How To Promote Polymer Clay in Britain – Step 1 Meet with Friends

Meeting At The Station

“We met right next to the sweet stall and were talking non-stop within minutes.”

What started out as an update on Polymer Clay in the UK, ended up as a gathering of new found friends swapping beads and bead stories in an informal Manchester Meet Up. Penny Vingoe was the lead conductor for this wonderful event. She wrote the following report to share with all of us, so that we can feel like we were kinda there too.

Report of the meeting of Cindy’s girls, Saturday 3rd October 2009:

Two of us live in Wales and it hasn’t rained for a month.  Yet, true to its reputation, it was raining in Manchester.  On top of that, British Rail kept up to its reputation and the train was late.

Anna's Pendant

However we met right next to the sweet stall (mmm) and were talking non-stop within minutes. See top photo above.

Predictably we were wearing pieces that we had made so we compared notes and admired each other’s work before heading off (See the lovely crackled gold leaf pendant made by Anna aka Silverleaf).

Surrounded By Beads

We found a coffee bar – that didn’t sell coffee! (“Sorry, can’t heat anything up today”) and sat drinking delicious smoothies whilst surrounded by beads.

Well if you’d heard the noise in that corner of the bar: we exchanged so many beads and so many ideas:

“How did you do that?”
“That idea came from the raku video.”
“Those beads smell wonderful Anna – I just have to rush home and raid the spices cupboard.”
“Those beads are beautiful Rachel.”
“Well I did that from Cindy’s watercolour technique video.”
“You can buy those findings from…….”
“What an amazing idea Ang – making those beads with eyelets instead of expensive grommets.”

And then there was the other topic on the agenda: How can we promote claying in Britain?  The obvious one was to proselytize – by showing people what is possible and how easy it is to get started.  We discussed a blog where we can enthuse about the subject and  came up with the title “Polygirls blog” but later smiled at the idea of “Polyclay Addicts Anonymous”  (Pam in particular needs help – she has a severe addiction).  This topic is to be continued…..

Eating Lunch in Picadilly

This all went on for a couple of hours when Rachel had to leave us and we headed off to Fred Aldous.  “I’m hungry” announced Pam – we had forgotten to eat.  So we sat ourselves on a bench in the middle of Piccadilly with hundreds of people walking past (personally, living in the country where it’s mostly sheep, I had forgotten what it is like to be surrounded by people – quite disconcerting) before heading to that magical craft store.

Only Fimo

Two exhausting hours and a lot of money was spent in Fred Aldous.  So much choice, and so many more ideas.  Oh what a joy it is to be with such creative and like minded people.  And Pam cheated as she had a little portable seat with her so we would frequently find her sat in front of the displays systematically looking at all the goodies.  But – to our dismay – there was a large display of Fimo at inflated prices and a further display of Sculpey III – and that was all.  Most disappointing.  “This is all we have in Manchester” complained Ang (who lives on the outskirts of the city).

We tottered, exhausted, back to the station and said our goodbyes with promises to stay in touch.  Our plan is to meet up again at the NEC for the annual Craft exhibition in November.  For those of you non Brits the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) is the biggest exhibition complex in Britain on the outskirts of Birmingham.

We laughed a lot, and a good day was had by all.

~Penny Vingoe

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Anna Sabina, 08 October, 2009

    That was so cool. Sounds like it was a great bonding experience. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ritzs, 08 October, 2009

    I am so envy’s that i could not get there to share the day with you girls.but hope i say if the craft fair is in late November (i haven’t looked it up yet,) then i will meet up with you all I am back from Chicago on the 19 November.I am so glad you all had a wonderful time keep up the good work.

  3. Ritzs, 08 October, 2009

    I am so disapointed Just looked up the NEC and the craft fair is 5-8 of november so i cant go

  4. JoyceM, 08 October, 2009

    Awesome (an overused word, but sometimes its the best word to describe the situation) is what it is to meet you ladies from “across the pond”. Love the pendant and the color of all those beads. How nice to meet like people. Good luck at the NEC. Please keep us up to date with what happens there and hopefully polymer clay will come alive and you will have more products to choose from locally. The best to all of you,
    claying, playing etc…

  5. Ken H., 08 October, 2009

    At the craft exhibition, do the artists sell items and is it juried where artists are chosen by a panel or is it more like a craft show/fair where anybody can get a space and sell their crafts?

    That might be a good way of raising the profile for PC, if some of “Cindy’s Kids” get a table and display/sell some of their wares.

    Just a thought.

