Your Polymer Workshop Questions answered.

PS if you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact me

We can't make any of your workshop dates - can you organise a special date for us?

Although I run workshops fairly frequently, I know many people struggle to get time off work or to fit them in.

If you have a group of five I'm really happy to try to organise a workshop for you at one of my two regular venues.

Click here to email me with an idea of the date you'd like and which venue you'd prefer, and I will investigate.

I normally need at least four weeks notice but it's always worth trying me if it's less than that. 

Can I give someone a workshop as a gift?

YES!  You absolutely can, and it's a lovely idea.

My workshop gift vouchers are here (or click on the picture).

Choose whether you want to send an email gift card, or would like me to put a paper one in the post to your lucky recipient.

About my regular workshop VENUE

I run most of my regular workshops in Hobbycraft Crawley; it's a huge two storey craft store with supplies and inspiration for every possible crafty pursuit.


(Click on the picture to open a map).

There's plenty of free parking, a big craft area on the first floor, a lift at the back on the right, and a couple of Costa Coffee places for cups of reviving tea and coffee etc during your workshop.

I will need to take a note of your car registration so that you don't get stung for overstaying.

What should I wear to a workshop?

Anything comfortable and not too precious! Polymer clay doesn't stain and isn't generally messy but little bits of it do get everywhere, particularly under foot.


We also sometimes use pigments and powders which can get onto clothes. I've never found anything to stain, but better safe than sorry! 


It's worth tying up long hair, as we use pasta machines to roll and condition the clay, and you would not want to get your hair trapped in one of those...


Long fingernails aren't normally a problem but you may find yourself with fingernail gouges all over... not normally a problem unless you're going for 'museum quality' items (!). Nail polish, on the other hand, can be quite useful in covering up the dreaded "clay under fingernails" that everyone ends up with...

Should I get there early?

Not unless you want to have a chat beforehand. We usually start on time and the first task is to choose colours, so if you're a few minutes late or early, it won't matter too much.

I've done a beginner's workshop already - what can I do next?

You could probably do the beginner workshop again, as no two workshops are the same and we do slightly different things each time. You will certainly make something completely different, and you will learn some new skills second time around.


However, if you are keen to try some more advanced techniques, you can either book an 'intermediate' workshop which I run fairly frequently (contact me to find out about the next one) OR you can book a one-to-one where we can focus on what aspect or technique you're most interested in.

Is there a limit to what I can make?

Not really, but you'll find you're limited by time!


In most cases adults will make two or three 'canes' (patterns) and from those, they'll make a number of different items including pendants, earrings, key rings, cufflinks etc.


I ask that any bits of unused canes are left behind so that the clay can be re-used. If you've made a pattern you really love, you can buy it at cost price (I bring scales so we know how much clay each 'cane' contains). It works out at around £3 for 100g.

Bear in mind that larger projects won't cure properly in the oven in the 30 minute curing I suggest in the instructions. Under-cured items are fragile and will snap and crumble, which is a waste of clay and effort as well as being very disappointing for the creator!

What format does a beginner's class take?

At an adult beginners workshop, we choose colours, learn how to condition the clay so it's ready to use, and make some basic shapes and patterns in the clay. 

We then will learn how to reshape, reduce and recombine the patterns in order to generate the beautiful millefiori effects.


We will then turn that clay pattern or 'cane' into a range of items including pendants, cufflinks, earrings, key rings, and sometimes bracelets.


I don't take ovens to workshops so you'll be collecting all your creations in a special wallet with full curing instructions so that you can cure and finish your pieces at home.

How do I get my pieces home?

Taking ovens around to workshops isn't really feasible, so at a workshop you'll be given a plastic wallet to keep your creations in, complete with full curing instructions.


"Curing" sounds complicated but it's very simple - just 30 minutes in a low (110-130 degree C) oven.

Do I need to do anything to my items after they're cured?

Totally up to you! Polymer clay is naturally slightly matte when it comes out of the oven. If you want a smooth or even shiny / highly polished surface, I'm afraid it involves sanding!


You'll need wet and dry sandpaper... my detailed finishing instructions are under Useful Info.

I've booked onto a workshop but now can't make it - can I get a refund?

I don't offer refunds on workshop bookings except in exceptional circumstances (eg I've had to cancel or reorganise the date you originally booked). 


However, if you need to change a booking and can give me more than 7 days notice, I'm sometimes able to move your booking to a date you can do.


Altneratively you might prefer to find someone else who'd like your place!


Please contact me to arrange an alternative date (or to let me know that someone else is coming instead).

Anything I should be worried about?

Not really! Polymer clay and most of the other paints, pigments and powders we use are non toxic and wash out easily. 

However, we do use very sharp blades to cut and shape the clay, and every so often someone manages to cut themselves. I carry plasters!

​I'm disabled or need help from a carer during the workshop - is that a problem?

Not at all. It is normally absolutely fine to bring a helper along.


The only time it might be a problem is if the class is completely full, when space might be an issue. By all means contact me for further information or to make arrangements.


If you have trouble with your hands, it might not be the craft for you - see the FAQ about hand problems and arthritis.

I have hand problems / arthritis / sore joints - can I still play with clay?

Working with polymer clay is quite hard on hands, and many clay artists end up with stiff joints or other hand problems. 


We do a lot of manipulation of the clay, pinching and squeezing and reshaping, and the clay we use is generally quite stiff - a bit like plasticine.


This process isn't really something you can get around or leave to machinery to do, unlike conditioning the clay which can be accomplished in several different ways.


If you already have arthritis or sore joints, particularly around your thumbs, you may decide that this isn't the craft for you. 


If, on the other hand, you have skin irritation on your hands, a pair of vinyl or latex gloves would probably help. Many polymer artists wear them - mainly to avoid getting finger prints all over their clay. (They have the added advantage of preventing the dreaded 'clay filled fingernails' - which is not a good look!)

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