OK Twisters Poly Clay Retreat

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!

The large workroom at the 2015 Twisters  Poly Clay Retreat in Norman, Oklahoma, hosted by the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild.

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.

Gold Bug made under the instruction of Chris Crossland at the Twisters Retreat.

New Friends

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. 🙂

Chris Crossland inspired me to make this pendant with polymer clay and a glass gem.

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.

Gifts from new friends at the 2015 Twisters PolyClay Retreat
On the left is a dragonfly necklace from Chris Crossland, then a key chain and a “snuggie” pendant from Janet Burge, and a slice from a lion cane from Joyce Burge. 


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.

Inchies made and shared by the participants of the 2015 OK Twisters Poly Clay Retreat.Learning

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.

Lisa Pavelka giving an impromptu demo of making a name cane at the 2015 Twisters Poly Clay Retreat in Norman, Oklahoma.

Items made during classes with Lisa Pavelka at the Twisters Retreat.

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.

Ginger Davis Allman teaching her Luminous Landscapes technique at the 2015 Twisters Poly Clay Retreat.
Here I am doing a demo of my Luminous Landscape technique at the Twisters Retreat. Photo from the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild


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.

Tiki pendant and earrings made from Best Flexible Molds by Penni Jo Couch.

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!

Goodie Bag contents from many vendors who donated to the 2015 Twisters  Poly Clay Retreat.

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!

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10 thoughts on “OK Twisters Poly Clay Retreat”

  1. Oh Ginger! That’s the Mould I’ve been trying to find for so many months. And what a difference to the one I got off Etsy. So crisp and beautiful. And they don’t seem to ship to the UK, I’m devastated.
    I’d love to go to a workshop, or a retreat.

    1. Penny Jo doesn’t ship to the UK, but Trish at PolyClayPlay does. http://polyclayplay.com/molds-tahiti-treasures/ Of course, shipping overseas is super expensive…the USPS is out of their mind and charges and arm and a leg. But you can always contact Trish and see if she has a reasonable option. Sometimes the shipping calculator is wrong.

      There are lots of workshops in the UK. I’m not sure of the best resource to find them. I know that Cara Jane, Bettina Welker, and Donna Kato just had a workshop in Bristol in March. It seems that Carol Simmons is teaching in the UK this year, too. Maybe join some of the FB groups, such as the British Polymer Clay Guild and the London Polymer Clay Group for more information on finding workshops and retreats.

  2. I went to a Bsue Boutiques/Christi Friesen workshop last year. It was a 12 hour drive but so worth it. I’m going back again this year. We just had a blast

    1. I saw pictures from that workshop, and yes, you guys did look like you were having a blast. What a fantastic mix of personalities, really. So much fun.

  3. LOL…Really Ginger…I find it mind blowing that these are the 1st Workshop & Retreat you’ve attended…considering your wealth of knowledge of this medium and most everything that pertains to it…

    Well Lady you’ve got to put an IPCA event on your Bucket List such as the IPCA Retreat and/or Synergy(this one I highly recommend)…If I can drive from San Diego to Baltimore( in the dead of winter), Atlanta(it was hot & humid August) and Columbus OH this past August…You surely can come to Sandy Camp XVII in San Diego, CA( October 7th-11th)…

    Alice Stroppel will be our Featured Artist…also in attendance doing demos…Syndee Holt, Marie Segal, Lee Kellogg and possibly Misha Barbee…Lisa Pavelka & Christie Friesen usually drop in…our list of demo Artists is still being worked on…we’ve been at this for 17yrs and it’s great fun had by all…checkout our Sandy Camp Facebook page for info and up to date info…We’d love to see you there…Our Goodie Bags & Opportunity Drawing is out of this world…

    OH I forgot to mention Judy Summers(featured Polymer Café Artist for the current issue) always attends and collects canes from everyone and makes one of her fabulous horses(during the retreat) for the Opportunity Drawing…You don’t want to miss this Event…

    1. Oh boy, you make it sound soooo tempting! I would be there in a heartbeat, but I’m teaching a class that weekend in Dallas. Hmm…maybe I should change that, LOL? And I couldn’t make it to retreats and workshops for a long time because I’ve got three kids and they were taking up my time. But now I only have one home, so I’m a lot more free. I think you guys will be seeing a lot of me travelling all over. I’m hooked!

  4. Chris Crossland

    Thanks for the very kind words about our retreat! We were so pleased to have you and hope you will make it an annual event! We not only “took you under our wings”, but into our hearts as well. We made plans to grab you to sit with our “bunch” the minute we heard you were coming! We figured you would fit right in with the wild bunch and we were not disappointed.

    1. You are a gem, Chris. I will definitely be back. I look forward to many more retreats, workshops, and claying fun with this wild bunch. You guys are just the right kind of bad influence. 😉

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