On the 29th May the London Polymer Clay Group celebrated its 4th birthday as a special clay day celebration at the Betty Brunker Hall near Old Street. Thirty four polyclayers came to the meeting, some traveling a long distance to be with us. A warm welcome to several new faces, Lynne, Graham. Cris, Nomi and Penny – it’s good to have you with us. There were also several people on a waiting list hoping for news of a last minute place!
It’s hard to imagine how the group has grown from the first meeting of two of us in Waterstone’s coffee shop. With nearly 80 members on the list we now need a larger venue. The group has come a long way from the early days when meetings were also held in each other’s homes.
The first event of the day was the Zentangle cane reduction bonanza. I first read about zentangles on the blogs by Kelly and Tina of the San Diego polymer clay guild and I thought it was a fun thing for the group to do together.
Everyone was invited to bring to the clay day a black and white cane they’d made. In total we had about 36 canes.
Ann and Emily coordinated the gathering together of canes and grouped them into 3 brands of clay, Premo, Fimo and Kato. The combined canes were then reduced from about 5 inches to 1 inch in diameter. This was very noisy but fun as the canes were rolled, pulled, pinched and banged on the table as part of the reduction process. The 3 reduced canes were cut into portions so each person got a piece of the cane they had contributed to and we raffled off all the remaining clay.
During lunch, while everyone ate their packed lunches, we had a mini AGM. This annual general meeting was an opportunity to explain the aims of London group and how anyone from anywhere can come to our clay days and will automatically become a member. There is no membership fee but we charge an entrance fee to cover room hire and refreshments. We hope people will come to the clay days and contribute their skills and their enthusiasm for polymer clay. Susan explained the group’s financial situation and everyone was asked for suggestions as to how they would like to see the funds used.
One item discussed was to make a donation of $500 to the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin, USA. The museum is creating a permanent collection of polymer clay by many top artists. The collection will also form an archive with many early pieces donated from privately owned collections.
Our donation will be self-funded by a raffle of a fabulous polymer brooch by the RAM collection organiser Elise Winters which she will send to our group in recognition of our donation. We will be selling raffle tickets at the next 3 clay days with the draw at the November clay day.
A treat of the day was a specially made birthday cake by the group’s cake maker supremo, Clare McKnight. I made the polymer clay letters to decorate Clare’s delicious cake made with her own tasty chicken eggs. Several people brought boxes of chocolates and biscuits to tempt us! Thank you all.
In the afternoon Andria Poole demonstrated working with wire. Andria makes all her own wire findings and explained all the different pliers and their uses and suggested those that are essential. She showed us how to straighten the wire, make perfect loops and jump rings for our own jewellery to save buying costly findings.
As the London group has grown in number we are planning to introduce online booking and pre-payment for places at each clay day. We plan to start with online booking for the July meeting and add online payments from September. As soon as we have this ready we will announce it to all the members here on the website and also via an email.
Thanks to everyone for coming and celebrating and for making LPCG’s 4th birthday clay day a great success. The whole day was a buzz and let’s hopes the group is still going strong in a year’s time when we can celebrate again and eat more cake!
Words by Carol Blackburn. Pictures by Carol Blackburn and Susan Rimmer