50 years of FIMO – These are 50 years of joy, inspiration and modelling fun with the oven-hardening clay.
Since then, FIMO has become world famous and the original oven-hardening modelling clay. The traditional brand stands for unlimited modelling fun and writes history. Invented, developed and manufactured in Germany, FIMO has triumphed throughout the globe and has been loved and prized for 50 years.
From September 2015 to September 2016 everything is about the anniversary. A year full of great anniversary offers, products in retro style and a lot of funny FIMO birthday parties around the world.
Today, FIMO is to be found in a range of 115 colours in more than 60 countries worldwide. It is a premium-quality article which undergoes a process of continuous evaluation in order to ensure it conforms to high product safety requirements. Nowadays, the FIMO range includes three different clays of varying hardness, perfectly tailored to the needs of different users: FIMO kids, FIMO soft and FIMO professional.
Be part of the world made with: Love, Passion, Fun, Inspiration, Creativity and Power!
Polymer Clay is about to be fifty years old! FIMO, the brand that started it all, will be fifty in 2016! It is a very special moment for the global polymer clay community, and we want it to become one of those rare ones: a truly once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
Everybody around the world is invited by FIMO to mark this occasion in our personal calendar and participate in a whole year of celebrations and events. And we would love you to be part of this celebration.
THE FIMO 50 WORLD PROJECT is a collaborative experience, an international charity action – an art project, that celebrates how FIMO and polymer clay have become such a powerful vehicle expanding and connecting our world, making it ever larger, wider and more beautiful.
For all of us, polymer clay means Passion and Creativity. At the FIMO 50 World Project we want to fill this meaning with life.
We would like to thank you for your sensational participation in the FIMO 50 World Project. We were truly overwhelmed by the huge number of tiles and the creativity you showed. The result is phenomenal - a combined work of art 2 metres high consisting of 696 tiles has been created. It’s really unique!
The polymer clay world has been literally united in this work of art. Participants from 41 countries and almost all continents on the globe contributed to make this a truly world-wide project. We are delighted that the globe has become such a magnificent project.
The FIMO 50 World was unveiled at the FIMO 50 Anniversary Gala. On this festive occasion we also looked back at FIMO's unique success story. The FIMO Gala was held at the Dauphin Speed Event in Hersbruck in Germany.
The original plan was to auction the individual tiles and to donate the proceeds to charity. However, STAEDTLER has now decided against an auction in order to leave the Globe in existence as an outstanding joint work of art of the polymer clay world for posterity.
Instead of the auction, STAEDTLER will make a donation to two different charities. One of these is the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies run by Dr Ron Lehocky in the USA; the other is the Samunnat Community in Nepal.
Here are Kopila’s reflections on the whole FIMO 50 anniversary gala experience and what Samunnat will do with the donation. http://acolourfuljourney.com/blog/
The total amount we will be donating is 16.008 EUR which is 2 x 8.004 EUR, the article number of FIMO professional.
We took advantage of the Gala to present the donations to the representatives of the organisations who had joined us for the occasion. These were Kopila Basnet and Wendy Moore for the Samunnat Community and Dr Ronald Lehocky for the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies.
The Kids Center is a multidisciplinary treatment center for children with developmental delays and/or disabilities in Kentucky, USA. Dr. Ron Lehocky is one of the most respected and popular artists in the world's polymer clay community.
Ten years ago he founded the Heart Pin Project and, to-date, has sold more than 40,000 polymer clay hearts. All proceeds go to the Kids Center where they are used to help children with special needs.
Samunnat Nepal Community in Jhapa, Nepal. Samunnat offers help to women who are victims of domestic violence, offering them protection and the chance for a new life of independence e.g. as polymer clay artists.
This project was moderated by the Spanish polymer clay guild leader Natalia García de Leániz and her husband, Daniel Torres.
