Ariane Freisleben Rebecca Geoffrey Page McNall

This month polymer pieces from Italy’s Ariane Freisleben (Magic Toscana), Canada’s Rebecca Geoffrey, and Virginia’s Page McNall show some new variations on crackling and crazing over polymer patterns. Previously crazing came from a layer of heavy paint that cracked to show the underneath color in the crevices. The results looked good but had limited application.

Newer methods allow artists to show dark cracks while revealing the caned, inked, printed or blended designs underneath. Ariane and Rebecca both mention Tina Holden’s tutorial as their starting point and Page is probably using something similar. Some clever new twists are taking hold and I see a craze craze starting.

  • reply Anita Brandon ,

    What a delightful crazing craze!

    • reply Tina ,

      Such a nice thing to wake up to! Thanks so much Cynthia!
      I love to craze and crackle. Those pendants above are just gorgeous and it’s so nice to see what others are doing with it.

      • reply Kit Lockwood ,

        God(dess) bless you for giving me a clue about where to look to see how to do that! I’ve been dying to know! LOL! I love that piece be Rebecca especially! It’s those colors!

        • reply Selma ,

          Amazing! I have to learn this! 😀

          • reply Lori ,

            It is sad that people are charging the price of an entire BOOK for a one technique tutorial. I do not believe in selling how-tos like this. In a book, OK. But piecemeal?
            There are some fantastic NEW products that create this technique.
            Send me $10 and I’ll tell you what it is and where to buy it!

            • reply Deborah Groom ,

              Selling tutorials is a gift to other people who work in clay. No artist is obliged to give away their techniques for free. It is their profession and how they make their living. No one else is expected to work for free and I believe that we should appreciate and support our fellow artists. Publishing books is a very expensive venture. In terms of Tina’s tutorials they are chock full of well done photos that show every step and very good instructions. Her techniques take a long time to create and even longer to document in tutorials. Books do not usually have the luxury of the sort of detail work you will get in one of her tutorials. They are well worth the money. Great work Tina and thanks for sharing your discoveries with us.

              • reply Nettonya Ryane ,

                Nicely said, Deb!

                Tina deserves all the business she gets. These tutorials are not “books” in the traditional sense. However, from some of the tutorials I have purchased from Tina, I see that they include a book load of information! It’s not just a “do this” and “do that” in the tutes, but photos and written instructions galore. In order for someone of Tina’s calibre to earn a living selling these, is for her to spend precious time with photos and write-ups – away from making her polymer clay products. I’m grateful for all the time she spends on these, so that I, who am not so inventive, may benefit from her creative inventions.

                Mucho thanks, Tina!

                • reply Kim Schlinke ,

                  I purchased Tina’s tutorial within a few minutes of seeing Cynthia’s post about it here. I can’t wait to try it. She spent the hours developing the technique and deserves compensation for it.

                • reply Iris mishly ,

                  I do not know tina’s ebooks but i am sure they are well writtened.
                  As a tutorials “maker” myself i can tell you that a single subject can take up to months of trials and many days of writting, editing and finishing. For me, as a non english speaker it taken even longer then others. In addition, some people, geographically challenged, do not want to pay expensive shipping costs and therefore ebook is the perfect solution for them. Although i love books, of all kinds, i know for sure that the artist himself gets only a small portion of the fee payed for a book, this way we indeed support other artists by paying their fee in full.
                  Thank you for bringing this up.


                  • reply Christina Kosinski ,

                    I have never found a polymer clay book for $12….. they are always in the mid to high $20 range. They also have stuff that I am not interested in ever trying. I would rather spend good money buying from an artist I know puts heart and soul into a tutorial and welcomes emails asking for help on the tut. Good luck calling or emailing one of the artists in a book and ask for help… a few may but not many.

                    • reply nanetta ,

                      We live in an age where our ideas can be sold, shared or sponsored in many ways. I was a volunteer “expert” for for several years. I wrote detailed answers to art questions and some can still be found online. I submitted work and was published by several magazines. I used these samples and a customized project to write for, leading to a long sponsorship. I used these experiences to include in my book proposal. As I said earlier, my first book is out of print. However, I realized I had sold my foreign rights and now sections are pieced and sold separately in Spain. Thank goodness, (unlike Amazon), they spell my name correctly.
                      No, authors do not get a large royalty, considering the cover price. But, my publisher invests in promoting my book, creating it, projecting sales, placement, accounting, etc. We provide very detailed photos. Believe me – there is no skimping. I could never cover this kind of ground myself. F & W have been around for a very long time, so there is a respect that comes with being one of their authors.
                      If an artist chooses to write and sell tutorials, for whatever price, they will only sell if they are good. People will pay for what they want. Some artists get famous and can charge more. Some are well known and still give things away.
                      I applaud anyone who is writing about making things. If you are creating your own niche, great! As you can see, there are many roads that meet and wander. You don’t have to choose just one. One road may look better, but they are all work. All I have accomplished has been by casting my own net. Make it however you can.

