Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review!

Exploring Canework in Polymer Clay: Color, Pattern, Surface Design

By Patricia Kimle

Published by Kalmbach Books

This is a great book with well written and clear step-by-step instructions, beautiful pictures, and clear illustrations. Patricia Kimle has also included a finished product picture with each design.

The book begins with Canework Basics. I found this extremely helpful since I haven't done claywork in jewelry since the 70's. It was a good review of the basics for me and will help any beginner to be successful. This section covers the history, tools, information about clay, baking, finishing and polishing. The information on the different types of clay & who produces them was extremely helpful since the hobby stores in my area carry only a selected few varieties. It made it easier for me to choose the clay I wanted to use. Also knowing not to mix brands was a good tip!

I love the Color lessons in the next section on Design Lessons. Here the author covers hue, saturation, value and color schemes. She shows how to blend & mix complementary colors, as well as, contrast colors. She also shows the difference between tint, tone, and shade. This is followed by construction, reducing, repeating, and slicing - the actual production of canes. This chapter is so helpful in making sure the color of clay desired stays true because colors change depending on so many factors!

The next two sections are about different ways to make canes; Simple and Complex. The Simple Section is definitely for the beginner, but it has 20 different projects and patterns. I was particularly drawn to the Checkerboard Canes starting on page 37 and the Complex Bull's Eye on page 46.

The next section is the Complex Canes with 14 different patterns and projects. It has Combination, Kaleidoscope, Floral, and Translucent Cane designs and patterns. There is also, useful instruction on Overlay Patterns. The Radial Square Kaleidoscope on page 64 is interesting and the Floral Canes starting on page 68 shows how to make the flowers look realistic.  

The last nine pages of the book are an Artist's Gallery of beautiful finished pieces! 

This book is fabulous for the beginner and a great asset of ideas for the more experienced polymer enthusiast. The cane-making process is fun and a great way to stretch your artistic abilities with color and shape!
I was thrilled to do this book review for Kalmbach, as I have been wanting to try my hand at Polymer again after all these years. We didn't use to call it Polymer back in the 70's. It was just jewelry clay and it has changed some over the years! But, hey, who's counting?! :))


  1. This sounds like a great book. Have been wanting to learn some real technique with clay, instead of just rolling a color or to out and making a bead. This sounds very interesting. I'll have to check it out. Thanks.

  2. Great book! I’m part of the bead soup party. Looking forward to the reveals. I'm now following you. I have a new blog. Please consider following my jewelry blog. Thanks.


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