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March 2011 Meeting Report

The London Polymer Clay Group (LPCG) gathering on 27 March was impressive for several reasons. Thirty people found places at the work tables, which is nearly capacity for our current venue, Betty Brunker Hall near Old Street. We warmly welcome the newcomers, including Alison, Angela, Angie, Hilary, Lesley, Nadege, Sharen, and Svenja, all of whom contributed ideas and energy to the day. Highly motivated participants hailed all the way from Gloucester, Manchester, Hamburg, Dublin and Cambridge. If you need additional information about attending the next group meeting, email us

The clay day started with the Show and Tell table, which included a recap of the successful Polymer Pamper Play weekend event in Dorset, kudos for member features in recent publications, some amazing results from novices and a few discussions of refining clay techniques.

Alison Gallant, Vice President of the International Polymer Clay Association, described the upcoming biennial polymer clay event, called Synergy. Although the next Synergy will be late October 2012 in the US, there are hopes that the Autumn 2014 event will be held in Europe. Besides smaller classes offered by LCPG members, another promising upcoming clay conference is planned for 14-16 October 2011 in Nottingham, Derbyshire.

For our first demonstration, Emily developed the concept of fractal-pattern repetition to build canes. A simple element is repeated in a regular manner after each successive cane reduction. There is a natural endpoint after which no significant change is noticeable. Square canes are the easiest to manipulate in this fashion.

Gilly, a natural teacher, provided instruction on design concepts based on the principles in the book, Notan: Dark-Light Principle of Design(ISBN 0-486-2656-X). Her well-prepared demonstration and hands-on exercise illustrated the points beautifully. Gilly provided a vocabulary list for “visual literacy”, which makes it easier to name and use concepts of design elements in our thinking. Better results come from making informed decisions about our designs, rather than relying on a random approach.

For those who need more information about the ideas of Notan, the 1992 book by Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield that Gilly used, can be found at Amazon here.

Planning ahead for the 29 May clay day: a preliminary discussion ensued to plan a group project for the next LPCG meeting. In the spirit of Zentangle and inspired by the San Diego Polymer Clay Guild, the attendees conceptually agreed to each provide a cane approximately 1-inch wide created only from black and white clay. The resulting canes will be bundled and reduced so that each person will receive a section of the new cane of many “tangles”. Stay tuned for more direction about how to prepare for the May meeting.

On Sunday 29th May the London Polymer Clay Group will be 4 years old. So we hope you’ll come along to help us celebrate this special date.

Report by Janet Roemmel. Pictures by Carol Blackburn.

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