Natalia Garcia de Leaniz is a full time artist that enjoys to the most working, experimenting and playing with polymer clay since 2000. She regularly organizes seminars and teaches classes in different countries of Europe and USA.
She is deeply interested in the development of the medium, what led to the founding of A.P.E. (National Polymer Clay Association of Spain) that now numbers more than 200 active members!
Natalia’s work can be seen in many books including ‘Polymer Clay Global Perspectives: Emerging Ideas and Techniques from 125 International Artists’ by Cynthia Tinapple.
FIMO's origins go back to the year 1939
The famous doll maker Käthe Kruse is looking for a new material for her doll heads. At a chemical product manufacturer, she learns about the possibilities and suitable materials for it. A material that has just been discovered at that time, whose usage possibilities and properties are still only known to a very limited extent, even by the manufacturer, is sent to the family firm Kruse for experimentation. The grey clay is called Igelit (product name of IG Farben in Bitterfeld), a waste product from oil production.
At that time, nobody knows the unsuspected possibilities hidden in this material. The first trials in the doll manufacturing workshop are really promising. But in the end it fails because the paint does not adhere strongly enough. The results do not meet the quality requirements of the doll creator, and the container with the remaining material is placed in storage, where it remains ignored for a long period.
Sofie, the daughter of Käthe Kruse, discovers the material one day in 1941 while tidying up and restarts experimentation. She incorporates paste (plasticiser) and bright colours until an easily mouldable clay results, and forms vases, mosaics, pictures, miniatures, shoe soles, figures and toys from it.
The market entry
Using the motto "Moulding is an innate human impulse, to grip the beloved and malleably build it up", Sofie Rehbinder-Kruse got to the heart of her philosophy and developed a modelling set in 1954.
She creates the brand name "FIMOIK" from her nickname "Fifi", modelling clay and the mosaic work that she loves. The toy trade has the best contacts through the doll business, and so the first and only colourful modelling clay that can be hardened in a simple household oven was successfully introduced in the market, supported by the compelling slogan "Käthe Kruse's oven clay". The colours are in the shape of rods, and there are also craft packages with instructions and accessories for buttons, jewellery and miniatures.
The new material in practical tests in schools
Sofie Rehbinder-Kruse does not leave anything to chance. In the 50s, she gives the new material to the Winthir School in Munich to be tested in art and craft lessons. The girls carefully design murals with the inlaying technique. In addition, chains and hangers are created from the colourful modelling clay, which are proudly and beamingly tested.
The FIMO brand is created from FIMOIK
The company Eberhard Faber acquires all rights and licenses. The company, which was founded in 1922 in Neumarkt, belongs to the company STAEDTLER from 1978 to 2009.
With the new format, improved quality and the short and concise name "FIMO", the successful marketing of the colourful modelling clay starts in 1966. This selection starts with 15 colours in two block sizes, two material sets and a sales display. From the start, the market presence is international. The opening for the specialist shop takes place again at the toy exhibition in Nuremberg. The FIMO block is put into the race with a final sale price of 1.00 DM. The modelling clay is immediately categorised as an exemplary toy and receives the "Spiel-gut mark".
The first FIMO book, the FIMO Primer, with many further suggestions and instructions, is published in 1967. The whole experience and ideas of Sofie Rehbinder-Kruse flow into the 60 page booklet, and it contains topics for children and adults. The palette ranges from miniatures, modelling, jewellery, sculptures, pictures, home decoration, buttons, hand puppets, reliefs, picture frames and containers to impressions of historical objects. The FIMO Primer is not only available in German and English, but also in all main European languages.
FIMO is already on sale in many countries and continents, the brand is particularly well established in New Zealand and Switzerland.
A large television advertising campaign even takes place in 1974. The 30 second commercial reaches 11 million viewers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. After the television commercial, the demand once again increases enormously. FIMO is first shown in Paris in the "Salon du Jouet" and successfully introduced at "Au Printemps" in Paris.
