Masterclass Camp

Over four days in June I once again attended a Polymer Clay Fests event in Laurel, Maryland, US.

In these classes all participants produce similar work, so there is not much scope for ‘doing your own thing’ – however this means that the classes move along quickly and squeeze in a lot of techniques over the four days.  These are the pieces I made.

The key technique in Melanie Muir’s class was mokume gane using the beautiful stamps she produces, but my main “take outs” from the class were her amazing construction techniques (using buna cord and o rings makes these necklaces strong but flexible) her approach to designing and planning,  and the benefits of spending more time burnishing flat surfaces.  I often do this with wax or baking paper on top, smoothing with hands or the back of a spoon, but firmer pressure and using a heavier object can make the surface smoother and significantly reduce sanding time.

I loved Jana Lehman’s technique for clean geometric designs.  Her work is so colourful and quirky.  I’d like to try this technique with less geometric designs, using home-made cutters.  I’m wondering about using it to add further detail to large cane slices.  Again adequate burnishing was a key to a good result.

Finally, Donna Greenberg taught a class that involved carving and painting polymer clay.  While I’ve done very little sculpting with polymer clay, I’d be keen to try this technique to produce some pieces that could be integrated with some of the found object pieces I work with.

It was lovely to see a few of the people who I met in 2012, including Mags (I love her Bernie Saunders earrings) and Carol – and, of course, the  wonderful organiser of these events, Kathryn Ottman.