Posted by: doras_explorations | July 16, 2008

Sarah Shriver Workshop, Part I


 Well, it’s been three days since I finished my weekend workshop with Sarah Shriver.  My clay supplies have been put away, I’ve (more or less) caught up on my household chores, and I’ve picked the first zucchini of the season from my garden.  I also vegged out in front of the TV, and lay on the couch and played Bookworm on my Palm Pilot.  Now it’s time for me to sit down and share my experience.   I am very pleased to report that meeting and working with Sarah was everything I hoped for and more !  Besides being a remarkably talented artist, she is wonderfully down to earth and approachable and a lot of fun as well.  The class size was just right (9 or 10?), and varying levels of experience with polymer clay were represented among the students.  My fellow classmates were a talented group, and have worked with and taught other media such as seed beads, metal, wire, rubber stamps, and PMC (Precious Metal clay). 
     Day 1 was spent learning how to construct a Celtic Knot cane.  Sarah showed us how to divide clay sheets of either  1/4″ or 1/8″ thickness into precisely measured strips (and I do mean precise, as in 7/16″, 11/16″ !) which were then carefully assembled to form the ‘base cane’.  Essentially, it is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, albeit a rather complex puzzle!  This step proved to be quite challenging for many of us, myself included, because of the many pieces used and the need to get all the pieces to fit together correctly.  It certainly helps to have good visualization and spatial relationship skills !  Fortunately, Sarah had provided us with a step-by-step handout to refer to, but even with the handout, it took me several tries before I finally got it right.
     Once the base cane was assembled, it was reduced, then cut up, recombined, and manipulated in various ways to produce an amazing array of patterns.  Here is my base cane, and the patterns
I made with it.  Not bad for a first try:
    Once everyone had made a few Celtic Knot variations, Sarah showed us how she makes various bead shapes using cane slices, and how she covers the side seams with those impossibly tiny and perfectly uniform twisty clay strands. I should mention that she does NOT use an extruder, they are formed entirely by hand….It must be seen to be believed ! Unfortunately, I did not take any photos on the first day of the workshop (I think I was too star-struck !), but I did get a photo of her doing the ‘twisty string thing’ on Sunday, so you can get a look at it.
    At the end of Day 1, everyone was ready to shift gears from all the disciplined cutting and measuring and the 2-color palette of the Celtic Knot to the mind-boggling colors and shading and depth of
the kaleidoscope cane. So make sure you come back for Sarah Shriver Workshop, Part II !


  1. It sounds like you had a great time! Sarah is the master of the complex cane.

    Your canes turned out awesome. Love to see what else you made!

  2. your cane turned out wonderfully Dora. I totally like the round one on the top left. Sarah is so much fun to take a class from….it almost seems like it is just folks claying together. I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures 🙂

  3. Hi Dora,
    What a great post. I’m soooo envious! I can’t wait for more about the class!

  4. It sounds like you had so much fun and learned a lot, Dora. Wow, your Celtic canes are fabulous.
    I found Sarah to be incredibly down to earth with a great sense of humor when I took a class with her. I knew you would love the experience! I’m looking forward to your next post and reading more about your experience.


  5. Beautiful work, Dora. But your caning skills were excellent anyway. This can only enhance them. I like to watch canes being made as long as I don’t have to make them!

  6. Thanks, Sandy ! Aren’t the Celtic designs great? I thought you’d like them since you’re a fan of all things Celtic !

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