Connecting with Clayers in Connecticut

I just got back from ClayConneCTion 2018, the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild’s bi-annual retreat.   The event took place on the Connecticut College campus.  The food was great, the demos even greater and the campus was in full flower.

The birch trees outside the dorm I stayed in looked so spooky at night!

I spent some time walking around the campus which is loaded with trees and plants.  There were some new residents living behind the Crozier-Williams College Center where our workroom was located.  They were very sociable and eager to pose for pictures, unlike Boris.

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Here are some more pictures of the campus.

And here is the spacious workroom.

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Two things I love about the Connecticut retreat.  1.) They allow pasta machine motors (no, I didn’t bring mine but I like the idea.) and 2.) Oven Anarchy is the order of the day.  Each person decides when her work goes in or comes out of the oven.  There are no oven monitors, no schedules, no sign-up sheets and no hassles.  And it all works very well.  Remember, anarchy does not mean no rules; it means no government.

I didn’t make much this year being distracted by a few matters including misplacing my iPad. I am due for an upgrade and everything was backed up. But Debbie from Rhode Island found it for me! Thanks!!!

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I experimented with some new bracelet shapes and hollow beads.

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My friend and travel partner, Patty Pickup, was downright prolific.  Look at this wonderful Octopus necklace!

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More of Patty’s stuff

And here are the entries in the Bottle of Hope contest.

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Thanks to all the great people who planned Clay ConneCTion 2018 and kept things running flawlessly! Let’s do it again in 2020!

Clay Connections in Connecticut

02.Conn Retreat

Patty and I headed up to Connecticut this week to attend Clay ConneCTion 2016, sponsored by the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild. We left Philadelphia and the Democratic National Convention behind us as we sailed up I-95 to the Connecticut  College campus, replete with beautiful trees and the occasional skunk.

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We had a big work room with plenty of space to spread out.  Demos, and there were plenty of them, were held in a separate space.   Pasta machine motors are allowed at the Connecticut retreat which, although I didn’t bring mine, is fine by me.  The room was so large it hardly mattered.  Someone thoughtfully  provided ear plugs.  Another thing I love about the Connecticut retreat is the Oven Anarchy.  Anarchy does not mean no rules, only no government.  So there were no oven monitors, no baking schedules, and everyone was responsible for his or her own project.  I think this is the best way to handle baking at a retreat.  Some might disagree: I know that  ovens lose heat when you open the door, but oven heat cycles when the door is shut too.  But unless you are baking a temperamental soufflé or  a wedding cake, it hardly matters and it is certainly not mission critical to a successful polymer baking.  Besides, retreats are supposed to be relaxing and fun.  So, there.

I tried my hand at making a Bottle of Hope and I made some geometric cane tiles for the Left Right Center game on Saturday night.  I met some lovely new people, rekindled relationships and hung out with old friends.

Here are some pictures

 

Thank you Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild!

 

 

Retreat to Morrisburg

Tray with tiles attendees made. Auctioned and proceeds donated to http://plancanada.ca/because-i-am-a-girl

My friend Patty and I, ever the intrepid travelers,  decided to take the recommendation of our friend Sherman and drive  to the little town of Morrisburg, Ontario and join a group of polymer artists who meet once a year at the McIntosh Inn for a retreat.

We crossed the border into Canada,  pulled up to the Canadian border inspection station, and handed our passports to the border screening agent in the booth.

“Polymer clay retreat? What’s that?” the  agent wanted to know after Patty told him the purpose of our trip.  

“It’s not like a religious retreat,” Patty explained, “it’s  a bunch of artists who get together and work on their polymer clay projects.”

“Polymer clay?” the agent wasn’t buying it.

I leaned over so the agent could hear me.  “It’s like what men do when they get together with their model trains.”

“Oh!” the agent, replied, “you’re gonna throw clay at one another?”  

I had never heard of that, so I laughed as if I got the joke.  The agent handed our passports back and waved us on our way.

We had a great time, renewed old acquaintances and made new friends.  We drank Tim Horton coffee, ate Butter Tarts, wrestled with the metric system and warned our Canadian colleagues that after the U.S. election in November, we might be back to stay.  

Here are some pictures

To see more pictures, go to my Flickr site, here.

 

 

Instant Karma

Klay Karma that is!  Sherman, Patty and I loaded up Patty’s car and headed up the New Jersey Turnpike to  Nashua, New Hampshire and the campus of Rivier University for the latest Klay Karma polymer clay retreat.

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This was my first year at Klay Karma.  Those in attendance were a lively and playful bunch.

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We had plenty of room to spread out; something every polymer clayer needs.

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I scored one of Libby Mills’ new bowls at the auction!

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It wasn’t all clowning around. . .

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  The natural light was fantastic!

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Here are some more pictures of work from the talented people who attended.  A big shout of thanks to Seana and Camilla and everyone who made the event possible.

