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


[caption id="attachment_102" align="aligncenter" width="100" caption="Member IPCA"]Member IPCA[/caption]

Faces in Pen and Ink on Polymer Clay

I think with the new Twilight movie just out this bracelet might just fit right in. I didn’t intend for it to be so gothic but the black and white with just a touch of color seems to make it that way. Kind of mysterious don’t you think?

Both this bracelet and the one below are the newest additions to my Etsy shop.

Food Processor – A Polymer Clay Tool?

I know that I’m late to this party and that almost everyone owns one or at least knows about using a food processor to condition old hard clay. I’ve never bought one because I don’t use one of the harder clays. Plus I couldn’t justify spending the money for a new one.

But honestly even my clay that is years old, clay that I bought online, is still in pretty good shape. I looked for some to test in my “new” food processor and really couldn’t find any. The clay that has always given me a problem is clay I or a student of mine has purchased in a hobby or craft store. My belief is that they store it in a hot warehouse and it bakes a little bit. So make sure when you purchase clay in the store, you check each package to see if it has some give and feels pliable.

But I have digressed……I wanted to share this “find” with those of you who may be new to pc. If you have clay that is hard to condition for whatever reason, conditioning it in a food processor will do the job. Just remember that once it’s been used for clay, it shouldn’t be used for food ever again.

I’m really glad I waited and didn’t buy a new one because this one is the king of food processors, probably one of the first ones made. Looks like one I had in the 70s. This baby weights a ton, the motor must be strong enough to run my treadmill. Nothing will tax this monster, no matter how hard the clay.

A lady was selling it during our town’s monthly garage sale. Anyone can come and set up on the side walks and sometimes you can find….well….great garage sale stuff. I don’t go very often, maybe I should.

Anyway she had a price of  $15.00 marked down to $10 and before I could say anything she said she did not want to take this thing home with her anymore and I could have it for $5. I laughed and was glad to give it a home. What a deal!

My husband carried it to the car for me so I never picked it up until I tried to move it around my studio later. What a riot, I could hardly lift it, the motor must weight 10 pounds.

Sometimes the smallest thing can make for a happy day.

A Featured Artist in Issue #2 The Polymer Arts

The second issue of The Polymer Arts has arrived, at least the digital addition landed in my email box the other day, and I’m pleased to tell you I was one of the featured artist. Iris Mishly, Laurel Steven and Christa McKibbens are featured as well. Many thanks to Sage Bray for the opportunity.

I review the first issue in August and this post is not because I have a small part in this issue but because I know you’ll find things in the issue you might relate to in a big way, at least I did.

It’s a very timely thought filled edition with excellent articles from Christi Friesen, Barbara McGuire, and the Editor-in-Chief Sage Bray. I enjoyed every page of this issue and I suggest that you will too.

There is a great article about the IPCA’s 2011 retreat as experienced by a new attendee, Susan O’Neill that you don’t want to miss if you’re thinking about attending next time.

Also congratulations to my friend Patrice Pfeiffer for her Inspiration Challenge win.

You can order a yearly subscription to this magazine or just one issue at a time by visiting The Polymer Arts website. You can order it delivered to your door or to your email account. The digital version comes to you in a pdf or in a fun flip magazine format. You’ll love it either way.

Trade With Julie Eakes

I had to share this trade with you. Julie and I met for the first time a couple of months ago and we decided to trade our creations.

This pendant  is an amazing piece of art. Not only did Julie make this incredible face cane she constructed the kaleidoscope canes she’s used for the frame.  I’m thrilled to have this wonderful piece but also to have gotten to know Julie and see her work on this piece.  You can see more of Julie’s work on her blog Julie Eakes. Her most recent cane is a beautiful portrait of her grandmother.

This is my part of the trade, the picture shows all side of the bracelet. Once again I think I got the better part of the trade. Thank you Julie

New Stroppel Cane Flickr Group Formed by Cara Jane

Stroppel Cane Pendant - Alice Stroppel/Meisha Barbee

The Stroppel cane continues to be experimented with by polymer clay enthusiast around the globe and I couldn’t be more delighted. It’s so exciting and a little bit unreal.

