2 02 2015

Maureen has been working with polymer for decades and chances are, one of the first face or foot molds you used were one of her designs.  If you’ve ever visited her studio, Maureen Carlson Center for Creative Arts in Jordan, MN, you’d see just how spirited she is – even down to the real faerie door in the tree by the creek!


We are honored to present this year’s Creative Pioneer and Innovator Award to Maureen.  She has blazed the trail for many of us and created inspiration all around.  Her spirited work and thoughtful creative process has helped many focus on what’s important – just living.

If you are interested in attending or would like to send a congratulatory note, please email Kathryn at or leave a comment below.


6 05 2013
Ellen Marshall - Elements Heart Necklace

Ellen Marshall – Elements Heart Necklace

Ellen Marshall will be teaching her newly developed 2-day workshop, Elements and Construction, on July 26-27, 2013 at the Premiere Master Class Camp in Laurel, Maryland.  For those not familiar with Ellen, her experience with polymer goes way back.  She creates one-of-a-kind and limited-edition contemporary art jewelry featuring polymer clay.  Her inspiration has come from art quilts, ceramics, graphic arts, and color in general.  Ceramic influences led her to explore surface design on polymer clay which again led her to writing a book,  Polymer Clay Surface Design Recipespublished by Quarry.  This comprehensive book presents many of the surface techniques she has developed and if you don’t own it, try to find one and add it to your library.  The book is out of print, but well worth the effort to locate on eBay,, or other used book sites.  She’s also been published in other books and magazines including Step By Step Beads and PolymerCafe. Ellen is the founder and former chair of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild and a  past president of the National Polymer Clay Guild, now International Polymer Clay Guild. In addition to her love of polymer, she is also proficient in several beadweaving stitches such as peyote, herringbone, and right-angle weave and is now working on designing jewelry that incorporates both polymer and seed bead weaving.   She teaches polymer clay and beading crafts with the goal of inspiring others to discover and explore new directions in their art.

Ellen Marshall

Ellen Marshall

To register for Ellen’s workshop, Elements and Construction,  download the workshop info and registration form here.


11 10 2012


Tommie Howell is an award winning sculptor who resides in Connecticut.  While having no formal art education, he credits his Junior High School art teacher with instilling the desire to create things out of blobs of color or lumps of clay.  “I’ve always doodled, drawn, painted, and played around with art, but it wasn’t until my grad school roommate foisted (forced) a Sculpey III sampler pack on me in the 90’s that I found that thing for which I had been searching.”  Tommie admits that sculpting didn’t exactly come to him naturally, but it was something that he wanted to do badly enough to stick with it.

Stuck with it he has, and has made a name in the polymer clay and sculpting communities.  He has won awards for his figurative sculpture on both the national and local levels, his work has been shown in places from local galleries to the Bead Museum in Washington DC.  “I used to write more than I sculpted.  I still get emails from people who find old articles I had written about polymer clay safety or artistic ethics.  Finally I won a best in show award at a CHA event some years ago and was happy to be recognized for something other than having a big mouth.” Tommie has also taught in many venues around the country and we are pleased to have him join us at CFCF 2013.

Tommie lives and works with fellow artist Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg and her family.  They share together in the care for three highly eccentric canines and a couple of small rodents.  When not sculpting, teaching or assisting Lynne Ann, Tommie likes to keep up on current events, watch horror movies, and prepare for the zombie apocalypse.  His favorite quote is “Hold on a minute, I have to get some heads out of the oven.”

******   Download registration forms here and detailed workshop information here. ******

TOMMIE HOWELL – “I’VE BEEN FRAMED!” (4-hour workshop)       Sun. 6:30PM

HOWELL – Old Woman Face

In this workshop, students will be provided with a proportional blank face that they will build upon to create their own one of a kind sculpted face that will double as both a framed wall hanging or table top ornament and a piece of wearable art.  Students will learn basic art anatomy of the face and how to combine basic shapes into a complex, hand sculpted finished product.  All skill levels are welcome.  The workshop will not only produce a finished sculpt but will also provide techniques that can be used and built upon for many future projects.  The instructor will have a variety of sculpting tools to loan during class and for sale in the store.  Students are encouraged to bring any sculpting tools they own and while optional a pasta machine can be helpful for certain tasks.  All clay will be provided by Polyform.  Class will include a detailed handout that will cover not only the steps involved in the class but information on anatomy, tools, and a list of recommended products and suppliers to be used if the student chooses to further pursue sculpting as part of their polymer clay art. As each piece is one of a kind, photos provided are representative of what can be created and not meant to show exactly what will be made in the class.  NOTE: This workshop will only be taught once during CFCF 2013.

CFCF 2011: Spotlight on Instructor Laura Tabakman

14 01 2011

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Laura Tabakman was born in Argentina,and in 1989 moved with her family to USA. Although her background is in Architecture, she was always more inclined towards art. She’s been taking art and craft classes since she was a young girl.  She truly believes that adults have the same passions as a ten or twelve year old. Learning to weave at ten and working with clay and wire at twelve, Laura also loved going to her dad’s workshop to build stuff and is still amazed every time she creates something from nothing with her own hands.

Laura works in mixed media, fiber arts and polymer clay. She feels more comfortable working in three dimensions, using basic forms evocative of nature and primitive cultures. Time touches, alters and decays things. Seeing the marks of the passing of time moves her and she strives to incorporate these looks into the work. In the past years, she decided to merge her fiber and polymer clay interests creating mixed media sculptures and installations.

