This is my first ever blog post! There will be some rambling, some random trains of thought and a bunch of fairly unrelated information about me. But bear with me, I promise I’ll get better!
First off, some background. My name is Krithika, I live in Washington state, USA. I’m from India (Tamil Nadu to be exact) and I came to the US about four years ago. Currently, I’m a software engineer by day and polymer clayer by night (sometimes it’s the other way round!).
I started playing with polymer clay a couple of years ago. I wanted to make my own magnets! I’m obsessed with fridge magnets. I have a ton of magnets from various places, but I wanted to add some food related magnets, but didn’t find any I liked. I saw a YouTube tutorial for a teeny little cup of coffee and was hooked! I went off to Joann (which was already my favorite store to browse) and bought some Sculpey III (I didn’t know better!) and made a coffee cup, cupcakes, some french fries and a bunch of other things!
I’m not going to go over how I got from brittle bloby Sculpey magnets to jewelry, but it’s been an interesting journey! I’ve watched hundreds of YouTube videos, looked at thousands of pins, bought many, many tutorials and bought more tools and supplies than I care to admit!
But for all the time I spend claying, it’s a fairly solitary endeavor. There are many times when I want to discuss specifics of techniques and things that work with people. I went off and joined a couple of Facebook groups for clay artists where people shared their work and discussed clay conundrums. I feel a real sense of kinship with all the folks that willingly post pictures of their work and provide tips and suggestions on mine. I’d like this blog to be a piece of that. I’m not sure how much value I can add to all the information that’s already out there, but I’ll try to talk about some tools, techniques and products that have been useful to me. I’ll also share pictures of things I’m working on, and pass on any piece of information I find interesting.
One thing I always like to see is how people organize their work space. So I thought it’d be good to talk about where I work in my first blog post. I still haven’t come up with a perfect storage solution for all the tools and supplies I use most frequently, but this is the setup I have at the moment.
I live in a nice compact one bedroom apartment, so I don’t have a dedicated studio. That said, since I live by myself, so I have full control over what I do with the space I have. I’ve reserved one part of my dining table as my clay area. Okay, clay usually takes over the whole table and I eat on my couch, but the IDEA is to have clay at one end and the dining space at the other! My initial idea was to pack away my work surface and pasta machine at the end of the day and set up again when needed, but it’s a big pain to re-clamp the pasta machine every day and it felt like I was wasting a lot of time in that. So I leave it alone now.
I have an excellent Ikea kitchen cart to hold my tools and “basic” supplies. The top basket holds a hastily glued together PVC organizer (inspired by this lovely one by Dixie Ann Scott). The way it’s organized is with some tiny pipes holding frequently used tools at the edge that’s closest to me. The idea is that I can grab these tools easily. There are larger couplers that contain groups of tools. For instance, one contains all my silicone tip shapers and another contains a bunch of fondant tools from different sets (I’m a tools junkie, can you tell?!). There’s also a large coupler in the corner that contains paint brushes and any other tool that doesn’t have its own category, the miscellaneous one if you will. That one needs a major overhaul! But I rarely use any of those tools, so I haven’t bothered yet.
I’ve attached a thread storage stand to the front of my organizer. I did this when I’d planned to place the organizer on my table behind my work area, but I chucked the idea when I realized it took a huge amount of space. Luckily the stand fits nicely over the lip of the kitchen cart, and I have easy access to all the cutters I use frequently. I also have some Kemper cutters and the Premo circle cutter set in a little box one shelf lower.
My blades are attached to the cart with a magnet. There are some hanging baskets to hold extra blades and my acrylic roller and a towel bar that holds my cotton towel for applying Renaissance wax and quick hand buffing. As you can see, I try to use every little bit of space available, and then some! Out of the remaining two shelves, one holds a big bunch of sanding supplies. This includes some bowls, various grits of wet-dry sandpaper, Micromesh pads and polishing paper and discs for my Jooltool. The final shelf contains baby wipes, alcohol wipes (just discovered these, they are amazing!), deli paper and deli wrap.
I also have a ton of clay stuff on this platform that separates my dining area and kitchen. There’s my dedicated clay oven, my Lucy slicer and a resining station with a UV lamp. Full disclosure: it never looks this neat! I had to clear up all my clay stuff off the dining table for some guests who came over for dinner. There are usually piles of baked clay beads waiting to be finished up, blended sheets sitting on assorted tiles and canes and mokume gane stacks waiting to be used for something.
Most evenings and weekends, you’ll find me camped out on this chair playing with my clay and binge-watching some TV show. It’s likely that my oven will be ticking away with one batch of clay and the UV light will be on, setting resin on some or the other piece. Occasionally, my kitchen oven will also be working at baking some or the other dessert (I love chocolate!)
I think I’ve bored you enough for the moment! If you stuck with me till the end of this post, thank you!! Do stick around, I have ever so much to share.