Cynthia Toops Came to Philadelphia

to teach a polymer clay class to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. I was fortunate enough to take the class in micro mosaics and other techniques.  What I learned is that you don’t have to be able to cane The Last Supper to be a great polymer clay artist. Cynthia Toops makes simple components, but she assembles them with virtuosity and imagination.  And superb craftsmanship.

And she works simply.  I took a lampworking class with her husband, Dan Adams, a few years ago.  He told us that for the first several years, her only tools were a drinking glass and a single-edged razor blade.   Her class materials list was short, but the instruction was intense and personal.  I came away with some mediocre work and the realization that I had a long way to go.  But I had fun and I am already thinking how to integrate the techniques I learned into my own work.

Detail

Detail

 

I fooled around with some techniques in these little pins and then I poured clear resin over the elements, leaving some of them poking out.

To see pictures from the class, go to the Philadelphia Area Guild’s blog.  Cynthia Tinapple took the class too,  and put up some images on Polymer Clay Daily.  To see a video with Cynthia Toops explaining her work, press here.

 

Clayathon Wrap Up with Pictures

 

Clayathon is a place to relax, mix with great people, see the work other people’s work in progress and watch demos of  polymer and non-polymer techniques.  I saw demos on caning, faux dichroic glass,  soldering solver bezels, metal fold forming, and I gave a demo on drilling glass and making ring clasps with copper washers.  Lisa Clarke of Polka Dot Creations was there with the latest books and videos and Wilma Yost was there with the latest products from Polymer Clay Express  including their Shape Frames  that Wilma showed everyone how to use.  We had a cane swap and worked on a group cane too.  To sum it up, we had a blast.

Here are some pictures. 

Collages and Color Choices

In my post on Clayathon 2010, I mentioned that I continued to work through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations while I was there.

I went armed with a notebook filled with collages I put together in a collage making frenzy a few weeks before. I’m not going to mention how many I made, but I had so much fun experimenting with different colors and palates that I will probably die with collages.

I read the Ruffle Spiral Brooch project and started making Skinner Blends. Then I decided to diverge from the book and started making twisties and turnies from the colors I mixed to go with the collages. I don’t plan to do anything with them; I was simply trying to stretch beyond my color comfort zone and see if I could mix colors that looked happy on the collages. Here are the results.

Here are a few of the Tasting Tiles I made.    Betcha can’t make just one.

I’ll put up more pictures of the exercises as I work my way through the book.

Clayathon 2010

I don’t know what I enjoyed more: watching Wilma Yost of Polymer Clay Express demonstrating the Dream Machine and trying it out for myself, watching Melanie West’s demos, catching some of Arlene Groch’s enthusiasm or having uninterrupted time to continue working through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.

I clayed, drank whiskey, sat up until 7:00 am one night (morning?) claying and chatting, made new friends and saw old ones.
Everyone had a wonderful, relaxing time.  See you in 2011!

I’m a Craftster Best of 2009 Winner!

Craftster Best of 2009 Winner

Here’s a picture of the winning project

Craftster  is a wonderful online  crafting community where members post thousands of tutorials and DIY projects every year on every craft you could imagine.   It’s one of the first places I go when I want to learn something about a craft.  It’s an honor and a surprize to have been named a 2009 winner.

See all the  Best of 2009 winners here and the Spoon Bracelet project here.   Here is some more information and comments.

And now I’m off to Clayathon!  Here are pictures from Clayathon 2008 and Clayathon 2009.

What I made in Ellen Marshall’s class

I took a little time off from working my way through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations to take a surface design class with Ellen Marshall at the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. You can read all about it on the Guild Blog.

Ellen led us through making texture plates and gave a boatload of suggestions for clay surface treatments with a host of acrylic mediums, paints, pastels, stamps, and a secret discovery from Radio Shack. The pictures below show some of the work I did-a texture stamp make of scrap clay, and the surface-embellished clay in various stages. After texturing and coloring a sheet, I cut it in strips, rearranged them, cut them cross wise and rearranged them again. They offer some interesting project possibilities. It was an interesting, relaxing class. Thanks Ellen!

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Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild Auction

Who doesn’t like to take classes with nationally known artists? Now, imagine doing it for free. You can if you’re a member of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild and you  come to one of our meetings where we present an artist from our Guest Artist Program.


