|We, as polymer clay artists,
are known to be a sharing group. But something magic happens when you get
a bunch of us in the same place. I just finished reading the account of
Shrinemont, the NPCG retreat, in the Polymer Café and have to agree
with Judy Belcher. "It's the feeling of community."
||And the best place to get the sense of
community is in the workspace. Open 24 hours it is your home away from
home. It's a place to get some work done. Or not. And it's place for impromptu
demos. It's also place to meet the teachers in a relaxed setting.The
workroom at Trinity Lutheran College where Ravensdale was held was in an
auditorium with a stage and a piano. Our own little supper club-without
the supper. Although, thanks to the Internet chat groups we had plenty
of chocolate. Kellie Robinson of Alaska had the unofficial title of "bringer
of the most unusual chocolate". The groups had joked about bringing chocolate
for about two weeks before the event. And while most of us went out and
bought Hershey's kisses and the like, Kellie brought homemade fudge spiked
with espresso! It was a big hit. Dotty McMillan was sure it speeded
up her work. Kellie says, " Ravensdale was my first clay retreat of any
kind, and it was a bit overwhelming at times. The amount of information
I absorbed in such a short time is amazing. This was the most exciting
event of my whole life."
|Verna Glass, another fellow
Californian, was in several of my classes and her enthusiastic comment
was "I like everything!"
Libby and Dotty
|Libby Mills from Connecticut has been
working with clay for three years and is a member of both the PCP
(PolymerClayPeople) and PCC
(PolymerClayCentral) chat rooms. She had seen pictures of Ravensdale happenings
and was anxious to put names with faces of her on-line buddies. "It was
a chance to take great classes from people I admire," she added.
|I think the favorite activity was trading
with everyone, from newbies to instructors. Whether it was loose beads,
cane slices, canes or finished jewelry, the TRADE was definitely on. One
of the most sought after trades was a small notebook with a pc cover in
mica shift or foil by Jeanette Roberts. I don't want to write in mine and
mess it up!
|Susan Hyde managed to smile through a
class in which her table collapsed on her knee while she was teaching!
|And syndee holt taught us how to photograph
our work with a plain old light bulb, a shower curtain and a piece of white
ma, no shadows!
|The newest newbie had to be
Cindy Silas from Virginia who admitted to four months experience. Earlier
in the year she was preparing to have some surgery and be off her feet
for a while "and I got some clay to experiment with. I called Marie Segal
at the Clay Factory and she was very helpful. I like the bright colors
and the feel of the clay."
|One of the most lonesome clayers had to
be Annette Durburg of the Netherlands. She told me that there was
no clay in the Netherlands except rather old Fimo and that she orders her
clay from Polymer Clay Express and gets it in five days! She has been fortunate
to be able to attend Gwen Gibson's retreat in France and was an assistant
there this year. She and Gwen keep in touch by e-mail.
The most lonesome title used to belong
to Sally Haskell of Saudi Arabia but she has been spreading the word in
the American community there and this year brought along Evie Lockard.
Margaret, Petra and Julie
|And no clay conference would be complete
without our friends Petra de Gues of New Zealand, Margaret Reid, Wales
and Kazuo (Yamashita) Kono of Japan.
Here are Margaret and Petra with Julie