                    • reply Nanetta Bananto ,

                      I have a “Crackle Cane” lesson in my book, Creative Techniques for Polymer Clay Jewelry, (North Light Media). The book is still available on Amazon, though it is now out of print. I used translucent clay with gold clay as the crackle. I made canes with black, brown, gold and white as a staple in my studio. It is particularly effective over gold leaf. The smaller the cane, the smaller the crackle. Nanetta

                      • reply kellie ,

                        Nanetta- Your book was the 1st I ever purchased when I wanted to get started in polymer clay. Believe it or not, I was flipping through it again just last night looking for inspiration. So, thank you!!!

                        I’ve bought plenty of clay books (and tutorials) and can’t imagine how much work goes into each. I’m grateful that artists take the time to teach us the techniques they could easily keep to themselves.

                        • reply nanetta ,

                          Thank you for having my book! I am glad you went back to it. Somehow, I seem to slip through the cracks on this website, even though I have written about polymer clay for 15 years or so. I am glad to get a response from someone. It is so important to me to be a good teacher and encourage creativity in others. I always enjoy connecting.

                      • reply Vanessa Betcher ,

                        @Lori a previous commenter I happen to know Tina in person and she is a talented artist and wonderful person.I have been privy to some of the creative process involved in developing a detailed tutorial. You would be astouned at the amount of hours it takes to put a single tutorial together

                        As Deb stated the cost in publishing a book is prohibitive to most. I feel the clay community is benifted by all the wonderful artists that take the time to create tutorials.

                        Tina keep on claying you have once again shared how amazing and versatile polymer clay can be.

                        • reply Bettina ,

                          Tina, don’t stop – you rock! And your tutes are not too expensive. Anyone can decide to buy a tutorial or not.
                          I did write a book and I know how much work is envolved – I also produce tutorials for which is also a very time consuming process. I don’t think the commenter would work for free – In fact I don’t think that anyone wants to work for free and I truly respect if an artist does not want to share everything they develop as a freebie. Why is it that artists so often are expected to work for free? We all have to eat.
                          So don’t let yourself get distracted.

                          • reply suzanne ,

                            i love the 3 polymer pieces a lot! the colors are beautiful!

                            As a relative new comer to clay, i love to use tutorials! i have them both from Tina and Iris, and some other wonderful tutors, and they put so much heart blood into each detail! explain it so well and add so many pictures to them, it is almost a work of art! Also, the possibility to being able to ask them personal questions makes it almost a one to one situation.
                            Of course i want to pay for all the work has gone into a tutorial! it’s part of they’re income and i show appreciation when buying them! So, here’s a hurray for tutorials! thank you all for making them!

                            • reply Sandra ,

                              Great work it looks like real stone Congratulation.

                              • reply Barb Alexander ,

                                One of the things that is so attractive about this medium is the generosity of the people. I respect artists who are true to their art form and I can tell you with certainty that Tina Holden is one of those. Polymer clay is her livlihood but it is also her passion and has been for years. Tina – you and your fellow artists absolutely deserve to be compensated for your ingenuity, inventiveness and clever minds. You are always coming up with new techniques and are willing to share them with your polymer community. I love what you do and respect your generous spirit. Keep ’em coming!

                              • reply Ariane Freisleben ,

                                Thank you Cynthia, that you published my work here.
                                And my very special thanks to Tina and all the artists who write tutorials. Tina’s tutorial is really worth its money

                                • reply Judy ,

                                  As I live in an isolated area I rely on tutorials such as Tina’s for tips and ideas as I’m a newbie to the wonderful world of polymer clay.
                                  I bought her tutorial and found it very clear and informative with several variations on the theme.
                                  If I wanted to spend hours trawling the internet I could probably find some of the info instead of paying for tutorials but I’d rather be in the studio practicing and honing my new craft.
                                  As a professional painter, used to getting reasonable money for many hours spent in my studio, I was shocked at how little most of the finished works in polymer clay sell for, knowing the time and skills required. The only way that the most talented pc artists can earn a bit more is to make and sell tutorials, give lectures and publish books.
                                  It’s about time that folks stop valuing creative arts as if they were buying soap powder in the supermarket!

                                • reply sandra ,

                                  Polymer clay dark cracks make looks the clay all real stone.

                                  • reply tina ,

                                    I get asked quite a bit… yes, I still offer this for sale,but this particular link to the item on Etsy won’t work (as this one sold) but there are other copies of it on my Etsy.

                                  • reply Eleanor Davis ,

                                    I was surprised to not see any mention of Lisa Pavelka or her work in this post. I first learned how to get a wonderful crackle finish on clay from LIsa in a class back in 2008. Her technique is published in one of her books that came out in 2010: The Complete Book of Polymer Clay Techniques. I’ve tried various methods and this one is the most consistent and easy I’ve tried.

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