How it all started
Twenty years ago on 23rd September 1997, the British Polymer Clay Guild was started by three friends, Alison Gallant , Sue Heaser and Margaret Reid, who were united by a passion for a relatively new medium called polymer clay and wanted to share their enthusiasm with more people throughout the UK.
They started meeting regularly in the Midlands, at Lichfield, and slowly, it grew from there. The Midlands group is still going strong and is one of our most popular groups with people travelling to attend from far and wide.
More groups started forming with a few people in their houses, then as they became popular, into village and church halls and other community locations.
With the internet becoming increasingly popular, links were forged with polymer clay pioneers, particularly from America, and we have been fortunate to have some of them teach to groups in the UK.
As part of our celebrations, Sue Heaser will be giving a presentation on both days about the history of the BPCG and polymer clay in Britain and abroad.
20 years on...
We now have 21 locations across the UK with more in the pipeline, for people to get together and learn more about this remarkable medium. Kidderminster is one of our newest branches, run by Lisa Walker, where she has her own studio, Lisa Walker Designs, housed in one of many carpet mills that used to be the main industry of the town. It's a lovely spacious building with lots of history, tucked away down a leafy lane next to the River Stour.
Simply Limitless Wellbeing Centre
Housed in Bondsworth Mill, the charity was formed in 2011 by a church group motivated to help the vulnerable and needy. This remains the motivation of the key personnel, to continue to redress health and wellbeing issues in the community. Recognising that people cannot exist without fulfilment in the physical, mental, social and spiritual areas of their lives, they are passionate about Simply Limitless providing an effective Wellbeing Centre for the Wyre Forest area.
The modern carpet industry was founded in the area in 1785 by Brintons, and the carpet industry became extremely important to the local economy, so much so that the local newspaper is still named The Shuttle after the shuttles used on the carpet looms.
By 1951 there were over thirty carpet manufacturers in the town, including, for example Quayle & Tranter (now defunct) who commissioned notable artists including George Bain for their traditional designs. Aided by a 2004 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a Museum of Carpet dedicated to the Kidderminster Carpet Industry was officially opened by Lord Cobham in 2012.