Tag Archives: classes

Classes for 2017

Last year I had several enquiries about private classes. All my classes will be semi private classes! Very small groups (4-6 max) where instead of all working together on the same project, we will work with some basic ideas and techniques and then, with the guidance of a passionate and very experienced polymer artist (me!) each person can explore different applications of the technique. Or follow suggestions if they are having a brain dead day! I promise you creativity will follow!

I am almost evangelical about the power of creativity and of polymer to foster that! To help spread the word, I am making two offers! If you bring along a friend who has never been to one of my classes, you will get 10% off the cost of the class (or each of you gets 5% off if you are happy sharers!)

If a group of friends (minimum 5) comes fully formed, each one of you will get 5% off (or, as my friend Greg said, one person doesn’t tell the others about this and gets a 25% cut!) In this case, we can look at arranging dates and times that suit you!

I have three classes in February/ March and am running three series of classes in May- August. The classes will be stand-alone but are part of a series where we can really explore some things in-depth!  The will be savings for those booking in for the whole series!  See Class News for details!

Learning to “sing”

Artists who teach often discuss the benefits of teaching techniques vs. projects.  Some teachers wonder if teaching a project prevents the student from discovering their own voice, or following their own creative nudges.  Overwhelmingly, my students tell me they want….BOTH!  They want to learn techniques AND (because life so often seems an eternal list of unfinished To Dos) they love walking out the door wearing something they have actually finished!

Classy cuffsFor a teacher, it might seem easier to teach a project where students undeviatingly follow a specific path. I think you can be flexible. With a willingness to not always KNOW outcomes, you can give your students  wriggle room. You can teach techniques in the context of a project but also teach about other applications. Provide examples, encourage exploration, model creative risk taking.  I think that is the role of a good teacher. You often need to sing a few known songs with someone you know before you find your own voice.  Hopefully you are teaching songs, making harmonies and inspiring new work!

That metaphor is ironic coming from one who sings like me!

I was thrilled by what happened after a recent class. Local enthusiastic polymer artists wanted toIMG_5101 learn about cuff bracelets, extruders and good finishing techniques. I designed a class to bring these things together.  Seven ladies participated and as well as making the specific cuff in the project, we talked about variations, the value of mistakes*, and looked at lots of samples. We discussed extruder use in many other contexts.  I provide extensive notes.  Each lady walked out wearing a gorgeous unique cuff.  (One walked out too early to have her photo taken!) They saw for themselves you can all start with similar techniques and end up with something that is them!

IMG_0263KBV went home and, using the techniques she’d learnt in the class, made an entirely different item! A gorgeous bead which she strung on a collar, wore to work and was asked to make by a colleague who loved it so much. Her very fist commission. She had made a project, learnt a technique and sung with her own voice!

*This was in the contexts of Neil Gaiman’s inimitable advice to Make Glorious Mistakes!

Firsts and Lasts

The Broken Hill lasts are starting.  With only a month remaining here in this town I have grown to love, I am experiencing the This is the last time I will…. phase.  DSCN1493Sunday was my last class as a resident teacher and it has to be said that I have been spoiled here.  I reckon that my students on Broken Hill are up there with the best. They are so enthusiastic, committed, encouraging, brave(!) and patient.  We have lots of fun, lots of laughs and I am constantly inspired by what they make.

I try to make my classes enjoyable for those who like to learn a technique AND forDSCN1488 those who would just love to finish something. And preferable wear it! And underneath it all is my passionate conviction that each and every one of us is creative. Each class member receives a little card with a hand written message about creativity (selected by the universe!) and we share these at the start.  So often, people have said that a message was spot on for them.  (Read what gorgeous Deb said about her message from Neil Gaiman* here).

DSCN1476Last week we had a bloke come to the Fantastic Fold class (with Lamingtons!) and he produced a very fetching snake, cufflinks, a brooch to be and a room full of admirers.  The rest of us made bracelets, cuffDSCN1472 bangles and a wide array of beads.

My regulars wanted to learn how to make little figures like some of my Ladies of Colour and that was what we did yesterday. It was the first time I had taught these to this group.  To any group!  They produced gorgeous girls of colour, verve and chutzpah, just like them! Because it was my last class here for a while we finished with champers and nibbles.  Thanks to the ever patient Ian for kicking us off and so faithfully letting me in so I didn’t ever have to set off alarms.  (I have DSCN1486done this in the past and consequently have a wee phobia about.)

These Broken Hill polymeristas have so much drive, talent and a sense of fun so I do hope that they continue with their addiction. I sense they will!

*Neil Gaiman’s words about mistakes are some of my favourites. At least one person gets them each class:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying newDSCN1495 things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

DSCN1490So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.


Who Won and What’s Happening?

