Saturday, October 8, 2011

Clay Day reminder

Our next clay day is October 16. As usual, it's the 3rd Sunday and you're invited!
10 am to 2 pm at the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville, 286 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

  • October 16 -- Surface treatments by Deanna, Irene, and Rebecca
  • November 20 -- Denise demonstrates how to add some pizzazz to your blade case

Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Retreat Swap: Bracelets

Our Bernie is the idea lady. She always has a fun project for our retreat weekend. This year she did the prep work for us, making 20+ bracelets out of a strip of rainbow-colored computer wire. All we had to do was create a decorative accent piece to embellish the bracelet. See a few samples below...
Here's a good tip...we glued cured clay to plastic coated wire with Loctite® Vinyl, Fabric & Plastic Flexible Adhesive glue. Bernie says it will hold and it certainly seems to be very firmly attached.

Check out several of the swap bracelets...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Fall and Welcome Back!

We just returned from our 2011 retreat. We gave a few demos, did a bracelet swap, raised a few bucks with a Chinese auction and silent bid auction. The weekend always goes too fast but we've already chosen the date for next year. It will be in October next this blog for more details.

We all managed to look very photogenic in our group shot. Check out this fine gang!

Our next clay day is October 16. As usual, it's the 3rd Sunday. You're invited!
10 am to 2 pm at the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville, 286 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
  • October 16 -- Surface treatments by Deanna, Irene, and Rebecca
  • November 20 -- Denise demonstrates how to add some pizzazz to your blade case

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Information for the artist

PPCG member Denise passes this along  --
"I found an interesting podcast and blog by Harriete Estel Berman. She has a helpful site for artists in any medium -- lots of good information and it's free. I thought the guidelines for better photography section was very interesting." 

From Harriete's site: The Professional Guidelines have been developed as a reference to help everyone in the arts and crafts community learn how to handle common but important situations that may arise. These documents are basic tools for improved and equitable business practices, leading toward more standard professional practices.

Check out Harriete's blog too:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Polymer classes (and more!) coming to Springdale

 Grand Opening! 
Saturday, July 2, 2011, 6-9 pm 

Watch demos and make a piece of jewelry to wear home!
Refreshments + Coupons + Prizes + Discounts


Hours:   Wednesday-Thursday 6 - 9 pm    Friday-Saturday 10 am - 6 pm
 Also open by appointment and for special events

Barb Kaczor, owner and instructor, invites you to visit her full service retail bead shop that offers everything you need to make quality artisan jewelry. Special features include:
  • A fully-equipped classroom with local and world-renowned instructors from all mediums. Classes will be posted and announced via internet and mailings. 
  • Open studio days to work on and complete your designs
  • Private parties can be scheduled
  • Local artisans display and offer their work for purchase

The Grand Opening of
Four Directions Jewelry Studio 

is Saturday, July 2, 2011
Stop by and check it out!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Last Clay Day before Summer Break is June 12

(This post originally said, incorrectly, that the June Clay Day was June 13.)

You're invited! Join us for a "Clay Day" before we take our summer break...

10 am to 2 pm at the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville, 286 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

  • June 12 -- Marcy demonstrates how to make a flower cane
  • July/August -- No Clay Day
  • September 23-25 -- Annual Retreat (no Clay Day)
  • October 16 -- Surface treatments by Deanna, Irene, and Rebecca
  • November 20 -- Denise demonstrates how to add some pizzazz to your blade case
Our usual meeting day is the third Sunday of the month, but sometimes we switch if a holiday gets in the way. This month is one of those times. (You should spend next Sunday with your favorite Dad!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My First Polymer: Denise Graham

Sometime before 1997 I watched the Carol Duvall Show fairly regularly. Donna Kato appeared occasionally with the polymer clay FIMO. I don't remember what project or technique Donna had shown on Carol's show, but I was intrigued by the material. When I did finally locate FIMO, I selected blue and yellow, probably because I could then have 3 colors, or maybe those were the only colors available. 

When I broke open the packages and started working with the clay it was dry, brittle and near impossible to condition. I had no idea how to improve the consistency of the clay, and remember my hands were sore from trying to squish the clay into submission. I used a wooden brayer to sheet the clay and made a few little beads for book mark accents that you see here.

