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PC01: Introduction to Polymer Clay
PC02: Potpourri of Techniques
PC03: Millefiori Basics
PC04: Creating Vessels

National Polymer Clay Guild
POLYinfoMER Aug 1998
Volume VIII, Number 3

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Editing the POLYinforMER can be a whole lot of fun. Like the day I received a box of four videotapes from MindStorm, each featuring Donna Kato! While I don't get to keep them — they were graciously donated to the Guild — I do get to see them first, lucky me.

Instructional videos are the next best thing to being there, in a classroom with your favorite artist. They make great gifts, and are a fun way to introduce beginners to the wonders of polymer clay. Local guilds can view them together for an entertaining clay day; polymer clay teachers can use them to brush up their own presentations; and better than driving the instructor crazy, you can keep rewinding it until you "get it." This latest set from MindStorm's Master Artisan Series is as nicely packaged and professionally produced as the rest of the line. Each tape retails for $24.95.

As I viewed the tapes, I was impressed by the careful balance Kato strikes between project-oriented and technique-oriented material. Those who need to see a completed project in order to visualize the end result could work through the instructions from start to finish and happily compete jewelry or home decor items. An experienced viewer could pick up the new techniques just by watching, then apply them to her own work. I consider myself a middling-level clayer, but still benefited from a number of tips and shortcuts from even the beginner tapes.

As a polymer clay instructor, I liked Kato's clear, concise explanations of techniques and polymer clay concepts. Her delivery is very calm and relaxed throughout. As a matter of fact, that might be only complaint: Kato's voice is so soft and soothing, I was lulled right into a nap on one occasion. After that, I learned to watch sitting up, not lying on the couch.

Introduction to Polymer Clays features color mixing, push molds, photocopy transfer, figurines, millefiori and mosaic techniques. (56 minutes) Learn how to make a simple lime cane, sculpt a bear, create molds, simulate stone, decorate with mosaics, transfer images, plus many other easy to follow techniques and projects.

Potpourri of Techniques features five techniques: mokume gane, crushed ikat, marbled paper, kaleidoscope and jellyroll cane. (45 minutes) Learn these five techniques developed or modified by Donna Kato. Includes jewelry and home decor projects.

Millefiori Basics features jellyroll, checkerboard, quilt, stained glass, flower and watermelon canes. (45 minutes) Learn how to simulate stained glass or batik fabric; make jellyrolls and rainbow checkerboard patterns, create a flower cane, then reduce it; and for fun, how to make a watermelon. The cane slices are then applied to a finished project — Donna's special stubby pen.

Creating Vessels features four vessel types and six surface treatments. (50 minutes) Learn to create free-form vessels as well as covering rigid forms. The vessels projects are then embellished with carvings, woven patterns, molded impressions, gold leaf, patina and stone effects.