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Meeting Report – 31st July 2011

The 31st July meeting was held on a beautiful summer’s day at the Betty Brunker Hall. As is thenorm now for this exciting group, it was extremely well attended with a waiting list of people hoping to attend. People arrived and there was a lovely atmosphere. It’s heartening to see how warmly people greet each other and how eager they are to share with and learn from each other.

The first happening was a short demonstration from Christine Dumont. In her own words she was the “entrée” to Rebecca Thickbroom’s forthcoming piece de resistance.

Christine’s topic was how to combine metallic clay with iridescent powder. She said she drew her inspiration from Artybecca (see here) and was influenced by steam punk. The basic process involved using metallic clay…in this instance Kato metallic gold mixed with Kato concentrate blue to produce a strong but quite subtle green. Christina textured the clay using the threads of a meat hook rolled carefully across the clay in different directions and showed how screws or bolts with different threads produce different effects. Copper iridescent powder was then lightly dusted across the lentil shape. The piece would then be baked and polished to a high shine afterwards. The maximum effect is obtained by using a deeply etched pattern so that the powder settles deeply into the design and the top is sanded down.

Before we settled down to experiment before lunch there were several announcements:

  • Rebecca and Carol Blackburn announced the beginning of the sale of raffle tickets for the much coveted prize of an Elise Winters original brooch. The proceeds from the sale go to support the Polymer Clay museum in Racine, Wisconsin.

  • From September we will have a new, much larger venue (more details to follow soon)

  • Emily Parker has very kindly offered to do an introductory polymer 101 session for anyone who is brand new to polymer clay at each clay day, starting at this meeting.

The morning went by very quickly and we were lucky to be able to eat our packed lunches outside in the sunshine. It seems the new venue is opposite Grimaldi Park so let’s hope we can repeat this al fresco dining!

More excitement after lunch when Debbie Carlton and Rebecca Thickbroom announced details of the 2012 Polymer Pamper Play event. Those of us who attended this year’s inaugural event in Dorset know just what a huge success it was so we listened with bated breath as the girls told us about next year. More details coming soon!

And then came Rebecca’s demonstration on “inclusions and infusions”. She was extremely well organised with so much to show and share with us and many examples of how she has used these techniques in her own work.

Basically inclusions are solid items which are added to the clay while infusions are in liquid form. Rebecca demonstrated using Jacquard Pearlex powders on black Premo clay which had been textured. Interestingly she uses cotton buds to place and move the powders as she has more control and precision this way. ArtVanGo kindly provided lots of powders and also Piñata alcohol inks so we could all experiment.

As with Christine’s efforts, we saw that the deeper etched the texture sheets or rubber stamps, the more effective the colouring. Someone mentioned that the Scrapbooking and paper products show to be held in Alexandra Palace in September is a good source for all sorts of supplies, texture sheets, and stamps.

Rebecca then showed how to add spices to translucent clay for a completely different effect and again there were many samples to show how effective the result can be. Yet more effects can be achieved by using metal leaf, adding found objects and just generally “having a go”.

The time went way too quickly and everyone went home happy and inspired!

The next clay day is Sunday 25th September at our new venue The Hugh Cubitt Centre, Collier Street, Islington. Hope to see you there.

Photos by Carol Blackburn

Report by Toni Fine

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