Polka Dot Cottage: Morning Coffee With Cynthia Tinapple

Morning Coffee With Cynthia Tinapple

Posted October 5th, 2009 by

Welcome!  Ready for another Monday Morning Coffee chat?  Grab a cup and a  pumpkin muffin, and settle in for a visit with Cynthia Tinapple of Polymer Clay Daily.

Polymer Clay Daily

Polymer Clay Daily

Polymer Clay Daily began the same month and year as my own blog, the biggest difference between them being PCD had a well-defined mission from the start, and mine was the result of my husband saying, “you should try blogging” and me saying “what’s a blog?”  In the intervening four years, this space has undergone several cosmetic face lifts and a significant realigning of goals, while Polymer Clay Daily has remained a constant.

While most of my morning reading is of the personal blog variety, I do enjoy my daily dose of polymer clay, via Cynthia.  I like that it’s short-and-sweet, and I can tell in a very quick glance whether the artwork featured is something about which I want to learn more.

Twice I’ve had the kick of waking up and finding my own work staring back at me on Polymer Clay Daily.

Q&A with Cynthia Tinapple

Cynthia is an accomplished artist in her own right, and a disciplined blogger with a well-honed affinity for ferreting out fabulous artwork to share.  She provides a great service to the polymer clay community, both for lovers of good art, and makers of it.

PCD: Faux stones

Welcome, Cynthia!  When and why did you start your blog?

Six years ago, my son and daughter were in their twenties and they sat me down for an “intervention.” My son’s college students had found silly pictures of him posted on our family blog which I’d started in 1996. My children loved my interest in their lives, we’d had fun building the blog but they’d outgrown it and didn’t want the publicity.

I’ve been a communicator all my life and I knew I’d need another outlet. As I looked ahead to retiring from my day job, it seemed that an art blog could channel my need to communicate and provide some fun and a bit of structure for my retirement.

For many years, my personal mission statement has been, “Find Beauty, Share Beauty…and accessorize well” and an art blog fit the mission perfectly. If I’d called the blog PolymerClayWeekly, my life would be simpler but as it turns out, the decision made me develop some good daily habits.

Has your blog evolved significantly since you began it, and if so, how?

When I began PCD in September 2005, there was little on the web about polymer clay. I made it a point to highlight good work, ignore techniques and tools, and try to become a reliable source of information.

I relentlessly nagged artists, urging them to get themselves an online presence. I was quite a pest and I helped launched a lot of sites.

I looked over my shoulder a couple years later and there were thousands upon thousands of polymer-related sites. More than half my audience was coming from beyond the US. The pace picked up and the amount of time required for daily research grew.

Susan Lomuto and Alison Lee had created sister sites about the same time I started and we shared stories and tips and exhaustion. I tried to keep my eye on good polymer clay art and on providing a service to our community. It was tempting to go in other directions, but that didn’t fit my mission.

PCD: Petroglyph Stones

How does your blog fit in to your daily life?

Smart bloggers have a backlog of posts ready as a cushion but I’m more comfortable finding something fresh every day. After several years, I’ve learned that something will appear and I don’t fret about it too much.

I check mail throughout the day and do a leisurely web surf. After dinner, I look in earnest and select a picture to cut out in Photoshop. Each day’s photo must be cut out and have a white background. I love to improve a picture in Photoshop, it’s like dessert for me. I only write a hundred or so words. No big deal. It’s become a habit (or an obsession according to my husband). Multiply a 100 words a day times four years and you’ve got yourself a mountain of information.

I set each post to appear at 6:30 a.m. (no, I don’t get up that early) and if I have a typo, broken link or grammatical error, I can count on a detailed email from my college roommate immediately. She edits every post and keeps me on my toes.

Is blogging something you can easily explain to your family and friends?

My friends are proud of me and we sometimes laugh at my micro-celebrity status. The global reach of the site is fascinating, almost unbelievable. My family is very supportive and my children and I share a love of blogging.

It’s hard for me to post much about myself though I know readers are interested. That shyness is something I’m working on.

My son teaches digital art at the graduate/post-graduate level and my daughter freelances web work and runs her own site. We’re all a mixture of geek and artist and they’re a terrific resource for me technically. I’m a good editor for them.

PCD: Faux Slate switchplates

How important are reader comments to you?

My favorite comments are the crabby ones which tell me what other people may be thinking but afraid to say. I’m happy when people catch my errors or question me. It means they’re listening and they care.

And of course the ones that tell me I’ve made their lives better or somehow hit the nail on the head are gratifying.

The best ones are those that send in new work they’ve found or share their own work. That’s a terrific timesaver and wonderful resource and it tells me that the blog is becoming what I envisioned, a hub of information.

In what ways has blogging enhanced your life, if any?

I have a privileged perspective on the polymer clay community because of PCD. I can see what’s going on around the world and I know the history of our young artform. I can see where we’ve been and make a good guess at where we’re headed.

I have many deep friendships that have remain intact because of the blog. I’ve made new friends all over the world because of it.

What are you looking forward to?

Creating more video
Sharing more of my own work
Finding polymer clay art in museums
Watching new artists develop
Staying in touch with old friends, making new
Finding beauty, sharing beauty.

PCD: Inlaid Bowl
Thank you, Cynthia.  I enjoyed your perspective, and I also enjoyed the hunt through your websites for those elusive photos of your own work!

Want more?  You can find Cynthia in the following places:

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  • jema hewitt says:

    I love PCD so this interview was really fascinating, Really lovely to see some of Cynthias own work too ;0

  • auntyalias says:

    Thank you so much for giving us a peek at Cynthia. She’s enriched the polymer clay community with Polymer Clay Daily more than she can ever know. I’ve shared this blog post with the ClayMates at CITY-o-Clay, for many of us have appreciated her efforts but may not have let it be known. I’m encouraging the ClayMates to make a comment here, let the both of you know that your efforts are appreciated. ;-)

  • julie says:

    I just wanted to say I really liked the inside look that you provded for PMC daily. I know that most in the Polymer community follow this site and look forward to the art that is presented every day.
    What a wonderful site it is because it brings all in the art community wherever the geographic location together each and every day!
    Keep up the great job.
    Julie s

  • Wendy Moore says:

    Thanks for this Lisa. She is truly a gem. I just wanted to add that Cynthia is an incredibly generous and astute person! In response to a blog entry many months ago when she realised that a small NGO for women who are claying their way out of being victims of violence in Nepal needed a web presence and didn’t have the resources,she made us one! We are so thrilled with the website and resulting connections and will forever think of Cynthia as one of our special “didis” or big sisters. She should be bottled really! May she keep getting at least as much joy from PCD as the rest of us do! MWAA Cynthia!

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