History & purpose
Conventions & formatting--sitewide
ABOUT the SITE
Hi and welcome!
I think of Glass Attic as a kind of polymer clay "encyclopedia," where a huge amount of information about working with polymer clay can be stored in all one place. That way anyone interested in any aspect of clay can look up anything needed or wanted, at any time, from any computer, anywhere.
At present, there are over 90 categories (1600+ pages ) of information relating to all polymer techniques (those categories are also sub-divided into subcategories). Each category includes lessons, problem solving, supply sources, tools, etc.re its topic, and there is also information on polymer business, photography, teaching, creativity, online groups & guilds, etc.
Each category page also contains many links to photo examples, and to many online lessons as well.
The Table of Contents page
and Google's "search site" function are two of the ways to search
for a subject or word at the whole site (...or
lessons can be searched for alone).
(...for more details on ways of search the site, see Searching below)
I'll eventually add many photos, diagrams and illustrated lessons of my own to the site (in addition to many links to photos I already have) --doing *that* will be the fun stuff for me!
HISTORY & PURPOSE
I was still fairly new to polymer clay when I learned about the internet and its online polymer groups back in 1995. Once online, I began to save bits of posts from those groups simply to try and understand what people were saying, and to remember how to do things. After awhile, I realized it was becoming too difficult to find anything in the monthly Word files I was creating, so I began saving the bits (and bookmarked links) in separate "category" files instead.
Later I began to understand at least
some of the basics of polymer clay and I noticed that other clayers in the groups
were asking the same questions I had wondered about --often about little details
of techniques. So instead of posting complete answers online every time, I began
to send out individual e-mails of my collected info for each subject a person
had inquired about. I wouldn’t have been able to include the sheer breadth
of information and different opinions each time anyway, so I was happy
to send everything and let each person paw through to pick out what was of most
(I also noticed that there could be differing opinions on any subject, and that even the experts tended to disagree. So sometimes I saved different but reasonable opinions, and sometimes I simply copied the ones that seemed most relevant to what I did at the time.)
Eventually I found myself sending out more and more of these e-mails (!) until I realized that a lot of people were reading them, that the files weren't really just-for-me anymore aqnd that I should put it all online (which I did in Oct. 99), and also that I should be attributing every single info-bit to the person who had posted it. I began attributing consistently then, but many of the info-bits in this website were gathered before that time (--also on occasion I'd get distracted in the copying or adding process and forget to include one). I apologize to anyone whose infobit I’ve gathered from a group online and reproduced here without having a name to attach! . . . unfortunately there is no way I can correct that without removing the infobit entirely, and I feel that most people wouldn't want that this community being the incredibly sharing place it is. I know those words will be of invaluable help to many appreciative people!
On another subject, since a piece of information will often relate to more than one topic, it has sometimes been difficult to decide just which category to put it in. Occasionally I've reprinted it on more than one category page, but generally I've put it in the category that seemed "most relevant" at the time and then tried to indicate on some of the other relevant pages where it could be found.
Nowadays, since I can actually understand so many of the older things I've collected, I find myself constantly re-sorting the order of ideas and comments, and creating or juggling sub-categories. I've also spent quite a bit of time writing things of my own ... more suggestions and ideas, etc., but most importantly I've tried to add "overviews" of many sub-categories or techniques and/or fuller explanations of the terms we use, especially for newbies (...again though, I haven't gotten to it all by a long shot.)
do still hope to add lots of my photos, diagrams, exercises, etc., to the site,
as well as adding an index,
if I can ever find time. (There
are also lots of other things --projects, ideas, etc.-- relating to other subjects
I've been interested in that I want to add as well.) Just adding new info daily
to the site is a full-time job on its own though, so at some point I may have
to declare GlassAttic a finished "edition" and get on to the fun things
for awhile <g>.
So here's to us, and to our power to help each other!
