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Julia Converse Sober

Julia Converse Sober
Rockford, IL 61107


Background Information

Years Teaching:  2
Years Teaching Clay:  2
Years Working w/Clay:  12
Freelance:  Yes
Specialties:  Liquid clay transfers, caneworking, design theory, mixing media
First Experience With Clay:  I was introduced to the wonders of polymer clay, specifically caneworking, when I picked up Nan Roche's "The New Clay" in 1991. Seven years, many job-related relocations, and thousands and thousands of caneworked beads later, I attended a Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild retreat. Discovering other polymer clay artists and new and equally-fascinating techniques left me jazzed about polymer clay over again.

Several workshops, videos, and retreats after that, I began taking formal art classes at the university where I work. Learning design theory led me to experiment with transferring my own designs onto clay. I developed a technique using colored pencils, liquid clay, and silver leaf for transfers while looking to achieve the bright, vivid colors of enamel. Lately I've been experimenting with mixing other media into clay. I'm currently enjoying a dual obsession with sandwiching transfers and compound canes between microscope slides and incorporating hardware store finds into jewelry pieces.
Past Teaching Experiences: Demonstrations:
Chromatic transfer technique: Chicago Guild retreat 1999, Detroit Guild retreat 2000.
Caneworking: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; October 2002
Mica Shifting: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; November 2002
Holiday Ornaments: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; November 2002
Mokume Gane: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; March 2003

Reversible Lotus Pendant: Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild, Chicago, IL; March, 2002
Reversible Lotus Pendant: Bead and Button Show, Milwaukee, WI; June 2002.
Embossed Link Bracelet: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; October 2002
Butterfly Tranfer Pin: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; November 2002
Basic Caning: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; January 2003
Mica Shifting: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; March 2003
Orbital Bracelets: Murray and Company, Rockford, IL; April 2003
Publication Experience:  Article "Chromatic Transfers"; Jewelry Crafts Magazine, April 2000.
Gallery artist; Lark Books' "The Weekend Crafter - Polymer Clay", 2002.
Project contributor; Lark Books' "Kid's Crafts - Polymer Clay", 2003.
Project contributor, gallery artist; Lark Books' "Faux Surfaces in Polymer Clay", scheduled for Fall 2003 release.
Teaching Level:  Semi-Pro

Lesson Information

Private Lessons:  Yes
How Far Will Travel:  Anywhere
Reimbursed Expenses:  Lodging or homestay, travel (negotiable)
Group Lessons:  Yes
Minimum Number of Students:  8
Maximum Number of Students:  20
How Far Will Travel:  Anywhere
Reimbursed Expenses:  Lodging or homestay, travel (negotiable)
Class Prep Time:  2-4 weeks to assemble supplies, depending on class
Maximum Consecutive Days Teaching:  5
Class Listings & Descriptions: 

Reversible Lotus Pendant:
Vivid color and dazzling luminescence are the hallmarks of this two-sided pendant! Lotus images are hand-colored and transferred with liquid clay, then backed with silver leaf for maximum brilliance. Finished transfers with a depth of color and play of light to rival enamel are finished by framing in polymer clay and embellishing with wire findings, satin cording, beads, and a tassel.

Design in Nine - Design Theory, Polymer Clay, and You:
Have you ever wondered why some pieces work and others just... don't? Or looked at your piece and thought something was missing, but couldn't decide what? Or ruined your piece by not knowing when to stop? All these problems and more can be solved by effectively applying the time-honored principles of design. Learn how to manipulate line, value, pattern, texture, scale, positive and negative space, and more to create pieces with striking visual interest. Students will cover a small tile with polymer clay to demonstrate each principle discussed. Your group of nine finished tiles may be mounted and framed to provide a visual reminder of your designing day.

Orbital Bracelets:
Wire loops and swirls punctuated with planetary polymer beads form unique bangle bracelets to orbit your wrist! Guitar strings provided by the instructor form the bracelet; hand-shaped polymer clay beads add weight and visual interest. The three bracelets you will complete are quite striking worn individually; worn stacked they are simply stunning.

Mica Shifting with Polymer Clay:
Discover the marvelous properties of metallic polymer clays! Holographic effects, impossible-seeming canes made with only one color of clay, faux wood effects, and more will be explored in this day-long class.

Embossed Link Bracelet:
Create an embossed-look, double-sided polymer clay link bracelet using rubber stamps and acrylic paints! You will learn tips for collaging images and combining colors along with basic wire-working techniques for linking and finishing your colorful, reversible bracelet.

Basic Caning with Polymer Clay:
Unlock the secrets of caneworking with polymer clay! In this introduction to caning, you will learn how to make a variety of simple canes - spiral, bullseye, stripe, checkerboard, and flower. Along the way we will discuss the properties of polymer clay, cane assembly and reduction techniques, and tricks for designing images which read well both reduced and unreduced. Instructor's cane examples, finished pieces, and beads made using caneworked polymer clay will also be available for your perusal.

Cellular Specimen Pendant:
Assemble your own cell-like specimen under glass! Learn to mimic cellular structures using various compound canes. Translucent clay used in your canes adds depth; glass microscope slides provide the finishing touch for the two specimen pendants you will create. Holding your finished specimen up to the light will reveal spectacular see-through effects!

Words of Encouragement to Novice Teachers:

"Teaching is a great way to learn more about your medium, but proper preparation is a must! Providing informal demonstrations is a great way to get started. Pay attention to questions people ask as you're working, and pay attention to your answers. Take notes, write out the steps you took, incorporate those questions and answers, and before you know it you've started a lesson plan. Who knows? You might just find that you know more than you think you do! "

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