Clay Day at ClayAround

When we went to the UK recently, we arrived there with no more plans than to see all our friends and family and meet our new grandson. I didn’t expect to be enjoying any time with polymer clay. I was hoping, however, to explore the craft store options they have there and maybe even find someplace that specialized in polymer clay. But I had no idea where such stores would be. So I did what any modern social-media minded person would do in this situation. I asked my Facebook page. And boy did I get an answer!

One of the readers of this website, Jayne Rozario, immediately contacted Penny Vingoe of Clayaround in Wales. And Penny immediately contacted me and offered not just a visit, but to stay with her for a couple of days AND that she would organize an impromptu Clay Day so that I could meet some of her “girls”. Well. I was not going to turn this down! I honestly couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do than sit around with a bunch of like-minded people and play with polymer clay.

After a long drive across the country, we arrived at Penny’s home in Wales late in the day. She had supper waiting for us (she’s an excellent cook) and immediately made us feel at home. We started talking. And talking. And talking. At one point my husband interrupted us to tell us to get to bed. It was nearly 2 am and we were still talking! Penny is funny, she kept looking at me and saying, “Oh Ginger, there’s just not enough TIME to share it all!!” We did, indeed, have everything in common and so much to talk about.

The next morning, the clayers arrived and we made our introductions, excitedly talking about our techniques and workshops and sharing our jewelry as we laid our creations on the table for show and tell. And it’s a funny thing about meeting other clayers. We always seem to hit it off like we were best friends in another life. When else is it completely normal to walk up to a stranger and start petting their jewelry? Oh come on, you do it too, don’t you? Everyone was wearing some wonderful creation they made and everyone shared and shared and shared.

Clay Day at Clayaround, show and tell table. Show and tell table at the Clayaround Clay Day

See, that’s the thing about the polymer clay world. The sharing. We share ideas, we share our stories, we share our homes. When we’re all together working, we share our tools, our materials, our advice and our experiences.

Get a group of clayers together and you’ll hear “anyone have a square cutter” as often as “would anyone like some coffee, I’m making some”. Materials get shifted around and everything seems to find its way back to the right person. People will gather around as one person shares an idea they’ve come up with or shows a new way to do a technique. It’s always such a fun environment.

Ginger Davis Allman sharing a technique at Clayaround in Wales.
In front are Pam and Hazel, in the back are Ffion, Penny, Jayne, me, and Eileen.
Clayers working at our clay day in Wales.
Eileen, Val, Lanie (in her corner), Pam, and Hazel are busy claying at Clayaround in Wales.

Lanie's first polymer clay cane.My 15-year-old daughter, Lanie, hasn’t worked with polymer clay since she was a preschooler, but she wanted to join the fun in our clay day. Even though space was tight, Penny found a way to squeeze her into a corner and even made a sign for “Lanie’s Corner”. And these wonderful women took her under their wing and taught her how to make a kaleidoscope cane. I think it turned out great, especially since it was her very first one.

Penny shared a lot of information about her business with me and I got to see how conscientious she is with her stock and her customer service. Thanks to the generosity of the Clay Day group, I was able to spend some glorious time shopping in the shelves of Penny’s store. (What a surprise! They were so thoughtful!)

You see, Penny owns an online polymer clay supply business, called Clayaround, that supplies both the UK and Europe. She carries Premo, Fimo, Kato, and Pardo. She carries every color of Ranger alcohol ink, every color of Pearl-Ex, texture sheets, Fat Daddio cutters, every shape of Kemper Kutters, and she also has the new Lucy Tools. And it goes on and on. Shelves of stock have completely taken over her house. It was like being in heaven for a person like me! And if you’re in Wales or the West Midlands, it’s really worth a trek to come visit Penny when she has Clay Days.

Here are my purchases from Clayaround.
Some of my loot from shopping at Clayaround. I had to pick things that would travel well in my luggage. I can’t wait to play with that Genesis medium in the back there.