CONVENTIONS & FORMATTING --sitewide
I've had to try to come up with some conventions to use at Glass Attic (otherwise there's so much stuff here that it can be hard to read or scan easily). Here are a few of them:
---italicizing and coloring pink the names of other pages at GlassAttic (when I refer to them for more info)
> marks to refer to sub-categories . . .for example,
a reference might look like this:
.............. (see Canes-instr. > Flowers) ... or......(see Beads > Bead Rollers > Trough type)
---coloring red any words of warning/safety or undesired effects
---graying out all Photopoint and other dead links
---bolding principal words so particular info can be quicker to find (and everything quicker to scan)
---underlining is usually a secondary
.......I also underline the word lesson every time it indicates a link or text which actually contains step-by-step instructions (see below in Searching for searching for lessons only).
Now, of course, some of these things occurred to me only *after* I'd entered lots of info at the site.... LOL ...so there are definitely inconsistencies around ... I try to be philosophical about them; otherwise they'd drive me crazy.
one possible problem with formatting
If you see some
paragraphs in larger text font
(which can be very distracting), you may have the same problem I
had for awhile.... it turns out that the text sizes and fonts
are inconsistent for some visitor's
. . . If you want to see the text the way it should look, and have it be consistent, make these 2 temporary changes to your browser settings from your menu bar while visiting GlassAttic:
1 . View > Text Size > Medium
2. Tools > Internet Options > Fonts > Arial (+ ok)
(........this probably won't result in seeing any difference at other sites, even if you don't change it back)
things have changed since I began GlassAttic, so many of those things may now
be wrong at GlassAttic.
...sometimes those are new items or versions of things available or substituted for others, etc., or name changes, etc.
...sometimes those are links which are now broken (for those, see Help for My Links, under "Site Info" in the navigation bar)
most cases, it's impossible to change every instance of these things because there
are just too many of them.
Here are some examples:
...the Flecto company used to make one of clayers' favorite clear finishes, and we began calling it Flecto (which you'll still see in various places at GlassAttic)... Rustoleum bought out the Flecto company though, and now the name should be Varathane instead (it's the same product, same formula)
temperature for FimoClassic & Fimo Soft
...summer 2007... the newest formulations of FimoClassic and FimoSoft now have a manufacturer-recommended baking temperature of 230° rather than the older temperature of 265° (though older bars of these clays may still need the 265?... look on the package).
The Table of Contents page has a listing of all the categories, along with
all the sub-categories (all in one place) so you can often find
the specific category and specific sub-category where something is discussed at
Glass Attic from there. The categories are also grouped there by topic as much
as possible, and color-coded. (see link to TOC page in alphabetical navigation
....Browse the page till you find what you want .....or you can search for a particular word by using the Ctrl + f command on your keyboard.
(... then use the navigation bar on that page to go to the page you've decided on)
can also use the Google "Search Entire Site" link, on the bottom of
my home page.
. . I entered the word "cracking" just now, for example, and was presented with 14 pages where that word appears at the site
(...if there happens to be more than one use of the word on a page, Google gives the first example; then you can always ask for more examples in the Google results area, or you can use Ctrl + f command from your keyboard when on the specific page to find them all).
for Lessons Only" ...I've tried to use the underlined word lesson
for any link or text containing step-by-step directions, so simply do the Google
search as above, and enter lesson as the search term, or use this
One very helpful but little-known feature of Google searches is that if you click on the word "Cached" in any result (instead of clicking directly on the name of the page), it will highlight in yellow all instances of that word on the page. The page becomes really quick to scan ...a great feature!
....(I use this feature all the time now on my website and on other sites too.... in fact, I installed the Google toolbar under the regular toolbar in my browser, and now I can highlight words at the drop of a hat no matter whose page I'm on ...their toolbar has other neat features as well.)
When using the navigation bar on any page at GlassAttic, the bottom alphabetical buttons may temporarily disappear below your screen. This happens if you've previously opened a drop-down menu which contains a lot of categories .... to fix that, just click that open button to close that set of page links, and all the buttons will show again. (Unfortunately, there are just too many categories at GlassAttic to avoid that problem, though we tried to think of a way).