  6. Elizabeth Schydlower, 08 October, 2009

    Hi ladies,

    Thank you thank you for sharing your wonderful day with all of us across the pond and around the world. I’m not at all surprised that you became instant friends and know that Britain will soon become a mecca for pc artists like yourselves as a result. The pictures are wonderful!! Just wish I knew who was who (I was able to identify you Anna, from the beautiful pendant). It will be so cool now to put a face with “Silverleaf” every time you blog. Anyway, I’m so happy and excited for all of you and look forward to more stories from Cindy’s Girls—Cindy, you must be so proud!

  7. Freda, 08 October, 2009

    I loved reading about your meeting with each other. It’s wonderful to get together with others who are as excited about polymer clay as you are. Hope you can meet at the NEC and that others will be able to meet with you, too.

  8. Silverleaf, 08 October, 2009

    Yay, I had a great time! Lovely to meet other clayers and I think we all learned loads too.

    I have a few photos here which have Penny on them as well! [See Slide Show Below].

    Ritzs, we’ll have to organise another meet after that as well so you can come too! I imagine after Christmas now, everyone’s probably really busy until then.

    @Cindy, the title of this post made me think of that South Park episode:
    Phase 1 – collect underpants!
    Phase 3 – profit!
    “What’s phase 2?”
    “Hey, what’s phase 2?”

  9. Melinda, 08 October, 2009

    Oh how fabulous!

  10. Ritzs, 08 October, 2009

    I hope we can get together after Xmas but please please not middle of January beginning of February i will be on our annual hols then (please wait for me to come back) I so much want to meet you all. and chat about what we love best

  11. Catherine R, 08 October, 2009

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It is really great to see how “small” our world is becoming by reading from members that are from different parts of the world. It would be great if “Cindy’s Girls and Guys” could get together here in the states also. Great pics!

  12. Ken H., 08 October, 2009

    I think that there were coments from one or more mid-western members that they were the few PC’ers in that state, if anybody remembers who made the comment(s) and which state (I think it was somewhere like Kansas or Iowa but I could be WAY off), maybe they could find out if there is a bead show or something nearby, and we could all decend on the show and get together. Maybe we could even entice our GURU to decend from the mount and join us. :oP

  13. Linda B., 08 October, 2009

    I remember reading it but can’t remember who sent the comment. I’m from Kansas City. Anyone close?

  14. Catalina, 08 October, 2009

    Wow! You all must have great memories. Thanks for including us on your trip! :) Loved the photos!

    I’m in Michigan so if there are any Michiganders or anyone else close by or anyone who would like to travel and would like to meet that would be cool! Maybe if we set up regional “meets” all over that would be better than nothing.

    Now that baseball is over (the Tigers didn’t win the division :( I’m so bummed out) but, I have more time to play with my clay!!!

  15. Lisa Whitham, 08 October, 2009

    @Catalina, me, me, me, I’m from Michigan too! I’m up by the tri-cities… How close are you?


  16. Catalina, 08 October, 2009

    Lisa, what Tri-Cities? I’m Downriver from Detroit.

  17. Chris, 08 October, 2009

    How fabulous that you gals were able to get together and share with the rest of us!

    Anna and myself live in Iowa and I believe Cindy has a relative that lives somewhere in Iowa.

  18. Peggy Barnes, 02 July, 2010

    @Chris: Chris many months later but as they say better late than sorry. I live in Fort Madison, Iowa it is in the SE corner. Where in Iowa are you? I know Anna is in Des Moines. Maybe the 3 of us could meet up sometime. I am ill quite often but have been doing better this last month. New Dr. new ideas. You can get in touch with me through facebook my name is Peggy Barnes. I have recently tried to get in touch with Anna but so far no luck. I hope you get this comment would love to hear from someone in the same state.

    Hope you have a safe and happy 4th July.
    Many Uuuuuugggggs, Peggy

  19. Silverleaf, 08 October, 2009

    What a fantastic idea, more potential meetups!

    I really hope some of you guys can get together, it’s so great to spend time with people who aren’t already bored to death by your clay talk, lol!

  20. Ken H., 08 October, 2009

    @ Chris

    You win the prize!!!! I remember now the conversation about Cindy’s relatives, since Iowa is sorta in the center of the country, anybody willing to travel would sort of have the same distance to travel. Are there any large beading shows in your area that, if we chose to, could attend and meet?

  21. aims, 08 October, 2009

    What Fun! How I wish there was even 1 person around me that did this. Alas I haven’t found a soul. Ah well. At least there are a great bunch of people right here at Cindy’s!

  22. Anna Sabina, 08 October, 2009

    Hang in there Aims. I resorted to stalking people in Michael’s and telling them about our very small Polymer Clay Group. Then one day I mention i was in Des Moines and Chris pipes up she lives in 10 miles from Des Moines. Hooray !!! Another PCer nearby. Maybe we should sign out of post with our name and location.

