Friday, November 18, 2011

Another great clay carnival!

Clay Carnival 2011 is over - we're all home and getting back to "normal". Special thanks to our teachers Bettina, Sylvie, Natalia, Dani, Judy, Leslie and Kim for a great event! So much inspiration and so many new techniques for students to further experiment with and make their own.

Very special thanks to all of our students, too. Without your participation, well, there would be no Clay Carnival at all and we are very thankful that you came (and so many return every year!) This year was very international with our teachers from Spain, Germany and France and students who came from Australia, Japan, the Czech Republic and Karen (I'm sorry, I don't remember where you live but I know it's not the US!) You came from distant lands and we are so glad to have met you and we hope to see you next year, too. We even had a doggie - albeit stuffed - he was extremely well behaved.

We are always looking for ways to improve our event and so we're looking at moving the dates up into October (perhaps) and might even move off the Strip (it was soo crowded). We will investigate all our options and let you know as soon as we make any decisions.

Many, many thanks again for making this Clay Carnival memorable and absolutely fantastic. Have a great holiday everyone!

Cheers, Donna

Friday, October 28, 2011

Addition to the Sorbet Pendant Materials List

Hi folks, it's me Bettina.

I'm in the middle of making some class samples for the Carnival and I just noticed, that I forgot something on the materials list.

Please everybody: bring a light bulb to bake on. We need it for the clasp beads.

So this is the updated materials list:
  • Pasta machine
  • Acrylic rod
  • Rigid and flexible blade
  • Craft knife or scalpel
  • Cookie cutters (about 1 inch wide - round, triangular, square)
  • A very small round cutter (for example a 3-4 mm Kemper Kutter)
  • Texture plates or stamps
  • Wet sanding paper (400-2000 grit)
  • Cylindrical baking mold (empty tin or soda can)
  • 20 inches of black 3 mm buna cord
  • Super glue
  • Flush cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Hand drill with a 1 mm and 3mm drill bit
  • Head pins (0.8 - 1 mm)
  • Small chain (like a necklace extension chain, 2 inches)
  • Light bulb

See you all very soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let's go to the beach!

Hi friends! Daniel here writing from Spain. May I make you a refreshing proposal, like bringing a little bit of sea breeze to sunny Vegas? Ok, let's do it! ...Getting our inspiration from an endless source of beauty and natural creativity -radiolarians. Well, a mega-sized kind of radiolarians, since the original ones are quite microscopic... I hope you will like these bangles. During the time we spend together, we'll have the chance to create our own from scratch, using materials that won't be there anymore, trapping hollow air in the process, then letting it go... so much fun! Our workshop will focus on one specific model -the thorn, first on the left in the picture, which is a perfect demo of the techniques involved, but we will actually cover several models, so if you feel like making a different one, that will be just perfect! Whatever the choice, we'll tackle them all -all techniques, tricks, possibilities, challenges- in full detail. Best of all, from the first minute you will find that the overall thing is just suuuuuper-easy, suuuuuper-fun! Creativity is queen here.
We'll need these materials:
- Drinking straws (several diameters, from very small to quite big, would be perfect!).
- Several big, round cookie cutters: the smallest of these, at least big enough for your hand to fit in and comfortably pass through. The others, 1/2 inch approx. bigger than the small one in diameter (just one teasing hint: these won't touch the clay!).
- Blade (Kato NuBlade is by far the best in the market).
- Xacto knife.
- Needle tool.
- Pasta machine (no... really? I can't believe you).
- Carving tools (the ones by Kato are amaaaazing, love them all!).
- Sandpaper: coarse + medium + fine (we'll always wear a mask for these).
There are some other surprise materials, but I will take them for you. Just to keep the thrill... wait and see... LOL!
Can't wait to see you all!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

BREAKING NEWS! Perhaps, not surprising, but it's news!

