Oh, how things have changed. It wasn’t long ago we went to a supermarket or bookstore to browse hobby magazines, looking for fun projects to try. If you were like me, you’d buy several and spend a glorious afternoon thumbing through the pages. You would dream, become engrossed in the articles, and scan the ads for new products to consider. Now that we have the internet, we no longer need magazines. We use social media instead. But is that true? Is print dead? As you’ll learn here, it’s not! Especially in niche markets (like polymer clay art and craft), print magazines are alive and thriving. We are lucky to have three polymer clay magazines available to read, thumb through, and devour during those glorious lazy afternoons.
What are these polymer clay magazines? The Polymer Arts, Polymer Week, Polymer Clay in Russia, and Polymère & CO are currently in publication. All four are created in print or digital form and are available to readers all over the world. Here’s more information about each magazine.
The Polymer Arts
Editor Sage Bray founded The Polymer Arts in 2011. Sage was an established polymer clay artist who had met her sales and production goals and was looking for a new challenge. She wanted to find a way to earn a living that didn’t require being alone in a studio day after day. Sage had previous experience in magazine publication and knew others in the community had expressed a need for a quality magazine with more advanced information. It seemed like an obvious step forward. So Sage asked friends and family for help with setup and started publishing the polymer world’s second print magazine. Now she heads a team that brings us a high-quality polymer clay magazine that is a huge favorite among polymer clay enthusiasts around the world.
Mission of The Polymer Arts
When I asked her about the mission of The Polymer Arts, here’s what she said. “I aim to inspire creative thinking and increase our readers’ knowledge of design to boost both their financial success and personal fulfillment.” Sage goes on to say, “This magazine aims to make you think. Most craft magazines are about practicing skills, but if you would like to increase your understanding of design or want to be more expressive in your work, the articles in this magazine will inspire and motivate as well as help hone polymer related skills.”
About The Polymer Arts
- Published quarterly and available in both print and digital form
- Written in English
- Articles and tutorial concepts from artists and writers around the world
- Best for those who are eager to grow in their art and want to learn more than technique
- Subscriptions and back issues are available on the website
- Available through selected polymer clay retailers in their online shops
- Accepts contributions, but you’ll need to submit concepts in advance
- Each magazine follows a theme, so there are many articles on a related topic
- Typically three artist galleries are featured, showcasing their work
- There are also regular features in each issue
Where to Get The Polymer Arts
You can subscribe to The Polymer Arts on their website to automatically receive each new issue in the mail. You can also order back issues to catch up with what you’ve missed. While you’re there, do make sure that you sign up for delivery of both the bi-weekly newsletter and the Daily Polymer Arts Blog by email. You can do all of this on the homepage. If social media is more your thing, you can follow The Polymer Arts on Facebook.
Polymer Week Magazine
Brand new on the polymer clay magazine scene is Polymer Week Magazine published in the Czech Republic by the Lucy Clay Tools company. By the title, you’d think it was released weekly instead of quarterly. But the name refers to “Polymer Week”, which is a series of week-long and weekend learning events hosted by Lucy Clay Tools in Prague. For the first Polymer Week event, the company produced Polymer Week Magazine. It was such a hit that the company has decided to begin regular publication and the next issue is available here or on Amazon in the US. Polymer Week Magazine‘s editor is Lucy Struncova, the child prodigy clay artist and namesake of the Lucy Clay Tools Company. She is all grown up now and has put in an admirable effort to create a very high-quality magazine.
Mission of Polymer Week Magazine
Lucy shared with me the following. “The Mission is to present polymer clay material as an artistic medium full of possibilities not only to clayers but to other artists who might believe that polymer clay is just plastic. We know it’s much more.” She went on to say that this is the reason they work so hard to make the magazine with nice graphic design and high-quality photos. As Lucy says, “I love the smell of the mag and also the look of the paper. Quality is quality.” I’ll have to say that I agree with her. It’s a gorgeous magazine. It reminds me of high-end design magazine rather than one for crafts.
About Polymer Week Magazine
- Published as single issues, but a subscription is available in 2018.
- Available in both English and Czech in print or digital form
- Available in Russian in digital form only
- Articles and tutorials from artists around the world
- High-end look and feel
- Tutorials follow a pared-down, simplified format
- Best for clayers who seek new design influences and beautiful “eye candy”
- Great as a showcase or coffee-table book that elevates our medium
- Available by the issue from the website and some polymer clay retailers online
- Digital copies available on Etsy
- Accepts submissions from contributors, especially those with a new, fresh voice
Some people have privately voiced concerns that the magazine would be a glorified advertisement for the parent company, Lucy Clay Tools. While there are, of course, ads for their products, this magazine is much more than that. The articles are good, the tutorials fresh and fun, and the variety of advertisements will be valuable for the reader.
Where to Get Polymer Week Magazine
Polymer Week Magazine is published in the Czech Republic, so mailing the magazine to buyers around the world at a reasonable cost has been a frustration for the company. The company made the initially high shipping estimates more affordable (just $5 to the US) once they found a US distributor. Jan Montarsi has been so kind as to send out each issue in the US as it is ordered. Because this magazine is new, there are still growing pains and many details that will be worked out once a regular publication schedule and distribution plan is in place.
You can learn how to buy both print and digital issues online. You can buy digital copies for instant download on Etsy. Subscriptions are available starting early 2018. If you’re “down under” in Australia, you can buy print issues through 2Wards Polymer Clay in Australia and for a limited time get a special bundle of supplies that matches one of the tutorials in the magazine. If you want to know more about the Polymer Week experience and stay informed about the workshops, events, and the news about the magazine, join the mailing list here and make sure to follow them on Facebook.
