Explorations in Polymer with Christi Friesen!

September 4, 2017 , In: Clay, General, Inspiration, Polymer Clay

Or… “Glitter is the herpes of crafting! It gets everywhere and you can never get rid of it!”

Thought that might get your attention! That is my absolute favorite quote from Christi Friesen, a phenomenal polymer clay artist I just had the pleasure of meeting and taking two classes with at the Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, PA. I took two classes offered out of four, Go For The Gold, and Lines & Color.  The classes were offered at a price point that were hard to pass up.

Christie provided ALL the materials for the class, from working surface, to tool, to clay, to gold leaf, to doodads for decorating, and humor! She is a seriously funny, fun person!  I wanted to take Go For The Gold, because I use gold foil in some of my lampwork beads and was intrigued by using gold leaf on polymer.

Of course, I can’t give you the secrets and the process of Christi’s class, ‘cuz really you need to just take a class from her to learn it, but here are my photos of what I created – keeping in mind, when I attend a class, I like to learn the “process” – I don’t necessarily have to come home with a sellable object!

As you can see, I enjoy hearts!  Here are some other things I did in this first class.

This was *supposed* to be a peacock feather. I even sketched out a little drawing, but the point was to divide the bead into a pleasing artistic feel, and my peacock feather stem kind of turned into a three attached feathers sort of design!

The reason I am including this next photo is because I love the pattern.  This is a window on an old stately home we are working on in Greensburg, PA.  I love the flower pattern. I took this photo in June! Andrew Thornton also makes some gorgeous metal clay pendants with this sort of flower pattern.  I love it!

And GUESS WHAT??? Christi has a stamp for clay that includes a pattern similar to this.  Well, I HAD to use that as well!

And here’s where process-not-product comes into play – I didn’t press the stamp down evenly and came away with a not finished looking bottom.  But it’s all good, right? Here is a photo of a bead that Terri Greenawalt created with the same pattern – very fun! (BTW, I sat next to her and we had fun, and we had lunch together at Myriam’s Cafe!).

And finally

I tried to make a face cabochon, cuz I’m into those, you know. But it turned out looking like a muppet. SO, techniques learned were conditioning clay (of course), making shapes, applying gold leaf, sgrafitto, applying crystals, inserting bails, and baking of clay.

The second class, Lines & Color, was equally amazing and fun, and Christi does NOT lose any of her energy when she’s teaching a class.  You get the same knowledgeable, fun, funny, energetic Christi at the beginning and at the end! In the second class, we made bowls.  Yep.  Bowls!  Not ones you can eat from, but ones you could put your Hershey’s kiss balled up wrapper in, or your lemon pit.  Those kind of bowls.  Again, not telling you the process but showing you my creations.  Cuz you really need to take a class from her.

So while Christi’s oval-shaped bowl looks good, mine kind of reminds me of a piece of flatbread with a design on it.  That’s ok, it’s the process… My next assignment is to add feet to the bowl. Didn’t get to that step in class so maybe someday I’ll get there!

Here’s my second bowl, a round one, using an actual bowl to mold and bake it.  I like this one much better, I did my version of Van Gogh’s sunflowers. Remember, I’m no Van Gogh!

Techniques from this class included conditioning clay, forming clay, using a tool to cut designs into clay, coloring clay with different materials, using a mold, baking clay.

I had a great day of class up there in Ligonier!  Here are some photos of class work!

That awesome eye bead is Andrew Thornton’s, but I’m sure you guessed that already!

This cool cool snake is Lennis Carrier’s! I’m so glad I got to meet her – she drove a long way to attend the class! I really didn’t get enough time with her, so maybe another time!

Two of Terri Greenawalt’s beads!  I was happy to see her in person again too!

Andrew made the dragon bowl, of course! Oh, and see the fish? Christi taught that technique in class as well, I’m afraid I don’t know who made that bowl.  And Miss Allison Adorns was in class but I did not get a photo of her most awesome fish bowl. Sad…

Well, I hope you enjoyed seeing what two three-hour classes with Christi Friesen would entail.  Add humor, fun, hilarity, energy, knowledge, sharing, and generosity and THEN you will get the full picture! Oh, and add a most awesome sister who makes really cool jewelry too – Christi’s sister Stacey had a trunk show at Allegory Gallery as well.

You can see Christi’s show, The Nature of Things, at the Allegory Gallery in person, or by visiting the Allegory Gallery web site.  She makes some really great things! You can also join Christi’s Creative Neighborhood as well!

Susan Kennedy

Susan Kennedy Susan, the owner of SueBeads, started making glass beads in 2005 because she loved lampworked beads so much, but wanted to make her own instead of buying them on ebay! She also makes enameled components and dabbles in polymer clay, but her first love is glass. She has attended jewelry-making classes at ArtBLISS and has taken classes from Barbara Lewis (torch fired enameling) in addition to several classes at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
    • Leslie
    • September 6, 2017

    You summed it up perfectly. I have taken a class with Christi before and she is always fun, informative, energetic and humorous to name a few. Can’t wait till my next class.

    • Netty
    • September 7, 2017

    I live in the UK but I swear if I won that lottery I would enrol in the actual Classes in the blink of an eye.😊 we have very few tutors here. Come on uk get with the christi 😊

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