THE LEARNING IS IN THE DOING
When I first started working with polymer clay, it was 1992. I knew nothing about the material, and learning more was not as easy as it has become in the age of the internet. But I have always found that the learning is in the doing, and before long, I was not just making things, I was teaching others how to make them too.
Since 1996, my partner Tracy and I have presented my techniques and projects to pockets of polymer people all over the world through a variety of different in-person workshops, retreats, and conferences. Connected to that, we’ve shared knowledge, experience, and insight through The Cutting Edge, our boutique collection of original tools, tutorials, and digital books.
Nothing beats a workshop as a time and place to share the creative experience in a connective and collective way… but not everyone can share that time and place.
And digital books are an amazing way to expand the reach of our teaching… but they don’t allow for the interactivity and energy that comes from being in a classroom community.
In the summer of '17, we decided it was time to explore something in between, not as a compromise, but rather as an ideal hybrid that took the best parts of both – the workshop and the web – and combined them into something better…
Our first Online MasterClass, Single Slice Mokume, was an 8-week process-based intensive, all about creating decorative patterned veneers through the intentional exploration of a new mokume mindset.
We followed that with a complementary project-based workshop. As its name suggests, Building Better Beads was all about building, exploiting the structural properties of polymer clay, and seeing that through to the final finish.
Exploring the decorative, mastering the structural, our next online course was a bit of both...
READY TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL?
Building on my Relief Beyond Belief silhouette dieforming techniques for turning flat veneers into voluptuous 3D forms, my next course revealed even more relief, adding decorative texture to an overall surface, with more flair, more flourish, and the occasional unexpected twist. Polymer clay can wow us with its patterns and colours, but even a plain white sheet can become something elegant.
We have just wrapped up our latest workshop...
DEBUTED nov 2018
dieforming... with a twist
Inspired by the diverse and often other-worldly organic shapes and textures found in nature, this course introduced simple strategies for creating one-of-a-kind sculptural pieces... designed and built from the inside out.
Beginning with open-ended exploration and evolving towards a wearable finished piece, this process-into-project workshop taught a variety of motifs using simple tools, including a set of new Dies designed especially for this curriculum.
These techniques are a portal to creating complex and sophisticated designs, in both form and finish. But this month-long meet-up was also a chance to simply play with the clay in a whole new way. BioForming is really fun!
Bioforming is designed to be accessible to beginners, but it also offers a challenge for experienced artists who are ready to push their design, fabrication, and finishing skills to new heights.
If you would like to be notified when this course is being offered again in the future, please complete this form to Subscribe and we'll add you're name to the Bioforming Wait List.
NEW YEAR, MORE COURSES . . .
After teaching for more than two decades, there are lots of courses we're planning to adapt for online learning, from classics like The Cutting Edge to stuff so new I'm only starting to explore it (yes, even after 20+ years, there's always more to discover).
We also want to save room for re-play workshops, so that our already-debuted courses can still be accessible to those who missed them the first time around.
Here's a look ahead to what we've added to the calendar for 2019...
one cane, infinite possibilities
Despite my earliest work in polymer clay as a millefiori bead maker (and aside from a few kids’ birthday parties as ‘Bead-Man-Dan!’), I have never taught canework.
Making canes has always been a passion, but there’s a different kind of cane-making that I've been exploring for a while now, returning to my roots in this medium, but with a whole new POV on traditional canework.
Starting the new year with another new MasterClass, this will be an exploratory process-based course similar in scope and structure to Single Slice Mokume, but it's not mokume. Exploring both pattern and palette, this will teach you fundamental cane-making skills, but it's definitely not millefiori…
Explore a truly ‘cutting edge’ approach to creating detailed patterns and complex veneers with precision one-of-a-kind canework. No reduction. No distortion. No kidding.
Course details will be announced soon, and our Subscribers are always the first to know. Complete this form to get the scoop...
BUILDING BETTER BEADS
form & finish in polymer clay
Introduced as a companion workshop to the open-ended world of Single Slice Mokume, Building Better Beads is a project-based workshop that covers a full foundation of construction skills and finishing techniques for turning any flat-sheet veneer into a finely-crafted form.
No matter what your pattern preference – mokume, complex blending, textures, canework, and more – this course will guide you through building beads better than you've ever built them before.
If you want to learn finishing right from the start, start here...
SINGLE SLICE MOKUME
dynamic strata patterns in polymer clay
After its successful debut as our first-ever online course in January 2018, this many-layered immersion into peeling and revealing decorative veneers returns for an in-demand encore.
Master the mechanics of SSM slab construction, and then use a variety of tools and techniques to alter the layers with precision and intent. Every single slice reveals a unique strata pattern, ready to feature on its own, to mix and match in a composite veneer... or re-mix as part of another slab.
With added insight into developing a personal palette, understanding the value of value, stocking your tool box, and honing in on strategies for creativity and inspiration, you'll be amazed how infinitely diverse a Single Slice can be...
Ready for a new mokume mindset? Let us know with the form below...
Please note, this schedule reflects our plans for online offerings through June 2019, but content and dates are subject to change.
In addition to these courses, we're also starting to plan for next Fall and beyond. As always, we welcome your input and inquiries.
We may repeat courses that have already debuted, but since we have so many other courses we want to teach, it’s far more likely that we will continue to develop new curriculum for MasterClasses and Workshops in 2019 and 2020. If any of the above courses here are something you want to learn, we strongly recommend you sign up for them, as they may not come around again for a while...