Saturday, 30 May 2009

Playing with polymer clay - day 1

I've headed off to Nottingham for 3 days of Polymer Clay fun.

The 3 days will consist of 6 classes with 6 different tutors and I'm looking forward to all of them. Although I went to a Polymer Clay even in 2005 and helped set up the London Polymer Clay Group I've never really done much of it- only made 2 canes I think- and basic ones at that- so I was apprehensive about being able to do the classes.

But by the time the first class had started and I'd met the ladies I'd be spending the 3 days with my fears soon disappeared.

My first class was with Alison Gallant and was based on using mica shift and Skinner Blends to make some basic beads. This was good fun and warmed me up and got me ready for the rest of the classes.

All the clay for our classes was Kato Clay (kindly provided by Donna Kato) which I have never used before and I think I will definitely invest in more as I really enjoyed using it- once we'd got in conditioned it was nice and strong and the colours mixed nicely.

We had no choice in our colours and were given green and blue- after saying recently I never use plain blue I really enjoyed using it. I found the colours we used weren't that distinctive in the small beads but on the larger surfaces of the pendants were could also make you could see them better.

Mica shift is a wonderful thing- just look at the stripes in this clay!

The afternoon was spent with Natalia Garcia de Leaniz (from Spain) who was a great teacher with a wonderful project- making very organic beads and adding in colours, paints and beads.

The main colours were were given for these was black and brown. The black looked great but the brown was very "dull" so the next day I painted most of my brown beads using a mix of greens, black and coppers.

I also put blues and greens under my black clay so that when sanded this will appear on the "spines" of the "seed pods". Hopefully you can see all of this in this very blurry close-up!

I found that uniting the different colours i.e. the black and brown through the use of beads, other clay and paint really made what were quite different beads become more of a set.

I really enjoyed this class and hope to be able to find time to experiment with everything I did today!

After receiving so many requests to teach classes on colours I am now planning to do so next year. The class will be a year-long class/ support group for anyone wanting to experiment with their work and their use of colour. We will meet once a month to learn about all about a colour, its historical and social significance as well as how to use it in your work.
We'll then experiment in class with beads that colour before you go home and see how you get on with it before coming back to the group a month later for feedback and help. We will work on the 3 primary colours, and the 3 secondary ones, giving everyone 2 months to play with a colour, and different schemes using it, before we move onto the next one and see how that works.
In addition to the monthly meetings, there will also be an online-group exclusively for those taking part where we can discuss what you've been up to and get help and feedback on your work as well as advice on tracking down and using colours.
The class will be open to anyone whatever type of beading you like doing and whatever level you are at- as long as you're open to learning and experimenting you're welcome!
I am still working on dates for the class but it should take place in the hall I use for my other classes in Kentish Town, North London, on either a Monday afternoon (possibly 2-5pm) or evening (possibly 6-9pm). If you're interested in the class, and would like to put your name down to be first to hear more about it, please contact me, letting me know if afternoons or evenings would be best for you.

PS- if anyone knows where in the UK I can get hold of 140 large yellow dagger beads please let me know- not topaz or amber- but bright yellow!

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