PCC Chats With
Special Thanks to Sunni Bergeron for the Transcript
Click Here to Download a ZIPfile of this Chat
May 14, 2002:
SUNNI - Ok folks - let's begin!!
I would like to
take this opportunity to thank SARAH for coming tonight after struggling
all day with hers
and her neighbor's computers!! thank you star and DESIREE for getting
SARAH - yes, I'm on my gracious neighbor's machine and
they have only one
SUNNI - oh eek!! Nice neighbors!!
STARGAZER - Wahoo!
SARAH - This is funny to a novice like me
DINAUSTIN - SARAH.. what is your latest project
what are you
SARAH - I am still being kinda a one trick pony with
canes. I have been teaching quite a bit as well and traveling with the
teaching as some of
MERRIE60 - Are you planning on teaching any classes in
the Boston area?
LIBBY3456 - Or anywhere in the North east?
DINAUSTIN - I'm new to this cane of yours, but what
I've seen is pretty
MLKSTAMPER I love the ones I've seen that were posted
in a message on the
SARAH - I would be happy to get guild info or suggested
MERRIE60 - Well my guild is located in Burlington Mass,
but there is also
a guild in Worcester MA and NH
SARAH - It would be great if you'd e-mail me directly
and I could follow
up from there
SUNNI - Is the teaching your main source of income?
SARAH I do craft shows and teaching about 50/50
DINAUSTIN - SARAH
how do you decide on the colors
in your canes?
SARAH - I spend most of my thinking time working on
DINAUSTIN - do you have rules? do you grab ideas from
the real world?
DESIREE - SARAH, do you select one
palette for the year?
SARAH - I have always worked intuitively and use
paintings often as a
SUNNI - paintings? How so?
SARAH - I use the colors. graphically I break them down
them and then try to work them out in clay
DESIREE - SARAH, you have a background in textile
SARAH - sorry about every other comment I make I seem
to loose so I get
DINAUSTIN - ok. That's going to take a little
SUNNI - reminder to the crowd - SARAH is a slow typer
and a chat
beginner, so please be patient waiting!!
DESIREE - ok
SARAH - ok from paintings I look at a painting with
colors that I like
and kinda take a close up look to see what colors are really in there.
often it's not what
you see at first
SUNNI - so you actually pick it apart down to the
SARAH - yes.
SARAH - Because you can learn so much from what other
artists have done
CORGI - A very unique approach
SUNNI - Almost every color of the palette can be used
in a single
painting. How do you pick the ones you end up with? Intuition?
SARAH - intuition yes and what I like - sometimes I
think I am influenced
by fashion and that whole world more than I would have copped to. also
I'll work with the
skinner blend just discovering how a color moves from one thing to the
STARGAZER - LOL
SUNNI - Do you have a textile design background?
SARAH - I do and I first began by using textile repeat
DINAUSTIN - Seasonal Colors?
SARAH - Yes, colors!
DESIREE - SARAH, when and how were you introduced to
SARAH - I used to work in an art supply and fabric
store and was the
button buyer for the store
SUNNI - Uh oh - buttons!! Sneaky way to get bit
SARAH - We would have little evenings where we got to
play with something
from the store and one night it was FIMO
DINAUSTIN - Fate
SARAH - I was hooked as I know you all can relate
DESIREE - Yes
SUNNI - Yup. Downhill from there.
DESIREE - Oh yes.
DINAUSTIN - can't stop
I'm a big black hole
trying to get all
SUNNI - Did you launch right into cane making?
SARAH - my neighbor is interrupting me to see if I want
a plate of
SUNNI - grin
DINAUSTIN - mmmm
SUNNI - it's good cold! Heeheehee
DINAUSTIN - yeah, but heat it up later..haha
SUNNI - or fry it in butter!
SARAH - Yes, I began with canes and really have never
anything else. I see all kinds of cool things but I don't have time to
DINAUSTIN - You are focused
I wish I could - I see
SUNNI - you are definitely a busy person!!
