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20 to Craft: Kawaii Charms in Polymer Clay
is Ruth Thompson's first book with Search Press. Ruth is a crafter who is passionate about Kawaii art and fashion, and specialises in polymer clay charms and jewellery. She also sells her creations through herEtsy shop, Kawaii Studios, and shares tutorials across her social media accounts where she has accumulated hundreds of thousands of followers across multiple platforms. We caught up with Ruth Thompson to find out a bit more about her new book, her inspiration, and her Search Press journey!

How are you Ruth?


I’m very well thank you, not enjoying the cold weather but very excited for Christmas!

This is your first book with Search Press, tell us a bit about your journey and how you came to publish with us?

My story is probably a little unique, I first met the Search Press team when I did my work experience at the offices when I was 16. I’ve been working with polymer clay for over ten years and had a large online following at that point. I enjoyed my time so much that we kept in touch, I helped out at the summer author party and I did some promoting for Search Press on my YouTube channel. Fast forwards 8 years and I get an email in my inbox asking if I’d like to make my very own book, I was beyond excited!!

For those that don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself and your company Kawaii Studios.

So I have been working with polymer clay for years, I used to play with it as a child and then I fell in love with it in my teens. I soon found the Kawaii community and fell in love with it. ‘Kawaii’ means cute in Japanese and it’s an aesthetic characterised by pastel colours, adorable characters and small cute things. I adored the idea of miniature food with smiling faces, after seeing the miniature food in my Mum’s incredible dollhouse – it was bound to happen!

I started posting pictures of my work online in 2011 and that evolved into a YouTube channel where I started sharing my new work and creating tutorials to show other people how to make Kawaii charms. My community grew and grew and people started requesting to buy my charms so I made my Etsy shop, Kawaii Studios. As new social media sites popped up I joined them all (I love social media) and today I have tens of thousands of followers across multiple platforms, and my shop has expanded into acrylic jewellery, stickers, enamel pins and resin products!

   

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get a lot of inspiration from real foods, I love strolling through Instagram and finding bakeries. I set myself little challenges to find real cupcakes from bakeries and recreate them as miniature clay charms.



Beyond that, a lot of my inspiration comes from other artists. There are so many wonderful creative communities online, sharing ideas, techniques and just making me want to create new and better things!

Are all the projects in the book new?

A couple of the projects are some reworked ideas I first made many many years ago that I have now perfected, but all of the projects in the book are exclusive and cannot be found anywhere else!

Do you have any tips for beginners?

I think a lot of people may become disheartened when things don’t look exactly like someone else’s but it takes time and practice. Creating miniatures is not easy, they’re so small! I always recommend making things bigger than you want to start off so you can get the techniques down, then just keep working smaller and smaller. I’ve been doing this a long time so I have a lot of practice working with pieces of clay a quarter or even a sixth of the size of my finger nail.

It’s also great to keep your pieces so you can really see your improvement, you won’t realise how far you’ve come until you take a second to review and realise! I like to remake old pieces so I can see this in action!

   

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m planning some really exciting things for Kawaii Studios; I’ve just launched vinyl stickers in the shop so I have lots of ideas for more designs. I also have a whole Valentine's Day collection coming together in my head across all my product types, stickers, charms, acrylic jewellery so I’m very excited about that.



Do you have any exciting plans for 2021?

June 2021 is actually the 10 year anniversary of Kawaii Studios, so I’m planning to do something a bit crazy involving my signature Kawaii cupcake charms, but that’s a secret for now!

20 to Craft: Kawaii Charms in Polymer Clay is available from Search Press, RRP £4.99.


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