It’s been a busy spring for me. No sooner did I return from a workshop in Kansas City, I had to pack and prepare for my visit to Norman, Oklahoma to attend the 2015 Oklahoma Twisters Poly Clay Retreat that was put on by the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild. This time it was nearly a five hour drive, but I was honestly looking forward to relaxing and hanging out with other clayers after a pretty hectic series of events on the home front. And you know what? This trip didn’t disappoint. What a wonderful time!
Now a retreat is a slightly different format than a workshop. This retreat was all about hard-core claying. The doors opened each day early and stayed open until 9:30 each night. Breakfast and dinner were served, and some people kept working right through dinner. There was plenty of time for sharing and talking and, of course, claying. The featured artist, Lisa Pavelka, was there the entire time, sharing ideas and tips, giving impromptu demos, sharing “Make and Take” events, and teaching two classes. One of her classes was “3D Illusions in Clay”, and the other one was “Playing with Pinwheels”. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of Lisa’s teaching.
You see, the format of the Twisters retreat is basically one of a giant free-form “Play Day” that lasted three days. Each participant brought their own tools and supplies and ideas of projects that they wanted to play with. But there was so much sharing. No sooner would one person start working on something then another would want to learn how. Tools and materials were shared, ideas were explored, conversations continued, and friendships were made. I had an absolute blast.
I was lucky to be grabbed by Linda Bowers when I walked in the door the first day and joined with a group of friends who were doing projects designed by and led by Chris Crossland. This was a wonderful little bunch of new friends who took me under their wings and made sure I had ample tools and supplies to do the little projects. Right away the very first day, Chris showed us how to make little bugs with some cutters, a bit of metal filigree, and some crackled trans for wings. Next Chris showed us how to make a pendant with an embedded glass “blob”. Just like that, I learned a whole new way of creating that I’d never thought of before. Isn’t this just divine? I had to make the center blue, of course. 🙂
Not only did these new friends share their materials and tools, they also were very generous with their creations and I came home with beautiful treasures that I will always cherish.
One of the traditions for retreats like this is to make “inchies”. You bring a set of tiles, one inch in size, that you then swap with other participants as a memento of the event. It’s a great way to meet the others, to break the ice in conversation, and to showcase your special technique, if you have a favorite. I took a bunch of kaleidoscope cane slices and came home with this wonderful array of colorful designs. I love having a little piece of art by so many of the attendees. I think I’m going to put these all together on a board and hang them in my studio.
Lisa Pavelka’s classes were well attended. She’s a talented teacher who patiently explained, showed, demonstrated, and helped everyone get the most of the classes. I couldn’t help but be completely thrilled with my pinwheel ring. It really spins! She showed us how to make it from a simple ring blank, a screw post, and clay. And I loved learning her tips and tricks for using Magic Glos and Poly Bonder. Lisa was very generous with all her information.
There were several demos throughout the event, as well. Kay demoed her Never Knead. Cyndi demoed adorable hollow pumpkin lights. Nancy demoed her ruffle necklaces. Lori demoed her DREAM Machine. And I demoed my Luminous Landscape technique. Here’s proof, LOL.
For me, one incredible bonus for this retreat is that Penni Jo Couch, the owner of Best Flexible Molds, brought samples of all their molds and texture sheets for participants to use freely. I had a wonderful time learning about their product line and testing out various little turquoise molds. I can’t wait to have the time to properly write about this great line of molds. But let’s just say I was impressed. Check out this fun Tiki Idol pendant and earring set that I made from the molds. These will be perfect for summer.
I came home with so many ideas and half-started projects. I need another retreat to finish them all!
And last, but not least, each participant at the retreat received a goodie bag like you’ve never seen before. Vendors from all over donated products and coupon codes to fill the bag with a delight of things that I couldn’t wait to dive into. Thank you SO much to these vendors!
If you ever have a chance to attend a polymer clay retreat or even a workshop, I think you’ll find that it’s utterly inspiring and gratifying. To meet so many other people who are invested in this world of polymer clay is a wonderful feeling. The sharing atmosphere is delightful, the learning is constant, and the friendships and connections you create are priceless. I will make sure that I go to the next one that’s in my area. Because this was just so much fun!
Thank you to everyone who made the retreat possible. So many people volunteered to make this happen. There was a lot of coordinating going on, and a lot of work behind the scenes. Both for the members and their willing spouses. Thank you all!