Op Art Beads

In honor of my obsession with the television show “Mad Men”, we will explore the early 1960’s Op Art movement and learn to make a survey of beads. Most will be created using the millefiori technique. We will be building on vary basic canes, so this course is just fine for novices to polymer clay. While we will not likely have the time to make all the beads pictured, the most complicated will be explored in depth and the others will at the very least be discussed and demonstrated. Good finishing is a must, so plenty of time will focus on making well crafted beads.

Move It

There is an exciting trend in US art jewelry – it’s Kinetic or jewelry that moves. I’ve been working on jewelry that moves for 5 years and it’s been my wholesale line that I’ve sold to galleries successfully. I will share those techniques with the class. You all know I love millefiori canework, but these ideas will work with any polymer technique. We will build a couple of simple canes that will easily translate the process of making jewelry that moves and give you the skills to translate the working parts to your own unique style.

Nuts and Bolts

How can it be possible to make these hardware items look so realistic? Using millefiori canework, that’s how! In this workshop we will learn the technique to build just a few canes to create nails, screws, bolts….. and of course, I’ll share the funny story behind why I made these.

Kinetic Brooches

In honor of my obsession with the television show Mad Men, we will explore the early 1960’s Op Art movement and learn to make a survey of brooches (can’t you just hear Joan telling Roger that she’d like a brooch for Christmas!) that have visual and actual movement. The tricks and tips to incorporate moving parts would make Don Draper proud (a wonderful moving part if I do say so myself.) While you might choose to make only one during class, you will leave with the knowledge to make all these and more!

Signature Cane Class

“It’s all about your backside”!  All joking aside, the back of your work is as important as the front.  And, what’s more important than proudly telling the world “I made this!”  You’ll begin by designing, and then making your own personal signature cane. Even if you don’t like to cane, you’ll end up with enough to sign your work for years.  Class will end with a discussion about the back of artwork.  Bring along a piece you feel was successful and one you weren’t so pleased with, and I will, too.  Don’t be afraid; let’s learn from each other so we can all make beautiful art.

Tessellations – Many from One

Tessellations are patterns created by repeating a shape over and over again, like the work of M.C. Escher. Polymer clay millefiori canework can create those patterns very easily. Join Judy Belcher for a two day workshop that explores creating one cane that can be cut, manipulated and reformed into many new and more complex canes. This workshop will be fun and lively and is perfectly suited for beginners and advanced students alike. This technique is perfectly suited to create beautiful jewelry, like the necklace pictured, but can also be used to create stunning sheets of patterned clay to cover whatever you like. While we won’t be making any finished jewelry in this workshop, Judy will happily demonstrate how to make a perfectly formed bead and smooth sheets of clay, so you will have the skills to make whatever you like in your studio.

The Caning Conundrum

co·nun·drum noun, something that is puzzling or confusing

I love words almost as much as I do polymer clay. Conundrum is the best word to describe what I hear over and over again about millefiori canes; it is a mystery, confusing and a technique to be avoided! I was fascinated by the word millefiori and spent almost as much time researching the origins of the word and art form as I did building my first cane. Join me for two exciting days of conquering the cane!

In this workshop we will create all types of canes. We will begin simply, and then explore building more complex canes. We will slice, combine, reshape, recombine, and rotate our way into a myriad of fabulous canes. Learn how to reduce canes for the least distortion. Slicing an enigma? Thick and thin, we’ll cover that too!

Ok, I hear you…. “What the heck do I do with those canes?!” Whether you want to create jewelry, cover tins, build mosaics, or make doll clothing we will discuss techniques for accomplishing any of these with good design and professional finishing.

Quilt Block Caning

The region in which I live is steeped in the rich history of quilting. There are 300 rural West Virginia artisans preserving part of America’s fiber heritage through the quilts they painstakingly create using time honored quilting methods to produce for the Cabin Creek Quilters Cooperative. I have always loved to look at quilts. I am not a seamstress. So quilting was a dilemma for me, until I found polymer clay. Quilting lends itself naturally to millefiori canework, without all the precise fabric cutting. The same techniques that quilters use to make their magnificent art can easily be replicated in polymer clay. In this class we will explore techniques that turn polymer clay into fabulous textile patterns and use them to build basic canes that can then be “pieced” like a quilt, to form more complicated quilt blocks. “What will I do with the cane?” you ask, we will learn to make perfect sheets of “fabric” to dress a bead, box, tin or art doll. Just the words “millefiori caning” (we will learn some of the history of those words too, as I am a wealth of polymer clay trivia information) can intimidate some beginning polymer clay artists, but this workshop will delight both the novice and expert alike.

Cane in One Color

Have you ever seen the shimmery effects when you move a tiger-eye stone? That is the play of light off of a reflective surface. Did you know that metallic polymer clay has that same quality? When manipulated just right, the clay cane comes alive in your hands. In this class we will learn how to construct basic canes using that metallic quality of the clay to the best advantage. Never built a cane before? Not a problem, this technique shines with even the simplest of canes. Think you will be working in gold clay? Think again; let’s bring some fabulous color into this technique! All you need to bring is pearl polymer and Kato Concentrates. After cane construction, we will make a beautiful focal bead for a necklace or bracelet. Beautiful? (I really wanted 5 questions in this description) Yes, beautiful, we will take the time to discuss and work on good finishing techniques. It’s all about what you do before it goes in the oven!