Thank You Fire Mountain Gems and Beads for Your Sponsorship!

by Jill L. Erickson, Associate Editor, Art Jewelry magazine and polymer clay instructor

Standing (L to R): Darlene Hagopian, Marilyn Denning, Linda Cobine, Dawn Aerts, and AJ Henry

Seated (L to R): Bernie Tischer, Merle Berelowitz and Barbara Fry

Floor: Jill Erickson

Photo credit: Deone Jahnke

For the second year in a row, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads graciously sponsored "Fundamentals in Polymer Clay," a 3-day intensive workshop that I teach at the Bead and Button Show. For an instructor, life doesn't get much better than leading a class of eager students who are equipped with ALL the right tools! The students' kits were fabulous. We're talking a Poly-Roller™ machine, super slicer blades, Klay Kutters™, texture plates, metal leaf sheets, sterling silver findings and lots of other goodies. And of course, we had plenty of Kato Polyclay™ to experiment with.

I'm happy to report that every student came away with a solid foundation of polymer clay techniques. They took in lots of information at an ambitious pace.

Day one was devoted to safety basics, and how-to demos on conditioning clay, making a Skinner blend, creating simple canes, texturing clay, achieving mica-shift effects, and incorporating metal leaf into the clay. Putting these new skills to the test, each student made her own custom needle tool.

On the second day, we focused on mokume gane techniques, adding inclusions to clay, using alcohol inks, and adding texture to the clay. After learning how to incorporate bails and pin back findings, the students made pendants or brooches.

Our third and final day wrapped up with lessons on how to use a clay extruder, mold-making options, direct image transfers, and offered lots of time for completing a jewelry item or practicing and combining techniques that we covered the previous two sessions.

After three vigorous days of "clay play," the students shared their experiments with one another, and had an opportunity to socialize just a bit. We also had a "graduation" portrait taken to commemorate the completion of the workshop. Thank you Fire Mountain Gems for inspiring another class for polymer clay enthusiasts!

Quotes from students: "I want to let you know how much I enjoyed the 3-day class. I learned so much and came home with several finished pieces--it really surpassed my (already high) expectations! Thanks so much." ~ Barbara Fry

"Jill has a great attitude and is very helpful and accessible. Thank you Fire Mountain Gems for all the supplies." ~ Darlene Hagopian

"What a wonderful experience! Fun, informative…like a three day vacation." ~ Bernie Tischer

View the full line of Kato Polyclay™, tools and supplies, including FREE project instructions, design ideas and tutorials for design inspiration.

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