I made 18 pens yesterday!  One of my galleries let me know they’d sold all their inventory and needed more.  So I figured I’d make plenty to send to several galleries before the holiday season.


These were lots of fun and I was able to make so many in a day as these were using up bits of old canes.  Many were just enough for one pen, or two.  So I accomplished two things; inventory and some housecleaning of the cane drawer!  Recognize any canes?  A few are the leftover bits from the caning book.  Many are leftovers from projects requested by Polyform Products.

My daughter grabbed the one on the left side and pointed out that it didn’t really “fit” with the others…  She’s right.  That one was a leftover chunk of translucent cane I did to simulate watermelon tourmaline.  I layered a translucent flower on top.  It turned out nicely, but it really does have a different aesthetic than most of my work…

Have an awesome weekend.



Telling stories

I’m blogging at this month, but remembered to repost this here as well today…

At the Bead and Button Show, or in any class I teach, I like to tell stories while I’m demonstrating.  I talk about my experiences, my work and where it comes from, as well as funny things that have happened in my family related to my art over the past 20+ years.

Often when I teach classes using my collection of leaf molds, I tell what kind of leaf it is, where it came from, etc.  One of my favorite leaves are rose leaves like the ones in the two pins shown here. 

When my husband and I were visiting a winery in Greve, Italy on our recent trip to Italy celebrating our 25th anniversary, I noticed a miniature rose bush in the landscaping.  I picked one tiny leaf and tucked it into my wallet to mold it when I got home.  I haven’t had time to make anything with the mold yet, but it will make a great story, don’t you agree?

Stories are important because they connect us to the work, and through the work to each other. I remind my students that if they are developing work for sale, to find ways to tell their stories.  I learned the importance of the story years ago when I taught a series of classes at a nearby Stamp/scrapbook store…

The series was a 3hour class on a different technique at the store once a month over several months.  I did several techniques using my leaf molds.  I pointed out one of the molds that was made from a marigold leaf.  The special leaf came from a plant grown from seed by my son at preschool.  My husband also planted a row of marigolds along our vegetable garden each year, so that year, my son’s plant went on the end of the row.  The hybrids were different, and it just so happened that my son’s plant grew twice as tall as all of daddy’s… of course!  I preserved this story in my leaf mold and remember it each time I used that mold.   (that son is now 16!  time flies, but my mold is still effective–Bake & Bend is so great for making molds!)

Now, for the lesson on the importance of the story:  one of the students in my stamp store class listened to the story and at the end of class, bought one of my samples that was made with the marigold mold.  She was touched by the story and it increased my sales.

AND…the next month, I was teaching a different technique, but again using leaf molds.  That student re-told the story for me to another woman who hadn’t attended the previous class.  And I made another sale of a sample made with that mold!

When you make things for friends and family, share the story with them about making the piece along with the gift.  If you sell some of your work, perhaps at a craft show, tell your stories.  If you sell through a local shop, make sure to get to know the sales personnel so that they can talk about you and your work.  And think about creative ways to include your stories on hang tags or other marketing pieces. 

When you clay with kids, show them how to express a story through their work.  It will open a new world to a child.  Our stories are what make art meaningful and desirable.

Happy Claying!




I love pearls.  I use many colors of dyed pearls in my leaf series of silver earrings and pendants.  But I haven’t used pearls often with polymer.  I have been doing a fun design with pearls set on a post and backed with a concave disc of silver.

I’ve been exploring this design element from several directions.  First came a series of designs using a cane pattern and a contrasting solid.  I’ve done a dozen or so of these and each pattern and shape combination is different.  So they are each one of a kinds.

sheltered pearl 2 color

Then, I wanted to come up with designs that were simpler, smaller, and which could be ordered according to shape or color for my wholesale line.  Here’s an example, and I’ve got sets accordingly in different shapes…


Finally, I wanted to take the design into deeper complexity and pieces with a bigger Presence.  These are each about 2-1/2″ in diameter, so they have presence alright!

sheltered pearl donuts 5

sheltered pearl donuts 2

sheltered pearl donuts close

I started with 4 color mixed sheets that I painted, stamped, sprinkled with glitter, dripped with ink, and even drew on with metallic markers.  Those sheets were covered with a thin sheet of translucent.  Those four sheets were cut up for the major spaces of these donuts, and interspersed with canework patterns.  Finally, I added floating cane slices or carved and back filled.  The pearl is mounted on a wire that is soldered to the portion of the bail that’s hidden inside the layers of clay.

