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The Story of the Clay Factory
Marie, back then she was known as Toni, and Howard started this story in 1980, in the living room and kitchen of their home on an idea, Marie’s creative spirit, and some bread dough. Marie had spent most of her young adulthood feeding the fire of her artistic nature with oil and acrylic painting and ceramics. Howard added his business mind, and his own creative abilities, including ceramics, to the mix. The business started with bread dough magnets, ornaments, and weekends at the swap meet. Not too long after they started, Marie and Howard discovered polymer clay, Fimo. Considered a “kid’s craft product”, this oven bake clay started the journey. With 3 girls at home, Marie and Howard wanted to find a way to support their family and be with their girls all the time. This led bread dough into polymer clay, continued weekends at the swap meet and new adventures in creativity for Marie. While Marie experimented, created and designed, Howard built the distribution side of the business.
Over the years, the brand of polymer clay may have changed, but the story of The Clay Factory didn’t. Marie was a trailblazer, challenging the status quo of what polymer clay was or could be. From magnets and ornaments to cake toppers, statues, crocheting with clay, and millefiori; Marie never stopped finding new ways to turn this kids craft into art. Howard distributed the polymer clay and tools making it possible for Marie to continue creating and supporting other artists across the country and world.
Swap meets turned into shop fronts, custom orders, books, videos, tv shows, and in-person classes. Marie never stopped learning, sharing what she learned, and feeding the seedlings of creative desires in budding artists. Their daughters grew up with in the business, learning that there is no job to small to know how to do. They swept floors, created their own art, learned how to pack and ship and manned the store fronts.
After over 40 years in the business of life and love, Marie and Howard have crossed over to the other side of the craft table. Honoring where it started, The Clay Factory will continue to support artists, crafters and that creative spirit under the support of their youngest daughter, Shasta. The legacy of living to love, loving to create and creating to connect will continue as long as we can share it with you.