Thursday, September 9, 2010

March 2010 - Tonjas Treasures

Our first featured blogger, Tonia from is located in Chewelah, WA. Enjoy getting to know her:

 Project that tied for 1st place at 3D Trend

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I am a self-taught jewelry designer that got hooked on polymer clay from watching the Carol Duvall Show. Saw Donna Kato crank that pasta machine to make a pansy cane and I was just sure I could do it, too. :) That was over 12 years ago.

How long have you been crafting?
I guess I have been a crafter since I was about 8 years old. We moved a block away from my grandmother and she was always making something crafty. She first taught me to sew, crochet and macram√©.  Then graduated up to painting with Tri-Chem (anyone remember that stuff?). I remember loving to do paint by numbers and building with Legos as a kid. Art class was always my favorite time in school.

Do you have a favorite medium or medium of the moment?
I am heart and soul hooked on polymer clay. For a time I set aside polymer clay and I worked with PMC, then switched to firing dichroic glass to make pendants and cabs. I found I missed clay too much and had to get back to claying.

Is there anything influencing your work right now?  
I love anything organic or ethnic, but right now I am very absorbed in a technique I call Scrap Mokume Gane. It's literally scrap polymer clay that most clayers would hide inside beads to create amazing color combination and designs. I was pleasantly surprised at how many of my Scrap Mokume Gane bangle bracelets that I sold before Christmas. I recently wrote the project up as a tutorial and have sold over 40 copies from my Etsy shop.

One tool you can't live without?
That is without a doubt my pasta machine :) Conditioning polymer clay without it would be insane. LOL 
  Scrap Mokume Gane Bangle Bracelet 
Something craft related that you spend too much money on.
It would be easier to say what I don't spend money on. I confess I am a hoarder. :) I buy stuff thinking "I will find a use for that someday". Or if something is on clearance I swear it just jumps into my shopping cart. My friends tease me that I have a basement full of craft stash.

Are you featured or published?
I have been published 4 times is Jewelry Crafts magazine, I got the cover of Polymer Cafe when they published my Asian Mokume Gane pendant, and my mini masks can be seen in a book called Celebrations in Polymer Clay by Sarajane Helm. I also tied for first place in a contest hosted by Amaco. The projects were shown and judged at 3D Memory Trends 2006, then the winners projects were also displayed at CHA that year. Amaco even paid me to write a tutorial on my project and it is still available at the Amaco web site. Oh, and you can download for free some of my tutorials at

The cover piece from my Polymer Cafe article 

Any tip or trick you'd like to share?
I do have a tip. :) Don't buy those expensive cane slicing tools. I use the top part of a bead roller to cut cane slices. (The part you hold and slide back and forth.) I just hold it down over the cane and use the curved end as a cutting guide.

If you have a creative block, is there anything that works to motivate you in a positive direction?
I don't force it. I find that inspiration can come from the strangest places. The last time it was a necklace I saw on an actress on TV. I paused the show and drew the necklace on a scrap of paper. I did finish the show first, but I used that drawing to inspire a pendant I made later that week.

Is there anything craft related that you would like to try or learn?
I would like to get back to doing chainmaille jewelry. I barely tapped the possibilities there.

Your favorite magazine?
Polymer Cafe

You can find Tonia at the following links:

If you are interested in becoming a featured blogger, first be listed on The Craft Map, and then submit your request to acrafter@i (dot) am. And thank you for your interest!

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