Polymère & co
Béatrice Picq worked for a sports magazine and had worked with polymer clay for ten years. There were no French-language polymer clay publications, and she saw a great need for more education and inspiration for French clayers. This background gave Béatrice the idea that creating a polymer clay magazine would be a natural path. So she joined forces with Astrid Brefort and Ingrid Lepain to form Polymère & co in 2013. Mélanie Jung has since joined the team. They’ve published quarterly ever since.
Mission of Polymère & co
Béatrice told me that the mission of Polymère & co is to help, to advance, and to support all polymer clay artists of all levels. She goes on to say that Polymère & co offers quality content, a clear editorial style, and plenty of tricks to master the techniques of polymer clay.
About Polymère & co
- Written in French
- Published quarterly and available both digitally and in print
- Includes articles and artist interviews and features
- Tutorials suit beginner through advanced levels
- Lots of “eye candy” and an introduction to many French artists
- Best for French-speaking polymer clay hobbyists and artists
- Available by subscription and single issue from the website
- Single issues available from online retailers
- Accepts contributor submissions
This magazine is written in French, and the digital version is not able to be translated with online translation tools. You will need to read French to understand everything. However, I found that even with a very basic and elementary understanding of French, I can still get a lot of enjoyment out of Polymère & co.
Where to Get Polymère & co
Like the other polymer clay magazines, you can get Polymère & co from their website. Subscriptions are available, both for digital and print issues. And you can buy back-issues as well. The website is written in French, so if you don’t speak French do make sure to use a browser (such as Chrome) with translation capabilities when you order. You can also buy print issues from online polymer clay retailers Polystudio, Polymère Passion, and FunnyPat. Make sure to follow Polymère & co on Facebook.
The Journal of Polymer Clay in Russia
Tatiana Evdokimova founded the Russian Polymer Clay Guild in 2014, and as part of the guild’s activity they publish a polymer clay magazine. After discussion on Facebook, several guild members contributed to (and still write for) the magazine. The Journal of Polymer Clay in Russia has been produced quarterly since 2014. Both print and digital back-issues can be purchased, but starting with the Fall 2017 issue, it will be digital only. It’s available only in Russian. The editor-in-chief is Tatiana Evdokimova and Anna Kokareva.
Anna Kokareva says this: “We try to make the magazine to be interesting for beginners and for advanced artists. We publish everything that concerns polymer clay — tutorials, articles about techniques, tools & materials, colors, baking, sanding etc., reports from workshops and other meetings, artist’s stories, interviews with foreign artists.”
Mission of Polymer Clay in Russia
On their website it’s stated that the goal is to consolidate the diverse community of Russian-speaking polymer clayers, learn new opportunities, discuss new materials and techniques, learn about master clay artists in the rest of the world and in Russia, and to advertise classes and artists in the community.
About Polymer Clay in Russia
- Available only in Russian, but I was able to copy the text and use an online translator to understand enough to get the basic idea.
- Available in digital form. Back issues (previous to Fall 2017) are available in print.
- Best for Russian-speaking clayers of all skill levels
- For non-Russian speakers, it will be valuable for adventurous and patient clayers comfortable with using online translators
- An excellent introduction to the dynamic and talented Russian polymer clay community
- Accepts contributions from readers.
Where to get Polymer Clay in Russia
You can order print issues on the website and they can be sent anywhere in the world, but you will need to pay the shipping cost. Digital versions are available from the website, too. Digital subscriptions are also available.
Retired Polymer Clay Magazines
I remember when there were no polymer clay magazines and we had to resort to thumbing through jewelry and craft magazines, hoping to find the occasional polymer clay tutorial or article. But things have changed and we have so many choices today! In addition to the three currently published polymer clay magazines listed above, there are two magazines that I want to mention. While these are no longer in production, you may find copies for sale on destash groups, or you may be able to borrow them from friends. Here are the two retired polymer clay magazines.
Polymer Café was the first polymer clay magazine. It was such a treat to get this magazine in the mail! Starting in 2003, Polymer Café was sent out four times a year by founding publishers Joan and Mike Clipp. Over time, the magazine changed hands and Scott Publications took over publication bi-monthly (six times a year). This periodical was known for its accessible style and tended to be a favorite of hobbyists who were most interested in creating for leisure. The magazine always aimed at the amateur (a niche that’s lacking in current publications). Sadly, it did suffer a bit in its later years from poor editorial standards. Polymer Café closed in early 2017. I’d say a 14-year run is an admirable success, however, and we’ll all remember this magazine fondly.
From Polymer to Art
From Polymer to Art is another retired polymer clay magazine and has left a hole as well. Created in the Netherlands by editors Saskia Veltenaar and Marjon Donker and written in English, print copies were sent all over the world. Some individual issues were available in Dutch. From Polymer to Art was bright, fresh, with a distinctive visual style. The articles were straightforward and the tutorials simple and easy to follow. It was an excellent magazine for engaging a younger or beginner audience. Some of my website articles were re-published there, by the way. The magazine ceased publication in 2016, but you can find some back-issues at online polymer clay suppliers, such as the UK shop Metal Clay Ltd. and the Czech shop Nemravka.
On being a Contributor: When an author submits articles to a magazine, that does not mean they become an employee of that magazine. Therefore, even though I write articles for some of these polymer clay magazines, it does not suggest that I am aligned with the companies who publish them. The independent nature of being a contributor also means that you, too, can submit articles and tutorials to these magazines. If you have a great article idea or a tutorial you’d like to share, contact the editor and share your thoughts with them. The more authors we have, the better these magazines will become!
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