Jana Roberts Benzon, Barbara McGuireChristie Friesen, Julie Picarello, and Dayle Doroshow are just some of the Guest Artists we have hosted at our Guild meetings.  The artist might teach a Master Class for tuition paying Guild members on the Saturday before our regular meeting in addition to demonstrating at the Sunday Guild meeting, or just come to the Guild meeting. In both cases, the Guild pays the teacher’s fees for the Sunday meeting out of money raised from member dues and  Guild fundraisers like the upcoming auction.

Can you imagine getting more bang for your buck than joining the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild?   No other guild in the country has a program like this. If you’d like to join,  go, to our web site,  and follow the instructions.  Dues are $40.00 for the coming year.

Our upcoming Art Raffle will be at our June Meeting.  You can  support this great program by bidding on wonderful items donated by local and nationally known artists.     You don’t need to be a member to attend the raffle in person.   Plus you ‘ll be able to view many of the items online May 31 and even buy and allocate your raffle tickets online if you can’t attend the meeting!   Visit our website on May 31. We hope to raise $800 to finance two Guest Artist visits with the auction. We are still accepting donations.  Please email Terri if you would like to make a donation.

Here’s what I’m donating. I’ll be bidding too!

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Same time last year Life’s Rich Fabric

A New Polymer Clay

robindemoRobin Milne    introduced her fellow members of the The Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild to a brand new clay at our last meeting!   Robin had been tapped to introduce Pardo Jewellery Clay manufactured by German Company Viva Decor at the Winter CHA Show in Anaheim, and she came back with clay samples and brochures.  What could be better?

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Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in gumball-sized pieces packaged in 2.7 oz jars.  Robin said it has no odor when  raw or baking and it’s easy to condition.  It uses beeswax as a plasticiser in place of phthalates.

But is it durable?   Robin was  able to run it through her pasta m31achine on the thinnest setting without tearing and, when it was baked, she could tie it in a bow.  She could bend a cured bookmark-shaped piece of clay in a circle without breaking it.  Although the clay is on the soft side, she could produce decent canes with it.  And she was able to sand and buff it to a high shine.

Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in a beautiful range of jewel-toned colors, and the metallics contain plenty of mica. The manufacturer, Viva Decor,  says it can be mixed with other brands of polymer clay without a problem.  

Poly Play Clay, is  the only retail supplier I know of at the current time.  They don’t carry all of the 64 colors of Pardo Jewellery clay yet. Owner Trish Hodgens says that eventually,  however, they  plan to carry every color Viva Decor makes available to the United States Market.

Robin also recommends another Viva Decor product: Precious Metal Paints.   She’s tried thse high quality paints on raw and baked clay; they don’t scratch off and cover beautifully.  When the paint is applied to raw clay, allowed to dry, and run through the pasta machine, it crackles like metal leaf.  The mica in the pain is so small, you can use the paint for screen printing. And, Robin says, “the colors are amazing!” 

If you want to see what Robin has done with Pardo Jewellery Clay and Precious Metal Paints, press here.

I don’t know if anyone in the United States currently selling the Precious Metal Paints, but you want more information on them, check out U.K. supplier The Fruit Pixie.

 

 

Clayathon 2009

If you want to see even more Clayathon pictures, click on The PAPCG Guild Reporter. Thanks to Arlene Groch and all the other wonderful South Jersey Polyaddicts for making the Clayathon such a success!

Dancik with the Stars

 
 

 Dancik was Riveting

 

I mentioned last week that I took a two day class called Forming Lasting and Meaningful Attachments with Robert Dancik and sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. We learned all about cold connections in jewelry making including riveting, tabbing, gluing, fold forming, and fastening with miniature hardware. We also learned about different types of resins, epoxies, alternative art materials, and how to use them.

Want to learn more about cold connections? Some of my favorite books on this topic are Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet by Mary Hettmansperger, Making Metal Jewelry by Joanna Gollberg, Making Connections by Susan Lenart Kazmer and a book on the Godfather of cold connections, Alexander Calder, Calder Jewelry by Mark Rosenthal.

And here’s a good illustrated article on how to make rivets by Patty Fleishman.

To see more pictures from the Dancik class, go to the Philly Area Guild’s Flickr site.