Tutorials for the
Polymer Clay Enthusiast
Welcome to Simply Ornaments
If you love to work with polymer clay and Christmas
is your favorite time of year, you have come to the right place.

"Polymer Clay Collective Conversations"

Polymer Clay Collective is a Facebook Group  for anyone interested in the very versatile medium of
polymer clay. As a way of getting to know each other, we have been asked to answer a few questions and
as you can see it is my turn.

Polymer Clay Conversations Questions

:• Tell us a bit about where you live.

I live in a small town  about 30 miles north of Augusta, Georgia on the South Carolina side of the  
Savannah River. I am on 40 acres and my house cannot be seen from the road.  Quiet country living!

• What do you do when you're not polymer claying?
I like to garden, bowl, read, watch movies and try to exercise.

• What did you want to be when you were little and do you think you ever
will be?
I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was little sewing doll clothes, a teacher, or an artist.
I was always drawing or reading when I was a child.  Creating things and crafting was in my DNA.
My Mother could cook and bake anything from scratch, but unfortunately, I did not inherit that ability. She
sewed, knitted, crocheted, re-upholstered the furniture..I don't know how she managed all that with five
My Father was an auto mechanic whose love of cars was passed on to my 3 brothers, but his passion was
flying. He built 3 airplanes in his garage that he flew ( and crashed 2 ).  After the last crash, my Mother
said no more and he built remote control airplanes. So perhaps my desire to create something from almost
nothing came from my parents.

• Tell us something about yourself that we don't know.
I was born in Germany and came to the US on a big ship when I was 7 along with my parents and older
When I started school here, I could not speak English.
I am divorced and have a very handsome 26 year old son.

• Tell us your polymer clay story: What made you first try polymer clay and
how long has PC been part of your life?

I did my first arts and crafts show in 1973 in Connecticut where I grew up. At the time I was doing Batiks but
there was an exhibitor at the show who had Christmas ornaments made out of salt dough.  They were little
people, all the same shape, but she had painted them quite nicely.  I just had to try this salt dough stuff!  I
was hooked.  I gave up doing batiks and started making ornaments. Everyone loved them.
Lucky for me that they did because looking back, they were really horrible. I  first started with PC in the
80's. Once I tried it, I never went back to salt dough. I used Sculpey which was sort of an off white color  at
the time and had to be painted. Fimo and Cernit were available in colors but were hard as a rock.  I have
used mostly Sculpey products over the years.. My favorite is Super Sculpey which I mix with Sculpey III
colors to make them stronger. After 40 years of making ornaments, I am basically retired. I have arthritis in
my hands so I cannot do too much without extreme pain.  I will be doing only one show this year but I have
been writing tutorial pdf ebooks to pass on the designs I have created over the years.  They are available
in my Etsy shop and on my web page.

I was a production crafter which means that I made more than one of each of my designs. My work was
done in stages, working on 10-20 ornaments at a time. By this I mean that I would make 20 bodies, then
add the arms, then the legs, then the see what I mean.
I had to have a large inventory for the craft shows and I still ran short at times because you never know
which design will sell best. This is how I made my living.  I have to be honest and say that many times other
artisans looked down on me for making ornaments because they looked at it like a child playing with play-
dough. And in the early years of polymer clay before anyone knew of it's versatility as an art medium,
people were downright mean in their comments about " that plastic stuff".  People purchased my
ornaments, I left the craft shows with empty boxes, and polymer clay found it's rightful place in the art
world. And I still love creating Christmas ornaments!

• What's your favorite PC technique?
I don't have a favorite technique. I have tried most of them but making Christmas ornaments is fairly basic.

• What are your art/design inspirations?
Anything can inspire me. I keep a notebook on my nightstand because I sometimes wake up in the middle
of the night with an idea.
Of course, some of those ideas have gone into the "What was I thinking?" file. I have been doing this as a
full time job for forty years and have a collection of hundreds of designs. Looking at some of the designs,
you can almost tell which decade they are from.
Cows and country colors were the 80's and personalization hit big in the 90's.
Lately I have really been inspired by Steampunk.  I love making Steampunk ornaments.
No 2 are ever alike and you can just let your imagination go in all directions.

• Show us something you’ve made with polymer clay.

You can see some of the creations I have made on this page. Over the years I have made
thousands of Christmas ornaments.
I have also done hundreds of commissioned ornaments.

I also made holiday themed pins/brooches, pendants and earrings for many years until I had to
stop to increase ornament production.

Hope you enjoyed learning a little about me.

Happy Claying!


Please join me in a new Facebook group dedicated to polymer clay Christmas ornaments

copyright 2014 Simply Ornaments
Maria Maestri