I have to confess that I have been having way too much fun writing and preparing DSCN5316 this 6 week program to stop and write in the blog!  And the good news is that Creativity and Polymer Clay will be running as we have already got the minimum number of participants* (and bless them, some are coming without having really heard ANYTHING about the course! Gotta love that trust!)

As well as making some gifts** and preparing samples*** for participants, I have loved the process of getting really clear about what I want people to be able to do as a result of having spent the 6 weeks together.  WORD OF THE YEAR ALERT: Clarity was one of the words I selected and for those of you noting them down to get the big prize, here’sDSCN5319 your second one!

I am going to write more very soon about a program called Teach Now but doing this course has really helped me to get clear about what I want to say and how I want to say it.  And I think it contributed enormously to the amount of joy I’m getting from preparing the course.

I have also been revisiting favourite sites and rediscovering some wisdom! I love this one from the Skinny Artist about how to deal with too many ideas and not enough time!

I loved the ideas Emily, Deb and Margaret came up with for a name for the course and so all three will get a pendant. Margie, it won’t be another black and white one for you! Only so many a woman can wear really!  Thank you all for connecting!

*Still room for more!

** Just knew I would eventually find a use for some of the little plastic thingies that came with flowers a daughter got once. Did you know the flower getting gene is not familial?

*** Can you spot monochromatic, analogous, complementary and split complementary colour schemes?


Double D-dreaming and doing!

photoIf some one had walked into our class on Sunday, they may have wondered just what was going on.  Occasionally you’d hear They are magnificent boobs or Does this need plastic surgery? All in the name of creating goddesses/ gods/a green man that reflected our inner selves!

The class was created on a bit of a whim after reading a comment made by Cynthia Tinapple in her excellent Studio Mojo about needing to be Double D girls. Dreamers and Doers.  The image that popped into my mind seemed like fun and one thing led to another and there we were, with magnificently brave Ian* to balance the gender imbalance (big call for one bloke with 11 women but he wasphoto up to it), to create to our hearts’ content.

It was a class to follow instincts, to experiment wildly, to learn newphoto techniques and to walk out with more ideas.  I loved the diversity of the creations and the willingness of every participant to really follow their gut, to listen to the little voice within saying Why not give this a go? or I wonder what it would look like if I did this?

With access to inks, powders, Helen Breil’s texture sheets, home made texture tools, words they received on clouds in the beginning of the class, pre made canes (I did have rather a lot in stock!) and pre mixed colours each artist created something unique and gorgeous.  There won’t be any more of my classes until May/ June as I leave in less than two weeks. It will be a while between drinks but will keep us all going I hope!

See more photos here at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery Facebook page.

*Ian may not have been there totally of his own free will but never let that get in the way of having fun!

Promote your Top Shelf!

photoIt possibly sounds like I spend ages reflecting and pondering.  A bit of January pondering does take place, partly due to timing, but also because usually October, November and December are ponder free zones!!!  I am generally in Nepal, and there is precious little reflecting and pontificating time and lots of frantic doing.  Any reflecting or planning is very Samunnat related and I usually come back feeling like I need to regroup at a personal level.  Hence the preponderance of pondering.

Every year, my friend Cath and the Team at UN Headquarters come up with100_0328 their version of the Declaration of the Year.  Readers may recall 2012 when we were to start where we were, revel in our imperfections and wear undies that made us feel great. Some made underpants earrings inspired by the more profound aspects of this great declaration.

DD iconThis year it’s another cracker and spookily synchronous given my amply proportioned iconic goddesses.  (This one pictured even doubles…sorry…as an earring holder!)  This year we are exorted to Do a hobby (old or new), accept yourself as you are right now, yes, now…right now and promote your “top shelf”.  The final part of the Declaration began as Stand up Straight but Promote your Top Shelf does it so much better and ever since receiving the word, so to speak, I have been aware of my posture in a way stand up straight would NOT have inspired!!!

Anyway, it all tied in very nicely and in the spirit of the Declaration and all my pondering (see, it does all come together in the end) and I have created a class called THE DOUBLE D GODDESS ICON CLASS where you can do all three aspects at once!  You can do a hobby; not even just accept yourself but walk out loving yourself sick becauseCanberra polymer clay retreat 2006 027 of your gorgeous creation; and we will be so aware of posture and our top shelves in general the whole time.

Each creator will make a unique icon that reminds her/ him(?) to be a double D girl, a Dreamer and Doer.  We will also create our icon to express a quality we want to take into the year. So much! Gosh.  All in fabulous polymer. To the right, I’ve posted some photos of icons made by students in a similar class I ran in 2006!  Read more details of February’s class here but those here in the Outback in Australia’s stinking hot Summer would be mad not to do it!