I love the first Sunday of the month. It’s the day the NJ Polymer Clay Guild has its workshops. In the three or four hours I’m there, I get to socialize with like-minded individuals, sharing some of my knowledge and absorbing some of theirs. I get to sell a couple of the latest books & videos to hit my shelves (if I bring them with me – I don’t always). I get to see what everyone else is working on. But probably my favorite thing is that I get to work on a project uninterrupted for several hours. Today I made buttons. Some in my usual color schemes to be sold in my regular store, and others in my new “designer fabric” scheme to be sold at Etsy.
There was a lot of talk about Donna Dewberry at our meeting today. Many were concerned about Polyform’s certification program, which is being spearheaded by Donna. I think it’s the most lively conversation we’ve had in some time. I can certainly agree that it’s ill-conceived for one clay company to “certify polymer clay” after it’s already gained such a foothold with many artists and enthusiasts worldwide. But the more I look at it, the less I see this endeavor as such a global thing. I was just poking around the Polyform site, and I see that they are calling the program “Studio Home Dimensions”. Teachers will be certified to teach the particular “Home Dimensions” techniques to a likely audience of beginner polymer clay crafters. Their target is people who have never touched the stuff. That really has no bearing on those of us who have been working with clay for several years, and on those artists who make their livings teaching advanced techniques. Would I demand that, say, Judy Belcher be certified before I consider taking a class with her? Um, NO! I think of it like Donna Dewberry’s “One Stroke” program. That program has enabled many crafters who didn’t think they could paint to go on and make pretty things. Has the One Stroke program cut into the livings of serious painters? Those who make art their livelihood? I don’t have any empirical data to back this up, but my gut tells me no (I welcome comments from anyone who has data to the contrary). As much as the clay community is up in arms about this right now, I suspect by this time next year it will be a non-issue.
As usual, I thought of most of these things long after the conversation was over
Anyway, I had fun at today’s meeting. Next month the focus is going to be on faux techniques. I wish I could make it – I’ve got a lot of great books/videos on the subject that I could bring. Unfortunately, there’s a scheduling conflict with my clay widower of a husband that weekend, and unless I can find someplace to deposit the wee ones, no clay day for me.