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The Story of Hershberger Art Kazoos
I have always been creative in three dimensions. I started with sewing, including a particular interest in buttons. Later the button interest turned into an interest in beads.
I found myself constantly frustrated at the lack of color available in semiprecious gemstone beads. I liked glass beads, as they were brighter and more affordable, but it was hard for me to find a consistent supply of colors I liked.
Then one day I found myself in a new store in East Lansing, MI; Beauty and the Beads. They said they had a class where you could make your own colorful beads. They gestured to the rack of FIMO on the counter. I lit up when I saw the colors of the clay. I signed up that day.
That first class was taught by a group of store employees. However, the instructor who stood out was Pamela Duewecke. She showed us an easy technique for making beads that looked like little people's heads. Mine turned out better than I could have dreamed! From that point on, I was hooked. I also took a second workshop from that store (Pam again), but that was as far as I could learn in Lansing at that time.
To get outside inspiration, I purchased the book "The New Clay," by Nanette Roche. This book was the "bible" of Polymer Clay. It showed examples of work by artists all over the world, and detailed techniques they used in making these items. I was transfixed on the book, reading and re-reading every page, and devouring the photographs.
One day while browsing the book, I found myself admiring a clock by Martha Breen of Urban Tribe. I read the text following the clock's photo, in which Nanette encouraged experimentation. It reminded me that I could apply clay to anything that could handle the fusing temperature (less than 300 degrees F). Something sparked me to go right that moment and scout my apartment for anything that I could bake! I had recently moved to a smaller place. Boxes were everywhere. I had entertained my godchildren earlier that week, and they had played with my "toy box." The box was still out. In it was an old metal kazoo. As I was grabbing spice tins and candleholders, I saw the kazoo and thought: "Well, why not?"
The kazoo and other items sat on my kitchen table for several weeks, waiting to inspire me. Then one night I had a long telephone call with my brother and best friend, Eric. (We have been known for some marathon telephone sessions.) As we talked, I picked up the kazoo and started applying clay patterns. It looked great! I said to Eric: "You won't believe what I just made..." This was in early 1992.
That could have been the end of the kazoo story. Fortunately, I was performing in a community theater presentation of "Pippin." After one practice, we flocked to the home of a cast member for munchies and impromptu music. I took the kazoo along. Cast members loved my funky kazoo; they suggested I make more. I decided this would be a great idea.
I have now made more than 150 kazoos. They reside in eleven countries. I am very proud of my creative idea and the fun it has given to others. I hope you enjoy the energy they seem to bring to those who come into contact with them.
Please remember, this is my creative baby. I encourage you to find your own. I do have trademarks and copyrights on my art kazoos. Please find your own creative outlet. There are abundant ideas in the universe; allow me this one for my own.
Lynn D. Troldahl Hershberger
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