The difficulty in using the clay was a real turn off. I didn't again attempt the clay until my son took an after school sculpting class and brought home Sculpey. The ease of using this brand of clay hooked me. I dug out my pasta machine which I had received as a bridal shower gift and began using it for polymer. The first holiday show I did with polymer holiday pins was such a hit, I stayed up past midnight making turkey pins to increase my supply at the show. I worked in Sculpey for a while before discovering Premo, my go-to clay for almost every project.  The rest, as they say, is history!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Members Seen...Laura Tabakman

While perusing my many blogs I spotted a familiar "face." PPCG member Laura Tabakman's necklaces were featured today on as the coup de coeur de la semaine ("the favorite of the week"). Well-deserved recognition!
-- posted by Rebecca

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How My Obsession Began

by Rebecca, a.k.a., Artybecca
I made my first necklace in 1971 with “love beads” and have made jewelry ever since. Fast forward to 2007, on a car trip through West Virginia. We stopped at Tamarack, a West Virginia art center, and I saw a book featuring pretty beads and jewelry on the cover. I was shocked to learn they were made of polymer clay. I had no idea it could make such beautiful things!
Somewhere around 2004 I couldn’t find beads in magenta and hot pink so I thought of making them out of polymer clay. I bought clay at Michael’s but didn’t know anything about working with clay (and didn’t even know there were things I needed to know). As a result, my beads were sad and misshapen and I concluded that polymer clay was not the answer.
I bought the book – Polymer Clay Creative Traditions by West Virginian Judy Belcher -- and read every word. I got a pasta machine, bought clay, and started experimenting.
I just recently looked though the book again and discovered that works by several members of the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild – people who are now my friends! -- are in it. If I hadn’t found that book, I might not know a bunch of great ladies and might not be happily obsessed with polymer clay beads today!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Studio Mojo

PPCG member Denise Graham shares this information...

Cynthia Tinapple of Polymer Clay Daily has a new monthly subscription-based premium newsletter called StudioMojo. It's for polymer clay power-users who want to take their polymer art, business, and creative "mojo" to the next level. It will feature artist interviews, product reviews, links, stories and rants that will bring you closer to the polymer clay insiders. All for a fraction of the cost of workshops and conferences! 
Right now there's a $6.99 per month Early Bird Registration. The link to subscribe is:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Workshop Creations!

Here's a sampling of finished work from our workshop with Ronna Sarvas Weltman. We did pendants, rings, enigmatic writing, vegan gut, and a whole lot more!

Wendy Casperson

Deanna Miller


Denise Graham

Diane Dick

Irene Hill


Rebecca Watkins

Selma Andrews


 Stephania Harden Martin

Saturday, April 30, 2011

First day of Ronna's workshop!

Today was the first day of our workshop with Ronna Sarvas Weltman.

She showed us a method of making marbleized clay and how to make a variety of shapes for beads -- round, cones, disks, "bowls" -- plus eye pin loops, clasps, and dangles out of wire, as well as a clever way of creating a sturdy bail for the back of a pendant by hiding a metal bead under a strip of clay. We saw lots of tools to help form the shapes and others to add interesting finishes. After lunch we practiced with wire and some of the new clay shapes. Tomorrow we'll learn more component-making tips and then begin putting our new knowledge into practice.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April Clay Day Demo: Beads

For our April demo, Rebecca demonstrated how to make simple beads:

1. Make a sheet of clay
2. Roll it up into a tube to create the center core
3. Cover the outside of the core with a single decorated sheet
4. Cut the core into equal pieces
5. Roll each piece into a ball
6. Pierce and place on a rack to go into the oven

Now, that's a pretty short list of steps, but within each step are multiple variations you can make to put your own creativity into the set. You might want to create mix-and-match shapes in different sizes, or flatten or stretch the ball to create oblongs or lentils. You can pinch the ends of your cut pieces to hide the clay in the core, or you can use a cane, a jellyroll, or a layered tube for your center core and let it remain visible. Instead of a decorated sheet you can cover the core with individual pieces of clay. There are a million possibilities!

For the demo on this day, Rebecca had purple and gold scraps so they became the source materials for the decorated sheet shown below. The scraps, along with some translucent clay, were rolled into a sheet until a pretty blend, sort of like an abstract watercolor painting, was achieved.

Below is the decorated sheet that was created with purple and gold scrap clay rolled flat, then sliced into strips, and laid on the base sheet with a tiny space in between the strips. The sheet of strips was run through the pasta machine several times to let the base clay (black in the sample below) squeeze up through the strips and create a third stripe in the pattern.

