Spring? Is that you?

Spring?  Is that you?

I sure hope so! I don’t know about you, but I am eager to welcome the new focus that a change-of-season brings. I’m ready for open windows, Spring cleaning, and leisurely walks around the neighborhood; short sleeves, cropped pants and long evenings at the clay table; skirt-making, cherry blossoms, and chipmunks.

I’ve been awfully distracted by seriousness this past week. I know I started the conversation, but I hope it’s ok to be weary of it at this point and ready to move on.

In that spirit, I have a few teaching-related questions. I have my first teaching gig this afternoon. The local girl scouts invited me to come show them a few things, and to talk about what I do and how I got here. I was thinking of teaching them to make a simple cane, apply slices to a ball, and turn the ball into a bead that they can string on a piece of cord as a necklace. So my questions for anyone who has taught newbies (or who knows any preteen girls, for that matter, LOL!) are:

  1. Does this sound like a reasonable project to complete in an hour or so? If not, do you have any suggestions for simplifying it? My main goal is to show them how to make a fun, easy piece of jewelry that they can wear right away.
  2. I have my doubts about using tissue blades for cane slicing in this environment, but what about those snap-off blade knives, like this one?
  3. Am I crazy for waiting until the day of the class to figure these things out? LOL!

Wait, I can answer that third question myself: I absolutely am. I was going to work on this earlier in the week but found myself writing insanely long blog comments during most of my free time. I’m tempted to ask if we can postpone this until their next meeting, but I’d feel bad about doing that this late in the game.

Thanks for any advice you may have, and Happy Spring!

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About Lisa

I am a polymer clay artist turned fiber addict. I can often be found here at Polka Dot Cottage, writing about my adventures in polymer, fabric, yarn, photography, and everyday life. I live in New Jersey with my husband, two sons, and entirely too many craft supplies.

9 thoughts on “Spring? Is that you?

  1. I think it is very do-able. Maybe having the clay balls already done for them to apply the cane slices would cut down on some time. You can quick show them how to make the ball but then hand out pre-made ones.

    I am with you on the tissue blades. But I would do one sided razor blades instead of the snap knife. I did a class with a group of pre-teen girls a couple years ago. they had a blast and were very careful with the razors. I chose the razors because they have that rolled edge on the non sharp side.

    and of course you are crazy. thats why we love you 😀

    See what Kathi has been blogging about: Look out world!!

  2. I think it’s doable! Even my 9 yo is allowed to use a paring knife in the kitchen with supervision and that’s perfectly adequate to cut a basic cane.

    What I did with her class was make a long tube bead on a piano wire for every student. Then I brought in a box of simple canes and stamps and everyone got to decorate their tubes, measure and score them, then bake and finish cut, then swap.

    So basically, 20 students in her class, each made 20 small beads then everyone traded around the circle so that everyone ended with 20 different beads for a friendship necklace. I’ve been asked to do the same project for the remainders of the 8yo+ kids for their friendship (anti-bullying / stewardship) project at the school.

    See what Elaine has been blogging about: Year of Clay – Earring Stand

  3. Your plan sounds like a reasonable project. Great advice by Elaine. I’ve used the snap off blades with handles with no problem for slightly older kids (9+). the blades are narrow and the handle is protective. They just need assistance with how to slice, i.e. no little fingers in the way. Paring knives for 8 year olds work well too.
    Good luck this afternoon!
    Yay for Spring here too! We’re looking at Daffodils and Tulips soon! But rain is also common for Spring around here.

  4. I’ve got to agree with the paring knife crowd. I used a paring knife for my canes for almost a year before I found out about tissue blades (in a KLEW class–lucky me! She took pity on me and gave me a blade). I was making pretty intricate quilt patterns and had very little trouble–until it came to slicing a bigger cane.

    I’ve also found that the most time consuming part of a class is conditioning the stupid clay (I’m a Fimo user). Maybe have it preconditioned, so all it would take is talking about conditioning and giving it a smoosh or two.

    Making balls and a simple cane to cover for an easy bead sound perfect given the time frame involved.

  5. Hello,
    If your group isn’t too large, may I suggest a cutting table or area. That way an adult can be there while the cutting is going on. When teaching children, I like to have “stations” set up with different aspects of the activity going on at each separate space. Just a thought! Have fun, the kids are lucky to have you.

  6. Just a comment on the non-clay part of your questions – if you ask to wait until next month you’ll put it off until that day anyway so you won’t be in any better shape! So, do it today and take pictures to share!

  7. Pingback: Polka Dot Creations » Blog Archive » Getting my feet wet

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