Contact Allan here.
It's that time of year again when we need some volunteers to attend the Guild stand at the NEC. We have 2 shows, Hobbycrafts on Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd March, and Miniatura on Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th March. Both events are great fun to attend, you don't need any experience, just an enthusiasm about Polymer Clay. You get free entry to the show, and an opportunity to look around to see what else is going on. So, whether you've volunteered before, or are just thinking about it for the first time, go on, contact Allan and leave your details, you'll enjoy the experience and meet like minded Polymer Clay enthusiasts.
Contact Allan here.
For my last review of the year I can tell you all about the two sessions held in Lichfield in early November. We were very lucky indeed to have Debbie Bulford run a marvelous session for the jewelers, (yes, the lady ‘off the telly’) on Polymer Clay beads with metal inserts, and the myriad jewel like beads that everyone made were superb. Sadly I didn't manage to take any photos, but I know others did, so when I get sent some, I can upload them here so you can see what a great time, and wonderful tutor they had.
Meanwhile, I was showing the Miniaturists how to make Terracotta, Flagstone and Border Tiles, and by the end of the day we had sufficient tiles for people to really have fun and go home and do some tiling in their dolls’ houses, even down to 1/48th scale!!
These last 2 workshops rounded up what has been a great year for the Guild workshops in Lichfield, covering all sorts of subject matter, and next year is shaping up to be just as good.
Subjects we have for 2015 so far include Wings and Feathers in April, Mechanical Toys in May, Foils, Inclusions and Fantasy Cabochons in July, while the Miniaturists are not left out, with Luxury Chocolates in April and Dolls’ House Bowls in May. (Details here.)
Finally, don’t forget the 18th January 2015 date, which will be a free day (no charge) where several of our tutors will be giving demonstrations on a variety of subjects that you can then go and try. We will also be holding the AGM on that day – full details here.
So make sure you put these dates in your diaries, and don’t forget all our local groups around the country have their own dates too – details here. Whatever you do in 2015, have a great time with Polymer Clay.
Review by Fiona Abel-Smith
We have had a wonderful Hobbycrafts show at the NEC over the past four days. Hundreds (if not thousands – I lost count) of people came to the stand and not only admired what could be done with Polymer, but asked many questions most of them related to the techniques, which we were more than happy to answer, and often admitted to ‘having a bit of a dabble’ themselves.
As a result we now have 2 new Guild members and 37 new contacts for all our groups around the country, all of which are potential new members. There is also a possibility that we may have 2, if not 3 new groups starting up as well, more details to follow when we have the full information.
Angie Smith and I took it in turns to demonstrate Polymer techniques, ably helped on the Friday by Nikki Killinger and Eileen Evans, and lots of people were suitably amazed when they saw what could be achieved.
As always, enormous thanks to Allan Marshall, who not only organises the event and the volunteers, but was there all four days. Plus huge thanks to Nikki and Eileen, who were there on the Friday, David Frowd who was there with his amazing inlaid wooden work on the Saturday, and to Angie Smith (and I suppose myself) who were there all four days too. Without all the volunteers we simply couldn't man the stand, and pass on all the wonders of polymer to new converts.
Also thank you to all of you who loaned us items for display on the stand, and to those of you who came to see us, it was lovely to see you, and apologies if we didn't manage to get to chat to you all in among all the questions and demonstrations. We hope you enjoy the photos.
Sunday 5th October saw a well stocked Guild stand displaying a multitude of jeweled goodies in the entrance foyer of the Uxbridge Bead Fair, which caught the attention of expectant shoppers as they flocked through the doors. Once again the Guild was promoting Polymer Clay, and the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ as people saw what could be achieved with Polymer was wonderful.
We had room at the end of the table to demonstrate as well, and between us Kay Vincent, Ange Smith and myself managed to keep demonstrating polymer techniques throughout the day, again showing people what effects could be easily achieved. We had a lot of people interested and thinking about joining a local group, most of whom were from the London area, but there is still a desperate need for new groups to start up in the Oxford and Essex area, so anyone in that vicinity and available, how about starting your own branch?
Kay had brought a variety of Polymer Clay books with her which were studied with interest, as they expanded on all the different things that could be done with clay, and we were also lucky enough to have 2 of Hetty Scott’s stone pieces with us (thanks to Kay) which were greatly admired.
No new members signed up on the day, but some took membership forms away with them, loads took cards to visit the Guild’s website and see what is on in their area, and we have a new member of the South Midlands Group. Kay, Ange and I may also have had a chance to do a little retail therapy - it was a bead fair after all - and after all that talking and demonstrating I think we deserved it. As usual it was a great fun day, and if you ever want to volunteer to help out at future events, just drop us a line.
