Tinapple on PCDaily

What did the neighbors think when they saw me down on my knees in the middle of the driveway? The few that ventured closer saw that I was jamming red polymer into some thin cracks that had developed near the corners of the pavement.

In the wider areas, slices of bright patterned canes decorated my ragged red lines. The summer sun began the baking process and a heat gun finished the job.

This small, manageable art project felt appropriate as we waited for word on the health of my husband's elderly mother. This was something I could fix and make better. I could control the outcome and it made me feel helpful. I patched the driveway.

Tinapple on PCDaily

Polymer is not just for earrings, you know. Sometimes it brings a smile or makes a statement. Will my art make it through Ohio's freezing and thawing winter? Who knows how long anything will last?

My husband has begun pointing out other possibilities for my artwork. What will the neighbors think? (Here are the original canes based on an antique Iraqi kilim.)

  • reply Rebecca Watkins ,

    It seems almost impossible that there could be a use for polymer clay that someone has not tried, but I think you may have discovered one. If there is anyone else who has tried this I’d like to know how it held up (and the climate of the location). Cynthia, we definitely need quarterly reports on the progress of this red cane vein.

    • reply Cara Jane ,

      That's such a neat idea! I love the thought of repairing the pavement with polymer art. I am sure it will make many people smile! I hope your mother in law is ok.

      • reply Ron Lehocky ,

        Cynthia, Those original canes are fantastic. I hope I see some of them in your next scrap donation!!!! I am not too proud to beg!

        My regards to Blair.

        • reply Luann Udell ,

          I hate to tell you how often I look at pavement cracks (I LOVE them!) but you've given us even more reason to look.  I LOVE what you've done, and I think you've found a niche in renegade urban art!

          • reply Kit Lockwood ,

            Oh, that's such a good idea….

          • reply Sheila Willert ,

            The best looking sidewalk and driveway ever! What a great idea.


            • reply Ingrid Gans ,

              Brilliant idea and execution. Absolutely stunning. Now I want to go outside and find me some cracks. It's going to be sweltering hot this coming week here in the Netherlands 🙂

              • reply Lyn ,

                LOVE your canework.  So envious of those who can create such beauty!  And the repair work is topnotch!

                • reply Iso Marks ,

                  I love what you did….very inspirational and made me smile. Did you carve all the stamps yourself or buy them? Great designs.

                  • reply Sonya ,

                    Cynthia!  Hope your husband's mother is better…  I know that polymer clay can be so healing to the soul, and you just found a fantastic way of prooving it.  The cracks look fantastic!!!  And I'm sure that your husband has some more "man ideas" to fix up things with pc around the house…  Good luck!

                    • reply Ronna Sarvas Weltman ,


                    • reply Barb Fernald ,

                      This makes me SO happy! And it makes so much sense on many levels. 

                      • reply Nikolina Otržan ,

                        This is so great, Cynthia! Just love it!!!

                        • reply claire maunsell ,

                          O that is so much fun….concrete and polymer, 2 of my favourite materials together!  It will lead you somewhere for certain!

                          • reply Jerrie H. ,

                            Are you my twin?! This is sooo like something I would do! And your DH's comments were sooo like mine would come up with! I once spray painted our garbage cans gold & silver…still haven't lived that one down!  showed my DH the article…..the first word out of his mouth was NO!


                            • reply Kathy R. ,

                              What an amazing idea, please give updates ( I live in Ohio too and may need this soon!). I love where our creative minds take us! Good thoughts going up for your M-I-L; hope all is well.

                              • reply Loretta ,

                                Brilliant creativity and fun!!! I'm sure it helped.

                                much love


                                • reply Cody Craynor ,

                                  Cynthia, there is so much that I love about this post. Of course the polymer stuff is cool, but your words are well written and harmonize with some sentiments I've pondered lately about making room for expression, even if only in a concrete crack. Thanks for sharing.

                                  • reply Mary Anne Loveless ,

                                    She writes.  She canes.  She innovates.  She encourages others.  What doesn't she do?

                                    • reply Ann Shea-Smith ,

                                      Wonderful canes and I love your sense of purpose.  Wishing you peace as you care for an elderly family member.

