My Story

Welcome! My name is Judy Tanner, and I design and create Artsy Clay creations in my home studio in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.

Arts and crafts have always been a big part of my life. When I was growing up in Champaign, Illinois, my family was constantly working on handmade projects, and I was always excited to learn something new. I spent many happy hours drawing, coloring, designing clothes for my paper dolls, decorating my doll house and making things with my cousins. My mother, B Tanner - pictured here with me in 2001 (wearing one of my pins) - taught me to knit when I was six, a hobby I still enjoy, and when she opened a yarn and craft store, we made all the kits so she could help her customers with them. She decorated every room of our house with all kinds of handmade crafts, including exquisite needlepoint and counted cross stitch pictures and pillows. 

Most of all, my mother taught me the joy of brightening other people's lives with handmade gifts and watching their faces light up. Through the years, she made and gave away countless knitted and crocheted afghans and baby blankets. She once made 70 plastic canvas tissue box covers - all different - for each person at our family reunion. She was my role model for making the world a more beautiful place by sharing one's gifts and talents.

As an adult, I bounced from one craft to another, always searching for THE medium I could feel passionate about. Then in 1997 I found it! A friend's 6-year-old daughter was wearing an amazing, colorful necklace made of chunky beads with vibrant patterns. When I admired it, she said she'd made it in art class at school out of polymer clay, which I had never heard of. I bought some, started working with it and have been fascinated ever since with its endless possibilities. 



Carrying on my family tradition of passing down the love of arts and crafts, I have fun making clay projects with my grandkids. Here are Paige, Jocelyn and Megan creating with clay. I love watching their imaginations at work, and we have a great time together making memories. (Clay people handmade by Megan.)