Frequently Asked Questions

I make creatures of all types, never people, and in the past I've worked on realistic sculptures, but I now exclusively work on cute sculptures, which I call the "wee creatures". They are usually between 3-5cm tall. My standard range of wee creatures keeps on growing - it started with piglings, Highland cows, sheep and cats, and then the mice came along, followed by snails, penguins, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, moles, badgers - the list seems to be endless! The wee creatures often hold things, from cakes to balloons, and everything in between. I often work with other artists, and love to see the wee creatures "interact with their environment".

I always giggle when I make the wee creatures, and I'm sure the giggles stay in them when they go out into the world :)

The wee creatures are very good travellers, and quite happily travel all over the world. I use normal first class post (within the UK) and International Tracked and/or Signed For services for international orders.  Click here to find out about my current shipping rates.

All creatures are carefully packaged in bubble wrap, tissue paper and sturdy presentation boxes, with a signed certificate giving the name of the piece, and the date of creation.

The cost of the standard range wee creatures varies depending on the work involved, and usually start from £20 (for the Tiny Mice) plus shipping, and go up to about £80. I do my best to keep them affordable, although for one-off commissions and collaborations, the cost is more because of the time and materials involved.

All prices in my shop and stated here are in GBP (British Pounds Sterling). To find the equivalent cost in your local currency, there are a number of good websites you can use.

At the moment, there are three main ways to buy the wee creatures - see the How to Adopt page for more details. I also occasionally sell one-off sculptures by auction on eBay. I am always considering how best to sell the wee creatures to keep things fair for everyone, whilst remembering that there is only me who makes the wee creatures, not to mention does all the admin, packing, etc. To be kept in the loop about when events and auctions take place, join Quernoholics Anonymouse on Facebook, and sign up for my newsletter.

You can buy from my online shop using either a debit/credit card, or a Paypal account. For all other purchases, I send out invoices by email for payment either with a debit/credit card, or by PayPal. For customers in the UK, payment can also be made by bank transfer and card payment over the phone.

I've considered introducing gift vouchers, but have decided against offering them for the time being because the online are so popular, and it's hard for me to guarantee that I'll have the capacity to make a particular wee creature to order. If I find a way round this, I'll make an announcement by newsletter.

The wee creatures are able to sit on your shelf or desk on their own, and they are designed to be free-standing. I also make flying creatures and mobiles which can be suspended from a nail or hook. However, I work with a great wood turner who makes hand-turned mahogany plinths specially for the wee creatures, which is a lovely way to show them off to best effect (and they enjoy having a good view!) The plinths are usually available to buy separately from my online shop.

No, sorry - it's all I can do to keep up with my own online sales, so you will only be able to buy Quernus creatures direct from me.

I stopped going to craft fairs in 2013, when I started selling only online.  

You can get in touch with me here, and I aim reply to emails a couple of times a week. You can also reach me through my Facebook page.

The main way I let people know what I'm up to is in the Quernoholics Anonymouse group on Facebook, and by my regular newsletters.  I also update my blog very occasionally when something interesting happens (or when I have time!)

Giving back is something that is very important to me, but I do this by running my own online raffles and other events to raise money for particular causes. To date, I have raised nearly £10,000 for various charitable causes.  And in March 2020, I also started the Happy Wee Creatures initiative, and have given away over 150 of them to date.

All images and products are available for social sharing (e.g Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Pinterest, etc) provided that full URLs and credit are given to Quernus Crafts and this website. Sharing is positively encouraged! Please contact me to request prior consent if you would like to use any images or content for any other purpose.

All site content and designs are Copyright © 2009-2020 by Kirsten Flores and Quernus Crafts. All rights reserved. Anyone found to be in breach of copyright will be legally pursued.

I take every care to make sure the wee creatures are as robust as possible, but occasionally they do sustain minor injuries. I do offer a repair and restore service, so if one of your wee creatures needs some TLC, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.

Sorry, no – I'm afraid I just don’t have the time to do that sort of thing!

Quernus is a play on the Latin word for "oak"  (quercus) - I love oak trees, and was a member of the Oak tribe when I did a leadership course in the States when I was leaving my job as a lawyer. So I wanted to honour the oak in naming my new business. I'm quite tickled that it's now being used as a verb, as in, "Can you Quernus a mouse for me?"!

A great proportion of my time in making the wee creatures is spent keeping the clay as pristine as possible. I wish I worked in a hermetically sealed space, but I suffer from the same of dust, fluff and flob that everyone else does who works with polymer clay!

It's quite a sticky substance, and so attracts dust, fingerprints, etc like a magnet. Although it's a lot of hard work, the effort is definitely worth it to get a consistently smooth and clean finish.

