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September 2012 Meeting Report

We arrived for our September meeting to find Nico’s cafe was closed. What a blow. I was so looking forward to breakfast – a bacon sandwich and latte.

We were expecting 38 for the day and they soon started arriving. On discovering there were fewer tables than usual and the little kitchen needed tidying, we all pitched in and helped. Jo volunteered to go for milk, others cleared space in the kitchen and prepared tea and coffee, while the rest of us helped set up the room, ready for the day’s activities. We used whatever tables could be found, including the two halves of a table tennis table and a snooker table which became the ‘show and tell’ table. None of this dampened our spirits and as we know, polymer people are the best at improvising.

Space was found for our new toy, a Foredom buffing machine and after a short demo by Susan this was used throughout the day. The machine ran surprisingly quietly and the only loud noises coming from that corner of the room were the oohs! and aahs! at the wonderful shiny finish the buffer produced, with the occasional bead flying off into the box provided to catch such objects.

After a few announcements about the day and a warm welcome to 10 new members, 7 joined Emily for her Nursery Class at the table reserved for ‘newbies’. As they crowded around her, all eager to learn, she showed them the jelly roll and bull’s eye canes, the hollow doughnut technique and lots of useful information to help them get started with clay.

Wendy presented the first demo of the day, the ‘Peacock Cane’ using 2 canes one with a blend of green and gold mica clay. Wendy provided a very clear step by step hand out (you can download it here) for her cane which she had credited to Jean Sheppard whose peacock cane was Wendy’s inspiration and starting point, which she had adapted and simplified along the way. Most of us spent the rest of the morning working on our own peacock canes which Angela, our oven monitor for the day, kept a watchful eye over while several trays of peacock cane beads and pendants were baked.

After lunch we had our first ever ‘Early Bird Raffle’. This was an opportunity to win the entrance fee back. All those who had booked and paid for a place by the cut-off date, 2 weeks before clay day, had their name entered into the raffle. New member Gorden, had the honour of picking out the winning name and the lucky one was – Marcia. We will be including this raffle at all our clay days, so book early!

Susan announced the ‘Brown Bag Swap’ to take place at our November meeting. Details of this will be on the website soon.

I spoke about the library we will be setting up soon. Carol mentioned the San Diego Polymer Clay Group librarian, Gloria, who had kindly sent her details of how they run their library. With donated books from our member Chris to start our lending library, we have been choosing from the long list of DVDs and books available and have selected several to add to these.

The second demo of the day was again done by Wendy. She had been experimenting making texture plates from Styrofoam and shared her methods and results. Some of the most interesting textures created were made by impressing into the Styrofoam the simplest tools such as pen tops and the metal part of a hairbrush and then rolling a sheet of scrap clay to make a reverse impression. There is a limited number of times you can use the blocks of Styrofoam to make clay impressions from as the image gets dulled, but as they were easy to make, you would just remake them. Wendy then gave out samples of Styrofoam for us to make our own texture sheets.

As usual a big thank you to everyone who helped make the day a great success and to Wendy for her demos.

We hope to see you at our next meeting on Sunday 25th November when Nadege will be demonstrating her Mosaic technique and we will have our ‘Brown Bag Swap’. Nearer the time we will let you know of some of the other events we’re planning. So keep an eye on the website for information and look out for the ‘booking is open’ email in your inbox a month before clay day.

Remember to book early to get a place and a chance to win your entrance fee back.

Till then, if you have time to play with clay, do bring your creations for the ‘show and tell’ table, one of the high lights of the day.

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