Translucent Layering with Kathleen Dustin

Last month, I had the pleasure of taking a polymer clay master class with renowned artist Kathleen Dustin on her translucent layering technique. I took this class years ago (back a decade or more) when she taught it for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild (PAPCG) but both the technique and my skills have evolved with time. Kathleen is an excellent teacher and the techniques are adaptable into one's personal aesthetic (instead of looking like a copy of Kathleen's work). The caliber of the students in this particular class was unusually high. It was really fantastic to be in such creative company! I have not yet finished anything that I made in the class. But it was interesting to see, even in just a two day workshop, how quickly this technique can morph into a more individual style. Here's my first pass:

For this set, I followed Kathleen's method diligently, since I was trying to learn the technique. Paint, marker, sgraffito, gold leaf, translucent clay, carving, backfilling, and yes, even some caning are at play here. I deliberately worked outside of my normal color palette, so I'm not sure this truly feels like "me" (although I couldn't help but add some dots), but I'm pleased with how it is turning out. The two smaller pieces will be earrings. I'm nor sure yet what the larger piece will be... Brooch? Pendant? Feel free to vote in the comments!

Since practice makes perfect, and I can be a little bit of an overachiever, I also made a second set:

I know what this set is going to be. The larger piece is a pendant, and the smaller pieces are earrings. There needs to be some edging added, and I have to engineer how the earrings will hang, but I think this is going to be fun when it's done.

Check Kathleen's website to see her work and her teaching schedule. If you have the opportunity to take a class with her, I highly recommend it.