I’m a polymer clay artist from Warwick RI. I have worked with polymer clay for over 10 years, making jewelry as well as functional objects. My preferred polymer clay technique is caning, and I have sold my canes on the Internet. My other artistic pursuits include beadwork, wirework, fabric painting, collage, and making cigar box purses. I often combine these media with polymer clay.
WoooHooo Dora! You are off and running! Great start!
Hi, Carol, nice to hear from you !
Cabin Fever sounds wonderful, but I won’t be able to make it…….The Bead House in Bristol is holding a Kathleen Dustin workshop this spring on ‘hollow bead forms’, and I am seriously considering signing up. Also, I believe that the Central Mass. Polymer Clay guild will be holding their weekend retreat (Klay Karma) this summer, so I might sign up for that as well.
So many workshops………….Wish I could go to more, I’m retired and have the time, but not the $$$ !!!!
By: doras_explorations on January 9, 2009 at 8:39 am
Beautiful, beautiful, BEAUTIFUL! I am a newbee…I’ve just found the beautiful world of polymer clay and am experimenting with beads – simple beads – and a few very simple canes. Seeing your plaid canes, though, makes me realize that the possibilities are limitless, and that I have so much to learn. A little at a time, though. Unfortunately, I am not a patient person – I want my stuff to look likes yours after only two weeks of working in this medium! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work with the world to see – I wish everyone would just get online and see your beautiful work. I have added your site to my favorites. Your work is breathtakingly beautiful. What a gift you have.
Thanks for your kind words, Pam ! Welcome to the world of polymer clay….Isn’t it a blast? You are lucky to be starting out in polymer clay now, because there is a gold mine of information and tutorials on the Internet, and so many awesome polymer clay DVDs and books. When I started working with PC 13 years ago, most people didn’t even know what the stuff was, and the only major PC book on the market was Nan Roche’s “The New Clay”. I had to learn on my own with a lot of trial and error…My early work was, to put it kindly, less than impressive ! I wish I had had the resources then that are available now…Good luck with your clay work, the more you do, the better you will get!
By: doras_explorations on April 26, 2009 at 10:39 am
Hooray for you, Pam !! That you made a flower cane is quite impressive as well ! Watching videos and DVDs is the next best thing to in-person instruction and workshops. I recommend that route to everyone who is just starting out in polymer clay. It helps a lot to be able to stop, pause and rewind, and to see the actual action. Step-by-step photos are great, but it is not possible to show how to get from one point to the next. Reducing canes, for example is really something you learn by watching someone else do it, then trying it out yourself. So keep on practicing, and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish !
By: doras_explorations on April 27, 2009 at 7:47 am
I made a flower cane today and I’m ecstatic! 🙂 One day I’ll tackle the plaid. it is beautiful.
I am so impressed that you have learned this by trial and error, and you’re right…it is awesome to be able to access the Internet for help. That’s how I made my flower cane today. It was a tutorial video that I kept pausing, and doing what they said, and it turned out pretty OK – not perfect, but pretty nice nonetheless!
I will continue to access your site for inspiration. I would give anything to be able to just sit down and make something as wonderful as you make. How fun is that!
Dora: I am sooooo eaten up with polymer clay cane/bead making. I can’t even SLEEP because I’m lying there thinking of things I can make. I have purchased four books (they’re technique books) and accessed the Internet for cane-making tips, but I was wondering if you know of any book or online tutorial that shows a nice variety of cane patterns and instructions for making them? For instance, we are sailors, and I was wondering if it is possible to put together a sailboat cane? Anyway, I’m probably getting waaay too ahead of myself, but I have made four or five flower canes successfully – they’re so beautiful! I found instructions for a chrysanthemum cane and have made a ton of them because they’re so easy, and so beautiful! Anyway, at 57 years old, I just graduated from college this past Saturday. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, and now I am! Two good friends gave me Michael’s gift cards for graduation, and I am going to go buy clay and experiment!
Congratulations on receiving your degree, Pam, what a wonderful accomplishment ! What grades/subjects wil you be teaching? It sounds like you’ve taken to polymer clay like duck to water ! Isn’t it great fun? As far as books go, I highly recommend Donna Kato’s new book “The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques”. It is devoted entirely to canework and caning techniques. I also like Judy Belcher’s book “Polymer Clay Creative Traditions”. Although there is only one chapter devoted to caning, it is very good. Judy’s DVD “Millefiori Story” is fantastic. I was able to buy my copy at JoAnn’s Fabric and Crafts with my 40% off coupon. As far as on-line tutorials, one good place to look is on Cindy Leitz’s site: http://www.beadsandbeading.com/blog/
Another site with a lot of tutorials is Polymer Clay Central. It contains a wealth of information, here’s the link to the canework lessons: http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/masterindex.html#canework
I don’t know if you’ll find a tutorial specifically on how to make a sailboat cane, but you might learn some canebulding skills that will help you construct one…Best of luck and happy claying !