Last weekend saw the Guild at the NEC for the Miniatura Show. As usual, the stand was covered with amazing miniatures, mostly courtesy of Allan Marshall, as well as Heather’s wonderful sweet stall all of which drew many admiring and discerning viewings. With Allan’s miniatures also coming in at 1/24th and 1/48th scale, some even had to be seen under a magnifying glass, to appreciate the fine detail. We also had some decorative tiles and bowls on display, to show what polymer cane-work could also achieve when applied to the miniature scale.
Allan ran 6 workshops over the 2 days, teaching nearly 50 people how to make a variety of fruit and veg as well as cupcakes (my personal favourites) and the sea of happy faces when participants came to collect their baked goodies was great. Allan doesn't charge for these workshops, asking instead for a donation to Cancer Research, and he raised £36.87 through his hard work and dedication to his craft.
Ange and I spent both days demonstrating polymer clay techniques to people, and we all took contact details from anyone who wanted to be kept informed about the Guild, and what was going on in groups near to them.
The volunteers were, as always, amazing. So huge thanks to Heather (and her beautiful sweet stall), Ann, Thelma, Shirley, Jayne, and Ange for volunteering, and of course mostly to Allan, for the organisation of the stand, supplying so many wonderful exhibits and running the workshops.
This was my second time at Miniatura, and again, I loved it, so if you want to help out at the next one in March 2015, I can thoroughly recommend it.
All in all, another great show.
Translucent Beads and Dolls' House Tiles.
Last Sunday saw both rooms of the Conservatory at Curborough, Lichfield, come alive under the hum of polymer activity as Translucent Beads and Dolls’ House Tiles began to evolve.
Angie Smith showed the jewellers how to take plain translucent clay and transform it with additional elements to create jewel like Mokume Gane stacks that became wonderful beads, cuffs and pendants. The colours shone in the bright sunshine, and many pieces went home fully sanded and complete. I think the pictures illustrate what a great session it was. There was much laughter, enthusiasm and pure enjoyment from Angie's session, that filtered into the room where the rest of us were creating the Dolls’ House Tiles.
As a non miniaturist I was a little nervous about teaching this one, but I was made to feel so welcome by the girls, that I will definitely be back for more. This was the most complicated cane work, workshop, I had ever attempted to teach, so I was thrilled by the achievements of everyone. We may have been a little quieter in our room – the concentration levels were sometimes palpable – but the results were amazing. I think you can see from the photos what wonderful tiles everyone made, and Rebecca, who as a jeweller came to the session because it was canework, made her tiles into a Kaleidoscope pattern, to cover a compact case.
We have 2 wonderful tutors booked for both the jewellers and miniaturist for the next session – 7th September 2104 - so start booking your places now. Karen Walker will be making some fabulous Steam Punk Jewellery and Pat Goodall-McIntosh will be making the most amazing miniature Luxury Chocolates. For more details look here.
Review by Fiona Abel-Smith
BPCG Liaison Officer.
Ikat Variation and Encased Beads workshop.
A lovely sunny day in Curborough, Lichfield, saw 20 expectant clayers arrive for a workshop covering a variation on the widely popular Ikat Cane, followed by instruction on how to encase a domed bead in a metal surround to give an encased look to the finished bead. As per usual, the first problem was trying to choose what colours to use, but I think you will agree from the photos that everyone made fabulous choices.
Obviously I can’t very well review my own performance as the workshop tutor, but I can say that from a tutor’s point of view, it is was a pleasure to have a roomful of such wonderful and enthusiastic people who were eager to watch, listen and hopefully have some fun with the new techniques I was teaching. There were certainly moments of intense concentration, but equally moments of happiness when the final sheets of the Ikat Cane came through the pasta machines and the patterns were revealed in their full glory.
I managed to get a photo of nearly everyone’s beads as they were being encased, so you can see the wonderful beads they were making and decide which colour schemes you would have gone for. I would also just like to say a huge thank you to all of you who came to the workshop for being such apt, willing and able participants, you made my day.
Don’t forget to book early for the next workshops at Lichfield on 6th July when Angie Smith will be teaching her amazing translucent beads technique, and I will be back to teach Doll's House Tiles. Details here.
Review by Fiona Abel-Smith.
Guild Liaison Officer
Last weekend saw the Guild at the NEC again, this time for the Miniatura Show. The stand was covered with the most amazing miniatures, courtesy of Allan Marshall, which were greatly admired, sometimes even under a magnifying glass, to appreciate the fine detail.
Allan also ran 5 workshops over the 2 days, teaching more than 40 people how to make bananas, parsnips or peaches, and seeing the happy faces when the participants came to collect their baked goodies was lovely. Allan doesn’t charge for these workshops, asking instead for a donation to Cancer Research, and he raised £54.47 through his hard work and dedication to his craft. In fact the workshops were so oversubscribed, that had he run them back to back over the whole of the two days, we would still have had people queuing for more!