First and foremost, I keep my hands clean at all times. I scrub them regularly, particularly when changing colours, or after having got up to do something. I try and work on one wee creature from start to finish to minimise the chance of getting my hands dirty again. I always work from light to dark clays to avoid colour bleed where possible (whites, blacks and reds are particularly notorious for bleeding into each other). I also keep several lumps of white scrap clay handy so I can roll that between my hands when I'm about to start work on a new creature. This helps to remove the worst of the dust, dirt and oil that are on your hands, even after cleaning.

White is the hardest colour to keep clean, and because I work a lot of with white, there are times when it's really frustrating, and I often 'write off' the first white mouse of the day because it usually attracts the worst of the dust and fluff.

Whilst working, I use a combination of a scalpel and baby wipes to keep the clay clean. I use the scalpel to carefully scrape off any debris on the clay surface - painstaking work! As for the baby wipes, I had to experiment a lot to find the best brand to use, because you don't want ones which shed too many fibres, or you're left in a worse position than when you started. It's trial and error - for those of you in the UK, the ones which seem to shed the least fibres are Morrisons Savers Fragrance Free Baby Wipes.

To get a smooth finish, I just use my fingertips, and lightly smooth the clay as I go. I don't wear gloves.

I use round polished semi-precious black onyx beads usually between 2mm and 3mm in diameter.

No – polymer clay is self-coloured and can be mixed and blended to any shade, just like paint. I prefer the depth of finish you can get when using self-coloured clay.

I also use millefiori techniques to create patterned effects (eg for the Snails) - polymer clay is truly the most amazing and versatile material I've ever used, and I love experimenting to find out what I can do with it. I've just got lots to learn!

Going right back to my childhood, I've always enjoyed sculpting, playing with Plasticine, air-drying clay, etc. I first came across polymer clay in 2000, and I made the wedding favours and cake toppers for my own wedding (30 wee creatures and a pair of wedding bears!) I didn't touch polymer clay again until 2009 when I gave up my job as a lawyer, and I found a few blocks of clay left over from the wedding. I thought I'd have another go and see what happened. The rest, as they say, is history ;)

I am self-taught and have never done any courses or classes, although I have done two Animal Sculpting Courses in Devon in 2018 and 2022 and had a great time working on a larger and more realistic sculptures (you can see the photos here). I also used to be an official demonstrator for UK Staedtler, the manufacturers of Fimo.

Over the years, I've mostly played around and enjoyed seeing who emerges next from the clay! The best advice I can give anyone who's thinking about trying polymer clay is to get some blocks, buy a good tutorial book, and just have a go :) One of my favourite sayings is "Follow your heart and the rest will follow". 

I don't find a huge difference between the main brands of polymer clay, and so I choose the clay based more on colour than anything else. These days, I use mainly Fimo Professional (formerly Classic) for matt colours, and the Fimo Effects and Sculpey Accents for translucent, metallic and glitter clay.  love trying out the various new clays that periodically come on the market, and recently came across Fimo's Leather Effect clay, which, worked perfectly for snail shells!

Although Fimo and Sculpey bake at different temperatures, I've not had any problems mixing the two brands of clay, but you should always read the manufacturers' instructions, and do your own experiments to find the best temperature for strength, durability, etc.

I use digital scales to measure out the amount of clay I need for each design (eg a tiny mouse uses 5 grams of clay, whereas a Penguin uses 10 grams). I also have a digital thermometer for my table-top toaster oven, and that's been a fantastic way of making sure that the wee creatures are cured at the correct temperature (which is very important so that the clay doesn't crack or weaken).

I also have some favourite tools which I use every day when working with clay, like various gauge knitting needles, a doll-making needle, and a ball tool (used in cake-decorating), as well as some dental tools. And of course baby wipes!

I use a dedicated table top toaster oven to cure the clay, and I use a heat gun if I need to part-cure scluptures. With larger pieces, I occasionally use my own household oven (it's important to use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is right because it's often a lot hotter than you think). The chemicals are non-toxic but can give off fumes, which is why ordinary kitchen ovens aren't really recommended. But I haven't had any problems, and for occasional use, it's really not an issue. You can create an aluminium foil tent to place over the piece whilst baking, and that can help limit the fumes. So I'd say that occasional use in a normal oven is fine, but if you're planning to do lots of curing, it's best to invest in a separate toaster oven, which doesn't cost too much.

To prevent scorching from the top element, I use a foil tent which I cut from a sturdy tin foil baking tray. I also line the bottom of the oven with broken bits of terracotta tiles, as this helps to absorb and distribute the heat more evenly. I use a ceramic tile on top of the baking tray which I line with cardboard, as that stops the bottom of the clay going shiny (as it can when you bake straight on a ceramic tile or baking tray).

Last updated: August 2020