Then that sheet was applied lengthwise around the core, and then the core was cut into several pieces and shaped.

Here is what they became...

...and this.

PPCG Workshop: Ronna Sarvas Weltman

If you would like to join us for the Ronna Sarvas Weltman workshop next weekend in Pittsburgh, it's not too late!! And we'd love for you to join us!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Clay Day 2011 Schedule

If you've never worked with polymer clay before, don't let that stop you from coming by on Clay Day! There are always at least one or two members who can provide a "Polymer for the Beginner" lesson during every Clay Day. 

And whether you've worked with polymer just a short time, or you're an old pro, our monthly demonstrations will show you a new tricks that you can add to your repertoire.
Demonstration Schedule
April 17 – Fast and Easy Beads (Rebecca)

May 15 – Show and share how we've applied the techniques learned at the Ronna Sarvas Weltman workshop to our own work 

June 19 – Flower Canes (Marcy)  

July/August – No meeting

September 23-25  – Annual Retreat (no Clay Day meeting)

October 16  – Surface Treatments (Deanna and Irene)

November 20 – Make and decorate a case for your polymer blades (Denise)

Demonstrations will start around noon, and they are completely voluntary. You can watch the demonstration or continue working on your own projects.

Clay Day is always on the third Sunday of the month (except July, August, September, and December) from 10 am to 2 pm at the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

PPCG members teach on

Three Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild members are instructors on

Denise Graham
Still Life Floral Clay Painting

In the class, Denise demonstrates the technique on a floral still life. After you learn basic techniques, you can apply them to any subject matter you like, such as Denise's fish at left or the many examples on her flickr gallery.


Lesley Polinko 
FREE BASIC Tutorial: Human Body, Face Proportions, and a Little Leo! 
FREE BASIC: Basic Polymer Clay Sculpture  
FREE BASIC: Basic Armature for Sculpture

Lesley teaches basic anatomy and sculpture techniques in three free classes. The beautiful green lady at left started as wire and basic clay shapes, too, and then Lesley built her up with more clay, color, and fiber (and, most importantly, many years of observation and diligent work!) 


Laura Tabakman
Spikes Pendant

Laura's spikes class will get your ideas can take what you learn here and go in a million directions with your own color schemes and arrangements.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New York workshop with Laura Tabakman

PPCG member Laura Tabakman is teaching a workshop in Manhattan, NY on April 2-3.

On the first day of the workshop students will learn surface techniques and make elements that will be assembled on the second day into a piece of jewelry or a mixed media sculpture. Students will develop their own language with elements that can be later assembled into any kind of work. Students will be able to choose which project to pursue in class. 

There is still space available in the class.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

PPCG Workshop: Ronna Sarvas Weltman

Saturday, April 30 & Sunday, May 1, 2011

With much excitement and anticipation, the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild (PPCG) is hosting artist, author and teacher of polymer clay, Ronna Sarvas Weltman, for two days of  instruction. Wire beginners will learn how to work with wire, and those with experience will learn new tricks, including how to enhance their organic aesthetic in their wire skills. 
We will also play in depth with polymer clay, paying particular attention to incorporating wire into polymer clay (and polymer into wire). This is not a project class; students will learn a whole bunch of tricks. Ronna's classes are focused on helping every student feel empowered in articulating her or his own "artistic voice."

The workshop will be held at:
 Georgetown Clubhouse  Valley View Drive  |   Lawrence, PA 15055  
Please contact Laura Tabakman to reserve your place.  
lauratabakman (at) yahoo (dot) com

Member fee $170.  Non-member $185.
Ronna is providing clay and wire for the workshop so if you've always wanted to "test the polymer waters" before buying a bunch of supplies...this is a great opportunity. We'd love to have you join us!

Guild exhibition

We have a show in Saxonburg, come and check it out!
Many thanks to the Saxonburg Area Artists Cooperative for giving us this opportunity, and many more thanks to guild member Barbara Kaczor for organizing it!
See images of the opening here


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild Welcomes YOU!

You're invited! Join us for a "Clay Day" before we take our summer break...

Monthly Clay Days are held September through June, 10 am to 2 pm at the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville, 286 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

  • April 17, 2011 
  • May 15, 2011 
  • June 13, 2011
Our usual meeting day is the third Sunday of the month.
Watch this blog for details on demonstrations planned for each clay day.