Christi Friesen

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Okay, so technically, these probably aren’t what you’d call dolls, but I dare you to look into the soulful eyes of one of Christi Friesen‘s little dragons or sea turtles and tell him he’s not allowed. Impossible. Friesen’s work is polymer clay embedded with all manner of fine gemstones, from jasper to pearls to rubies and emeralds. She makes figures like the one pictured above, and also beads, pendants, vessels and wall hangings. Everything she makes is graced by her lush imagination, making even desert scenes seem like a still life from some other, more elegant planet.

If these gorgeous confections make your fingers itch to get to your clay box, like they do mine, you might want to check out Friesen’s new book series, which contains detailed tutorials for making your own treasures. These books are pretty basic, but well-designed and inexpensive. They’d be a great gift for someone who’s just starting out in the world of polymer clay (although they don’t include any advice about choosing, conditioning or curing your clay, so a newbie would need another book for that kind of info), and an experienced clayer like me (okay, journeyman) will find them a treat to look at and humorous to read.

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Here’s a doll artist I’m keeping an eye on. Amber Matthies makes the most adorable little guys she calls Trollflings. Part troll, part elf, her tiny polymer clay figures are all cute. I’d advise you to get one now, while her prices are still reasonable. This artist is going to be “discovered” someday. Visit her website to see more of her work, or her Etsy shop to buy or find out where she’s going to be exhibiting.