Polymer Clay Canes for Beginners

27 videos, step by step, beginner cane workshop beginner Cane Tutorial What people are saying about this tutorial. jennifer rose Just finished this first workshop on how to make canes, and I must say I learned so much. This is exactly what I have been looking for, someone who could explain cane making in a step by step that process that I could replicate. I watched the videos, went into my studio and began to create all of the canes Alice showed. I finally have results I can be proud of, and I say thank you so much for doing this workshop. My only question now is when do we get more workshops. If you are only going to take one online class let it be this workshop. Thank you Alice for your hard work, and your dedication to helping others learn the joys of polymer clay.

Online Workshops with Alice Stroppel


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Maureen Carlson’s Delightful Storytelling and Demos at Fandango

Maureen Carlson's Storytime Guy

Maureen Carlson's Storytime Guy

Maureen Carlson was one of the demonstrators at Orlando Clay Fandango.  She entertained the classroom students in the evenings and the retreat only attendees  during the day. Wish I could have been everywhere at once. I did manage to attend at least one demo each day of both Maureen’s and Barbara McGuire.

I had not met Maureen before the retreat, but had featured her on my other blog The Figurative Artbeat. We conversed by email several times. I also sent her pictures of my failed attempt at polymer clay and paper mache to include in a presentation she was doing for Synergy. So we  knew each other but had never met.

We ran into each other on the first day of Fandango and I introduced myself. She said, “oh you’re tall”, I said, “yes I am”. We laughed and that was, I ‘m happy to say the beginning of a fun filled three days enjoying Maureen’s sense of humor and her vast creative talent.
(Just so you know, I AM very tall and it is unexpected at times, it makes me laugh)

The first evening we were treated to one of her famous Storyclay® Tellings. She weaved a delightful audience participatory tale about the little guy in the picture above. She constructed him as the story unfolded. She had everyone laughing out loud and extremely happy to be entertained by this master story teller.  At the end someone in the audience took the purple Weefolk® home to live with them. Thanks to Tanya Johnson for his photo.

The next time I saw her demo, she was showing us how to sculpt a face. What a master she is, with quick sure strokes she turned a ball of clay into a face that looked ready to talk to me. She makes you feel that you could maybe create a face too.

I have to thank Maureen again for leading the artists to talk about themselves in my video. She was terrific to do that for me. It was a perfect ending to a perfect retreat.

She and her husband owns Maureen Carlson’s Center For Creative Arts in Jordan, Minnesota. I know you would have an incredible experience should you be lucky enough to be able to visit her there. If you can’t go to her, check out her calendar to see if she’ll be near you this year.

My Polymer Clay Class With Christi Friesen at Orlando Clay Fandango

My Mirror from Christi Friesen's Class

Day three at Orlando Clay Fandango puts Christi Friesen at the teachers desk. By this time my class had our heads full of color blends and sheeting and slicing and drilling and we are ready for Christi. And she is ready for us.

We get straight to the fun part, playin’ and smoshin’ and pinchin’ the clay. We all become clay warriors, fighting with nothing by our fingers and our sense of design.

I think most of us in my classroom planned it this way..Sarah first, so we would be mentally fresh to understand the complexities for her techniques, Julie, because we still needed the edge to comprehend her methods and then..tada…Christi, freedom from perfectly placed and constructed clay.

by this time we are crazy funny, all of us, with Christi putting us over the top. To describe her sculpting techniques she uses technical words like, “wiggly scribbly stuff, mossy bits and funky stack-up and bead plant thingys.” Thingys being a favorite word of mine for a very long time and I am proud to say I use it often.

But don’t think that this was not a serious class with serious stuff to learn, oh no…. many of my fellow classmates worked until almost 11:00pm, not because it was hard..oh no..but because they were having such a great time creating Friesen-like masterpieces. And trust me, some of them were more than fabulous.

Me? I was following the instructors around trying to gather them up for a video. Actually it took me two days to do it. “Yeah Alice, right after supper.” “In ten minutes Alice.”  “After my demo, I promise.” “I just have to finish showing everyone how to make this mouse. Alice, geez….”Okay, here we are, where do you want us?” “Your extention cord doesn’t work, Alice are you kidding?”

What a great group, seriously, it wasn’t about them, it was about making sure their students were taken care of first. Ya’ gotta admire that. Thanks ladies, it was worth it.

Oh yeah, Christi, if you want to laugh, this is the instructor, if you want to unleash your inner, playful, creative soul, this is the instructor. If you have a chance to take  a class with Christi, don’t hesitate, you’ll have a blast.

Visit Christi’s website for more information, to buy her products and to see if she’s coming to a location near you!

My Class with Julie Picarello at Orlando Clay Fandango

My Items From Julie Picarello's Class

My Items From Julie Picarello's Class

It was the second day at Orlando Clay Fandango and in my classroom we had an new teacher. Julie Picarello had moved into the teachers chair and we all gather around to see what’s was in store for us.

Julie’s tips on color mixing was worth the price of admission. Her knowledge combined with her clear instructions made her class a joy to take. She shows you simple techniques that enable you to  create a finished piece of work you can be proud of.

