Are you curious how it is like to publish own magazine, spend time organizing clay events, and being active in the polymer clay community?
We asked Lucy, the founder of the Polymer Week, a few interesting questions which reveal you her story and the way she works. Enjoy it!
Polymer Week Magazine is very popular among polymer creators around the world. What was the initial impulse for its publication?
I have had in my head the idea of publishing my own magazine since my childhood. I recall the publishing of our own school newspaper in elementary school. We won over the official school magazine with the number of readers and with our minimalist graphics and original format. It still makes me smile.
Polymer Week Magazine was created when there was our first polymer event we held in the Czech Republic three years ago. We invited teachers from all over the world, welcomed a hundred participants and the magazine was supposed to be a surprise that only the authors of the first issue knew about. Nobody knew whether there would be a second or a third issue.
What do you think the magazine brings to the polymer community?
To be honest, I am really enjoying the influence of the polymer community and giving space to new, not so well-known creators who are often overwhelmingly talented and imaginative and definitely deserve attention.
But with every issue it is a little step into the unknown. Fortunately I forget difficult and stressful moments very quickly but I am always surprised how much work and time the whole publication took at the end of each issue. As a result, I can only hope that in the new issue the readers will find a lot of inspiration, ideas, but most of all many interesting thoughts, concepts and maybe a bit of motivation.
Could you give some advice to those who would like to have their work presented in the magazine? How do you choose artists for it?
Usually it's a coincidence. I browse dozens of different creators on social networks every day. Searching for people who have a high level of presentation, who have no problem taking high-res photography but mainly who are presenting some new and unprecedented possibilities of their polymer clay creations. Sometimes we also help creators with photos to keep the same level in every article and tutorial.
So it means that most of the magazine's work is mainly done by post-production, right?
Exactly. What the reader does not see. Cropping and editing photos, retouching and finishing the background, taking pictures of pieces, graphic typesetting, finding the right composition and then working with text in two languages. Fortunately, I have the best team in the world, who managed to harmonize perfectly with the tenth issue and the cooperation is much easier now.
Who is behind the publication of the magazine?
Much work is done by Karolína Kufnerová, a graphic artist who endures my endless comments and ideas. Johny Bárta helps with cropping and editing photos. Martina Malášková is a new, much needed team member and is responsible for creating articles and writing texts and Veronika Sturdy is translating. Jan Montarsi from America and Ivana Sychrová from Czech Republic are proofreading everything.
Last year you published a beautiful book, A New Generation of Polymer Clay. Can you tell us what's coming this year?
I'd love to create the second part! But it's not 100% for sure, yet. Maybe this year we will stay with magazines, maybe we will be able to publish a new book, nothing is cast in the stone. I realized recently and see it every day that if the whole Polymer Week Magazine project remains as a hobby and fun in the first place then the resulting projects will have much greater magic in them.
You are very active on social media networks which are playing an important role in today's world. Can you remind your readers where they can find online magazine-related activities?
We send statuses every day on the Facebook page and also on Instagram, where you can surprisingly find thousands and thousands of interesting creators who fall for the polymer charm as well. We also regularly post articles on the blog, featuring news and interesting work from artists from around the world.
It's a little endless work. We share something one day and we already need to have the content for the next few days prepared in advance. However it is an important job as the social networks have a huge impact on building the whole community and also are very useful in sharing information and good for connecting with individual creators.
You're very successful at a very young age. Where would you like to go in the future and what are your biggest polymer and non-polymer dreams?
Honestly, I'd actually like to move to a hut next to a forest with a wild life together with a box of black tea, some lemons, a bunch of books and lots of clay to create. However I still have a few years ahead of me to work on many of the duties that are unfortunately necessary to realize all my crazy ideas.
Hopefully I will finish college next year then I will try to explain to some secondary schools how marketing in design and art should be taught, then in the second LL Media project we will successfully continue to create visual identity for many interesting companies and projects, and for myself, I would like to work a little less, create a little more and keep smiling :).
You are incredibly productive because you create from polymer, publish a magazine, teach workshops, organize events, take photos and study at university. Do you have any advice on how to manage so many activities and be efficient at the same time?
