Polymer Days 2012 – Part 2 – Carol Simmons’ Mokume Gane Technique

posted in: Jewellery, Reviews 2

One of the reasons I booked a place on this course was to meet and learn from American polymer clay artist Carol Simmons, who creates the most amazing Kaleidoscope canes. I can’t exactly remember how I found her on Facebook I guess it was via other polymer clay enthusiasts.

Carol has been claying since 1995 and teaching since 1996. Her beautiful Kaleidoscope canes take a long time to make and the courses she runs for these take about 3-6 days. As the Polydays only lasted three days, she chose to teach us how to make beautiful shimmering Mokume Gane veneers.

Mokume Gane is a Japanese technique originally used with wood and metal, but has been adapted for Polymer Clay. Different tutors have slightly different techniques, but the basic Mokume Gane technique involves the stacking of several sheets of different colours of clay, texturing them and revealing the resulting veneers by carefully slicing the cane. The beauty of this technique is that you never know what you end up with and each slice will look different.… Read More

Polydays 2012 – Part 1 – Bettina Welker’s hinged bracelet

posted in: Jewellery, Reviews 3

In September I went on a three-day course called “Polydays”, which was held in a small place called Toddington. The event was organised by British polymer clay Artist Alison Gallant, who also taught her acclaimed reversible necklace on the course.

I was lucky to go – thanks to a royalty payment from ALCS earlier this year. One of the reasons I booked a place was that I always wanted to learn how to make polymer clay bracelets and I liked Bettina Welker’s hinged bracelet.

About 35 people attended the course, which was split into three groups. Each day the tutors would rotate and teach a different group. I decided to start with Bettina’s bracelet, because I had a feeling that this is the most complicated of the three projects we were taught, plus on the first day people hesitated slightly and so Bettina’s first group was a bit smaller and we were lucky to have a room to ourselves (this changed during the other two days, and all groups were taught in the bigger main room).

I was right – I didn’t finish it on the day as it is very time consuming and you have to work very precisely. Unfortunately I didn’t have the right mould to wrap the first layer of FIMO around – I used an empty soda can, which I had cut in half – which meant it could easily bent and distort. My bracelet is far too big for my small wrist. Obviously I can’t really explain to you how this bracelet is made – for this you need to book a course with Bettina, who teaches this and other techniques worldwide. Or you can buy her book “Polymer Clay Bracelets – Armschmuck aus Polymer Clay”, which is written in English and German and was published in September this year. I can recommend this book, as it has some lovely projects and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow (something not to be taken for granted, I often struggle with understanding instructions I read in a book).… Read More