    Des Moines, Iowa

  23. Ken H., 08 October, 2009

    @ Anna Sabina

    I like that idea, we’ll get to see where folks are.

    Ken Hamilton
    Philadelphia, PA

  24. Angela Murtagh, 09 October, 2009

    Hi All

    Well it was such a great day sooo much fun, it was great to meet other clayers and chat about it. I look forward to meeting more clayers and looking forward to meeting again at the NEC that should be great fun.


  25. Polyanya, 09 October, 2009

    Awww looks like you all had a great time – well my beads are winging their way to Anna as I write (all in individual packages,so you won’t have too much to do Anna) – can’t wait to get everyone’s.

    I love the pics of you all and the beads of course.

    Love the clay addict blog idea too.

  26. Rachel, 09 October, 2009

    Yep, we did have a good time:) Penny it looks like we’ve set a trend – hooray! polymerclayers meeting up all over the place:)
    I would just like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to Penny for organsing it, and thanks also to the other girls, it was just great, we really need to sort out the NEC date, looking forward to meeting up again
    Blue x

  27. Cindy Lietz, 09 October, 2009

    First of all, let me say how happy it makes me to think that you guys are connecting and making friends because of this site! What a wonderful way to feel less isolated in our creative passions! I would love to see ‘meet ups’ like this happening all over the world! Would also love to be able to attend some them myself.

    I think it is an excellent idea to sign off with where you are from geographically. I would be great to see how far and wide (or how close) we all are from each other.

    We all have so much we can learn from each other. I am learning every day from you all and from all of your wonderful comments, I know you are learning from me too. When we share and connect, we become more creative people and as a result feel more fulfilled as human beings.

    Thank you for being who you are and making this a great polymer clay community! Keep up the excellent work. I LOVE it! :-)

    Cindy Lietz
    Surrey, BC Canada

  28. Melinda, 09 October, 2009

    OMG the prospect of someone actually being close to me is exhilarating…. I don’t see any polymer clay beads or art around town or at the craft fairs.

    Melinda Herron
    Helena, MT

  29. Catalina, 09 October, 2009

    What a small world! Just think, not too long ago this would be just a dream. My grandmother is 95 and when she was born no cars were invented, no airplanes, no good way to travel except by train. Now, all we have to do to visit with friends and share information is to “log on!” But, to meet in person would be the icing on the cake!’

    Allen Park, MI

  30. Josie, 09 October, 2009

    So sorry had to miss out on the trip to Manchester but had another very important date, my son and daughter-in-law renewed their vows on their 25th anniversary on that day. Thanks to Silverleaf I felt part of the meet up and do hope I will be able to join them another time.

    Josie Thompson
    North East, England.

  31. Ken H., 09 October, 2009

    The question is, how faw are you willing to travel Cindy, it shouldn’t be a burden to you or your family. There are plenty of bead shows throughout north america where we could get together. There is one next year in Vancouver at the end of April begining of May for example. I personally would be thrilled to meet Cindy in person if it could be arranged somehow.

    Ken Hamilton
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  32. Laurel, 09 October, 2009

    What a great time you all look like you had. Pam must have a bad addiction if she even brings a chair with her so she can shop/look longer. LOL. I love it!! Maybe one of these days a group of us poly gals from the US can invade England and meet up with you too. :)

  33. Ken H., 09 October, 2009

    and guys!

  34. Lisa Whitham, 10 October, 2009

    @Catalina – I’m north of Flint. The tri-cities are Bay City, Midland, Saginaw… I’m in Midland. :)

    Midland, Michigan

  35. Catalina, 10 October, 2009

    @Lisa, Ok! My husband didn’t even know what the Tri Cities were and he has lived in Michigan most of his life! I’m from Ohio so I was stumped :)

    Anyone else close by? Maybe we could meet up in Frankenmuth. My friend told me they have a new Bead Store – maybe they would be interested in buying OUR polymer clay beads!!!

    Allen Park, MI

  36. Lisa Whitham, 10 October, 2009

    I’ve been to that bead store and it’s beautiful..!!! It’s fairly pricey though. Yes, it would be cool to get a few of us Michigan clayers together…

    Any more Michiganders out there???

    Midland, MI

  37. Ritzs, 13 October, 2009

    Hi everyone I come from carmarthen area in good old Wales U K allthough i am not Welsh.

  38. Cindy Lietz, 13 October, 2009

    It is very exciting for me to see where you guys are from and to find you trying to meet up with each other. Makes me feel like a proud Mama!

    @Ken: In regards to how far would I be willing to go ,that would have to be played by ear. There would be many things including time and money to take into consideration. Meeting up with groups of clayers like you in different areas is something that I would like to do. So who knows, maybe we will meet in person one day? Hope so. It’s so fun to have you and everyone else here!!

