Those of you who know me will know by now I’m a serial crafter. I love just about anything crafty and like to try out new materials all the time and see what I can make from it. One material I instantly fell in love with as soon as I tried it was polymer clay.
This is a colourful clay used for sculpting or creating small objects and can be baked in an ordinary oven in order to harden to a durable finish. It is so much fun to work with and oh so versatile; if you can imagine it then it can be made from this wonderful clay!
Why am I telling you this? Well, my love of polymer clay is the reason I’ve not posted in a while. Far from sitting here with my feet up, I’ve been helping out at the first ever Southern Polymer Clay Extravaganza (SPCE) down in Kent for the last few days and I must admit it’s been a hoot!
The SPCE is the brainchild of the fantastic polymer clay artist Birdy Heywood; she wanted to create a weekend for people from all backgrounds to come together and enjoy playing with clay. She already runs a hugely successful Facebook group for anyone interested in clay (of which I am an Administrator) and she wanted to extend this into the real world. Her vision was a friendly, family atmosphere with everyone enjoying themselves eating, claying and laughing with one another. To see her dream come true was magical for me and I am so proud to have been a part of it.
The weekend comprised of 3 days of workshops with 3 tutors each offering a different workshop each day. On offer were:
- Birdy Heywood (The Dragon Lady) – Black and white cutlery, dragon sculpture and wixie on a rock.
- Marie Segal (Polymer Clay Pioneer!) – Steampunk hearts, delft pottery technique and flower canes
- Angie Scarr (Miniature Queen) – Miniature fruit, miniature garden plants and miniature salmon and prawns.
Day One – Steampunk Hearts
This workshop was simply AWESOME! Marie has such a wealth of experience and an energy that the whole group seems to feed off. She showed us how to create these wonderful hearts from the clay and then how to antique them to give a real steampunk look. The group all had the same materials and moulds but I couldn’t believe just how different the hearts all turned out. Here are mine:
And here are some other pictures of the lovely clean (ahem!) work surfaces:
Day Two – Delft Pottery Technique
This workshop was again with the wonderful Marie and she taught us the techniques to make these rather stunning delft-inspired pieces:
A layer of colour is trapped in layers of translucent clay and resin. The effect is to die for and I can’t wait to try it on my own.
Once again, this was a magical workshop. The angel on the right was created with Marie’s help but the decoration on the left with the mirror is my own design. I love it and will be making more to hang on my xmas tree!
Day Three – Wixie on a Rock
Birdy Heywood is known across the world for her magnifiscent and detailed sculptures and in this workshop she shared some of the secrets of how to create a cute little wixie (a cross between a witch and a pixie, of course) and sit it on its own rock. My wixie hides a little secret – her rock is actually a little trinket jar!
Isn’t she just adorable?! I am in love with her and her little rock, so I now need to find some treasures for her to guard in her little jar!
So, my 3 days were spent making new things with clay and learning new techniques from masters of polymer clay. As fantastic as that was, the best part of the weekend was the atmosphere created by students and teachers alike. I can honestly say that whilst I didn’t know many of the students before the weekend, I would now class each and every one of them as a friend. There are not many ‘retreats’ that can boast this but the atmosphere was so addictive!
Accomodation was in bedrooms each sleeping 4 people with an en-suite and the meals were provided by various people across the weekend; all were proclaimed completely delicious by all who ate them.
I feel honoured to have been a part of this weekend and I cannot wait to be a part of the next one; I am certain this will be happening again next year!
If you fancy trying out polymer clay for yourself, why not join our little Facebook group? It’s full of like-minded individuals of all levels and we would love to have you.
Along with the fabulous tutors, special thanks must go out to my new ‘sisters’ and fellow Admin for making my weekend extra special:
- Jinny ‘Stabby’ Holt (so-called because she loves to stab her clay creations for that ‘distressed’ look) – You can find her gorgeous work on Mums Shed.
- Lin ‘Bear Woman’ Morton – This lovely lady makes fabulous spirit bears that can be found at Spirit Bear Designs.
So, that’s quite enough enthusiasm from me! I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the weekend of other workshops and artists you may enjoy.