Thursday, April 17, 2014

Polymer Clay Conversations: Staci Louise Smith

Thats me!

I belong to a great facebook group called Polymer Clay Collective.  It's a place where we can ask questions, share what we are working on, and get to know other polymer artists.  
Well, they do these "Conversations", like an interview, as a way to get to know some of the artists in there.  So, its my turn to share.

1.  Tell us a bit about where you live.

I live in South Eastern PA, in what used to be a small town about an hour outside of Philly.  We still have farms and fields and woods- though every year more and more is developed.  I live near Green Lane Park, which has a reservoir and many hiking trails.  We love living so close to nature, and enjoy the wildlife that brings.

2.  What do you do when you're not polymer claying?

Well, I am married and mom to three bright and creative kids, ages 12, 9 and 7.  When I am not playing with polymer (or making jewelry and other beads, or blogging for the business), I am usually doing typical mom shopping, wash, playing with the kids, watching movies with the hubs.  In the summer we love to take day trips to the beach or go hiking.

3.  What did you want to be when you were little, and do you think you will ever be?

Oh boy, when I was little I wanted to be a singer.  I dreamed someday I'd sing the Star Spangled Banner at a hockey game.  Alas, this dream was not meant to be, and when I got to school I realized that I may be tone def and cannot sing to save my life.  Though I do subject my family to my singing very often, and i will always have a deep love for music.

4.  Tell us something about yourself we don't know.

I love musicals, and I wish real life was like that (again, my love of singing).  It would allow us all to sing our feelings and I totally believe the world would be a happier place!  (and though I can be a dreamer, and love fantasy......i am actually quite a realist when it comes to life)

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

Not to date myself, but I first tried PC back in the early 90's.  I made bright neon canes and put them on everything I food jars, candle votives, ect.......  I also made little sculptures out of it.  It was purely for fun.  I was always artistic and had to be doing something creative.  I didn't pick it back up until a few years ago.  I was making bronze beads for my jewelry designs at the time.  I decided to do Lori Anderson s Bead Soup Blog Party.  She partnered me with Diva Designs- Lynda Mosely.  She is an amazing polymer artist.  I had steered away from polymer for so long, because it was always so bright to me, and my tastes had changed considerably.  But Lynda showed me that you could make natural, organic and stunning work with polymer, and my curiosity was re-born.  That was about 3-4 years ago....i haven't put it down since.

6.  What's your favorite PC technique?  

I love to paint it.  I use it as my blank canvas.  I used to paint when i was younger (my mom is a painter), and have always loved to have a brush in my hand and a palette of colors in front of me.  So PC allowed me to get my paints back out and use the techniques I learned over the years, while at the same time, makings something I could use in my jewelry business.

7.  What are your art / design inspirations?

This is a tough one, only because if I really got into it, it would be 10 pages long.  I love all art.  I am inspired by everything, even if its not my style, I may see a color scheme that inspires me, or a shape, or just the boldness of a radical piece of art that gets my heart racing!  
As far as beads go, I was greatly inspired by Lisa Peters Art.  Her work intrigued me.  She was the first bead artist I met, who totally gave into her creative self, and made what was in her soul. Every bead was a miniature sculpture, a work of art all its own. The raw creativity showed in every piece she made, and I immediately connected with that.  I loved (and hated) that every bead was one of a kind.  (hated it because I wanted one for me and one to sell !!!)  She is daring, bold, organic, and always original.  That was a huge inspiration to me, and gave me the confidence to do the same.  To make whatever I felt at that time.  If I had to make the same thing all the time, I would quit.  I have to love what I am doing, or my work suffers, and my mental health does as well.

8.  Show us something you made with polymer clay.

I am very proud of this set, it was accepted as a finalist for Bead Dreams 2014
The set is made to look like a beach collection, and it is all polymer except the sea glass.

 This piece below was also accepted as a Bead Dreams finalist 2014
This set features my faux scrimshaw beads and my carved beads

This necklace features a large polymer rosette that I made

The piece below is a mix of polymer, gemstones and ceramic pieces.  I wanted it to be hard to tell which is which

This one has a polymer faux raku pendant at the bottom.  i love how it turned out

The bracelet has one of my polymer ammonite beads

This necklace has a tribal style trilobite focal, and an accent bead in polymer along with sea glass and gemstones

This piece is almost all polymer.  There is a large stone like black lampwork bead by Genea Beads,  a ceramic ammonite by Suburban Girl Studio and some other ceramic beads by Marsha Neal and Starry Road studio

8.  Question from the last Conversation interview with Wendy Jorredestjorre:  How do you go about selecting a color palatte for your next project?

I am afraid this question may be wasted on me.  I really don't plan much when it comes to creating.  I may have a sketch, but rarely plan colors.  I just get out the beads that need color, get out all my paints, and go to town.  I play A LOT!  I say to myself, "what would it look like if I add orange to this?  or blue to this?"  A dab of this, a wash of that.  It is always a surprise for me and never comes out the same twice.

My question for the next interview is this:

What tip would you give to someone just starting out in polymer clay?

Thank you so much to Polymer Clay Collective for letting me share a bit about myself with you guys.

If you want to see more of my work, you can check out my beads on etsy (you can also find my Painted Polymer Tutorial for sale there) or my jewelry at

I am also on facebook 

I also write for a great community blog called Love my Art Jewlery
where we are always sharing tips, tricks and inspirations (for all mediums) to take your work further and further, and share the appreciation for handmade!  Today there is actually a giveaway over there of one of my polymer pendants, so check it out!


  1. You are all sorts of awesome. I love that you are a musical fanatic. I am, too! And you are right about Miss Lisa Peters and putting her heart in her art. She is one amazing woman as well. I love reading this glimpse into your life and art, Miss Staci! Thank you for sharing that with us! Enjoy the day. Erin

  2. That was fun, and I'm fascinated by your ideas about color, especially by how you've used paints to "tame" those primary poly colors without going totally toward browns. You're not even afraid of pink (as I know from a set of yours I have)! You've inspired me to try poly clay (since I can't afford a kiln for ceramic)...soI can't wait to hear some answers to that concluding question.

    And your entries to Bead Dreams--for the sculptural qualities as well as those colors!--are a shoo-in, if you ask me. Wow.

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