SARAH - I really worked with bold graphic pattern until
Judith put forth
her lovely blends then color became my main interest
DESIREE - a great blend technique, that skinner
SARAH - I am very interested in the process as well -
it's almost as
important to me as the product. It thinks like I think, unlike this
SUNNI - *grin* what is it about color that holds your
Contrast? Compatibility? Mood it stirs?
SARAH - I build canes that take a long time in the
planning lots of
drawings and manipulating before I even begin to build- I think we all
have such a
connection to life through our experiences with art that we like.
I see all the time
how subjective those choices are So I choose the colors that move me in
the moment and I
do think the world of pop culture influences those choices
SUNNI - so actually cane making is more a journey than
an end product for
SARAH - yes, it's a journey luckily!
DESIREE - SARAH, have you made a cane where you liked
the plan but didn't
care for the cane?
SARAH - Usually I've put so much energy into the
building of the cane
that I don't really care if the graphic components work literally
because, as you probably
know, I do that Kaleidoscope thing and it all becomes pattern in the
end. I work hard
finding colors that have interesting relationships to each other so they
may be a little
strange but usually interesting
SUNNI - so you never really have "bad" canes
SARAH - Well I think we can all find a lemon or two but
there is usually
a place for the worst of it you just have to look further- I cut canes
apart and add
missing colors to make them more interesting
DESIREE - Yes, I learned that from you SARAH.
SUNNI - When you cut the canes, is it along the full
SARAH - yes, I cut from stem to stern
SUNNI - I'm one of those idiot children who loves the
bad canes and cane
CORGI - LOL
SARAH - Just as a matter of interest, I'm finding that
people really miss
seeing actual images in my canes. I'm so gone into pattern I forget that
are so popular. anyway I'm working on a new elaborate bug cane to
satisfy me and them
SUNNI - Oh cool!
SARAH - I have two helpers in my studio now and they do
a lot of the
blending and most of the sanding bless them
DESIREE - LOL
SARAH - My studio is in my backyard and I'm doing open
SARAH - I'm happiest with Fimo but I've seen all the
clays work with
pretty good results. There is a rubbery quality to Fimo that is not in
any other clay that
I've found. I like the qualities that most people hate. It's stiffness.
it lets me make
very specific and small shapes and responds with what I call memory
MERRIE60 - Curious, do you bake your stuff in
convection oven or
a real oven or?
SARAH - Convection
LIBBY - do you work mostly in Fimo or use other
SUNNI - Have you tried the Kato Polyclay yet?
SARAH - I have tried Donna's clay and it seems very
similar to Premo to
me. I think it might have less of the smudging quality for cutting
ANNIE527 - could you elaborate on cutting the cane from
end/end and why
and what you do this for? Thank you.
SARAH - I'm always working with a mirror in mind so
when I change the
cane (i.e. add a color) I do the exact same manipulation to the full
ANNIE527 - thank you, I now have a better image of what
you were speaking
SUNNI - So when you slice a cane to take a peek and
don't quite like the
outcome, you add color.
SARAH - Yes, I add color not so much because I don't
like it but more to
diversify a group of canes or highlight a certain aspect of the
SUNNI - I see I'm going to be eyeing my canes a little
here on out
DESIREE - SARAH, can you talk about your June retreat
in Marin county?
SARAH - Barbara McGuire and I will be doing a two day
retreat in Marin
county at the Marin Headlands Institute
SUNNI - How fun to work with Barb!! When is the
SARAH - We'll be teaching a class together combining
her stamping and
finishing with my caning techniques
SUNNI - Wish I could be a bug on the wall
SARAH - it'll be from June 14th eve till the
SARAH - anybody interested in coming to the retreat can
e-mail me at email@example.com in fact
anyone who feels
like they have questions after this can do the same
SUNNI - Thank you SARAH!! everyone whip your pencils
SARAH - I usually make one large (8lb-ish) cane and
then cut it up into
different areas so one area will feature one color group and maybe
another will have a
SARAH - What I notice most in my class is that the
between my students and me is that I'm willing to move a lot slower than
most of them.
