The Polymer Clay and Mixed Media Retreat in W. Virginia

June 9, 2009


What an incredible event this was!  I can hardly believe it’s over already though.  It went by too fast.

  I landed in Chicago slightly ahead of my friend Marie so I snagged a place for us to sit at the gate for our flight to D.C.  Marie found me and how fun that was! It’s been 3 yrs. since we’ve actually seen each other, but we keep in touch almost on a daily or weekly basis.  We blabbed the whole 2.5 hrs. to D.C. without stopping (not unusual!).  As Marie said later about our blabbing constantly: we don’t see each other enough, Mer!

  We got our rental car and headed out into the big world of freeways in Washington D.C.  After only one missed exit, we found our way to Sheperdstown, W. Virginia via a lush and lovely rural drive.  We found out on Sat. when we were on our way back to Dulles to go home that we had somehow missed a freeway that we were supposed to take to get to the event.  We still don’t know how we got to the right place regardless!  I was the navigator and all I can say is that we must be magic.

  The people at the mixed media retreat are all incredibly talented and the variety of skills was amazing.  There were dollmakers, paper and fiber artists, polymer clayers and beaders.  It was really cool to see everyone’s work, their stuff for sale and what they were working on.  This was a *really* great group of people to kick loose with and I’ll never forget it. The authenticity, hilarious shenanigans, incredible demos and classes, generosity and interesting conversations will remain in my memory as one of the really special times in my life.  I wouldn’t miss this event for the world!

  I took a mixed media dollmaking class with Heidi Spicer and Meta Strick.  I met Heidi years ago at a Ravensdale polymer clay conference and we really hit it off. I could tell that we were simpatico and so have kept track of her ever since.  When I saw her name connected to this event, I was sold.  I didn’t know Meta but I should have known that if Heidi was co-teaching with Meta there would be something special there – and indeed there is!  Meta teaches academic arts classes at a community college in Vermont and she makes dolls, carves faces in wood, owns a band saw, paints like crazy, and told us in her intro that she couldn’t learn another new thing. HAH! 

 I had the pleasure of having some really good chats with Meta since we were sitting back to back in the work area.  As we chatted, she painted.  She painted on a paper doll she was making (mine now!), she painted on canvas these amazing faces, canvas after canvas (5×5’s I think), she painted on t-shirts and we talked.  Meta is a kick and a woman definitely worth knowing.

  In the dollmaking class, Heidi and Meta brought a variety of dolls they had made to show and talk about. Meta showed her painted wooden dolls with carved faces, found object dolls, mixed media dolls and more.  Heidi had wire frame dolls that were wrapped in cast padding and covered in Coban – she works as a surgical OR Nurse so uses what she knows!  It was great to take a class and really great to take a class from these gals.  Their talent, enthusiasm, and energy inspired me.  I now have a wire frame, naked doll sans head, hands and feet!  I also have a wooden doll form with simple carved face to work on at some point.

  A little about Sheperd University: they have their own bowling alley complete with pinball machines and pool tables all in the Student Center.  The Student Center is where our community work area was, meals in the dining hall and also our classes.  They even had the old red and green bowling shoes that I’ve been looking for all these years.  I wish I had thought to ask them where they got them.  NEXT year!

   I’ll get my pix downloaded so I can post them next time.

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