Book Reviews

A new Generation of Polymer Clay by Lucy Struncova


Firstly, what a wonderful experience, I asked Lucy to donate a copy of the book for the Guild to review. She was really lovely to deal with and very graciously gave us a copy. The book came with a lovely personal message, which was a lovely touch.


My initial impression on first flicking through the book is it’s a beautiful book. Very well put together, glossy, professional and certainly good eye candy for the coffee table!


27 artists are featured including our very own Fiona Abel-Smith (congratulations Fiona) but mainly European artists so there is a large diversity of project to look at. Each artist has 8 feature pages, a biography and portrait of the artist, and feature photographs of their work. Giving you lots of visual clues to the work they are best known for. Some truly beautiful work.

Then you come to the tutorials. Each tutorial is laid out the same so the book has a great sense of uniformity 9 photos per page so 18 for each tutorial and this to me is where I became frustrated. Dare I say a little letdown.

The style overrides the substance.

I was asking questions like:- which brand of clay? 

Where did you get your cutters from?

Which brand if texture sheet did you use?


I have enough claying knowledge and knowhow to interpret the vagueness in some of the tutorials but I did

asked myself if I was being too picky. So I got my 18 year old to have a look at the book and tell me what she thought.

“It’s a lovely book but it assumes you know what you are doing, it would not be suitable for beginners or novices”.


Will I be doing any of the projects from the book? Yes, 9 of them really appeal to me. Personally I would photocopy the project and use those notes to guide me though the project. The book is way too nice to get all messy in your studio.


On a side note I was really curious about one of the projects and had “questions” so I contacted the artist via Instagram, she was lovely, very kind and helpful giving me the info that I felt was missing from the tutorial. This as always is my experience within this wonderful world of polymer clayers.

It’s a great polymer clay book, full of beautiful glossy photos, certainly a good read, you won’t regret the purchase however it is not a step by step tutorial book for beginners so beware of that.

Reviewed by Debby Wakley

Exploring Canework in Polymer Clay by Patricia Kimble

It is known in my local BPCG group that Exploring Canework in Polymer Clay by Patricia Kimble is one of my favourite books. I looked at the pictures and the instructions for making the canes but to be honest I had never actually read it. So I sat down and started at the beginning of the book. 

She covers basic rules for clay work, including blending colours and progresses through to complicated canes. Each cane is clearly illustrated and the instructions are easy to follow.


I use the book as inspiration as I would use a recipe book. Looking through the pictures to find a cane that fits what I am trying to make, I can follow the illustrations and Patricia’s instructions to make the cane. The colours Patricia uses are subtle but it’s easy, using the guidance she gives, to adapt the colours to match the finished cane I want.

I am relatively new to the world of polymer clay so I haven’t yet made a lot of the canes and am looking forward to trying most, if not all, of them in the near future.


Book review by Christine Lacey

Julie Picarello Patterns in polymer ISBN 0871164094 Published 2011

his was given to me as a gift when I first started creating in polymer.

For those of you who have read it, will know what I mean when I say “Jecru” that’s the one thing that has stuck and I still use in my colour mixing particularly for Mokume Gane. For those of you who haven’t read the book yet it’s worth getting it for Julie’s take on colour selection, mixing and blending alone. She uses such harmonious blends.

The book starts with a lovely introduction, she doesn’t labour over the basics but goes into details about the tools she specifically uses, I found my purchase of ‘security tools bits’ invaluable to recreating her projects, but this was the only purchase I made. Most of the tools you will already have in your tool kit. 

Section 2 is all about how to create the controlled Mokume Gane than she is know for. There are step by step instructions for creating a controlled imprinting pattern, the design, the execution of the patterns, the curing and finishing.

Section 4 is all about the individual projects, step by step instructions on colour recipes, layering, impressioning, slicing, building and structuring pendants. 


The book It’s beautifully laid out, easy to follow and certainly inspiring. I would recommend this as a beginner to intermediate book as the technique itself it simple enough but the skills to plan ahead, envisioning the final design before starting takes restraint. I learn that less is more when trying to emulate Julie’s designs.


Reviewed by 

Debby Wakley

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