Just taught this for the first time in Dallas and I love them and I love the process so you'll learn how to make the new Squash Blossom pendant, instead of the ring. Confused? Welcome to my brain. My goal is always to try to give you something new and fresh and fun so this better meets that criteria. Now, if anyone really, really wanted to learn the ring, let me know.

materials for the squash blossom pendant:

small ball, ball stylus
needle tool
hand drill (if you have one with a 1mm bit, bring it, otherwise I will provide)
fine grit sanding block (optional) - if you have a local Harbor Freight, buy it there - much cheaper!
400 grit wet dry sandpaper (optional)
short brass tube or another small diameter rolling tool
sheet of deli paper
burnt umber oil paint, toothbrush and rubber or latex gloves (once again, if you have it, bring it, otherwise I will provide)



Monday, June 13, 2011

update to Kim's class - Wood Gone Wild!

Hi everyone, I've tweaked my class just a bit to make the focus a bit more narrow for the limited class time we have. I'm going to delete my earlier class post just so there will be no confusion. I'm including lots of pictures though none of them are very good so I'll try to retake them at a later date.

One of my favorite things is to combine nature with the fantastical. Kind of like what would happen if Mother Nature and Dr. Seuss had a love child. In this class, we'll focus on wood, sticks, and the random pod. You'll learn to make realistic sticks and found wood pieces from the forest floor without the use of molds (although it's fine to being a couple of those if you find an interesting twig you like). Color and interest will be added with seeds, shoots, plants, and assorted fungi that spring purely from your imagination. If you'd like to make jewelry, I'll show you how to turn these pieces into rings, bracelets, pendant, or necklace components. This class offers lots of possibilities for more sculptural work as well. What you make will be up to you.

Here's what you'll need. I'll be bringing lots of things to share too.


  • pasta machine

  • clay blade

  • needle tool

  • ball stylus (a couple of different sizes if you have them)

  • craft or x-acto knife

  • thin sewing needle (make a clay handle for it to make it easier to work with)

  • knitting needles (one thick #5 and one very thin - sizes are not critical here)

  • 5 or 6 paper towels (the stronger and thicker the better)

  • 3 graduated Kemper cutters (shape doesn't matter, small is best)

  • baby wipes

  • cornstarch and a fluffy brush

  • small amount of liquid clay and a brush to apply it

  • extruder and 2mm circle or spaghetti disc (optional)

  • latex gloves (if you prefer not to stain your hands)

  • apron (or just wear old clothes as this can get messy)

  • jewelry findings of your choice - thin metal bangle (think CHEAP, Walmart usually has these in a bundle), necklace cord, metal form to bake a ring (I use a piece from a socket set).


Check out the last photo for things I like to use. A flexible or semi-flexible impression of interesting tree bark, a stick with lots of texture, an old wood chip, dried pods, and Sue Kelsey's magic texture sponge. This is just a short list to give you ideas. Anything with a wood grain or organic texture that would translate to wood will work. Take a walk in your local park or backyard and see what you can find.


We'll provide the clay but if you're an overachiever, who likes to get a head start, bring about 3 0r 4 ounces of ecru clay. My recipe (I don't really measure, just guess) is a 2 oz. package of white clay, a 15mm ball of brown, and a 10 mm ball of yellow. I would like you to bring a few balls of colorful clay and a bit of mud (about the size of a quarter will be fine), and a small piece of a Skinner blend bull's eye cane in the colors of your choice. If you've never made one, just skip that for now.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Le Carnival Box

2011 Clay Carnival Las Vegas
"Le Carnival Box"
The words Circus or carnival automatically bring up thoughts of wonder and unexpected delights. We all have different images in our mind of what those things are. In this class we will explore ,design and create a unique "jack in the box-ish" piece of art. I am so excited about this class and I can't wait to see what this especially creative group is inspired to make.

SUPPLIES (clay is already included)
Kit fee of $3.00
(Kit includes the box, a spring , filigree finding, fabric, beads, vintage paper, antiquing paint, needle tool) The fee could be lower than the estimated $3.00, I am still shopping for the boxes and it could be less if I can find them cheaper before November. The fee is not due until the begining of each class.

Please Feel free to email me any questions .
I am looking forward to seeing each of you in Vegas in November.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Judy's Class - "Spring-y" Bracelets

I've been feeling quite "Spring-Y" lately. I know the class will be in the fall, but these would make wonderful Christmas gifts! In my class you will learn the secrets to making these "springy" bracelets, complemented with perfectly formed striped balls. I made a necklace with the leftovers that you can see on my flickr site.

