Thursday, May 14, 2009

Donna Kato Workshop Bangle

This is the bangle I made during the recent Donna Kato workshop in Denver. See my previous posting for more photos and details.

It's hard to tell the size of the bangle from the photo but when I put it on my wrist it's bigger and clunkier than something I would normally wear. Heck, I don't normally wear bangles at all but the design possibilities are intriguing so I'd like to pursue making more. I just want to refine future bangles to be a bit more wearable than the one I made here.

I consider this bangle to be a prototype example, because in trying to get as much done in the one-day workshop, we had to rush a bit to get through all the steps. So my application was sloppy in places, with edges not meeting up perfectly. But at least I know what to do now!

The canes used in this bangle are unquestionably Donna Kato style, those who know her work recognize the zipper cane and the use of stripes in the triangle "fang" cane against a the drama of a black background. I chose to follow her color scheme in the workshop as Donna suggested to save time in not having to do too much color mixing. Donna told us how she mixed these colors, but interestingly, despite the precision of her cane making, the way she told us to go about mixing colors was less precise: "a lot of this, less of that, and a dash of this."

What was cool about the red and orange in the zipper and fang cane is that up close the stripes are undoubtedly two different colors, but viewed from further away the red and orange merge and look rust colored, which is a color I love combined with lime green.

I also like the wavy shape of the base, I am not into perfection or symmetry so the free form shape is right up my alley. The zipper cane pulls it together though into a bit of order and it really makes a nice border, leaving the door open for interpretation inside those borders.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Donna Kato Workshop- Denver '09

Ok, you know about the Skinner Blend, the Natasha Bead...have you ever done the Jana Whack? Named for Jana Roberts Benzon's method of conditioning the notoriously stiff Kato clay, that's how we started off our recent Donna Kato workshop in Denver. We brought our rubber mallets and pounded the Kato clay while still in it's package until it was partially flattened, then we were able to continue conditioning with our hand rolling devices and pasta machines.

The Jana Whack on Kato Clay

This workshop was about building bangles. Most of my own polymer work is small and doesn't have too many steps, I finish things quickly and move on to the next thing. But Donna's bangles are quite a beautiful sight to behold and it was informative and worthwhile to spend the day making one item, which required many steps and many trips to the baking oven.

Donna with the base form of her bangle

Everyone made a black base form then we moved on to adding canework. With a lot to do in one day, Donna suggested we stick with her color scheme to save color mixing time. I was happy to do that as I liked the colors she used: orange, red, and lime against the black base form.

The canes we made were the very effective "zipper" cane, and a "fang" cane which incorporated stripes as well as a Skinner Blend plug. Those plugs are great--Donna has the tutorial for them in her latest book, The Art Of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques.

everyone happily working on their bangle forms

Donna shows us the striped cane

Donna puts the finishing touches on her bangle at the end of the day

I didn't quite finish my bangle by the time the class was over, so when I finish it I will post it in my next blog entry. (And I can't wait to make more bangles after I finish the first one.)

It was a fun day, I enjoyed my first-ever workshop with Donna Kato. She is a pro, and it shows in her teaching style as well as her final results.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Julie Picarello Mokume Gane Workshop

Julie Picarello describing her mokume gane technique

I recently attended a Julie Picarello mokume gane workshop in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was part of a ten day road trip so I am just getting home and posting some photos. I enjoyed taking Julie's workshop and highly recommend it even if you have already done mokume gane, it's always informative to learn from someone who specializes in a particular technique. Julie is nice and fun to be around, as are all the members of the Pikes Peak Polymer Clay Guild.

My own mokume gane slices made during the workshop.

Mokume gane beads/pendants made by workshop participants on the first day of the workshop. There are some stunningly good polymer artists with great color sense at this clay guild!