Clay ConneCTion 2012 Polymer Clay Retreat

The Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild’s biennial retreat, Clay ConneCTion 2012 has come and gone.  It was a wonderful 4 days of polymer clay madness, fun, 71 friends new and old, sharing, creating and so much more.

Highlights (photos mostly courtesy of Diane Villano & Wendy Oestreicher as I hardly took any pictures):

Twinkle the Clown and Diane Villano on Registration Day

Wear Your Work Welcome Party Sharon and I giving the “welcome speech”. I must have spoken too long.  It looks like I am putting Sharon to sleep.

Some people wore more of their work than others! In addition to a lovely necklace and pair of earrings, Diane B is wearing a pair of bracelets made from inchies she collected at the last Klay Karma and CT retreats.

Mokume Gane Madness – Friday’s demos featured a variety of different approachs to mokume gane.  Here’s a sample of items created by my friend Wendy Oestreicher based on some of the demos:

The real star of this year’s retreat was the demo set up.  We had a camera and projection set up that made everything clear even from the back row. This was Terry Czchowski demonstrating the Polymer Clay Express Shape Frames.

The weekend was jam packed with demos and everything went so smoothly.  Not only did we have the fantastic projection system, but the committee in charge of demos had two demonstration tables placed side by side with the camera between.  While one person was finishing up a demo, the next person could set up, and the team just rotated the camera over to the other table. Quick and seamless.

Friday we also had a Used Craft Book Sale to benefit the Polymer Collection Project at the Racine Art Museum.  In order to avoid a shopping frenzy we let people shop 4 at a time.  The remaining books were donated to the very grateful East Haven Library.

Saturday we had a ticket auction loaded with handmade polymer clay treasures, along with some cool donations from Polymer Clay Express.  The piece I most coveted was this framed collection of beads made by 22 SCPCG members.  Sadly, I did not win it.

Rob Yost, who very generously brought a small PCE store (during their move AND on his birthday), was treated to an impromptu “Yost Roast”. (Thank you Lynne Ann, Tommie,Sherman, Martha, and Sarah)

We played Left Center Right Poker with more than 40 people!  It took a really long time for that tray of chips to make its way around the table, but there were margaritas and snacks.  It was the last night of the retreat and we had fun!

Diane and Pat, otherwise known as “the Canadian Contingent” were very entertaining.

Here’s a really bad photo of my best batch of chips (it’s so hard to take a decent photo at an event like this):

Sunday we held our traditional Bottles of Hope Challenge.  Ann Orlomoski was the grand prize winner with a tiny pig bottle filled with teensy tiny piglets.  (sorry I don’t have a photo… yet)

Crystal adorned lots of heads with “fairy strands”.  (Not mine, my hair’s too short.)

We filled the large workroom with friends and tools and clay and amazing creations and fun.  A view of one small corner:

And then on Sunday we cleared it all away.

It was a wonderful time as usual!  Come and join us when we do it again in 2014!



PAPCG Guest Artist Visit

Before I forget, I want to write a few thoughts about my recent trip to Philadelphia. I was invited to be the Guest Artist for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s March meeting.  I was so flattered when they asked me, as expected I had a wonderful time.  Since I don’t do a whole lot of teaching, my two demos were a bit rough, but hopefully the guild members learned some things of interest.  I did one demo on Scribble Beads, and one on the pitfalls of combining metal and polymer clay.  It was a lot of fun to revisit the Scribble Bead technique because I haven’t played with it in years.

The PAPCG is a really great group and they made me feel right at home.  It was wonderful to catch up with friends and put some faces to names.  The show and tell was phenomenal!  You can see some of it on the Guild’s Flickr page.  There’s a ton of talent in that group.  I hope we see a big Philly contingent at the Connecticut Retreat this summer.

So, a huge (and somewhat belated) Thank You to the PAPCG!  Extra thanks especially to Terri Powell for opening her lovely home to me and Sarah Fisher for dinner and a home tour.

I’ve got to share a photo of Terri’s fantastic bathtub Koi pond.

Such an unexpected delight.  It’s very elegant, but it also made me think of Dr. Suess too.


Racine Museum Polymer Collection

Something I feel strongly about:

I think all artists working with polymer clay and all polymer clay guilds should make a donation to the Racine Art Museum Polymer Collection.

In a few short years the Polymer Collection Project spearheaded by Elise Winters has made great strides in elevating the profile of our chosen material.  The Racine Art Museum has agreed to host a major polymer art exhibition along with a hardcover catalog, and to establish a permanent collection of polymer art.  Pieces from the Polymer Collection Project have been acquired by 5 other major museums around the country.   The Racine Art Museum’s collection will ultimately become a center for the study of polymer art.

We are working in a medium with a short history and a very low profile compared to many of the traditional artist’s materials.   Raising the profile of polymer clay as an accepted art medium benefits us all.  As museums acquire and exhibit pieces of polymer clay art, polymer clay can  truly be seen as more than a child’s toy.

Whether or not you aspire to having a piece of your work in a museum collection some day, a donation to the project is a donation to advancing the profile of our medium.  Whether or not you think you will ever go to the Racine Art Museum to view the collection, their collection is a very big step in establishing polymer clay as an accepted art material.  That is a huge benefit to any polymer clay artist or polymer clay guild.

Checks can be made out to RAM/Polymer Collection and sent to:
Racine Art Museum
441 Main St.
Racine, WI 53403

Or click here to make a donation.

Learn more about the Polymer Collection Project at Polymer Art Archive.


Captured Strata Series

The Connecticut Bead Society’s Annual Bead Bazaar is next weekend and I’ve been busy making work to sell at the SCPCG booth.  I have a pile of silver boxes I made over the summer ready to be filled, but instead I’ve been working on a new idea.  I’m calling the series “Captured Strata”.  This was one of those ideas that quite literally dragged me out of bed last weekend.  Fortunately, I’m happy with the results.

They’re pretty straightforwad to construct, but the soldering gods have not been smiling on me so I have had some trouble with the bails.  I think when my metalsmithing class starts up again in a few weeks, I am going to have to spend some serious time practicing soldering.  The limitations of my tiny butane torches, coupled with my inexperience, really make soldering challenging.

In addition to the Strata series, I’ve got a few other pieces done.  You can find my latest work on Flickr.

If you are in the area, check out the CT Bead Society’s Bead Bazaar, Saturday & Sunday, September 13 & 14, 2008, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, North Haven, CT.

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