charles
Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I am a self-employed graphic designer living on the beautiful Central Coast, in NSW, North of Sydney. As a creative artist, I have worked with embroidery, weaving, and other fibre art for years. In 2017, as part of my quest for texture, I started incorporating polymer clay into my fibre art pieces. This evolved into incorporating fibre into my polymer clay pieces! Small wall hangings morphed into wearable pendants, then came earrings and other jewellery-related objects. The progression was very organic. I consider my jewellery collections to be small-scaled, one-off pieces of wearable art. The fact that each piece is unduplicated and unique is really important to me. Each pendant, earring or bowl is a limited edition - collectable and precious, completely individual piece, and the polar opposite of the mass produced fashion jewellery flooding the market. It is important to me that my pieces be instantly recognisable as a "Heidi Helyard" piece. For me, it’s all about colour and texture! The beauty of polymer clay is that it presents me so much opportunity to explore endless colour combinations, patterns and textures.
Tell us a bit about the book?
It contains all the general information you need to know about working with polymer clay and related tools, BUT it also includes 10 different polymer clay techniques and a total of 20 individual projects to make! All the techniques and projects fetaure extensive step-by-step instructions and clear photographs, to help you not only complete each of the projects if you are a beginner and just learning about this wonderful medium, or if you are already a maker that uses polymer clay and want to build on your knowledge. All the projects are contemporary, timeless and bold. You will want to wear what you make straight away!
What was the inspiration behind it?
I love making, and I love experimenting and I embrace failure! It's how discoveries are made. And polymer clay is such a wonderful medium to experiment with, and even the failures and scraps yield wonderful new designs and surprises. It's been wonderful to create a book that mixes some traditional polymer clay techniques and some newer ones and offer up some contemporary and accessible projects to make.
Which is your favourite project?
So hard to choose just one so I might pick two, the Twisted Tube Bead Pendant and the Clay Inlay jewellery set. Both really simple to create but stunning final products!
What is your craft space like?
At the moment it is super small but organised! I am in the process of building a new studio and will move into it very soon, I am so excited.
Have you always been creative?
Yes I have. From pursuing art all throughout school, to doing a 4 year design degree. I have always loved working with fabrics too, from embroidery to quilting and sewing clothes.
When did you first start crafting?
I remember doing basic embroidery at high school and loving that! I also always loved working with clay at school as well. My mother and grandmother were accomplished potters. I grew up around makers.
Who are your crafty heroes?
I am obsessed with fibre artists and ceramic artists. I honestly love too many to list. I also really respect the pioneers of polymer clay, in the United States and in Europe.
Where do you find inspiration?
I don’t really look anywhere specific. I would like to be able to say I look for inspiration from art, nature etc but my ideas don’t really come from there. They tend to come from the material itself and mistakes and accidental discoveries I’ve made! One element of one collection will spark an idea for the next one and the cycle goes from there. I love not knowing what I will be making next
What's next for you?
More making! Always making. I have recently started working with resin and am loving the journey of discovery that comes with starting something new. I enjoy sharing my processes with my Instagram followers and subscribers of my weekly newsletter, "Studio Scraps".