Benzon branches out

Jana Roberts Benzon branches out in her Nature Walk class on

Why a branch on PCD today? Because it’s polymer and over the past year Jana Roberts Benzon has refined and refined her tools and technique for shaving polymer until it looks spiky. It’s remarkably durable.

Like yesterday’s Julie Picarello and her hardware store appropriations, Jana grabbed tools from a nail tech’s drawer for her new trick.

This is just one of the goodies from Jana’s Nature Walk workshop scheduled for March 17 and 18 in Texas. Taking classes from artists who have already done the laborious research saves you oodles of time and allows you to daydream about how you could integrate their research into your own style.

Trending Moroccan?

Haney on PCDaily

Now’s the time of year to consider what you’d like to learn in 2017. Who’s teaching what and where? Which classes and events fit your schedule and your budget?

PCD will cover just a few as we move into the new year. Even if travel is out of the question, it pays to track what’s trending.

These Moroccan Lantern beads from Lisa Haney caught my eye. They’re from her class offerings at February’s Cabin Fever in Laurel, Maryland. Check out Lisa’s fish too! Registration has opened and the lineup looks terrific.

Prefer a warmer climate? Look at Florida’s Fandango May 4-8 with a great roster of trailblazing artists. Sign up before the end of the year and save. What’s on your calendar?

Bobblehead bounty

Blackford on PCDaily

It’s not often that inmates can send art home to their families. When Leslie Blackford offered to mail their sculptures to families, students in the Ohio prison classes put extra effort and humor into their Bobblehead creations. Leslie and Tammy Dye are two of their favorite visiting polymer artists.

Just look at this prison cat named Fendor (short for Offender, I’m sure). There are more examples on Leslie’s Instagram. Tammy’s cone beads were also a big hit.

One very devoted friend from rural Ohio prints each PCD post which she mails in a weekly package to incarcerated artists who study and share them. They’ll be seeing this in next week’s delivery so shout a big virtual hello!

Few tools, no internet, no air conditioning, lots of rules! A pretty stripped down studio setup but a terrific learning experience for both teachers and students. There’s nothing better than when a student says, “For an afternoon, I felt free.”  Where could you teach and brighten someone’s day?

About face

Renner on PCDaily

Lisa Renner’s sculpted busts have wistful, pensive looks with lovely touches of fashion and mystery. Lisa avoids the telltale ways of working that scream “plastic”.  Her strong expressions and ceramic-like fabrics pull you right past the material and into the art.

It’s an enviable trick that Lisa teaches in her 2-day About Face class (the next one’s in September in Albuquerque). See if you can figure how how she performs this sleight of hand by flipping through the work on her website.  Check out her class schedule and friend her on Facebook.

Gold rush

Smith on PCDaily

Pennsylvania’s Staci Louise Smith created these latest crackled, rustic beads in a big hurry when she was asked to prepare an online course for CraftArtEdu.

Rather than carefully consider all that might be required, Staci said yes and jumped in. The result is gold…in a rush. Gold Rush!

She talks about her leap-before-you-look experience on the LoveMyArtJewelry blog. You can sample her class at CraftArtEdu. You’ll also find her on Facebook, Pinterest and her own site.

Staci has taught several popular classes on organic beads built on white clay. She takes the color and bling up a notch on this iteration and adds another variation to the crackle craze.

Hollowed beads revisited

Haskova on PCDaily

When teachers begin to prepare for their 2016 classes, we get an early look at what’s ahead in polymer. Here Eva Haskova shows off her January 31 class samples with their graffiti-like marks and hollowed out interiors.

Eva and her students will be pushing the boundaries of the bead in her class in Prague. Wouldn’t you like to know how she uses embossing powders to achieve those spotty edges and slashes of color? See the other classes here and more of Eva’s newest work on Flickr and Facebook.

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  • I'm Cynthia Tinapple, an artist, curator, and leader in the polymer clay community for over 20 years.

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