The Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild’s 6th polymer clay retreat, Clay ConneCTion 2008 was this past weekend at Connecticut College in New London, CT and it was great! Conn College was a new venue for us and I think the consensus was that it was a keeper.
Clay ConneCTion is a 3 day (Friday noon to Sunday afternoon) gathering of approximately 75 polymer clay artists primarily from the east coast, but we always have a few enthusiasts who fly in from far away states. Check-in usually involves meeting one of our professional clowns:
In case you thought I was kidding, that’s Twinkle and Cynthia**. Twinkle helps welcome everyone on Friday and get the event off to a cheerful start. The workroom in our new location is nice and big and bright. Plenty of room for every attendee to have a 6 foot worktable each.
Polymer Clay Express set up a store of polymer clay related goodies at the back of the room. (You can see a tiny bit of it in the back of the photo above) They brought all sorts of goodies, plus some real bargains and even a few giveaways. It always makes me laugh how we all bring so much stuff with us to a retreat and yet, we still find things to buy from Rob & Wilma.
Friday night, as our opening ice breaker event, Tracy and I reprised “Iron Chef Polymer Clay”.
That’s me failing to keep a straight face over something that Tracy said in Chinese. (btw, if you were there, Tracy was really speaking fluent Mandarin Chinese. We both majored in Chinese in college, oh so many years ago. She kept hers up. Mine is beyond rusty, but I can manage to understand a bit of what she’s saying apart from the script, which makes the whole skit even funnier for me.) The secret ingredient this year was dried beans of various shapes and colors. There were so many fantastic bean and polymer clay creations!
Saturday was a very full day. There were more demos, loads of demos.
(that’s Helen demo-ing soldering simple silver bezels Friday afternoon)
This year we moved the demo area to a separate room and I think that worked really well. I don’t know how many demos there were over the course of the weekend, but the schedule looked really full and everyone seemed to be enjoying them. We also held the giant raffle on Saturday, which was a huge success. It was so much fun to put out all the wonderful artist donations, and hear the oohs and aahhs. After the raffle was over I visited one of the two massage therapists we brought in and had a wonderful relaxing massage. I think I went to dinner after that, but all I remember was being really relaxed.
Saturday night Diane and Debbie ran a group creative challenge called “Creature Feature”. Participants were divided up into teams and given a profile of an imaginary creature. We then had 30 minutes to work together and create a physical representation of our creature. Think polymer clay meets Mr. Potato Head meets junk yard challenge. It was a lot of fun. Here’s one of the creatures.
And here’s my group and our creature “Pilfrey Wugglelump”:
Sunday always goes by super fast. We had the traditional Bottles of Hope Challenge. Debbie roped me in at the last minute to help judge. It’s so hard to pick winners since all the bottles are really beautiful and fun and inventive. Here are the winners (minus Tommie who disappeared at picture time):
Sunday we also raffled off a mosaic tray made from all the 1-inch tiles provided by the retreat attendees.
I’m still so tired that I feel like I am not making too much sense. It was a great time. The creative energy in the work room, the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones, the demos, the silly activities… all wonderful. Thanks to everyone who made the weekend so great.
**Thanks also to Cynthia Douglass for providing most of my pictures. I only took a few (the fuzzier ones) with my phone. Most of the time I was busy doing things ,and didn’t manage to even think about taking pictures. I didn’t manage to do any claying either. I brought all sorts of tools and supplies. I just never got around to using any of them. I’m really looking forward to next summer’s Mass/New Hampshire retreat where I get to clay. It’s fun being one of the coordinators, but it’s nice to be a plain attendee too.