I’ve been trying to pin, on my Pinterest site, each new picture of the cane or a finished piece when I found one. But I’ve given up trying to get them all, there are way too many. I’ll still pin all the items I find or if you don’t have a Flickr account and want to send them to me, I’ll post them.  alice@polymerclayetc.com

Cara Jane Hayman

Cara Jane Hayman came up with the idea of creating a flickr group for The Stroppel Cane. Thanks Cara Jane for setting it up. This Flickr group should be fun and allow us all to take a peep at what others are making and the color palettes they used for their old canes. That has been as much fun for me as seeing everyone’s finished products.

The Stroppel Cane has already begun to morph and take on a life of it’s own as we saw in my last post featuring Orly Rabinowitz’s verion of the technique.  So tracking it’s life from the beginning could be very interesting.

So go join the Flickr group and upload the picture of your Stroppel Cane projects. Thank you all very much for all wonderful things you’ve made, it’s been a fabulous couple of weeks.

A New Twist on the Stroppel Cane by Orly Rabinowitz

I have something amazing to share with you today and I bet you that there will be as many items made from this twist on the Stroppel cane as there are from my original. We probably need to call it the Stroppel/Rabinowitz cane.

When I saw these buttons, I was amazed. Aren’t they remarkable? My flickr friend and oh so talented polymer clay artist Orly Rabinowitz made the incredible buttons above with the Stroppel cane but with a slight difference. She wasn’t able to watch the video (before I moved it to Youtube) and she……….well it will just be easier to share the note she sent me.

Dear Alice,
For some time I wanted to make the Stroppel cane, but since I couldn’t watch the video for some reason, I didn’t.
Anyhow, yesterday I tried it, based on how I thought it is done. At the beginning I cut my canes lengthwise, only as I continued I understood I supposed to put sliced…
The result, however, was stunning, at least to my eyes… like a piece of fabric.
I then went back to your blog and managed to watch the video. The second cane I made was according to the original directions (although my leftover canes and slices are in such a mess…).
I wanted to thank you, the technique is as simple as it is fun and useful.
Watching the final result is like meeting with an old friend, as you can recognize your old loveable canes between the lines…
For now I made only a few magnets and buttons. I’m not sure I can cover vessels with it, time will tell.
I upload some photos on my flikr page, you’re welcome to visit!
Thanks again,

I agree 100%, these are stunning, really wonderful I think. Thanks you Orly for sharing.

So you see what happens when you just create what you feel and not follow someone else’s exact instructions? Below are the buttons she made after she watched the video. It really love these too, Orly’s colors and canes are always so vibrant and lively. But I am delighted by the “accidental” canes made by slicing her old canes a different way.

I can wait to see what comes out of this new look of old cane, it’s so exciting to have one person expand a  techinque, it’s like watching babies grow up, a joyous process.

Orly is my sister face cane maker from another part of the world, and we never would have known about each other if not for the wonderful world of the internet.

If you haven’t seen her girls, go see the rest of Orly’s fabulous work on her Flickr site. Or order some of her work from her Etsy Shop.

IPCA’s Progress and Possibilities 2011

I was working on several things this weekend, more girlfriend slides in my Etsy shop and several of my new bracelets.

Two of the new bracelets were for the International Polymer Clay Associations competition Progress and Possibilities. I have never entered any competitions with my clay work except in a monthly Viola polymeristas once or twice. I hadn’t planned on sending anything to this competition until my friend Suzanne Ivester asked me why not. I told her , “I don’t know, I don’t know what I would send?  She kind of wagged her email finger at me and made me think it was time to see if I could come up with a design.

I’ve been working hard to make my work as professional as I can, as smoothly finished and well made as possible. Now it’s time to take the next step and start pushing those other buttons like others approval, how will it measure up, and just plain ol’ fright.

Yep fright! You might think that is totally crazy coming from someone who blogs all the time, exposes my work to thousands of readers everyday, makes videos of my techniques and shows myself in these videos from time to time!

But it’s true, asking someone else to judge your work is totally different than just sharing it with those who want to take a look or actually buy something you’ve made.

But I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way, so I’m going to pass on my challenge from Suzanne to you, make something and enter it in Progress and Possibilities 2011.  There are three categories – Art Jewelry, Functional Objects and Sculptural Objects with three levels of expertise – Beginners, Intermediate and Professional. So you see, even if you are a beginner there is a place for you. If you are Intermediate like me, then I double dog dare you. If you’re professional…..well enough said.

I double dog dare you!

In the meantime, I’m  still sending girlfriends to Etsy. I’ll show pictures of my new bracelets another day.