review: the polymer clay cookbook
The Polymer Clay Cookbook: Tiny Food Jewelry to Whip Up and Wear is written by Jessica and Susan Partain and published by Watson Guptill. Jessica and Susan are the founders of Inedible Jewelry and you can also visit them at their blog. The sisters started using clay when young and “haven’t been able to put it down since”. I appreciated that in the book, the authors shared their hard-earned experience with clay, since it takes most people many years of trial and error to figure out these lessons.
The Polymer Clay Cookbook is written for the beginner (child or adult) with projects which even though they are simple, they are still professional looking and fun! In terms of the book’s subject matter, the authors suggest that food does so much more for us than just taste good, it also brings back comforting or exciting memories of enjoyable times in our lives. And the polymer clay creations allow us to continue enjoying these treats and the memories they evoke (plus, calorie free!).
The book starts with good sized sections on clay and jewelry techniques. They explain about clay conditioning and coloring the clay, as well as giving information on tools, baking, glazing and storing. I really liked their trouble shooting tips for when things go wrong and how to avoid or fix those types of issues. They also have explanations of simple jewelry making techniques, which is worth the cost of the book in and of itself!
The remainder of the book includes five chapters of different types of food items made from polymer clay. A fun addition to The Polymer Clay Cookbook is that there are real, edible recipes sprinkled throughout the chapters, a few of them even have a clay counterpart (California Roll – Yum!). It is a big help that each “recipe” comes complete with very clear step by step photos to assist in making the clay foods. Tips are scattered throughout the book, like the recipe for a sugar scrub that will get all of the clay off of your hands.
One of the things the section on Fruits includes is an introduction to making “canes” out of clay. They walk you through making lemons to illustrate the cane concept and they turn out beautiful! In the Breakfast area there are many yummy items, including cinnamon rolls, for which they explain how to use liquid clay for a “frosting” effect on the rolls. The Main Dish chapter presents foods from pizza to sushi. And with each recipe in the book, there are directions on how to turn each piece into jewelry, like the taco or hamburger earrings.
The Treats area has many yummy, colorful treats to craft from clay. The book ends with the Holiday section, which shows possible projects for different holidays, all of which would be perfect for handmade gifts!
As the authors so aptly sum up: “To celebrate food is to celebrate Life!” The Polymer Clay Cookbook: Tiny Food Jewelry to Whip Up and Wear is an excellent resource to learn how to celebrate life and food even more with creating these tiny treats. They definitely look good enough to eat!
The Polymer Clay Cookbook celebrates favorite foods with 20 tiny, deliciously realistic food charms to make from polymer clay and fashion into unique jewelry. Styled as a cookbook for the beginning miniaturist “chef,” the introductory chapters discuss the “basic ingredients” and techniques used for polymer clay and jewelry-making. The remainder of the book offers 20 “recipes” grouped by category: fruits, breakfast, lunch and dinner, sweets and snacks, and holiday foods. Each recipe has a list of “ingredients,” step-by-step directions with photographs, and suggested variations. Each piece is presented as a particular finished jewelry item, such as a necklace, but readers are encouraged to adapt the piece into any type of jewelry they choose. Each chapter also includes one of the authors’ own cherished recipes for real food, including Sunday Morning Cinnamon Rolls, Grandma’s Pasta Sauce, Decadent Raspberry Chocolate Cupcakes, and Mom’s Holiday Sugar Cookies. Throughout, the authors–who are sisters–share their enthusiasm for family, sisterhood, and the tradition and feelings surrounding our favorite foods.
About the Authors:
Jessica and Susan Partain are sisters and are both crafters. In spring 2006 they founded Inedible Jewelry, which they sell at local markets and craft shows and in a variety of boutiques across the US, Canada and the UK.