6 new colours are introduced into the selection: Porcelain, gold, light blue, leaf green, caramel, burgundy. For the first time there are also rhinestones for designing jewellery, the FIMO Primer appears with new content and a new design. More FIMO books – including from other publishers – come onto the market.
The FIMO brooch is definitively over and new themes must be provided.
Snowballs are loved by old and young alike, because individual fantasy worlds can be perfectly staged with FIMO. For this reason, they are also called "dream balls" and come in the selection with plenty of glitter, snow and everything else that you need, in many shapes and sizes.
FIMO becomes FIMO classic in 24 colours with practical 8 part portioning and colour mixing tables. This is harder than the comparable FIMO soft clay, and is very suitable for fine details, keeps its shape particularly well and is therefore the ideal clay for professionals, artists and those wanting to become one.
Clever FIMO techniques such as "Millefiori", "Mokume Gane", "Kaleidoscope", "Mica Shift" or "Skinner-Blend", inclusions, screen printing and many more are developed by American artists and finally find their way to Europe. Imitation precious stones, effects with screen printing, ink, patinating, impressions, transfers and much more make FIMO into an incredibly diverse material.
European law requires that all polymer clays must be converted to phthalate-free formulations. FIMO is the first modelling clay on the market to implement this requirement and even removes the permitted phthalates long before this is required by the law.
The effect colours are removed from the FIMO classic and FIMO soft selection and receive their own line. The different product qualities now appear as FIMO classic, FIMO soft and FIMO effect, each with 24 colours, as independent product lines, accompanied by a beautiful selection of tools and accessories.
From 2010, FIMO is managed under the STAEDTLER brand. Over time, a modelling clay has appeared that has become more adapted to the requirements and wishes of users. The FIMO brand is included in the definitive work "Marken des Jahrhunderts" [Brands of the century]. One of the 300 strongest German brands – lighthouses on the sea of brands.
Jewellery design is back in fashion! A completely new colour range with double effect is developed: the softly shimmering precious stone colours ruby-quartz, blue agate, citrine, rose quartz, ice crystal blue.
FIMO on the move: The first FIMO symposium is started and takes place in Nuremberg, the headquarters of STAEDTLER: Artists and professional users meet to work and exchange experience under the direction of leading international artists.
Finally, professional users and children have their own product lines - FIMO professional and FIMO kids. The relaunch of FIMO classic as FIMO professional is accompanied by a professional range of tools. In parallel, FIMO kids, a new clay specially for kids, is developed, which incorporates the results of the market research specific to the target group.
The selections FIMO soft and FIMO effect contain the same reclosable foil technology as FIMO professional and FIMO kids, but are in the usual weight class of 57 g (2 oz). A completely new range of sets and accessories are available for the new presentation of the whole FIMO selection – always perfectly adapted to the respective target groups.
To be continued ...
* With friendly support from the Rehbinder-Kruse family
** Eberhard Faber and EFA have been registered trademarks of Faber-Castell AG since 2009
Retro-style limited edition collector‘s boxes of our most popular FIMO articles are being launched in celebration of this special 50th anniversary. Besides 2 material packs with 10 and 24 assorted FIMO soft colours a metal box with the 12 most popular colours will be available.
- Special ‘Limited Edition‘ in retro design
- Only available from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016
- Contains FIMO soft
- Soft and smooth
- Perfect for beginners to professionals
The soft, comfortable feel of FIMO kids is specially designed for small hands. 24 bright colours offer kids endless modelling and gaming fun, and promote fine motor skills and visual thinking at the same time!
The smooth, soft dough is perfect for beginners and hobbyists. Whether creative home decorations or trendy jewellery, FIMO soft can be instantly moulded into unique and colourful creations.
With its professionally prized quality, this clay has a stable consistency and therefore keeps its shape particularly well, making it ideally suited for fine details and extravagant techniques. Thanks to the pure pigments, the colours can be mixed precisely and are the perfect tool for artists and professionals.