                                      • reply barb fajardo ,

                                        What a wonderful idea Cynthia! Love the symbolism. We will keep your mother in law in our thoughts. hugs to you and Blair…

                                        • reply Sharon Plummer ,

                                          Yay! for Cynthia.  I love the art 'patchwork'.  And, it is always good to raise the curiousity of the neighbors and allowing them to know you a little better. Lovely public art, whether large is small, is surely a thing to be encouraged.  


                                          • reply Lee Luda ,

                                            Filling in the cracks. Who'd have thought? Oh… Cynthia Tinapple, of course. Fantastic!

                                            And on a personal note, I'll be busy for several days poring over my copy of Polymer Clay Global Perspectives that just got delivered an hour ago. I had to thumb through it first to see all the photos and I'm dizzy with delight. My husband heard me giggling and said "I can tell you're happy and excited, because you're giggling" and he was right. THANK YOU. Anyone who loves polymer clay will treasure your book.


                                            • reply Linda Criscuolo ,

                                              Aside from the beautiful artwork and creativity (!!!) this speaks volumes about you personally.  While going through a heartwrenching ordeal with your MIL, you've taken that energy, purpose and drive that is personally yours.  Wanting to fix someone….you find you can't (none of us can, unfortunately…) so you fix the driveway.  In a beautiful way.  Never mind what the neighbors think…if we choose to live our lives caring about what people think, we've wasted 'our' lives.

                                              I hope your MIL fares well and that she has lived a wonderful life.  And, I hope you realize what a remarkably caring person you must be!  All the best!

                                              • reply Trina Williams ,

                                                Kathy Davis has been using epoxy clay for home repair for years usually matching it to the color of the area she is fixing. It mixes easily with polymer for tinting purposes and cures without a heat source. I am planning on using it for a chipped tile in my new kitchen floor.

                                                • reply Sylvia Valentine ,

                                                  I'm sending that picture of those WONDERFUL canes to this great website called Polymer Clay Daily.  They are just the thing the curator should be posting about a lot more often!

                                                  • reply Lorrene ,

                                                    Cynthioa, see me here slapping my head saying, "Why the heckaroo didn't I think of this?".


                                                    I LOVE it….. rock on.


                                                    • reply Peraud Sylvie ,

                                                      This is street Art, I love it!!!! What a wonderful idea.

                                                      • reply klink ,

                                                        Cynthia, I know how you feel and sympathize w/you. I've been eyeing some cracks in our sidewalk as well and you've just given me momemtum to go the direction my heart has been pulling me toward. Your creativity gives me that added boost at times i need it most. Thanks and my heart goes out to you/your family.


                                                        • reply Kate Clawson ,

                                                          I was confused at first as to who this post was about when I got it in my inbox, then I realized it was you! I wish you'd spot light more of what you do Cynthia I'm sure other artists are interested that don't get to join you on all those wonderful polymer meet-ups you get to go to.

                                                          My prayers and well wishes go out to Blairs mother, him and family. Some things we can't fix and there are some we can, and some yet to be discovered. What a smart lady to do what you can where you can even when you don't know the outcome.

                                                          • reply Kathy Hepburn ,

                                                            Love the canes and the brilliant idea of fixing the driveway.  Make art wherever you can and let it heal your soul.

                                                            • reply chris ,

                                                              Dear Cynthia:
                                                              Brilliant! thank you for sharing from your life. I'm so grateful for PCD as I teach myself how to work with the clay.

                                                              Your beautiful canes! impressive tools! can you recommend a motorized pasta machine? and how to make a kilim cane? I'm not doing too well when it comes to canes…but I enjoy trying! 

                                                              Blessings to mother-in-law & husband


                                                              • reply Judy Haupin ,

                                                                Hmmmm, this may be the solution to my problem. Had new asphalt drive done last month..then came the heat wave of last 2 weeks and I.ve noticed tire marks ( looks like big vehicle sat, then spun out , on drive)  and spot when feet of lawn chair sunk into hot asphalt.  Not too attractive for home hunters and I really do want to sell the house. Perhaps a polymer and glass mosaic ?