I'm not sure who will be there to back me up but it's sure to be
fun. - I have the
confidence to move slow because I trust the process
SUNNI - So the attention to tiny details is mostly the
reason for going
SARAH - I think most people have the skills but not
that many have the
MERRIE60 - Are you also moving slow because you are
into detail and
SARAH - yeah, I build so much detail into the original
DESIREE - SARAH do you notice a difference between
children and adults
when teaching canes?
SARAH - I haven't really taught kids.
DESIREE - Ah
STARGAZER ç big kid J
DESIREE - LOL
SARAH - well yeah, lots of big kids. My favorite
students are the ones
who really don't get it at all and then have an epiphany.
DESIREE - LOL = laughing out loud
SARAH - Oh, I was wondering what that meant.
SUNNI - hahahahahah!! I love the light bulb moment
SARAH - I guess I just had one
SUNNI - *grin*
SARAH - Well let's see what else might you want to
SUNNI - lets go back to your backyard. What is open
SARAH - Open studio is put on in this case by the Marin
Everyone interested in this geographic area can sign up and have the
public come visit
your space. So I have registered and will have the public showing up for
snacks and art on
Sat and Sun
SUNNI - Oh how fun!! Will you have your worker bees
there blending and
sanding while you demonstrate?
SUNNI - do you have any books out or videos?
SARAH - I'm really quite a talker and not such a hot
JENNYPAT - I missed some of the chat, did you mention
how you market your
SARAH - I mostly sell at craft fairs but when I teach I
often do as well
as a show and its so much easier. no booth no travel - well maybe
travel, but not with a
JENNYPAT - How many shows do you do a year?
SUNNI - do you sell raw canes or finished product?
MERRIE60 - How do you finish your work, sand and buff
or Varathane or
SARAH - I do about 6 shows and teach about 4 or 5
times. I sell some
beads and mostly finished jewelry. I sand and buff every *&$@^%@$%
bead 3 grits of 3M
foam sanding pads and 2 speeds on the buffer
DESIREE - LOL
SUNNI - *cringe* my sympathy on the sanding
DESIREE - Ain't that fun!
JENNYPAT - Do you use a scumbuster or anything like
that to help with the
SARAH - no scum buster cause I have these little dots
SUNNI - Dots?
MERRIE60 - What are dots?
CORGI - Oh like lampwork?
SARAH - yes sorta like lampwork I think, little dots
stuck on to the
surface for decoration
SUNNI - ah. Ok. Thx!
JENNYPAT - Did I see you mention that you have worker
bees working for
you? How many?
SARAH - 2 worker bees and a third in the wing. The
trouble is keeping up
with them. There are so many parts that I personally have to do I find
myself making some
less than efficient decisions just to keep them working
LJCSWARTZ - Could you offer some basic tips that would
be most helpful to
the "just beyond a beginner' cane builder?
SARAH - I think some of the most useful info for a
beginner ... hmmm -
let's see - keeping order to the chaos surrounding you - keep things
clean and don't let
your workspace become confused and distracting. I'm always in the
process of redesigning
things for more efficiency but I rarely get around to putting the ideas
JENNYPAT - gee how do you manage that??? The workspace
LJCSWARTZ - I do need to clean the area
SUNNI - do you have any books or videos out there or in
SARAH - I don't have books or videos now they are on
SUNNI - good people, don't hesitate to jump in and ask
wait for the answer since SARAH is a slow typer.
1PAULINE - Do you ever have classes in the northeast
USA (Rhode Island)?
JENNYPAT - Or Minnesota??? Please!
SARAH - I taught in New York and Washington last year.
I'll travel again
FIMOMEELMO - or Houston?
MERRIE60 - No Boston, please please
1PAULINE - Boston's good
KELLIEAK - Alaska would be nice too SARAH!
SARAH - Well I was actually speaking to someone in
Houston. I have
the name of the education contact there
FIMOMEELMO - OH BOY!
SARAH - All I need is an e-mail or a phone call and
I'll be happy to
respond. I'll be teaching at the Palos Verdes Art Center in
anyone is interested down south
SARAH - O definitely Minn.
