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Review of "Polymer Clay Color Inspirations"

Learning About Color With Polymer Clay and Simple Projects

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Cover of the book

Cover of the book "Polymer Clay Color Inspirations" by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio, published by Watson - Guptill New York

Photo Courtesy Price Grabber Copyright 2009 Used With Permission

Polymer Clay Color Inspirations by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio is a book that explains color theory through the practice of blending various brands of polymer clay. The simple included projects use six colors of polymer clay, along with black and white, and simple clay tools. The book leads readers to blend colors and hues for a personal reference library. The projects take the reader step by step from choosing a personal color palette towards working with color, texture and pattern to explore color scales, placement and pattern. For every step and project there are wonderful examples of artist creations which exemplify the particular technique.

A Clear Explanation of Color Theory

Color theory has changed a great deal since most of us were handed primary crayons to blend. Maggie Maggio explores color theories and color systems using polymer clays, explaining which colors will change in curing, as well as how to determine values, saturation, and how colors are affected by placement of other colors. You can view some of her discussion of color on her blog in the tutorials section on Smashing Color Theory.

If you plan on working with polymer clay for smaller scale projects or projects in miniature where you want close matches to items made from other materials, the exercises provided here will help you develop both your blending skills and your eye for color and pattern. As these techniques are developed through methods using common polymer clay brands, which are more limited than artist's colors, the techniques are simple to explore and your skills can be expanded to use across materials. The projects and excercises combine to help you learn blending techniques that go far beyond 'recipes' for color blends at the same time as you learn what to look for when using colors to create pleasing effects.

A major point in this book's favor, is that many of the completed projects will leave the reader with not just a better understanding of color and its effects, but they will also have a set of tools that can take them further into the creative process, regardless of what medium they wish to employ.

Basic Tools and Techniques as Well as Color Theory

The book assumes the reader may be new to working with polymer clay and includes lists of basic tools and substitutes as well as common techniques. There are a wide variety of templates which can be made from card stock, as well as color charts to help readers work with most commonly available brands of polymer clay.

The first chapter of the book deals with basic tools and techniques, while the second chapter covers the terminology and theory of color. The remaining eight chapters deal with explorations of color effects and choice of personal palettes. Within the first chapters, the reader is introduced to experiments with their particular favorite brand of polymer clay, which test the clay to demonstrate color shifts in curing, as well as how to determine value and color shift using pivot tiles.

This is not a "how to" book for making particular colors with recipes, nor does it give step by step instructions for making particular projects. It is a book which will both train your eye to see and evaluate colors and help you learn to create your own colors which please you, as well as new ways to make your colors pop or blend in various designs.

Although this book doesn't feature projects involving miniatures, many of the techniques are those commonly used for scale models and miniatures made from polymer clay. The explanations of color theory are well illustrated and explained, and the projects demonstrate color management which can be used for all types of projects, not just canes, jewellery or art pieces made from polymer clay.

Creative Tools for Your Own Reference

One of the strengths of this book is that it shows you how to make a permanent set of studio reference tools that you can use to improve your use of color in any project. The tools are designed to explore your personal sense of color, and lead you to a better understanding of what is appealing to you, and how to work with those colors most effectively.

In addition to exploring how your favorite clay color shifts, the book shows you how to create a gray scale and determine color value, how to mix colors to understand relative color strengths, and how to create effective color blends. There are also exercises for understanding how to create scales of a particular color (the steps that move one color towards another). Information on color schemes and contrasts helps artists to focus on ways color relates to other colors for optical shifts and color balance.

Price and Availability

Polymer Clay Color Inspirations by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio, 2009 Watson Guptill New York, ISBN - 978-0-8230-1501-6 Large format paperback, 144 pages. Price $13 - $22

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