Polymer 1: Basic Canes and Patterning Techniques

Course Description

About this course

Build a grounded understanding of working with polymer clay and add a unique design aesthetic onto your jewelry making repertoire in this weekly course with polymer artist Bonnie Bishoff. Students will learn how to make numerous simple design canes and will then build off this knowledge with progressively more complex cane patterns. Color mixing, cane construction, clay conditioning, and record keeping will all be discussed and shown through pre-recorded video and live demonstrations.

For more information about virtual courses, visit our Virtual Course FAQ page. 

Please read the Materials & Tools tab! 

Meet the Instructor

Bonnie Bishoff

Bonnie Bishoff has worked collaboratively with her artistic partner and husband J. M. Syron since 1987. Starting as furniture makers, they made work that incorporated large panels of polymer veneers for 28 years. Gradually they shifted their focus to explore jewelry and mixed media pieces.They tend to work in series and on several fronts at once. The focus of their jewelry has been creating metal armatures, textured and oxidized metal surfaces, and polymer marquetry surface designs. In addition they have been exploring a series of wall panels or "paintings" in polymer veneers and wire armatured sculptures. 

They have exhibited widely in galleries and fine craft shows including the Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Museum exhibitions include the Peabody Essex, The Museum of Art and Design, NY and the permanent collection of the Racine Art Museum. Their materials include veneers of polymer clay, silver, bronze, copper, and wood. They aim to create work that projects an expansive notion of art and creative pursuit to be shared by the wearer with the world.

Materials & Tools 

The following supplies will be used for course demonstrations and objectives. A suggested item and/or vendor has been provided below for reference. Click the vendor name (in red) to be redirected to a page where you can find the item. The quantities needed for each item are listed first. If ordering, please be aware that some items may come in larger quantities than needed for this class. We recommend not opening an item's packaging until the day of the workshop. Student participation during or in-between class sessions is strongly encouraged but not required - observers are welcome.

Due to a bit of a shortage of polymer, the instructor recommends any number of the following colors of either Premo!Fimo Soft, or Sculpey III polymer clay which can be purchased from Polymer Clay Superstore, the Sculpey websiteFire Mountain GemsJoann FabricsSculpey Products, or Shades of Clay (in Canada). Stay away from glitter options. White and black will be used heavily. Do your best to get a range of the following:

  • 2 x 2oz bar of black
  • 2 x 2oz bar of white or sahara or ecru
  • 1 x 2oz bar of pearl or silver
  • 1 x 2oz bar of gold or 18k gold
  • 1 x 2oz bar of pomegranate or cherry red or fuchia
  • 1 x 2oz bar of cadmium yellow or zinc or lemon
  • 1 x 2oz bar of green
  • 1 x 2oz bar of purple or purple pearl
  • 1 x 2oz bar of cobalt blue or ultramarine blue
  • 1 x 2oz bar of orange or tangerine

Polymer tools (please ask if substitution will work):


  • masking tape
  • waxed paper or "deli sheets" 
  • cleaner (rubbing alcohol, windex, gin, or baby wipes will work)
  • notebook and writing implements 




Bonnie Bishoff


January 20 -27, 2022

Weekly on Thursday


6:00 PM -8:00 PM


2 weeks

All Levels
Virtual - Eastern Time Zone
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