For this class you will need:

Clay tool box (blade, pasta machine, acrylic rod)
Extruder with small (not tiny) spaghetti disk (I will have some to use)
Thin metal double pointed knitting needles 2mm (I will bring some to use, but these are great, I use them for so many things!) You could substitute wooden skewers. You can buy them at polymer clay express under the tools section (about midway down the page)
fluffy paintbrush (any size will do)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Funky desert brooches!

I am Natalia Garcia de Leaniz, maybe we have already met each other in previous Clay Carnivals in Las Vegas, where I have been so lucky to teach and have such a great time!!!
If this is your first time at the Carnival, I am sure you won't regret it and that this will be a fabulous experience for you, with clay, wonderful people and lots of laughs.

This year I will be teaching what I call my Funky desert brooches. They consist of several layers that we will combine playing with colors, transfers and different surface treatments. You will learn how to get a gravel finish without using any texture tools to create your own colorful desert!

For this project you will need to bring:

- Pasta machine
- Flexible blade
- Small cookie cutters in different shapes (1/2", 3/4" approx.)
- Brush for liquid clay

Friday, April 15, 2011

Colorful pendant

Hello, I'm Sylvie Peraud from France.
First time I came to Vegas was in 2008 I think. I am really delighted to have been invited to teach this year.
I had a hard time coming up with a project that was fun to make and interesting too. My first aim was playing with color mixes and looking for new shapes. I fiddled around and made funny earrings. But, as earrings took more time than we actually get, I changed my project to this pendant, which is greatly inspired by the earrings.

Hope you'll like it too. Here's what you'll need for this class :

  • circle cutters of different sizes

  • makin's extruder with the clay core adaptor

  • black buna cord 2mm thick

  • round glass beads of different sizes

  • white oil or acrylic paint

  • coarse, medium and thin sanding block or paper

The clay will be provided by Van Aken

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sorbet Pendants

Hi, it's me - Bettina Welker. I'm really thrilled to be part of this year's Clay Carnival adventure. It will not only be my first time teaching at this event - I also have never been to the bright and glamorous city of Las Vegas.

Well, I was thinking about which class to bring with me to this place of exuberance in light and color and I decided that my "Sorbet Pendant Class" would be a perfect match.

These pendant necklaces feature a lustrous ghost image design in bright and juicy eye-catching colors. The real fun fact about this project however is: The toggle clasp that closes the necklace at the front actually is formed by the Sorbet Pendant itself. It's really a fun class and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

By the way: all the Kato Poly Clay necessary for the projects will be provided by Van Aken International

And here's the materials list for the Sorbet Pendants:

  • Pasta machine
  • Acrylic rod
  • Rigid and flexible blade
  • Craft knife or scalpel
  • Cookie cutters (about 1 inch wide - round, triangular, square)
  • A very small round cutter (for example a 3-4 mm Kemper Kutter)
  • Texture plates or stamps
  • Wet sanding paper (400-2000 grit)
  • Cylindrical baking mold (empty tin or soda can)
  • 20 inches of black 3 mm buna cord
  • CA glue
  • Flush cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Hand drill with a 1 mm and 3mm drill bit
  • Head pins (0.8 - 1 mm)
  • Small chain (like a necklace extension chain, 2 inches)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Facebook Page!

Hi everyone,

I just set up a facebook page for the Clay Carnival Las Vegas! The url is:

Hope to see you there!

Cheers, The Team

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Welcome to the official blog of the Clay Carnival Las Vegas 2011 event! This year we have a stellar roster of instructors, including four internationally known artists.

The instructors are:

Bettina Welker - Germany
Sylvie Peraud - France
Natalia Garcia de Leaniz - Spain
Daniel Torres - Spain
Judy Belcher - West Virginia
Kim Cavender - West Virginia
Leslie Blackford - Kentucky
Donna Kato - Colorado

Registration will open as soon as possible and each artist will be posting their class topics and pictures so keep your eyes open!

Clay Carnival Dates: November 10 - 13th, 2011
Location: Imperial Palace Hotel, Las Vegas Nevada

Hotel code will be forthcoming!


The Team