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]

I’m teaching at Maureen Carlson’s Center For Creative Arts – Come on Over

Come over ….or up …….or down to Maureen Carlson’s Center for Creative Arts in Jordan, MN. Join me at Maureen’s for three full days of fun filled classes, take one class or all three, spend the night or just come for the day.

Check out the dormitory rooms at the Center. How could we not have fun? Just like at school except everything you do here is fun, even the homework. Watch this video and see how peaceful it is at Maureen’s.

Isn’t this the coolest thing you can think of to actually own? Your very own shop where you have a fabulous studio to create in, you can teach classes and week long workshops, have guest instructors visit and on top of that students get to sleep upstairs. Slumber party!! Retreat time for sure.

Well this is exactly what Maureen Carlson has and I’m lucky enough to be a guest instructor on September 21 – 23 2012. I’ll tell you more about the three classes I’m going to teach in a minute.

I have been a fan of Maureen and her work for years. One of the first polymer clay books I bought was her book Family and Friends in Polymer Clay.  Then I watched her on the Carol Duval show and loved her more.

When I finally was able to concentrate on polymer clay alone, I started two blogs, this one and The Figurative Artbeat. Maureen was kind enough to allow me to do an post on her and her fabulous work. It was the first time I actually contacted Maureen and then we met at Fandango that year were she was demonstrating her new face bead molds, she is just as fun and warm and inspiring in person. We’ve been friends ever since.

I’ve have wanted to visit her Center for Creative Arts for years, so this year is it. If you’re a fan of Maureen’s and want to experience the fun of her center, come on and explore it with me, we’ll have the best time, I know we will. Plus I’ll be sharing some of my favorite techniques, tips and ideas with you.

Now… I’ll be teaching three of my favorite things. Profile Face Canes, Cane Mapping/Contouring, and Pen and Ink. Each class is filled with as much information as I can fit into one day. August 21st is the reserve – by date for all three classes so be sure to follow the links below and let Maureen know you want a reservation.

Sept. 21 – The Profile Face Cane – reserve your spot here

Making this profile cane is surprisingly easy and we’ll spend some time making hair canes too. We can make bracelets, pins, or slides. I promise you we’ll giggle. Plus you’ll get a pdf file and a video link for later reference.

You can make pins from your face canes, put them on vessels or glass vases.

Or a cocktail shaker, how funny is that. Here’s three side of the same shaker.

Sept. 22 – Cane Mapping/Contouring – reserve your place here

This class is super fun and so far everyone that has taken this class with me has produced some wonderful pieces and had many “ah ha” moments. It’s a class about opening your mind to the possibilities that await you with all those canes you love to make.

 These fairy dresses were made using my cane mapping technique, so was the design on the necklace below. Tracery tied for second place with the judges and won first place members choice in the IPCA’s Progress and Possibilities 2011. I’ll even show you how to display some of your work when you’re not wearing it. The fairy dresses above are actually pendants.

Tracery - Alice Stroppel

As you can see it’s a technique that can be used in many ways, big and small. Be sure to bring lots of your old canes, plus we can make some new ones.

Sept 23 – Pen and Ink on Polymer Clay – reserve you table here – With this class you’ll receive a pdf of face patterns and a link to a video for future reference.

Now this class is a blast. Again…you can use this technique on polymer clay bracelets, pendants, buttons, plaques, canvas, or whatever you can think of.

You can use just black and white or you can go full color. You don’t have to do a face, you can do simple graphics and produce fabulous pieces.

I created this cat and mouse pendant for a friends, fun I think.

This one is a favorite too. I’ll demonstrate how to construct these windows for your drawings and how to cover a bracelet.

There are endless ways to use this pen and ink technique, your imagination will run wild. And you won’t be able to leave until we’ve all made a Stroppel Cane.

So do not delay, Maureen and I would love to see you there.  Reserve-by date of August 21st. 


Polymer Clay Slides – Jewelry or Little Pieces of Art?

Fairy Dresses - Alice Stroppel

I made these fairy dress slides for an exchange that was canceled but is going to take place next year at this same time.  I had them all made and needed to just put them away and I’d be set. HA!  I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait a whole year to post them, I also knew that by next year there would be something else I wanted to make for the exchange.

These dresses are 1 1/2″ x 1″ and are so much fun to make, I couldn’t stop. Good use of small bits of canes, even a Stroppel Cane or two thrown in.

Fairy Dress Slide - Alice Stroppel

I almost made it though, I put them away and haven’t thought of them for several weeks. Then the other day I was cleaning out a box full of “stuff” and in the bottom of the box was a bunch of 1″ x 1″ wooden blocks. I saved the blocks thinking… as always… that I might be able to use them for something… someday. You know how that is don’t you?

Well, I know you will find this hard to believe, I was shocked, but I actually did think of something to use them for in a very timely manner and while I still knew where they were.

I have been trying for a couple of years to figure out a way to display some of my items as well as some of my swap items. I have pins and masks and inchies that are little works of art. I want to look at them, not just put them away.  Some I’ve framed, the inchies were easy enough, but others posed more of a problem.

The pins and slides I have could not be glued down if I were ever going to wear them. The mini masks were all over the place as far as a flat back goes. Besides, really, each one is a fabulous little art piece.

I painted the blocks black,  drilled a hole in the center of the top, glued a piece of thick wire in the hole and tada…a stand for whatever. With the dresses, there is a hole drilled from side to side allowing it to “slide” onto a steal cable necklace. I simply drilled a hole in the bottom of the dress so it could now slide onto the wire in the cube. It won’t be glued so that it can be removed and “slide” back onto the necklace. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

I had this white block lying around and thought it would look cool to have a grouping. So you see, this idea is limitless.