JENNYPAT - Really Minn! When? Where?
SARAH - ummm - Well I have many people there, though no
calendar dates as
yet. I'll definitely keep you informed
JENNYPAT - Do that, I will send you an email later, so
you can add my
name to your list, although it might be on it already
STARGAZER - SARAH, you can "work" through me
if you like to get
the word out
SUNNI - SARAH - do you have a calendar of your schedule
SARAH - no, I'm a virtual ludite and a website is on
SUNNI - I would be glad to host it on my website if you
need a place
SARAH - Hey that's neat Thanks!
SUNNI - I'll cobble it up and everything, you just keep
me up on the
dates, or work thru jean who keeps me informed!
KELLIE - Hopefully you will be at Ravensdale
SARAH - yes that was Great. If I get accepted I
will be teaching at
KELLIE - my fingers are crossed
SUNNI - fingers, toes, eyes
SARAH - I work most of the time for very little but I
feel pretty lucky
just the same
KELLIE - that is a great attitude
SUNNI - lucky - as in sharing with such interesting
SARAH - SURE!
SUNNI - how did you get into the teaching aspect of
your cane artwork?
SARAH - In the beginning, 13 years ago, there was such
a curiosity about
the medium that I fell into teaching automatically. the timing was
great for it and
I found so many interested folks
SUNNI - I see that curiosity hasn't abated. Is there a
checklist you use
when you put together a class?
SARAH - Usually I just wonder what to teach because I
really do what I do
and don't have a lot of variety in what I ask from the clay. I
know people like Gwen
have so many techniques up their sleeve that they just keep addressing
new ideas but my
ideas are only interims of depth from where we started. so in terms of
developing a class
structure I'm left thinking about how I can break down only certain
aspects of the process
to really look at those things closely. the trouble is that everyone
wants the full
picture at once
SUNNI - there is never a lack of interest for learning
techniques or precision caning techniques!
CORGI - That's the truth!!!
SARAH - I am usually just looking for what lurks
underneath what I have
already discovered does that make sense?
SUNNI - yes
CORGI - yes it does
BABDU - Will you be coming to the East Coast to teach
this year? Where?
SARAH - I don't have an East Coast trip planned for
this year, but I'd
love to set up one for the beginning of next year
SUNNI - so Bette, contact your guild!!
BABDU - Actually I'm the pres of the S. NH PC Guild - -
but we're really
small so it takes a group of New England guilds to afford a teacher from
the west coast
FIMOMEELMO - SARAH, when you make a cane, how big do
you make them,
average? Length and diameter? If you've already discussed this
I came in
SARAH - about 8 lbs or 4-5 inches in diameter
FIMOMEELMO - lotta clay!
KELLIE - WOW
SUNNI - and that allows you to make several varieties
SARAH - I often make the initial canes triangular
because of the
mirroring potential then I cut this big cane into many smaller canes
each a little
different from one another
JENNYPAT - when you say cut the big cane, do you mean
across the width or
along the length?
KELLIE - How may canes do you make in a month?
SARAH - I can make a really fancy and well thought out
cane in about a
month and I can repeat a few canes that I now know by heart in about a
SUNNI - Wow!! That's definitely attention to detail. My
construction is only 8 hours!!
SARAH - a black and white graphic cane that I have made
many times and
have a tech drawing for how it goes together can actually be made by my
JENNYPAT - Does that time frame include the mixing of
all your colors? Or
is that after all the colors are ready to go?
SUNNI - or is that from concept drawing to finish?
SARAH - well that's not working straight through but
taking time to think
and look at ideas slowly this also includes the color development not
just building time
MERRIE60 - I don't understand what you mean by cutting
the cane into
smaller canes and each one would be different?
SARAH - I have an intricate large cane and I might
reduce part of it to
about a 1" diameter & cut a piece off. Then with that piece I
might stand it on
end and cut it so that I have two separate pieces. each piece
would incorporate a
different part of the image and go together differently. finding
variation is somehow outrageously satisfying to me
FIMOMEELMO - were you good in math??