So there you have it.  Same design concept applied in different forms.

Have a great weekend!








playing with resins

A while back, I bought a small uv light for exposing the photopolymer plates that I use with text and silver.  But I also bought some uv hardening resin which I kinda forgot I had for a while.  But looking for something else, I came across it and thought, Hey, this should be fun….

I made three designs that have low bezel walls.  Two of them have clay patterns covering some areas of the textured silver back.  The colors are very subtle.  These all three are pendants with tubing soldered on the back so they can take up to a 2mm cord or chain.


Let me know what you think!



valentine fun

I took some time to play today to make a few new textures with hearts as the theme.

This past weekend, I hosted a class in my home studio on the subject of textures and making your own texture plates in polymer.

Here’s a great technique that doesn’t require drawing or carving skills:

Bake a sheet of clay for your background.  This can be Sculpey Bake & Bend, Premo, or my favorite, a 1:1:1 mix of Bake & Bend, Premo, and Ultralight.  This sheet should be a medium thickness from your pasta machine, and big enough for your pattern.

After the backing sheet is cooled, spread a thin layer of Liquid Sculpey over it and press a very thin sheet of clay over that.  Make the second layer a contrast color so you can see what you are doing.

Press your pattern into the top layer.  The baked underlayer ensures that all the design will be consistent in depth of lines.  You can remove sections also.

val texture 1

This pattern used the 1/4″ square, and the tiny heart from the Kemper cutters sets.  And various needle tools for detailing.  After the pattern is complete, bake the sheet again.

Next, make a negative of the design by rolling it against more clay.  I used Bake and Bend for this sheet also.

val texture 2

Finally, you have both the positive and negative patterns to use in your designs.  Here’s my sweet little valentine pendant:

val texture 3



It’s here!! It’s finished!!

I usually meet my UPS delivery guys at the door so they know the dog is all bark and would never hurt anyone.  Today, I met the guy half way up the driveway cause I was so excited about what he was bringing me!!

My latest book is back from the printer!  Yeah!

I saw the pages in December for final editing, so the layout and design is not a surprise, but its still a very exciting moment to have all the pages in a complete form.

Here’s some peeks:

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So exciting!  I hope you look for it and love it too!  Order here from Kalmbach for the quickest delivery!

caned cookies

My book is almost ready to go to press.  Today on Facebook, my editor commented about applying cane principles to cookie making.  I’d say she’s gone a little over board, except I have to admit….

I’ve done it.

This cookie design was the logo for Pioneer HiBred Seed company who my husband worked for after college.

Please!  Focus on the cookie and NO comments about the hair!!  After all, it was about 1992 or so…

caned cookies

I expect she was thinking of Christmas themes…


December is my month to post over at  Go there and read the story behind these new works:

signature cane

My guinea pig group of teens at my church have completed their sales of Words of Purpose.  Congratulations to them, they earned $1203 to help fund students attending district and regional gatherings.
So now, it’s my turn to get to work, fulfilling the orders.  I have most of the inventory created.  The pendants just need to be hung on the appropriate length cords and packaged.  I “sign” my work with a bead at the back in the clasp.  For the Words of Purpose line, I decided I needed to put that name rather than “KIMLE” in the clasp.

So this was my all-day Saturday project.  I had college football streaming and I built the 14 letters while listening to games.  The cane began by making each letter 3/4″ high and 2″ long.  The cane had a little over 3 lbs of clay to begin.  I did quite well with the reduction and didn’t have too much distortion and waste on the ends.  Check out the process:

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I’ve so far only sliced and baked about 1/3 of the total.  The cane will make thousands of little signature beads.  I usually make my “KIMLE” cane about every 3 or 4 years.  We shall see how long this WoP cane will last!  Here’s hoping we sell so much and raise so much for ministry purposes that I have to make it again!



Polymer Cafe Profile

I’m honored to be profiled in the December issue of Polymer Cafe magazine.

The article was written by Trina Williams, a friend I first met long ago at one of the Ravensdale conferences sponsored by the Northwest Polymer Guild in the Seattle area.  It’s a lovely, flattering piece and I’m honored.  I did select and furnish the pictures.  My kids noticed that some of them are “really old work!”

Along with the profile, I wrote a pendant project which is also featured using a mokume gane variation and metal clay for a bail.  Here’s the project:

Thanks Trina and Anne!




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