No, not me! I'm talking about YouTube! I followed a link to a polymer clay video that was posted there and I had this idea to do a blog entry about some of the really wonderful things I found. But my enthusiasm for that idea soon gave way to disgust after a few more clicks of my mouse. Don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful polymer clay related videos on that site. At the risk of offending the ones I don't name ( I just don't have the time or energy to hunt down all those links), I was impressed by Cynthia Tinapple's caning demo, Maggie Maggio's color mixing info, Suzanne Ivester's extruded cane, and the polymer clay butterflies made by the British ladies were absolutely charming. I could listen to them talk all day! There's lots of good things on YouTube!
But, one set of videos in particular, made me cringe. I won't link to them but, if you've ever done a search for polymer clay on YouTube, I'm sure you've seen them. They're short, less than 30 seconds long, and it's hard to believe that so much misinformation can be packed into such a small time frame. I only watched two of them and here are just a few of the things (with plenty of extra sarcasm added by me) that caused my head to spin like Linda Blair in The Exorcist:
1. Polymer clay can be pretty pricey so it's best to use the clear clay in the middle of your beads and save the colors for the outside.
Now that's interesting! I wasn't aware that anyone was making "clear" clay so she must have been referring to translucent, right? And since when is translucent clay so much less "pricey" than the colors?
2. It's perfectly acceptable to spread out uncured clay all over a wooden table while you're working with it.
All I could think was if you're planning on refinishing your furniture soon, this is a great way to strip off all of that pesky old varnish.
3. You should bake your beads at 275 degrees for 12 minutes. And, if you're in a hurry, 10 minutes would be fine, too.
I really think the clay manufacturers could save themselves some money on printing costs if they'd just leave the baking instructions off the packages. Let's all just bake it for however long we feel like, okay?
But, what really made me angry was the fact that all of these short video clips were just "teasers" to entice a customer into purchasing the full-length DVD's featuring their resident "expert". At the risk of getting nasty hate mail, this person is NOT an "expert" by any stretch of the imagination and I would go so far as to say she hasn't taken the time to acquire the knowledge necessary to teach anyone how to work with clay. I doubt that many people have lined up to purchase this DVD. I really hope they haven't. It's enough to set polymer clay back a few dozen years!
Update: I did a bit of further research and it appears that the company who is responsible for making these "how-to's" is NOT actually selling them. I guess those site ads must pay pretty well! I was able to find out, from their website, that their "goal is to provide our users with qualified, trustworthy video content, a place on the Internet where you know that what you see is not idle speculation by a random amateur, but rather someone who really knows what they're talking about." I'm feeling like it's time to hang up my clay gun after reading that.