Book Reviews

Polymer Clay Jewellery - The Art of Caning by Mathilde Brun

A nice book that covers a wide range of different canes and different ways to use them. As with most craft books, it starts with a bit of general information and then is arranged in projects. Each project makes a different cane and different jewellery items made using that cane.

For each cane, there are step by step instructions that have been illustrated rather than photographed. There is a reasonable amount of information but some prior knowledge may make it a bit easier to understand in a few places. 


There are different floral patterns, geometric patterns, and even some simple face canes. The canes are then used in different ways. On different shaped beads, to make picture panels, to make a bangle and even to make sculpted flowers. 


Whilst not all the projects are to my taste, and some of the execution could have been further refined I found it in an interesting book with some really nice projects. There are a lot of different skills involved with making canes included in this book and it would certainly give people lots of ideas for further projects. It would be a good book for someone interested in cane work.

ISBN 978-0-7643-4456-5
by Cara Jane Hayman

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

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