Polymer family history

Marie Segal’s newest polymer switchplate is humorously entitled, If the Borgias had switchplates. She was inspired by the current television series that chronicles the lavish and scandalous saga of the 15th century crime family, the Borgias.

Marie has a bit of her own family history that you should know about. She is widely credited as the person who first introduced the pasta machine as the tool of choice for polymer artists in 1983. She and husband Howard have operated the Clay Factory in California since 1980 and here’s the 1988 picture to prove it.

Marie keeps on giving, most recently with a comprehensive 12-part free tutorial on replicating traditional African beads in polymer. The tutorials are sprinkled throughout her warm, chatty blog. Here are the direct links (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12).

Many thanks from all of us, Marie.

  • reply Norma ,

    Marie is a wonderful person and artist. I really love her switchplates. And those tutorials are awesome.

    • reply genevieve ,

      Wow – a bit of polymer clay history! I am still amazed at how very young this medium is.
      Thank you Marie!

      • reply Anita Brandon ,

        The spirit of the Borgias has been beautifully captured (as well as crafted). I think of Marie as one of the great ladies of PC; talented, creative, generous, and a wonderful person as well. .

        • reply Randee M Ketzel ,

          Marie is a true pioneer of the art–and having had the chance to examine her work up close, I am awed by her meticulous attention to detail. I treasure the tutorials that she so generously shares with the rest of us.

          • reply Meisha ,

            Thank you for highlighting Marie’s work. The Borgias switch plates are clever, fun and well executed. Marie and her Husband Howard, have generously contributed to the PC community for so many years. Marie has a warm heart, and enjoys sharing her techniques with others. I consider the pasta machine my most valuable tool for PC creations…can’t imagine working without it. I purchased my first Atlas pasta machine from Marie and Howard years ago at their Escondido store. Thanks Marie.

            • reply Lynda Moseley ,

              I am ashamed to say I have not heard of Marie’s contribution until now, but thank you so much, Marie. You are my new hero! I could never condition clay with my hands. My pasta machine is my best friend at this point. What an awesome design. I’m inspired to do something decadent today.

              • reply Trina Williams ,

                And watch for an artist profile on Marie plus a tutorial of one of her techniques in the next issue of Polymer Cafe.

                • reply carissa ,

                  Marie was and remains one of the true originals in the Polymer Arts. Nothing keeps her down for long and she only bounces back stronger. Thanks Cynthia for the lovely photo and information. I look forward to my next copy of Polymer Cafe!

                  • reply Alison Gallant ,

                    Wonderful work, Marie! You inspired so many UK clayers when you visited us in 1998, and several times after that, and you know you are welcome here anytime.

                    • reply Priscilla Lane ,

                      Marie, you never to AMAZE. And thanks for your generosity in sharing so many tut’s. I look forward to checking these out.

                      • reply Priscilla Lane ,

                        Oops–I meant never cease to amaze.

                        • reply deb ,

                          I love this switchplate. I also love Marie’s work. Up until now I have only done sculptures with the clay but I am beginning to be inspired to do other things when I see beautiful work like this.

                          • reply Denise Pettit ,

                            Talented, gracious, kind, generous, funny, a great teacher, supportive, innovative – the list goes on and on! Marie never ceases to amaze and inspire!

                            • reply marie segal ,

                              Wow… thank you!!

                              • reply Helen Hughes ,

                                This plate is wonderful! I love it. You are an amazing lady.

                                • reply kelly ,

                                  Marie always has a trick or two up her sleeve. She does amazing work! She continues to inspire all of us around her.
                                  If you are in the San DIego Area she is teaching 2 fabulous classes. Check out the San Diego Polymer Clay Guild website for information. You will not be disappointed. http://www.sdpcg.org Next weekend!
                                  Thanks Marie for all yo have contributed to PC. Kelly

                                  • reply Shane Smith ,

                                    I remember beta testing Clay Factory Clay (became Premo) with them. Premo changed my business and my life. I made a special leg of a journey to visit the Clay Factory Clay Day where Judith Skinner had just figured out the blend. I remember Marie sitting on my living room floor cranking out Egyptian earrings and all that basil we harvested out of my garden. Good times. She rocks and is truly, one of the first to pioneer this medium.

                                    • reply Barb Alexander ,

                                      Thank you so much for recognizing just a *little* of what Marie has done for the polymer clay community. She is a dear heart and gives of herself so freely. I was unaware she had promoted the pasta machine for clay but *WHERE* would we be without that simple idea!? There was her work with Polyform as well…and the development of my favorite clay: Premo. She’s brilliant. Thanks Marie! For all of it. 🙂

                                      • reply Julie Picarello ,

                                        Oh, very cool switchplate! A piece of art with undeniable attitude, much like the artist herself…whimsical and charming and so creative. Marie is generous with her knowledge, and I am forever grateful to her for all that she has done to help shape our polymer community. Big thanks to her!

                                        • reply Cynthia Tinapple ,

                                          • reply Well-balanced polymer ,

                                            […] Sanders was inspired by the Borgias for some of her latest polymer creations. (Remember, the Borgias inspired Marie Segal as […]

                                            • reply Deborah Goodrow ,

                                              I was lucky enough to have Marie at the first retreat I went to. Her generosity, her happy soul, and her love for art and beauty shined on all of us at that retreat. I think one of the best things I learned from her that weekend was to just dive in and have fun.
                                              And I’ve been doing so ever since.
                                              Thanks, Marie.

                                              • reply Diana McNamee ,

                                                When Betty Richards requested donations of scrap clay for a Bottles of Hope project to try to solicit new members for the Ocala Guild in 2003, Marie was the one who sent us an 8 lb box of beutiful scraps! I discoved polymer clay and Betty at that project.Not many of us had used clay before, but were hooked when we saw all the beautiful designs that could be made. The donation of scraps started the local Bottles of Hope Project in Ocala which still continues to this day. Our thanks to Marie for getting us started!

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