SARAH - I feel connected to math and special
relationships but I was
never a good student
JENNYPAT - I think I really really NEED to take your
class!! This sounds
right up my alley!
SUNNI - Interesting how claying has a lot to do with
SARAH - There are so many math and medical people in my
SARAH - many mathematicians stop by my booth and want
to talk fractals
with me. I love it
CORGI - LOL
PIXIEMARG - can u give us some tips on how you choose
SARAH - I most often find a painting that I like and
use it for color
STARGAZER - so SARAH, how do you actually have your
work area organized?
(for those of us who create amidst clutter) hee-hee
SARAH - I have clutter too, but I know when I want to
start a project the
first thing I have to do is clean. I try to put to order the many
things pressing on
me and I really try to work clean edges square etc. I have found the
mirroring to be a
primal thing with people
SARAH - I have a couple of fantasies for my future and
one of the is
designing fabrics with my designs and anybody know anything about
SUNNI - I would love to see some "Shriver
SARAH - so would I
FIMOMEELMO - quilters love mirror symmetric fabrics
SUNNI - not just quilters
SARAH - they can take something they are not at all
interested in and cut
it in half and mirror it and they can't believe how much they love
FIMOMEELMO - so you have another job, SARAH? And if so,
what is it?
JENNYPAT - and if it is not being to nosey, do you have
SARAH - this has been my full time occupation for 13
years. no kids and I
don't know how mothers do it!
KKEPHART - Pray for naps
MERRIE60 - Don't you also do another technique that
kaleidoscope with a sort of x across the top. I saw pictures posted on
SARAH - I like to try to work with the things that seem
primal ideas for people. pattern is certainly one of those things.
I do call the
process that I do kaleidoscoping
SUNNI - which is some serious patterning!
SARAH - when I first started I used the fishbone image
resonated with it for a number of reasons it was exciting to connect
with so many people
and still have my own ideas about it.
SUNNI - when you were learning your textile design, did
it give you any
ideas for contacts to implement those designs into cloth?
SARAH - I have so many ideas about the fabrics but no
real technical know
how or people to ask
SUNNI - hmmm
we may hafta send up a flair to see
if anyone in the
claying community does
SARAH - Thanks
JENNYPAT - Would you want someone else to print it for
you? Or are you
interested in doing it yourself?
SUNNI - or learn to make the fabric yourself?
SARAH - I would like to design it and not do the
JENNYPAT - I know someone who had her designs printed
into fabric for
SARAH - Who? I'm trying to think of my fast approaching
old age and
something I don't have to make every part of
JENNYPAT - I met her about 3 years ago, I will see if I
can round up her
info - a gal from Minnesota Darlene Zimmerman, Fairfax Minnesota
MERRIE60 - Usually the fabrics are printed abroad in
places like Thailand
although there are still a few in the US you can call a fashion design
house or a textile
house to get information
JENNYPAT - SARAH I am going to be at a quilt show in
June, a number of
the vendors there dye their own fabrics, I will ask around, and see if I
can come up with
any information for you
SARAH - thanks lots
SUNNI - Did you start into an artistic career by
accident or did you set
about it at an early age
SARAH - I went to art school but as I said I wasn't a
very good student
and I got out and found myself a nice lucrative job in an art supply
SARAH - my dad was a builder and had a shop at our
house. I think he
influenced us all. my brother is a furniture maker and the other one is
SUNNI - ah, a family of artisans! and everything else
is history. Hmm?
Did you begin your teaching career at the art supply store?
SARAH - no I taught at a sewing school and bead stores
to begin with
SUNNI - interesting!
SARAH - I was coming in as a button maker. Buttons were
having a heyday
SUNNI - seems like buttons are coming back into
fashion - and if you have
matching buttons to textile
SARAH - My friend was this big old hippy dude with a
biz in Oregon and he brought me to his buyer. I was able to quit my jobs
soon after that
and just got cracking on those buttons.
