Caned Flowers
FAQ on ContinuumDesigns Polymer Clay Beads*
1). How are the patterns on the beads done?

Most of the time, the flowers and motifs on my beads are from my handmade canes.

2). And canes are?

A cane is a length of polymer clay that has a pattern or image running through it, much like a stick of seaside rock. The pictures are made up of different polymer clay components that when assembled, produce a complete image. These canes are sliced very thinly, and placed onto a base bead.

3). Isn’t polymer clay just plastic?


4). Did you miss the subtext to that last question?

Nope. Fundamentally, polymer clay is a plastic material. But it’s also throughly, massively awesome. It can be painted, moulded, intricately arranged into canes/pictures, mixed with a plethora of other media. You can have endless colour palettes of your own design. It can be worked like ceramic clay, but has an essentially infinite ‘open working’ time – you can go away and come back to a piece a year later, and it won’t have suffered (unless your cat decided sitting on uncured clay would be the most comfortable thing in the world). It can mimic stone, wood, metal, fabric, all the while being simulatenously light and sturdy.

It’s brilliant fun for kids, and it has a world of possibilities for artists, sculptors and jewellery designers. It’s fun and it’s beautiful and it’s functional, and sometimes it’s all those things at the same time.

But yes, it’s also just plastic. If you don’t like it because of that, I can dig it; there’s lots of materials that I don’t like either, because they’re not vegan.

5). Does that mean polymer clay is vegan?

Short anwer is that yes, according to my e-mails with the manufacturers, Sculpey, Fimo and Kato clay don’t contain animal products or by-products, and aren’t tested on animals. Long answer, as all you vegans out there know, is that we can never be 100% sure because of reliance on information from suppliers. There’s a certain amount of trust needed, because unless one lives in a self-built house with nothing made by anyone else, no-one can be certain that a non-vegan element hasn’t snuck in.

Varnished Polymer Clay Beads

6). How are your beads finished?
All my beads are wet sanded thoroughly with a few different grades of sandpaper, and then buffed with a rough fabric. This gives a smooth sheen to the polymer clay. On certain types of beads, such as those with powders or surface decorations, I add a coat or two of polymer clay varnish to protect their designs, which also adds a high gloss shine.

*Oh, okay, I’ll confess; nobody has ever asked me these questions once, let alone frequently. But if named this section “Conversations I’ve had with hypothetical people in my brain,” you might think I’m weird. Glad I dodged *that* bullet*.

And hey, if you have a question about my beads, I love to answer it here. Just leave a comment or something like that *G*


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