Work fifteen hours a day for the first few years in a row and then put together the best possible team! But honestly, the more I fall into the magic of doing business, watching other people around the world working on their own projects, I am realizing that it's all about endless work, problem solving, dozens of drunk coffees and teas and all this ideally balanced by outdoor exercise and walks. Nobody will do the most difficult things for you but you.
Maybe thanks to social networks or finished projects it seems that I am working from dawn till dusk. It is true that I am able to work nonstop several months at a time but I am capable of burning out myself as well and then just stare into space or reading books for the next month or so. For that reason I am giving a lot of attention to recognise what I have to do and what I want to do, lately. And if ever the “have to” will be prevailing then I am ready to close everything down and get rid of all my duties just to keep my head clean and my mind calm.
On the other hand, I do realize that working on several projects at the same time, running two companies while going to school is also not entirely normal. But over the years I got used to my own system of working which is quite clever. I don't waste a single free moment unless I intentionally want to stare into space and get carried away with my thoughts. I listen to podcasts on my way to school, secretly do my emails and sorting out work for the team at school. I go to bed as a last one at home and work when it is all quiet but mainly I try to keep everything in order which helps me to stay sane :).
You are the author of many beautiful polymer techniques and projects. If you had to choose one particular project or technique, what would it be?
I am very happy with my last workshop The Tubes where I am absolutely sure that nobody has ever done a similar project with the fine decoration before. Otherwise, I do not take anything from what I have ever made too seriously because I can see a thousand little things that could have been created differently after a few weeks.
What has influenced your creation the most? Are you solely self-directed or is there someone whose opinion on your work is very important?
A lot of people! You could say that every teacher at school, a lot of artists from other arts fields, my mom!
I can feel deeply in my soul which direction I want to go. But I stand at a crossroads between the design and creative group of polymer people. My design part knows it would be ideal to stick to minimalism, to neutral colors and ideally work with black clay only in combination with metals. But the creative part is not naïve and knows that ultra-simple jewelry will not appeal to many in the polymer world. So I try to find a balance between these two worlds and find a style in which I will be 100% satisfied, for which I will not be ashamed in the design environment, while addressing people from the polymer community at the same time. A long journey ahead of me!
You are the organizer of Polymer Week international events which is certainly a beautiful, but also very demanding work. Can you tell us what the organization of these events has taught you so far?
Always smile, although sometimes it is challenging :). The organization of events definitely teaches me to communicate better with people and empathize with their needs. Polymer Week events also expressed my attention to detail. Where others see a simple solution, I see a simple solution plus a "brilliant idea" for refreshment that will delight both participants and teachers. So I am adding more work to myself and to my team but I know that the whole organization will fit together like a puzzle and hopefully everyone will be happy at the end.
Is there anything the polymer cay gave you and took from you?
Dozens of friends around the world! This is the most beautiful gift I have to thank for. So many talented, smiling, kind people that I have had a pleasure to meet thanks to the polymer in those ten years! I am grateful for every workshop I could teach, for every travel, for every event I have organised, for every project we have put together with the best team and for a lot of hugs, smiles and brightened eyes.
And yes, on the other hand, the polymer took away dozens of other things that a child or a youngster maybe should have differently while growing up and even though I was sometimes crying through the nights that I am missing on those things I would never change a minute of my life.
What would your ideal day look like?
My ideal day? After an eight-hour sleep I would get up early in the morning at the cabin next to the forest, I would make myself a cup of black tea with lemon and some avocado toast, play my favorite music or podcast and create from the polymer. No duties, no interruptions, running around or stressing out because of an endless To do list.
You have our wonderful team to work with so I would like to know what it is like to work with us?
The beginnings are always hard! :) However when everything sits after a few weeks, it's the best feeling in the world. I am grateful to all those who are part of my endlessly ambitious ideas and who are still willing to cooperate with me because I know this might be difficult sometimes. And even though it seems that it is only me who is behind the whole work and projects, it is far from the truth and I am well aware that without the people around me I would not have been able to do anything at all.
I really want everyone to know how proud I am of what my team does! And as long as we learn new things together, as long as we enjoy it and as long as we are a well-coordinated team, then I believe that everything will continue in the right direction.