I took a 2-day intensive “hybrid” class from Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg (River Poet Design) this weekend through the South Bay Polymer Clay Guild. This was the first time Lynne has taught this particular class–it is a hybrid of the 8 From 1 Flower Cane workshop and the Floral Tile Jewelry Construction and Design workshop. We made three floral canes, learned Lynne’s special tricks on composing and constructing the tiles as well as the finished piece. Lynne also demonstrated how to make one of her faux wood grains.
I really enjoyed this class. First, Lynne’s very laid back style made her approachable. She clearly demonstrated the techniques, but instead of having us sit for an hour demo, she broke the steps of the projects and processes down into manageable chunks to enable us to see the demo and immediately apply it. I think this approach enabled everyone to achieve the desired results AND have the opportunity to retain as much information as possible. I found the pacing to be a little slow due to these stops and starts and due to the various rates of speed in which people completed the steps, but the methodology was the best way to teach complex techniques.
For a small materials fee, Lynne provided us with a number of tools and materials to use as well as an extremely detailed hand-out complete with color copies of examples of finished canes, and critical steps in creating the finished pieces. We also had the opportunity to buy some of her favorite tools she uses to make her distinctive and beautiful floral designs, and after she explained their function and value, we all were sold.
Aside from the obvious value of the class–making great canes, creating wonderful backgrounds and finished pieces–the tips and special techniques Lynne taught us were worth the price of admission. I now know how to create a smooth, finished composition using cane slices with little distortion of the slices. In the past, my slices would become ENORMOUS. I also know how to properly pack canes to minimize distortion while reducing, how to best slice VERY thin slices, and how to preserve my valuable assets in creating a finished piece.
I think that if you have the opportunity to take a class from Lynne, you should–even if you’re a caning pro. I think we all can learn something valuable from a class, and Lynne’s 17 years of experience with clay is something she readily and generously shares with her students.