Tag: tutorials

Continual Improvement

Butterfly Beads

I try, very, very hard to not fall into the trap of having to have things work perfectly the first time. I aim, instead, for small improvements, little steps, incremental progress. I can math well enough to know that compound interest is magic and I feel that the same concept applies to most things. You put a little effort into a project, over a period of time and the results will impress you. We covered this approach in a unit, in school, on Japan. They call it Kaizen and use it to mean the incremental improvements in corporate and manufacturing settings that keep a company steadily climbing. They contrast it with the Western approach where people aim for perfect in one go. I can’t do perfect but I can do a little better, often.

This applies to my site and my polymer clay life as well, of course. I’m going through the tedious process of converting materials from here into better formats and layouts. Some of it needs updating because I’ve improved and the clay work explained on here needs to be corrected. Other items need updating because I’ve learned how to use better tools for production content making.

First up: I updated the quickie Skinner Blend Plug tutorial. I added a section on how to make the blend, created new pictures and laid it out more effectively. I may need to take the image sizes down a notch but overall I’m pleased. For added fun, I ran the images through a slide show program and posted that on my Instagram so you can see the whole deal as a simple video. Once I shrink the images a bit, I’ll make an animated gif version for here.

Learning the Almost Basics

Pattern Sheet Pendant

It’s always such a relief to cross off one of those to-do items. Especially when it’s been an in-progress thing for literally years. And writing about clay basics or almost basics is one of those things. I make and sell non-basic supply items – canes – and a huge number of my customers are first time clayers who want to make great stuff their first go.

A few weeks ago I borrowed my friend Laurie (the immensely talented sculptor behind PrairieCrocusStudio) and we shot the pictures for some simple clay tasks:

I’m also organizing some of the other how-to’s on the site so they’ll be easier to find and use. Phew! Part of every year’s new beginnings is the promise that I’ll continue to work on being a little more organized, a little more tidy and a little more diligent. No huge jumps, just subtle things. So shining up parts of the website are right in line.