What I Made at Clayathon

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I decided to try making hollow beads using marbles as cores.  The technique goes like this:  You cover a marble ( mine were 25mm and 32 mm) with  clay, poke a little hole so air can escape and bake for 20- 30 minutes.   You slice  the clay open and slip out the marble.    I learned a neat tip from Olivia Surratt.  Don’t cut all the way around the marble; think clamshell.  If you leave a bit of clay attached you will be able to line up the halves perfectly.  Then I glue the bead back together with cyanoacrylic glue.   You can also use Genesis Medium and pop it back in the oven for a bit to set it.

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Marbles covered with white clay before baking

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Finished bead.  I got the texture from rolling the bead in salt before baking.

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Beads covered with zig zag canes before going in the oven.  After they come out.  I sand and buff.

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Some of the finished beads strung with bicones and spacers

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You must admit she looks stunning with or without the beads!

For more Clayathon pictures, press HERE

Still Claying After All These Years

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Clayathon time is here again. I will pack up my stuff and head to beautiful Galloway Township NJ and the Stockton Seaview Hotel where I will meet new and old friends and have a chance to play with my clay for as long as I want.    Clayathon is a friendly gathering of creative people who enjoy playing and claying together.  Clayathon  can be a time to set goals and try new things, or  a time to make birds.  Lisa Clarke has attended most of the Clayathons and written about them.    Robin Milne designed a great logo for this years’ event.    And Arlene Groch and her team of volunteers have made Clayathon one of the best clay events of the year.  

 

Want more?  Here  are some past Clayathon posts from this blog.

New Work

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I still have a buzz from Clayathon  and am exploring some new ideas.  Here are some pictures.

 

Darleen Bellan’s Unique Ornaments and Mementos

I met Darleen Bellan this summer at Clay ConneCTion, the semi-annual retreat of the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild and  fell in love with her quirky and inspired polymer clay figurines and ornaments. When she agreed to do an interview with fellow sculptor Sherman Oberson for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s YouTube Channel, I grabbed my equipment, met them in a quiet hallway and we did the interview on the spot.

Darleen’s an animal lover and her ornaments are lots of fun (Chicken ala King anyone?) But Darleen doesn’t restrict herself to ornaments and figurines; she crafts made-to-order pieces memorializing  departed pets and gives each one a unique twist  that gives it  personal meaning.  So what’s the unique twist?   Go to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s Blog and watch  the video to  find out.

Most of Darleen’s  work is  one of a kind and she welcomes commissions.  If you are interested in buying or commissioning her work, go to her web site or her etsy shop.    Here are some pictures.

Sherman also has some great ornaments for sale in his etsy shop.  His style is different from Darleen’s but

his work is charming and will make you laugh.

Here’s one I bought

and here are some more!

Support Our Artists!

What I learned at Clay Carnival Las Vegas 2011

I learned that Las Vegas is stranger than I remembered

I learned that normal people will pay a lot of money to get married standing in a fake gondola floating in a man-made canal.

I learned that grown men with beer bellies become Roman Gladiator impersonators if they stand in the chilly night air clad only in underpants (briefs-not boxers), the appropriate helmet and sandals.

I learned that I do not have to go to Hawaii to see a volcanic eruption, and that I can even drive past the volcano while it is going off.

I learned that in Las Vegas, there is an impromptu Elvis Impersonator convention every day of the week.

I learned a lot about polymer clay from a great bunch of teachers. I  met  wonderful people from all over the world.  I had a marvelous time.  OK, OK, maybe I didn’t do shots with  some Japanese guys I met in a restaurant like someone I know.   But I did have fun.

And I learned some new polymer clay techniques including how to built a sturdy hollow form (Beach Bangles); how to make a pendant that is also an elegant closure (Sorbet Pendant); and a cool way to combine baked and raw clay (Desert Brooches).       No disrespect to Elvis, but this is the real reason I went to Las Vegas. At any rate, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The pictures below show what  I made in the classes.  Some projects turned out better than others,  but I learned a lot in Las Vegas-including that it must be hard work standing on the Strip at night in your underwear.  No, I really hadn’t known that!

Judy Belcher Spring-y Bracelets

Leslie Blackford Le Carnival Box

Kim Cavender Wood Gone Wild

Natalia Garcia de Leaniz Funky Desert Brooches

Donna Kato Squash Blossom Pendant

Daniel Torres Mancera Beach Bangle

Sylvie Peraud Colorful Pendant

Bettina Welker Sorbet Pendant

For descriptions of the Clay Carnival Las Vegas 2011 classes, go to the Clay Carnival Blog.

Tutorials for some of the classes are available on-line at CraftEdu.com

Next Week: A short video on Clay Carnival.

Clayathon Wrap Up with Pictures

 

Clayathon is a place to relax, mix with great people, see the work other people’s work in progress and watch demos of  polymer and non-polymer techniques.  I saw demos on caning, faux dichroic glass,  soldering solver bezels, metal fold forming, and I gave a demo on drilling glass and making ring clasps with copper washers.  Lisa Clarke of Polka Dot Creations was there with the latest books and videos and Wilma Yost was there with the latest products from Polymer Clay Express  including their Shape Frames  that Wilma showed everyone how to use.  We had a cane swap and worked on a group cane too.  To sum it up, we had a blast.

Here are some pictures.