Wow! That's my one-word wrap-up of the 2009 International Polymer Clay Guild Retreat. I wasn't sure what to expect from my first retreat... but it turned out to be everything I'd hoped it would be.
These were a few of the highlights for me:
- The attendee bags were filled with some really nice goodies. I'm looking forward to trying the Pardo clay and the Premo Frost (up til now, I've just used their regular translucent).
- Suzanne Ivester (what a nice person!) shared lots of uses for Blu-Tack (what a handy material!). She's also posted this list of Blu-Tack uses online. My favorite tip: use a glob of Blu-Tack to keep liquid clay lids in place when you take the bottles to classes.
- Christi Friesen's demos were (predictably) a lot of fun. She is as enjoyable in person as her books make her sound. She's also incredibly generous with her time and information. Even when she wasn't doing official demos, she was answering questions or doing informal classes at her workspace. (By the way, a little birdie said Christi's going to have a polymer clay steampunk book coming out soon!)
- Lee Ann Armstrong did a very-cool demo showing a new super-easy glazing material she discovered. I'm not going to spill the beans here, though, since she has an article coming out about it in PolymerCAFÉ.
- Maureen Carlson's talk on making faces was very educational. I asked for (& got) one of her new puzzle-style face molds last year for Christmas, but I still haven't tried it (shame on me!). Now that I've seen the demo, I'm eager to pull it out and play with it. It was neat to see some of Maureen's creations in person, too. What a talented artist and teacher!
- We ate lots of yummy food. The conference meal package was good, but we also enjoyed getting to try Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, Culver's ButterBurgers & free pie Wednesday at Bakers Square.
- The talk from the chemist at Polyform was very interesting. Since I took almost 3 pages of notes, I'm going to write that up as a separate post. I've felt in the past that Polyform didn't really listen to its customers, but this retreat changed my mind. I was very impressed with them.
On a personal level, I was really excited to meet with the really nice ladies from PolymerCAFÉ magazine, as well as the editor from Kalmbach books. It was also nice to meet some of the people I've followed on Twitter forever... I like putting faces with names. I made new friends too, even though I didn't get to socialize as much as I would have liked to (I'm still nursing our little guy, so I spent a lot of time rushing back to the hotel room).
Overall, it was well worth the expense to me. I'm so glad I got to go to this one (thanks to my supportive hubby for making it possible), and I'd definitely consider going to the next one.
If you're interested, there are a few retreat pics in this IPCA Retreat Flickr Pool.