STARGAZER - Do you still have any of those early
SARAH - I still do a tiny bit of biz with those guys
but the company has
been bought three times and it's kinda dead in the water. the
truth is I make much
better $ with jewelry and I'm more interested in it! I sell the buttons
for a buck apiece
and, of course, that same thing can have an ear wire on it and sell for
JENNYPAT - What type of jewelry? Pins, earrings and
SARAH - I make pins bracelets earrings pendants etc.
the usual spectrum
POLYCLAYNUT - And you do such a lovely job!! I had some
PC folk in the
gallery who went straight for your work yesterday and were stunned at
how beautiful the
JENNYPAT - do you have pictures of you jewelry put
together? I have only
ever seen pictures of your beads
SARAH - I think there are some pictures linked to this
SUNNI - please check the following links:
DONNABECK - SARAH, do you ever
use precious metals
with your beads?Guest Chat Log Index
SARAH - I have tried to do that but it needs
refinement. I will be
taking a class in Mendocino at the Art Center in a couple of weeks on
making for metal. I hope it will give me some tools. I really feel
my jewelry design
is a weak. I have a sense of what I want but I'm very clumsy in
the execution spot.
I try to look at books of beautiful ethnic jewelry but how to get there
JENNYPAT - have you ever considered teaching not only
cane making, but a
class on HOW to put the end product into jewelry effectively?
BLYNMOON - SARAH, will you be doing any classes in the
South East? As in
NC this year?
SARAH - I don't have anything planned but, if you have
a contact person
with a guild, let me know and I'll be happy to respond
BLYNMOON - thank you
POLYCLAYNUT - SARAH is there a trick to using elastic
for your bracelets.
The glue I use keeps eating the elastic and breaking it at the knots but
the bracelet I
have of yours is still in one piece after much wear.
JENNYPAT - There's a question! What type of elastic do
you use for your
SUNNI - and do you knot it or glue it?
SARAH - round elastic cord from the sewing store
POLYCLAYNUT - maybe the elastic in New Zealand is
different or something
CORGI - Petra glue eats throught the rubber in the
POLYCLAYNUT - ahh I see
SUNNI - ladies and gentlemen - our time with SARAH is
up. I would like to
take this opportunity to once again than her for her Herculean efforts
to make it tonite,
and her neighbors for letting her tie up their phone
JENNYPAT - I think you need to train someone to teach
your method, so you
can be in more places!
BLYNMOON - Thank you SARAH!
SUNNI - if you would like to stay on, please feel free
to do so!
LJCSWARTZ - Thank you SARAH
MERRIE60 - Thank you SARAH
POLYCLAYNUT - Sorry I came in so late Thanks SARAH
SARAH - Thank you all for being so patient with me I
hope it was as least
entertaining in some way
KELLIE - thanks SARAH
PIXIEMARG - what is your e-mail addy please??
SARAH - my email is
JENNYPAT - thank you SARAH, this was very
SUNNI - definitely it was entertaining!! THANK you !
I've had a great
CORGI - thanks SARAH
PIXIEMARG - Thanks
BLYNMOON - applauds SARAH
MACKIMBA - Thank you SARAH! J
ANNIE527 - thank you very much SARAH!
SARAH - I'm going to have a glass of wine now! email me
about the elastic
and I'll tell you all I know. hey thank you so much for your help
SUNNI thank you too! I hope it wasn't too crazy
SUNNI - I was just worried you would be burnt out
before you got here -
Star and DESIREE were the wizards
STARGAZER - it was definitely a long day - Yes! DESIREE
is my hero!
SARAH - oh yeah! Thanks also to you DESIREE!
CORGI - much thanks to your neighbor too!
STARGAZER - if it weren't for DESIREE we'd be barking
up the wrong
SARAH - boy Star, you respond before my type even hits
the page, you are
STARGAZER bows most humbly (hee-hee)
CORGI - LOL
DENJOHN - LOL
SUNNI - *grin* Star is part mindreader and the fastest
typer at PCC!
STARGAZER - SARAH did you know that you had folks from
all over the world
in this chat?
SARAH - no idea
STARGAZER - Surprise!
Polymer Clay Central Home page