Aww…thanks for the congrats. I am pretty proud of myself these days – a college graduate and a cane maker – all in one week. I can barely stand myself. I actually have my dual degree – I’ll be certified to teach K-6 general ed and K-12 special ed. I also have my ESOL and Reading endorsements. 300 teachers in this county alone are being laid off, so teaching is NOT the best thing right now, but I do have a job for the fall – it’s at a private school in Destin. I’m pretty excited. I’ll be teaching kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd – a combination of all.
Thanks for the websites. I can’t wait to access them, and I’ll look for Donna Kato’s book next time I’m at Barnes & Noble. Thanks for all the tips.
For graduation my dad gave my husband and me a cruise, so today I bought some new things and tonight I made chrysanthemum canes to make beads to go with them. They are sooooo easy and soooo beautiful. Tomorrow I have NOTHING on my agenda but to knead and bead!
Talk to you later. Thank you again so much for the links.
I’m hoping you can answer a question for me. I’m getting the Skinner Blend technique down pretty well, but (and maybe I’m doing something wrong) the pasta machine seems to limit the size they can be – I mean, once I start folding them over to blend, they get too long for the pasta machine. It seems I have to start with two rather small triangles to begin with, and the Skinner cane ends up being rather tiny. I’ve tried folding them in half both ways and blending them, but either way, they seem to be limited by the pasta machine. Am I doing something wrong? For instance, ther is no way I can use two whole 2 oz. blocks of clay because that would be too huge for the pasta machine.
Any help would be much appreciated. Here it is 5:16 in the morning and I’m already worried about something polyclay! 🙂 It’s a good “worried” though!
Hi Pam ! It sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of claying; good for you! What you’re describing happens all the time when making skinner blends…..keeping the blend from spreading out towards the sides of the pasta machine. Usually this challenge is not thoroughly explained and you see photos of nice rectangular blends in polymer clay instruction books. What I do is after every 2 or 3 passes is I take the blend out of the machine, fold it as usual, then ‘reshape’ the blend with my fingers to make a rectangle, and neaten up the sides. I run it again through the machine 2 or 3 more passes, then stop and repeat the procedure. This takes time and isn’t a perfect method, but it works for me. Stiffer clays (Fimo Classic, Kato Clay, and Fimo Soft) are easier to blend, as they don’t spread out as much. I found a video on You Tube that shows the skinner blend method, you might want to check it out: http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-make-a-skinner-blend-with-polymer-clay-jewelry-224791/
Also, Cindy Lietz has a wonderful instructional polymer clay website that covers Skinner blends and hundreds of polymer clay techniques. She developed a ‘teardrop method’ for constructing Skinner blends using small amounts of clay. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks very intriguing: http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-make-a-skinner-blend-with-polymer-clay-jewelry-224791/
Anyway, keep on practicing and good luck !
Thank you so, so much for your response to my Skinner blend dilemma. I was thinking I needed to buy a pasta machine about the size of my dining room table! I will check out the websites you gave me, and try your method. The other day I actually started cutting off the ends but by the end of the “blend” there was no dark or light end. So, I will definitely try your method and access the websites.
Thanks again so much. I wish I could sit down and create like you do. What a gift! I have found, however, that some of my nicest things come from mistakes I’ve made – and I’ve done hundreds of lentil swirl beads out of “mistakes” and they’re gorgeous! 🙂
I just ordered 35 Sculpey Studio clays – they should be here today. It’s like Christmas for a kid – I can’t wait!
You’ve been so helpful and kind, and I appreciate it so very much.
Thanks, Pam! Enjoy your new clay ! Just like everyone else, I get into creative dry spells, and certainly make mistakes. I have piles of scrap clay to prove it, LOL ! But, like you said, mistakes can lead to great things…I too have done some of my best work from what was a ‘mistake’.. Polymer clay is more forgiving than most mediums, I think !
OMG! I made a kalaidescope (however you spell it) cane today! I had twelve mini-canes and put them all together and reduced it and formed it into a triangle and then cut it into six pieces and it turned out pretty good! It was A LOT of work, though! Not gonna do that again anytime soon, but it turned out pretty good. The pattern I ended up using was probably not the best pattern, but it was a learning experience! People are getting so tired of listening to me rant and rave about making beads! So, thanks for listening! 🙂
Dora, I loved you tutorial. In fact I loved it so much I went ahead and made a zentagle bead which got some unexspected reactions. I wonder if you would mind emailing me, I have a question about copyright on one of your canes in the tutorial and don’t want to put you on the spot.