It’s been a while since there was a newly published book about polymer clay. So when we got the information that Heidi Helyard from Australia is getting her own publication printed soon, we were very excited about that.
We talked with Heidi and her publisher about their new book and we agreed on doing a little giveaway for our Society members.
After reading this interview with Heidi, leave us a comment below this article. You can inform us about how you enjoy the Society, what are you up to, what are your creative plans…
On Monday 14th of June we will choose one comment and send to the author Heidi’s printed book and our latest Polymer Week Magazine.
Enjoy the interview with Heidi, who specialises in wearable pieces, earrings and pendants and also became a mentor to others who started working with the clay just recently. There are never enough polymer clay projects, publications and classes out there and we believe that everyone can find the most suitable source of education.
Hello Heidi! How does it feel to have your own book already published?
It feels so surreal. The fact the opportunity to write the book even presented itself to me still doesn’t feel real. Plus all the work that went into the book, so much work! And that work is actually over, and the book is finished and here, is amazing.
But that doesn't mean it’s the end of work for you, right? What is now ahead of you? Are you going to promote the book in certain ways?
Yes! There is always (more) work to do! I’ve done some written interviews for blogs and websites for the book, some video tutorials and have some online events and interviews lined up to help promote the book. I’d love to have some in-person events but unfortunately with social distancing and restrictions still in place that makes it hard.
When did you get the idea for publishing your own book? I would never have dreamed about writing a book if it wasn’t for the publisher reaching out to me to see if I was interested in writing a book! David & Charles are a small independent publishing house that specialise in international art and craft titles.
How did you feel when the publisher got in touch with you for the first time and you received the offer to write your own book?
Totally in shock and couldn’t believe it. After some research into the publishers, I wrote back and then there were some meetings about timing to see if I could manage the deadlines. It was incredibly flattering to be contacted by them after they found my work online. Thank goodness for the internet! The timing of the book was perfect with the pandemic, and maker events here in Australia being cancelled, so it became my lockdown project.
What was your goal with this publication?
To get a book out there that was contemporary and accessible. I really want people to see the book on the shelf, love the look of the pieces and buy the book, go home and immediately make something they then wear the very next day! Polymer clay is so wonderful for new crafters and advanced makers alike. I wanted to create simple to follow tutorials with beautiful, bold pieces as the final products.
What do you wish for your readers to learn?
I really wanted to celebrate the accessibility and endless possibilities of polymer clay, and present techniques and projects that both beginners and experienced clayers would enjoy learning about while building their skills. I wanted to highlight the importance of experimentation, and encourage readers to take the techniques and projects further on their own. And not to be afraid of failure!
Have you received any feedback from your readers, already?
A little bit! Some lovely positive feedback on the breadth of techniques, and that there are lots of projects included, and the fact there are many step-by-step photos. I await more feedback nervously!
What was the process of writing and publishing? Could you make your own decision about things like graphic design, paper used, etc.?
The publishers were really supportive about me choosing the techniques and projects. They have an in-house design team that did the layout and some photography. Even though I am a trained graphic designer and have designed art books I was pleased to have them do this part as I know just how hard and time consuming it is! I had input on the page layout and cover design before typesetting commenced. I’m a huge typography nerd so I also had strong opinions on the typefaces used!
That sounds very cool! Do you have any other dreams on your list, now?
Ummmm, to get published in Polymer Week? This has been a dream of mine for a long time. And to travel and attend the next Polymer Week conference.
Really? That is nice of you! We do hope we will be able to meet one day personally! How much time did the work on the book take?
I was approached by the publisher in early February, 2020 and my final manuscript (text and photos) was delivered in early September 2020. Layout and edits continued right through until final artwork went to the printers in February 2021.
Which part of the book are you most proud of?
The “Utilising Scraps'' section of the book, where I cover using scraps as a broader technique and in individual projects. Polymer clay scraps are precious, and we shouldn’t be afraid of creating “waste” through experimentation and failure. All those pieces of clay (raw and cured) can be reused!
What else can we find in the book?
The book covers all of the basics of working with polymer clay and beginner and intermediate tools needed. It also covers design and colour theory and working with jewellery tools and findings. The book then features 10 different polymer clay techniques, and a total of 20 different specific projects that relate to each of the techniques. I really wanted the book to be relevant and accessible for both beginners and more experienced clayers, so all the projects are easy (some more than others) and are designed to be built upon, mixed with each other, and I encourage the reader to experiment, without fear of failure, with the goal of finding their own artistic voice.
Do you feel that social media is important for your polymer clay career?
Social media is very important. Without it, I don’t believe the publishers would have found my body of work and approached me to write Creative Polymer Clay. I use social media as a portfolio of my work, plus as a funnel to get people to look at my website, and check out what my Studio Scraps newsletter is all about. I find the ‘hard sell’ really difficult on social media, so instead I focus on the work, sharing process images and videos, etc.
Thank you for sharing with us your story and congratulations to your own book, Heidi! We hope it will find its way to many polymer clay enthusiasts!
As a creative artist, Heidi has worked with embroidery, weaving, and other fibre art for years. In 2017, as part of her quest for texture, she started incorporating polymer clay into her fibre art pieces. This evolved into incorporating fibre into her polymer clay pieces! Small wall hangings morphed into wearable pendants, then came earrings and other jewellery-related objects. The progression was very organic.
For Heidi, it’s all about colour and texture! The beauty of polymer clay is that it presents her so much opportunity to explore endless colour combinations, patterns and textures.
You can follow Heidi on her Instagram where she shares her processes, materials, behind the scenes photos and videos, and special previews directly with her followers.