    Cindy Lietz
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Where Are You From?

  39. Silverleaf, 13 October, 2009

    Right, since I found myself with a spare half hour I added everyone who’s posted their location here to a Google map.

    I thought it might be interesting to properly see where everyone is, since (I’m ashamed to admit) my US geography is pretty poor and I don’t know where anywhere is except a few cities and states.

    View Cindy’s Girls and Guys in a larger map

  40. Silverleaf, 13 October, 2009

    Oh and I’m Chesterfield, UK.

  41. Laurel, 13 October, 2009

    Very cool Silverleaf. You forgot me though. :( (pouting) I am in Denver, Colorado.

  42. Silverleaf, 13 October, 2009

    Added you Laurel, sorry about that!

    I know where Angela and Rachel and Penny live too but not sure if they’ve made that public knowledge so didn’t include them.

    Anyone else want to be on the map?

  43. Linda B., 13 October, 2009

    Great map. It’s fun to see where everyone lives. I’m willing to pack up the car and drive to Des Moines for a “meet up”. I think it’s only about 4 or 5 hours north.

    Linda B.
    Kansas City, MO

  44. Penny, 14 October, 2009

    So we have another idea. Ange has told me about an opportunity for all us Brits. Oldham are having a Christmas Fair for two weeks from Saturday November 28th until Sunday December 13th. They are offering cabins – free – the only commitment is that one has to pay a deposit which will be refuned at the end (if the cabin has had someone trading there at all times during those two weeks). We think it is a great opportunity to sit and play with our clay, demonstrating what we can do, and selling the jewelry that we have made as a result of the tuition from Cindy! However – it does need a number of committed people so we can ‘man’ the cabin constantly. Ange, Silverleaf and I are interested so far – is there anyone else who could spare a few days? Get in touch off line if you are – Cindy will surely give you my email address. Ritz? Josie – are you interested? And of course anyone else in Britain who wants to come up to the Frozen north! We really must make people aware of this wonderful craft. We even have a photo of similar cabins that were in Manchester last year.

    Manchester Cabins at Christmas

  45. Ken H., 14 October, 2009

    @ Silverleaf

    Great job on the map, thanks, And for us in the states it looks like Mich. holds the prize right now.

  46. Silverleaf, 14 October, 2009

    Where’s everyone from the south, anyway?

    I really do hope you guys can meet up like we did. It was such fun!

  47. Marion, 09 June, 2011

    Hi Silverleaf – had no idea you were a fellow Brit! I’d love to get involved with a polyclay group and if you have plans to meet up again, north or south (where I live) I’ll be there!

  48. Ken H., 14 October, 2009

    Good question, I thought there’d be more from the large cities on the east coast as well

  49. Ken H., 14 October, 2009

    @ Cindy

    I’m not sure about anybody else but I’d be willing to travel to Vancouver for an opportunity to meet, I’ve got the passport already so that hurdle is down.

  50. Cindy Lietz, 28 October, 2009

    That is nice to hear Ken. Maybe when I can get a workshop together,, you can come up. It should be something that is worth your while to come this far up!

  51. Cara, 25 February, 2010

    I’m from the South of England – Bristol. Anyone near there fancy meeting up?

  52. phaedrakat, 25 February, 2010

    @Cara: Oh, I hope you can get-together with them. It really sounds like a lot of fun.

    I loved reading about you guys meeting up — how cool is that? I have never met anyone in person who actually works with polymer clay. To be able to talk to someone about it would be incredible. I’m in Riverside, CA, which is a very populated area. There HAVE to be clayers around here, but I’ve not found them yet. I guess I need to hit a craft fair or something. But it would be better to meet a Cindy-clayer! Anyone here from Cali?

    I think it’s funny that Pam “cheated” by bringing the little seat. I need to get something portable like that! I can’t bend to look at things, so I end up sitting on the floor when I scrutinize a display! Actually, I don’t really do this much anymore, though. I ride the little motorized carts when they’re available, they put you lower to the ground…I used to do it a lot, it was a sight to see back when I was wearing a brace. At least, it probably was easier for others to understand back then. Now, sans brace, people see me on the floor, they’re probably thinking I’m lazy and/or crazy! (Unless they see me struggle to get up, then maybe it starts to make sense!)

    Silverleaf, no need for you to feel ashamed about not knowing US Geography. Most Americans would have trouble with UK geography. Not just with finding your country’s cities on a map, but actually finding your country on a map! I love how you dive into things. Your maps, and charts, things you look up for everyone. It’s good fun!

Copyright © Polymer Clay Tutor Bead and Jewelry Making Tutorials