Images provided by Aditi Thanekar.
Aditi Thanekar, a Washington High School junior, possesses a unique talent. Thanekar specializes in making toys out of polymer clay. “The possibilities are pretty much endless,” she says. “You can do anything that your mind wants to do.”
In the fourth grade, a friend showed her a clay strawberry she had made. As a longtime artist who has dabbled in many different artistic mediums, including painting, drawing, color pencil, and crayon, Thanekar felt inspired to embark on a clay-making journey. She wanted to try something new, so she bought her own clay set and began making toys.
Thanekar says, “Most of the things that I’ve made were gifts. Most of my goals were to gift the toys to someone and have them remember me with that toy.” She believes art is important because it contributes to a sense of community and helps build relationships. She says “the toys always bring a smile to other people’s faces.”
To Thanekar, art is empowering. It makes her feel like she can create anything she wants. She thinks it’s a form of expression that will always stay relevant.
The process of making the toys is not nearly as complicated as it may sound. The first step is to buy polymer clay at a craft store. Then, shape it into whatever you want. Add colors. Add decorations and embellishments. You can even add TLS (translucent liquid sculpey) in order to give your toys a polished look. Bake your toys. Once they cool down, glaze them. You can add an I-Pin and turn your toys into keychains. Or you can add them to jewelry. When you’re done, admire your creation, pat yourself on the back, and remember that your art has value.