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.
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 year...watch 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 theStephen Foster Community Centerin 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
"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.
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!
While perusing my many blogs I spotted a familiar "face." PPCG member Laura Tabakman's necklaces were featured today on perlerouge.canalblog.com as the coup de coeur de la semaine ("the favorite of the week"). Well-deserved recognition!
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 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!
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: http://eepurl.com/cMSMI
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!)
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. http://nypcg.org/workshops.shtml
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!