By lunch time we were all so into what we were doing and Julie said we needed to finish the step we were on so it could rest, none of us left for lunch, including Julie. The other classes made fun of the “detention” class and Julie instantly was branded as a slave driver. ( Don’t misunderstand, we wanted to stay, we were “into” it) We finally went to lunch! And we did get to dinner on time, and like Sarah, Julie was back after supper ready to help us with whatever we needed.

Needless to say the teasing continued on into the next day, with lots of laughter and friendly class competition.

Julie provided a great handout that takes you through the process with colored pictures. This certainly helps when you get home because you are learning so much in such a short period of time that it’s difficult to remember all the steps. Sarah and Christi made sure we went home with instructions also, but Julie included a handy source list as well.

I haven’t finished my pieces yet and I have lots of slices ready to mount, but I’m pleased with the results.  Including the lizard tail….

Another fabulous day at Fandango, and I haven’t even begun to tell you about the demonstrations at night with Maureen Carlson and Barbara McGuire

To see Julie’s work, find out her teaching schedule, and what she’ll be up to next, visit her website.

Polymer Clay Class with Sarah Shriver at Orlando Clay Fandango

My items from Sarah Shiver's Class

My first class at Orlando Clay Fandango was with Sarah Shriver. We learned “to mix beautiful colors of polymer clay using Sarah’s in depth Skinner blending techniques”.

Okay, so mine doesn’t look anything like Sarah’s sample bracelet. (third one down on the linked page) But I had to make my shape a little bit different and do another piece with my cane. Plus I didn’t take a very good picture of the bracelet.

I still have miles of cane left and am going to spend some time trying to remember what I’m suppose to do with it. Most of the other students produce beautiful pieces.

If you haven’t taken a class with Sarah, I want you to know that you should. She is such an experienced polymer clay artist that she just naturally is able to explain her process easily. Just her color mixing approach alone is worth seeing.

She has a quick wit and is very entertaining. She moves her class along but has time to spend with anyone that needs it. After class she was right back at her desk to answer questions and help anyone that wanted it. Everyone had time to drill holes in their beads and end up with a finished piece.

Visit  Sarah’s website for more information about her classes, her DVD’s and her Show Schedule.

Fun Swaps at Fandango Polymer Clay Retreat!

Flamingo Mask - Alice Stroppel

This is one of the masks that I made for the mini mask pin swap at this year’s Orlando Clay Fandango in Florida. The Orlando Area Polymer Clay Guild had lots of fun things planned for us to share with each other plus several competitions. I ran out of time and only participated in the mini mask swap and the brown bag swap.

Mini masks

Mini Masks by Karen Hampton, Pat Ghadbane, Kathryn Peters

I received these three fabulous mini mask in exchange for three of mine. I saved all the names, but somehow lost the name of the woman who made the mask on the bottom. If anyone from Fandango know who made this mask, I’d love to list her name, so let me know.

Update…. Mystery solved, Katy commented on this post to let me know it was her mask. Whew, I’m glad that’s taken care of. I didn’t like losing her name. Thanks Katy.

Brown Bag Swap - Bracelet by Pat Ghadbane

Brown Bag Swap - Bracelet by Pat Ghadbane

I was lucky to win two beautiful items from Pat Ghadbane. Isn’t this bracelet lovely? I love the beads on the end and the button closure. I’d say I was lucky all the way around and came home with some fabulous artwork from some talented women.

Two more reason to attend next years Orlando Clay Fandango! So start saving kids.

Barbara McGuire’s Polymer Face Cane Class

I still have so much to show everyone from my trip to Orlando Clay Fandango 2010. All the pieces I created in my classes with Christi Friesen,  Sarah Shriver,  Julie Picarello, plus what I learned from the demos with Barbara McGuireMaureen Carlson.

I’ve been trying to clean out my polymer suitcase and put things back where they belong. Geez, don’t know if that will ever happen.

I got home on Monday after Fandango and fell into bed. I didn’t unpack the car, barely said hello to my husband and fell right to sleep. The phone rang and it was Barbara McGuire! She was giving a private lesson with two ladies and they graciously said I could join them. How great was that?

So I didn’t have to unpack much, washed some clothes and hit the road the next morning. Tired but very excited to get to spend more time with such a creative polymer clay artist.

I knew I would have fun, but who knew that Lisa Dalziel, whose house we totally trashed with clay “stuff” for two days and three nights and Pat Livesay her partner in clay crime, would turn out to be two of the coolest, most fun to be around, classmates I could have asked for. We had a blast! Thank you both so much!!!

Lisa, Alice, Pat and Barbara

After a day of claying we all had our eyes done (boy I really could use my eyes done) and were all very pleased with ourselves. Not only is Barbara fun to be around and a founding member of the polymer clay community in America, she is an incredibly talented artist and an excellent instructor. She truly knows polymer clay. Taking a class with her is like learning from your best friend, the one that knows more than you do.

I think we all did a fabulous job with our eyes. Each one different but very cool. Here’s my finished face.