She is a studio artist and teacher; she exhibits and sells her work through galleries and juried art shows nationally and internationally. She recently won the Best of Show award at 2010 Progress and Possibilities, a Competition organized by the IPCA; and Best of Show at the 2009 Annual ART+TECH Exhibition – Pittsburgh Technology Council with a kinetic computerized polymer clay piece. See it here

Her work has been featured in several publications: 400 Polymer Clay Designs– Lark Books, Polymer Clay Creative Traditions by Judy Belcher, Polymer Clay Color Inspirations by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio, and two articles in Polymer CAFÉ magazineTwo Clay or not Two Clay article, Feb’ 09 issue and ReversibleTransfer Pendant article, Oct ’08 issue.

Laura Tabakman: Mixed Media Sculptures

In this class students will make three dimensional mixed media sculptures. We will use some molds as a starting point, but students will develop their own personal vision from there, with each finished piece showing her/his own personality and message. We will use polymer clay, wire, fibers, papers, beads, etc. Students are also encouraged to bring found objects or any material they would like to incorporate. This class is a great way of getting your creativity flowing and open new paths for your own work.

To register for Laura’s workshop and other CFCF classes, go to the registration form here.

CFCF 2011: 18-23 FEB. and…INSTRUCTORS Announced!

18 10 2010




Here’s the exciting announcement you’ve been waiting for!

The 2011 Cabin Fever Clay Fest will be held in Laurel, MD at the Holiday Inn West from 18-23 Feb.  The incredible instructor line-up is as follows:


*Lorrene Davis:  Stone setting in Metal Clay (Sat.)
*Jeff Dever: (Fri./ Sun.)
*Julie Eakes:   Festive Lady Face Cane (Sat.)
*Doreen Kassel:  “Tile” Story Workshop (Sun.)
*Lindly Haunani: Damascus Ladder Magic (Fri.)
*Kathryn Ottman: TBA (Fri.)
*Nan Roche:  Captured Foil (Sat.)
**Judith Skinner:    Skinner Blend Potpourri  (Sun.)

**We are honored to have Judith Skinner as our 2011 Creative Pioneer and Innovator Award Recipient





CFCF 2011 Instructors (4 hour workshops)

*Grant Diffendaffer: Mica Shift Beads – Mon. 1:00PM/Wed. 8:00AM

*Patti Euler: Zentangle and Zentangle inspired art –Sun. 6:30/Wed. 1:00PM

*Louise Fischer Cozzi: Mini Sasa Necklace – Mon. 8:00AM/Tues. 1:00PM

*Christi Friesen: Bamboozled – Mon. 1:00PM/Wed. 8:00AM

*Sarajane Helm: Making Faces–Modeling & Moldmaking – Mon. 8:00AM/Tues. 1:00PM

*Ellen Marshall: Playing with Pastels – Sun. 6:30PM/Tues. 8:00AM

*Ronna Sarvas Weltman: Wireworking for Polymer Artists – Tues. 8:00AM/Wed. 1:00PM

*Sarah Shriver: TBA – Mon. 1:00PM/Wed. 1:00PM

*Cindy Silas: Wired Enamel Illusions – Sun. 6:30PM/Tues. 1:00PM

*Laura Tabakman: Mixed Media Sculptures – Tues. 8:00AM/Wed. 1:00PM

REGISTRATION opens later this week…watch for it!

PCCAF Midwest: Tory Hughes – FANTASIA!

15 08 2010

Hughes: FANTASIA - Mixed Media workshop

HUGHES: Instructor’s Choice: Mixed Media Project

Tory Hughes has been engaging us on many different levels of creativity over the years, and she is once again bringing her knowledge, skills, and creative coaching to the Fest to help students develop and understand their own creative process.

This mixed media workshop will explore all crevices to extract the artist within. See Tory’s description below and visit her website at when you have some time to spare.


Fast, fecund, and fun!

Free-for-all exploration of mixed media and polymer to provide you plenty to play around with over the long winter months.

We will make a small talismanic wall piece or large amuletic brooch, depending on your tastes, incorporating a little something from many categories.

Polymer, paper, fabric, metal, wire, and the ubiquitous found object all appear and have a place. When you identify and master your own aesthetic, you can work confidently in any medium. On the way you will learn: what glues to use with what, how to set a theme that links the different media together, how to layer and conceptualize the use of a variety of materials, and all sorts of other hidden and exposed secrets to mixed media.

I’ll do my best to get you through the whole process in four short hours (espresso?) Your prepared beginning predicts your completion > Come with everything ready!


10 06 2010

Ottman Teapot

POLYMER CLAY FESTS/CREATIVE ARTS FESTS (and CABIN FEVER CLAY FEST) invites instructors in polymer clay, metal clay, mixed media, book arts, and fiber arts to submit workshop proposals and descriptions for the 4th Annual CFCF to be held in Laurel, Maryland in February 2011.  Proposals will also be considered for CFCF 2012 and other future events.

 Each event including CFCF 2011 will have 1 day pre-conference workshops, as well as 2½-3  days packed with 4-hour workshops.  CFCF 2011 runs in mid-Feb.  If you would like to be considered as an instructor for CFCF 2011 or any of the other planned conferences, please send a proposal via email by June 27, 2010 to: expressing your interest.  You may also mail info to: Kathryn Ottman, Creative Arts Fests, P.O. Box 810, Laurel, MD 20725.

Proposals must include your name, email, website, previous teaching experience and home and cell phone numbers as well as 4 hour and 7 hour workshop proposals.  You may submit a maximum of 4 workshops for consideration.  Please include minimum of two .jpeg (72 ppi) digital photos of projects for each workshop.  We encourage and prefer that all workshops be unique and new (not previously taught.) Tell your friends…all are welcome!

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