But the time came when we had to say good-bye. It’s always hard to leave when you meet people who you really enjoy and very much have a connection with. Penny has said that we’re always welcome to stay with her and I will definitely make sure we make her lovely world a destination on our next trip to the UK. In the meantime, email and Facebook and these electrons you’re reading right now are the best way to stay connected, all over the world. Thank you, Penny, for your wonderful hospitality. And thank you to the wonderful group who shared your Clay Day with me. I enjoyed every minute you shared with me!

Ginger Davis Allman and Penny Vingoe
Ginger and Penny. We still weren’t done talking yet, and it was time to go!

25 thoughts on “Clay Day at ClayAround”

  1. Hi Ginger,
    What a wonderful photo of you and my lovely friend and tutor Penny. I am so lucky I will be popping over to Wales next Saturday , fortunately I am only an hour away. Sadly I couldn’t attend the day when you were Penny’s guest.
    I have seen your web site and I see so many of your posts in response to poly questions online. Your sharing of information is second to none and when I spotted this thread I immediately thought… Wow! I know ‘Ginger’!
    Incredably, I have learned so much from you online, The Blue Bottle Tree is a fabulous resource.
    I just want to say thank you!
    Roz Hill

    1. Aw Roz, thank you so very much. You have made my day. It’s wonderful when one’s work is recognized and valued. 🙂 Penny is a dear, isn’t she? Please send huge hugs to her. I will see her later this year, but you’ll get to her first! Maybe we’ll have another Clay Day when I visit Penny and I’ll be able to meet you. That would be very nice! xxx

  2. This has been my experience whenever I attend a Clay Day also. Somehow clay artistry attracts the most sharing, delightful people!

  3. Pamela Breakwell

    It was just lovely spending a Clay Day with you Ginger, one I shall always remember! Thank you for sharing with us all.
    Warm wishes
    Pam x

  4. Although I am into Doll Houses, I love your blog as I learn heaps and I have been collecting poly-clay as I keep being inspired and I find you can never learn to much. I can so relate to getting on with like minded people and I love the polyholics nick name. I could feel the excitement through the blog. Thanks for all your time and enthusiasm I don’t think people realise how time consuming these things can be. Poly on people

  5. Meeting Penny was a joy in Malta! I love the sisterhood that polymer connects us to. Wonderful post Ginger.

    1. Thank you Wendy. You’ve been lucky to have enjoyed so much of the sisterhood, too. It’s a truly special community, isn’t it?

  6. How fun! I am happy that you had such a great time, and envious that it wasn’t me! What wonderful treasures you got to see, and the jewelry, too!

  7. This was such a sweet and inspiring post. So glad you had such a great experience and that you shared it with us. The pictures of the group and the clay works were great, also. Makes me want to head to Wales. ( :

    1. Well if you do head to Wales, I’m sure Penny would be glad to have you join in the fun. I suspect she has fun wherever she goes.

  8. Brenda Urquhart

    What a wonderful and heartfelt blogstory…which I could have been a stowaway on your trip…Just love Polyholics

    1. Polyholics…yes, that’s it! We certainly are, aren’t we? And we would loved to have you as a stowaway, too. Maybe I’ll run into you at another Clay Day somewhere here instead.

      1. Brenda Urquhart

        Well Ginger…if you’re planning on attending IPCA’s Retreat in Ohio in a couple of weeks…we just might be playing together…I’m driving from San Diego…so hope to see you there…

  9. Penny doesn’t look like she was going to let you go there! Ha ha. Would have been fab to hijack you forever actually. 🙂 it was a great day Ginger, one I will never forget. We are all very lucky to have Penny and Clayaround so close to us, great times. I will see you again Ginger and in the meantime I get my fix from your brilliant page. Thanks again. Xx

    1. Like I told Penny, I would love to move into a cottage down the road so I could hang out with you guys for more Clay Days. You guys are so lucky! Thank you, my dear, it was a fabulous day.

  10. Although we never managed to meet up when you were in the UK, I will definitely try to see you when I get to Missouri x

    1. I agree completely. Isn’t it funny how a common interest can bring people together, all over the world? I always say that meeting people (even virtually) is my favorite part of doing polymer clay!

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