This face is totally different than my  other faces and I’m hoping to incorporated some of what I learned with Barbara into some of my faces. That’s the way we move on and grow. Thanks Barbara for sharing with me.

I’ll be having more of Barbara to share with you in up coming posts. I had time to video her and some of her new products. But for today, check out Barbara’s SHOW & WORKSHOP SCHEDULE  2010 to find out where you can catch up with her.

OAPCG Clay Fandango Instructors and Demonstrators – Video

I spent 3 days and 4 nights nights at the Orlando Area Polymer Clay Guild’s annual Clay Fandango at Lake Yale in Florida. It was quite an experience for clayers of all skill levels.

When I thought about filming my experience at Fandango, I knew I wanted to give an overview of what went on during those three days. But quite frankly that all changed quickly, I was so caught up in enjoying myself and working on what I was learning each day that I didn’t have the time nor did I even want to be running around filming everything.

I was impressed by the instructors and demonstrators, they were all so giving and dedicated to their work and their students that I wanted you to meet them in a different way than you normally would. I wanted them to tell you a little bit about themselves.

The classes might have been scheduled to run from 9am to 5pm, but in reality, the instructor and students were working until 9 or 10 at night. Maureen and Barbara demonstrated off and on until 10pm. This all happened with smiles and laughter. Who are these women? What does the rest of their lives look like? How does their life compare to mine or yours?

Maureen Carlson is such a wonderful story gathering soul that she naturally knows how to bring out the best in people. So, what better person than Maureen to conduct this interview? Maureen, I am forever grateful, thank you. And thanks to the all of you for taking time to slow down long enough for me to get this delightful moment on film.

The group of polymer clay stars on this video include,  Christi Friesen,  Sarah Shriver,  Julie Picarello, Barbara McGuireMaureen Carlson.

OAPCG Clay Fandango Volunteer Committee

Having worked as director of my local Art League plus various other jobs that include set up, organization and manpower, and don’t forget the dreaded……clean up, I can tell you that this group made the Orlando Clay Fandango Retreat 2010 a dream for both students and teachers.

I want to thank the group you are about to see in the following video, Eva Walker, Nancy Welch, Brenda Moldthan, Nita Baker, Tanya Johnson, Mary Jenkins, as well as all the volunteers that aren’t in the video. I had a marvelous time and I can’t think of one person that didn’t come away from the experience with clay under their finger nails and a smile on their face. It was that much fun.

I wanted to show you these wonderful people who made my claying possible and brightened each day with their smiles.  Thanks ladies!

I did say in the video that we were in Orlando, when in fact we were at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center outside of Leesburg, Florida. Three day of very little sleep and lots of clay, makes my brain do strange things.  But other than that, I’m telling the truth…….it was Sterling.

p.s. they’re taking deposits for next year and you can save $25.00 by signing up before the 30th of April, 2010.

Orlando Clay Fandango Retreat 2010

I had THE best time at Fandango. I have so much to share with you, you won’t believe it. The thing is, I have an opportunity to take a class with Barbara McGuire the Queen Bee of face canes, I’m going and that means I won’t get my videos online until I get back.

So you’ll have to wait until this weekend for the two videos from Fandango. The first gives you a look at the wonderful women who put this event together for us to enjoy. Volunteers!!! All of them, fabulous, Eva Walker, Nancy Welch, Brenda Moldthan, Nita Baker, Tanya Johnson, Mary Jenkins, and Nita Jenson and scores of other volunteers.

Then a video featuring the five fabulous polymer clay artists that taught and demonstrated this week. You won’t want to miss this up close look at some of your favorite stars. They are without a doubt fun, fun, fun and include Maureen Carlson, Barbara McGuire, Christi Friesen, Julie Picarello, Sarah Shriver.

Then last, really…last, I’ll show you some of the things I made. (If you were at Fandango, you probably already saw it all because I was showing everyone…..even when you went running and screaming the other way when you saw me coming.)

I don’t think anyone there realized how happy I was to meet so many wonderful clayers. (and too late Tanya and Nita, the word clayer now includes you both)  I’m thrilled that I could be there this year.

I was blown away by the talent of some of my fellow classmates. If you think that the internet is full of fabulous pc artists, it really is only the tip of the ice burg. And kids, the iceburg is growing daily. No warming going on in the polymer industry except the clay itself.  So hold on to your hat’s it’s only going to get better.

See you this week-end.

Polymer Clay Alice Bracelet

Alice? I wonder!

Alice? I wonder!

I know! Alice’s Alice. This girl is a bit off the wall or maybe down the rabbit hole.

Alice's Hat

Alice's Hat

Maybe she wore this hat to the tea party.

Alice's dress

Alice's dress

Maybe she wore this dress when she met the Queen.

Alice's Legs

Alice's Legs

Maybe she borrowed these leggings from Tweedle Dee..or maybe Tweedle Dum.

Like Alice in Wonderland, I’m getting ready for an adventure. I’m conditioning my clay and packing my tools for Orlando Fandango. Can’t wait!