                                                                • reply Laura Lang ,

                                                                  Oh, this is a brilliant use of our favorite medium! The original canes are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing a very inspirational post.

                                                                  • reply Rachel ,


                                                                    • reply Michele Norine ,

                                                                      Brilliant Cynthia!  I can relate to your emotional state and and how you went to the "clay" to keep the hands and mind busy while waiting for news.  I hope you get good news about your mother in law 🙂  Seeing where you have used polymer – wooden bowls, your stairs and now the concrete driveway, I'm not surprised at your ingenuity!!  All the neighbors will want a driveway like yours !  

                                                                      • reply Susan Kunze ,

                                                                        Now you've got me looking for cracks to fill, in between sessions with Global Perspectives. It's the best book on polymer clay that I've seen in years.

                                                                        • reply Kit Lockwood ,

                                                                          You make me feel better.  Thank you.


                                                                          • reply Cassy Muronaka ,

                                                                            Not much to say except that what you did was pretty wonderful, Cynthia.  

                                                                            I hope your mother-in-law is on the mend soon.

                                                                            • reply Sabine Spiesser ,

                                                                              Wow, those canes blow me over. The colours hit my sweet spot.

                                                                              Driveways today, maybe tooth replacement tomorrow. I can just imagine a mulicoloured smile

                                                                              • reply dixie103 ,

                                                                                Oh my.  What a wonderful day it is when, every once in a while, you share some of your world with all of us.  It's always a "fence post" to remind us to keep our eyes open and not be stifled by convention.  I'll bet this little artful repair job holds up pretty well, actually.


                                                                                I'm currently testing some polymer pieces outdoors to see how much sun and weather they can take.  It's been 4 months.  So far, so good, though there's a little fading in the colors.  I didn't use any outdoor sealant.  I will on the next test.  This posting today was really timely!

                                                                                • reply jan montarsi ,

                                                                                  Cynthia ,I need an estimate for the Cracks in my foundation 🙂 What a Priceless Idea !!

                                                                                  Make sure we get a Winter Update !!! I bet over time if it stays in the cracks it will prevent water from doing further Freezing an expanding damage.


                                                                                  • reply Bonnie Brace ,

                                                                                    The canes are absolutely stunning! I have to ask though, what is the giant drill/gun-like thing that the sheet of clay is leaning against?

                                                                                    • reply Debbie G ,

                                                                                      Wouldn't it be fantastic to make little 'repairs' around the city (or town or whatever) that you live in? Smaller than Yarn Bombing, sort of like Seed Bombs, leaving bits of beauty in struggling places. Just little bits of beauty for particularly city dwellers to find and inspire a smile.

                                                                                      I just can't figure out how to make a portable heat gun to cure them…

                                                                                      • reply Fiona Abel-Smith ,

                                                                                        Absolutley fantastic!  and I love your initial canes, can't wait to see what else you will do with those, am now busy searching out cracks to see if any look in need of a little colour.

                                                                                        • reply Wendy Jorre de st Jorre ,

                                                                                          Brilliant idea….I just love it!

                                                                                          • reply Line ,


                                                                                            Hope your mother in law is better. What a great way to 'fill-in" the waiting moments. The clay itself should survive the winter although when the earth thaws out again, the concrete might move too much for it to survive that. I have left my sculptures out in the winter and they survived fine.

                                                                                            • reply Jana ,

                                                                                              Ha!  That's great, Cynthia!  And, to do it in the heat of summer so you have built in baking..brilliant.  What a great way to move your art outside your four walls.  All my best to you and your family and mother in law….gratefully you've all got each other for support during the rough stuff..

                                                                                              • reply Sarah at Hip Earth Designs ,

                                                                                                How fun!!

                                                                                                Definitely gets my head spinning about other out of the box ways to create with poly clay!

                                                                                                • reply Sherry Bailey ,

                                                                                                  Amazing as always! What fun!


                                                                                                  LOVE my book, by the way — very inspiring, and wonderful to see unfamiliar faces and work! Awesome job!

                                                                                                  • reply Dylan ,

                                                                                                    Very cool! I love to see art in unexpected places, utilizing the urban environment.

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