In addition, Allan has said he will begin a ‘back to basics’ set of Miniature workshops starting in 2015, to set a whole new group of enthusiasts on the road to creating miniature master pieces, and as a good refresher for the more experienced miniaturist. More details of the courses will be published nearer the date.
On the Sunday Angie, Sue and I did a couple of demonstrations each on the stand which sparked quite a bit of interest, despite us being from the ‘jewellery’ side of polymer clay as opposed to Miniatures. That’s the great thing about polymer clay; the techniques can be used across the board, no matter what the subject matter is.
The volunteers were, as always, amazing. So huge thanks to Heather, Rachel, Angie, Sue, Diane, and Ann for volunteering, and of course to Allan, for the organisation of the stand, supplying the exhibits and running the workshops.
This was my first time at Miniatura, and I loved it, the enthusiasm of the public and volunteers is infectious, and it is a great show to wander round when you have a break, I picked up some good tools and some cheap FIMO Classic. It was also good for me to turn my ‘caning’ skills to the miniature side, so much so, that after the response I got to the samples of ‘caned’ dolls house tiles I had done, I am now doing a workshop on this in Curborough, on 6th July 2014. Details here.
All in all, another great show.
Once again the Guild had a stand for the four day HobbyCraft's show from 20th - 23rd March 2014, and during the event we had hundreds of visitors watching the demonstrations and admiring the items on display.
For the first time we were taking email contact details from those interested in Polymer Clay and we finished with 67 people leaving their details, which have been passed on to the various groups nearest to them around the country. We also had two new Guild members. Welcome to all of you, and I hope you manage to get to a group meeting near you soon.
We had gasps of delight when people saw Allan Marshall’s miniature masterpieces, lots of ‘oohs’ at the dragons (including 2 that were made at Birdy Heywood’s workshop when she came to the Guild), Angie Smith’s new faux dichoric glass pendants were deeply admired, as were Sue Corrie’s wonderful necklaces (one of which is featured in Helen Breil’s new Shapes Book). We were really pleased to have not only David Frowde himself behind the stand on the Saturday, but examples of his wood turned work, incorporating inset polymer clay designs, which drew many admiring comments. We had wall art to attract the attention of some of our younger visitors as well as a few freebies given away to some discerning watchers when we were demonstrating – I just hope they remembered to bake them when they got them home! All in all too many comments to mention more, but a great response overall.
Natasha Milton and Christine James were new to being behind the stand (in fact Chris had been on the other side simply watching a demonstration last November) but both were happily chatting to people about the Guild and polymer clay. Natasha did some wonderful demonstrations, and Chris had brought along samples of her first canes, which were fantastic as examples to show how good a result a relative beginner could achieve. Allan, Angie, Sue, Jan Hill, Kath Jackson and Ann Barton were fantastic behind the stand as well, and not only chatted knowledgeably to all those who showed an interest, but were able to pass on loads of experience and tips.
We met some lovely people, managed to answer quite a few questions for those who already dabbled, but wanted to know more, and hopefully inspired a whole new set of crafters to begin experimenting with Polymer Clay.
So a huge thank you to all those who volunteered, the stand wouldn’t be there without you, but especially to Allan Marshall who organises it all, and to Angie Smith, who with Allan sets it up on the day before and was then there for all four days. A great event all round.
Guild Liaison Officer
Review of Cara Jane Hayman's workshop session on 9th March 2014 at Curborough.
A gloriously sunny Sunday morning at Curborough and there was a definite smell of Kato in the air, as many hands were busily conditioning blocks of clay to make some marvelously delicate bowls.
Cara immediately put us in a creative mood both with her display of bowls and understanding of clay in general and Kato in particular, a clay that a few were new to, but that now has many more converts, especially given its characteristics, that mean it is great for cane work, and very strong after curing – just what is needed for bowl making.
Cara’s confident teaching style put everyone at ease and her detailed demonstrations, backed up with great instruction sheets, (and a few 'freebies') meant that everyone could (and did) make some wonderful pieces.
First Cara demonstrated some basic canes, then she showed us how to kaleidoscope them, before detailing how to make a bowl, which could be a 2 stage process, depending on people’s design choices. She also covered textured finishes, and how to get a near perfect look to your piece, as well as sanding and polishing.
She finished the day with a lovely flower cane demo, incorporating some great tips for keeping cane shapes while slicing. As with every tutor we have had at Curborough, you learn so much more than just the subject matter of the course topic, and someone with Cara’s experience was able to impart tips and useful techniques throughout the day.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile day, and I for one, am now off to make some more bowls!