Of course I can’t stop there. I did the same thing to this Stroppel Cane sweater girl slide.



Then there are the single beads below, all of which can be worn as just a single bead or in groups.



Or how about a whole set of matching beads? One minute they are mini graphic sculptures and the next you’re wearing them out to dinner.


Just slide them off the wire and slide them onto the necklace. Fun, fun for sure.


I think it’s a  great way to display pins as well, just slide the closed pin back over the wire.



Okay, enough for today. My head is full of more ideas. Let me know if you do something like this, I’d love to see.

Do You Believe in Magic?

I made these beads several months ago when I was experimenting with amber colors. Last week I bought this blouse to go with a skirt I already had. It’s to wear to my nephew’s wedding this month in Brooklyn.  When I got home I brought the blouse into my studio so I could mix some colors in polymer to go with it.

I remembered this necklace and I was floored by the match. Magic happens!



Kopila Basnet and the Ladies of Samunnat

“The planet doesn’t need more ‘successful’ people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who will live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.”

– David Orr in Earth in Mind

Dear Readers,

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the world and don’t know how to help. Things sometimes feel so much bigger than me and so far from my life I can’t imagine anything I can do would make a difference.

I want you to meet an amazing person, Kopila Basnet, who has entered the polymer clay world in a large way. By large, I mean the impact her guidance has made on the lives of the Samunnat Ladies of Nepal. Kopila has three daughters and has been trained in law and worked in the media and government organisations. She is the Program Coordinator of Samunnat and also provides much of the legal assistance in property and, less often, criminal cases.

I asked Kopila to share her story and she was kind enough send me the following;


 I am Kopila living in Eastern part of Nepal it is called Jhapa. We have started Samunnat for some very good  reasons. I want to add that we started Samunnat because I was working in one anti-corruption project as a journalist where I saw the corruption in our government office that made people suffer. I got some relief that I could at least publish the corruption news where people would aware of the fact.

After the anti-corruption project I joined another anti-trafficking project in Jhapa. I got to know that our district is only 17 kilometers away from India so it is the one border among 20 border to India where the most girls were trafficked.

When girls were rescued I heard their story why and how they were trafficked and even when I was in the project they come for their rights but they do not have financial support.  So we start to think about giving them skill and the legal support. Now I love to spent my time with our Bahiniharu (little sisters) and do some new design.  I love polymer creative work. We are very grateful to Wendy Didi who have given this wonderful polymer world friends.

When we were in initial stage in Samunnat we were just few members but now we have extended and have strong belief that one day Samunnat could be the platform for the vulnerable women and they will be united for their rights.

My wish is may our ladies could be independent, strong and empowered. That they know their rights.

The first basic requirement is resources which is their skills and ability to earn a living and be independent. As long as my dear friends wear our jewelry you can think you have purchased a right thing and thank yourself for the right choice.



and from the Sammunat website:

About  “A Colourful Journey” and the Sammunat Nepal project

Sammunat Nepal grew from the desire of a group of Nepalese friends to help the many women they met whose lives have been damaged by violence. These people live in the troubled Jhapa district of Eastern Nepal. The friends were aware of the many women who are the victims of domestic violence, physical and psychological abuse or who had been trafficked into India for work in the tragically burgeoning sex industry there.

Most of these women are extremely vulnerable to further violence and exploitation. Simply providing financial assistance is only a short term and ultimately short-sighted solution. Instead, Sammunat Nepal seeks to work with the women to provide:

  • Legal assistance for no charge or at affordable fees;
  • Training in advocacy and about human rights;
  • Specific income-generating skill training (as shown on “A Colorful Journey” web site);
  • Counselling for the women as required; and
  • Support as the women re-establish themselves and their families in new communities. Particularly important as they are sometimes unwelcome in their home towns.



I’ve been so touched by these woman and their stories, I encourage you to read about them and their individual journeys. A recent post by Wendy Moore titled A typical day – getting to know us will surely brighten your day. I love that each of these women are smiling the most beautiful smiles.

“When our life was covered with darkness we always look at others life and want life the same as them. Now we are living with brightness and people are surprised and curious about what made this change.”

I want to be a part of that change, if only in a small way, I hope you will to. There are several ways you can help these ladies. You can buy their jewelry from this Etsy Shop or you can donate as much or as little as you want right from your Paypal account. It is amazing how quickly $5.00 here and $20.00 there turns into $1,000s. I know from my friend and theirs, Wendy Moore, that they would love to sell you their jewelry but will be delight to know you care in anyway. Find your way to their paypal button here A Colorful Journey blog.

These beautiful bracelets are just one of the products that these ladies of Samunnat are producing for sale. I just received my second set of bracelets from this Etsy Shop and they are lovelier in person than they are in a picture. I can’t think of a better purchase for myself or a friend, can you?


 The pattern on the bracelets was taught to the ladies by Cynthia Tinapple during her trip to Nepal. You can read about that trip in this A Colorful Journey blog post You’ll experience a bit of the excitement the woman felt to be given a skill that could aid them on their road to independence.
Many people in the polymer clay community have been generous with donations of all kinds.
 Carol Simmons and Craig Brodahl, Rob and Wilma Yost from Polymer Clay Express,  and the attendees of Shrinemont.
I’ve added the Craftcult widget for their shop on the right side of my blog so you’ll always be able to find them.
I wanted to mention that Wendy Moore sent me the opening quote.  “Wendy is an Australian woman living in eastern Nepal. A brain injury rehabilitation therapist in Australia, she is currently working as an artist. She is leader of the Samunnat cheer squad and provides some specific skills training and a sounding board!” We’ve been exchanging emails and I’m so happy to call her friend.
The quote by David Orr was posted on a website that I know I will be going back to visit again and again. Here’s the link to marianne elliot. Thanks Wendy!