Book Review: Marie Segal’s “The Polymer Clay Artist’s Guide: A Directory of Mixes, Colors, Textures, Faux Finishes, and Surface Effects

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Marie Segal's The Polymer Clay Artist's Guide Book Review by KatersAcres

Polymer Clay Book Review

Marie Segal's The Polymer Clay Artist's Guide Book Review by KatersAcres

It’s time for another great polymer clay book review! I have done many book reviews (mostly of Christi Friesen’s books because of the Friesen Project) and I have yet to do a negative book review.  Don’t get excited, this is NOT going to be a negative review! But maybe day I will find the courage to write on one of my books that doesn’t live up to what I want it to. But I feel bad putting people’s hard work down … so we’ll leave that dilemma for another day.

What I Was Expecting

For those of you who are polymer jewelry artists, I apologize in advance for this next sentence… Books on polymer jewelry rarely intrigue me or get me running into the studio to try something new. I don’t wear much jewelry either. I love looking at others jewelry. And I even marvel over jewelry, especially polymer jewelry. This doesn’t mean that I don’t own it, I do. I have some lovely pieces of polymer jewelry I’ve purchased from very accomplished artists … but I don’t wear jewelry that often. I’m a sculptor, not a jewelry designer or maker, so when this book launched, I didn’t run to purchase it right away.

End of bunny-trail.

I was expecting this book to be filled with more of the same-old jewelry techniques that so many of my other polymer books have covered. I expected to see a whole lot of what I already knew. I expected to be bored. I expected this book to be mundane. I expected … well, the same stuff that everyone else has covered. BUT, the polymer community was cooing about this book. So … I had to find out for myself.

Why I Was “Wowed!”

Marie Segal's The Polymer Clay Artist's Guide Book Review by KatersAcresI hesitated getting this book because I assumed it would be geared toward more jewelry/artisan people. So hesitantly after it arrived in 2 days from Amazon, I sat down with a cup of coffee to read it. And then it happened … I. Was. Mesmerized! Even as you open the book, the beautiful handmade jewelry designs just scream “wow!” (See picture at left).

I will state that this book does the typical “Here’s what polymer clay is, here’s how you use it, where it’s available, supplies you’ll need, etc.” This is standard in most polymer clay books anymore. I will honestly say that there was nothing new to me in this section. Keep in mind that I have been claying for 6 years now and have a huge library of polymer clay books and have a pretty decent knowledge of all things clay. This being said, to a beginner or novice, there are lots of helpful tips and information here.

About page 25 you get into the “effects” that the book is touted for … from inclusions, additives, texturing effects, printing effects, ink effects, basic caning & stacking techniques, patterns, motifs, mosaic, pave, & even embellishments. Marie has taken great care to leave nothing out. She has explored each technique in a variety of ways. Some that will appeal to mixed media artists, some to jewelry makers, and even some effects that sculptors (like myself) can use.

Overall Review

Marie Segal's The Polymer Clay Artist's Guide Book Review by KatersAcres

I love the way that Marie has taken one effect and used it multiple ways. She gives pictures at the end of each “skill / technique” and shows what she (or another artist) did with it. Then she tells you the basic steps in how it was achieved and where to find it in that chapter. WOW! The page shown above at right is an example of this. I love that she took the extra time to do this. She could have explained each technique, showed one picture, and then been done with it. But not Marie, nope. She went above and beyond! Thank you Marie for taking the time to do this.

You need this book in your polymer library!

If you are a jewelry artist, you need this book. If you love to add surface effects to clay you need this book.

If you are a sculptor however, you could pass on this book. Why? Because you simply won’t utilize the surface techniques that are presented here. Even though I am not a jewelry artist, there is something about techniques that I just always have to try them; because I love to play and to experiment. I love to incorporate new things in my designs. The best part is that at the end of each section, Marie has included an “Artists at Work” page where well known (and perhaps new to you) artists are featured.

My Personal Opinions

Marie Segal's The Polymer Clay Artist's Guide Book Review by KatersAcresHere’s a secret about me: I. Love. Books. I have a Kindle & I read daily. The truth is that I have more books than any 4 people need. My studio is also replete with polymer books printed in black and white that go back into the 80’s (boring to read but with great designs) to brand new books, like this one. I love them. It’s a sickness really … ask my hubby. This book however, I am sure will become a favorite and well used book! The extra special bonus is that this book is hardback, which is awesome because it means that I can’t ruin it and have my pages falling out all over the place. Yippy! Again, thanks Marie!



Thanks for joining me today,

Happy Claying,

All links in this article for the polymer clay book review above are direct to Amazon where I am an affiliate.

Articled Edited: May 2017 for content.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Marie Segal’s “The Polymer Clay Artist’s Guide: A Directory of Mixes, Colors, Textures, Faux Finishes, and Surface Effects

  1. I stumbled across this review, navigating your website, and glad I did!

    I have been wondering about this book, knowing Marie Segal is a wonderful artist and author, but I don’t make, nor wear, jewelry…

    BUT the techniques can also be used to cover boxes and such. Time for me to look into getting it 🙂

  2. Thank you for the reviews! Curious, you mentioned your parents giving you a jewelry gift on your Ordination Day. Can you tell me what does Ordination Day mean in your context? I have only heard it used when someone is being ordained as a Pastor/Priest. Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Katy,

      You are correct in what you asked about Ordination. My profession is as an Ordained Minister in the American Baptist Churches. I moonlight as a polymer clay artist (job #2)…. Thanks for asking!

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