Julie Picarello, Linda Gross, JuLee Wolfe | Polymer Clay Meetup

Julie Picarello, JuLee Wolfe, Linda Gross, Cindy Lietz “It’s wonderful to get together with others who are as excited about polymer clay as you are.” ~Freda-K

It really is amazing that having a passion for a craft or art medium like polymer clay, can take reletive strangers, and turn them into instant friends. That is how I felt when I met up with polymer clay artists’ Julie Picarello, Linda Gross and JuLee Wolfe, just this past Friday evening.

You can see just how happy we are in the photo above. Julie is the one with the red top, JuLee is behind her in white, Linda is across from her in the pink. And that’s me in the yellow coat in front.

If you have been following along here at the blog, you will know that I ran into Linda Gross at the Fraser Valley Bead Show just a couple of weeks ago. She lives fairly close to me, but previously, we never had the opportunity to meet up in person.

At the bead show, Linda mentioned that she was hosting a workshop in her home with Julie Picarello, the well known Polymer Clay Mokume Gane Guru. Wouldn’t that be quite the title on a business card! Now, since I was familiar with Julie’s incredible work from seeing it online, I really wanted the chance to meet her in person while she was in town.

Well after a few back and forth emails with Linda, and some schedule shuffling, we ended up rendezvousing at a local restaurant. Much to my delight, another polymer clay enthusiast from Seattle was also able to join our little meet up — JuLee Wolfe, VP of the Northwest Polymer Clay Guild (NWPCG).

What an exciting opportunity to connect face to face with like-minded polymer clay addicts, instead of only ever chatting online. And such a nice time we had!

Julie Picarello has the warmest, kindest smile you will ever see. Linda is so passionate and vibrant; and JuLee is a quiet observant woman whose love for polymer clay clearly shines through.

They each had wonderful stories to share. The good, the bad and the exciting aspects of being in this amazingly creative industry.

I loved hearing how Julie found her passion in polymer clay, specifically in Mokume Gane. She has developed this popular polymer clay technique into her own distinctive style, which she has become quite famous for.

By the way Julie… you’ll be happy to know that your reputation precedes you here at my blog. On more than one occasion, readers have taken the opportunity to reference your wonderful work.

Love the colors.  I could easily see that palette used in one of Julie Picarello’s pieces… just add some gold to it. The picture looks just like one of my cats that I used to have…Teddy was his name. Thanks. ~Lupe-M

Julie told me that she originally got hooked on polymer clay while watching a Victoria Hughes video back in 1995. It inspired her so much that she had to drop everything part way through the video and start creating! It was funny to hear that to this day she doesn’t even know how the video ended, though she was sure it must have been good. She was so busy making things that she never looked back!

Another story that comes to mind (there were many of them) from our little get together the other night, was Linda’s description of how she got started only 2 years ago. She had never done crafts and wanted to do something with her hands. She started with knitting and quilting but found they weren’t for her.

A friend who was a real jewelry designer (her words for someone who works with precious metals), suggested she get into beading. She did. She then found herself looking for unique focal beads and was discouraged by how expensive they were. She heard about how you could make your own beads with polymer clay and the rest, as they say, is history.

Of course, we also talked about my online journey and my love of sharing what I’ve learned about polymer clay bead making with everyone, especially beginners. The excitement and passion I have for the future of polymer clay and the amazing supportive community that is being created here.

If there is one thing I learned from the evening, it is that as crafters and artists, we need to connect with one another. That our hearts, spirits and minds are recharged and inspired by making friends with people who share similar passions.

I also realized that I need to get out there more. At some point in the near future, I will need to step away from the computer and my work table and meet with more people face to face by getting out to some of the larger events. Sharing laughter, ideas, friendship and our common need to create something beautiful.

Thank you Julie, Linda and JuLee for a wonderful evening! I hope to meet up with you all again real soon. Until then…

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. sarahwww, 09 November, 2009

    We’d love to have you visit us in Texas!!

  2. Ken H., 09 November, 2009

    Just name the place and if I have the Vac. time and not in a show I’ll be there. (fingers, toes etc. crossed)

  3. aims, 09 November, 2009

    Drats! If I had been thinking a little clearer we could have had coffee while I was over there.

    Next time – no excuses!

  4. Melinda, 09 November, 2009

    How fabulous!

  5. Lupe Meter, 09 November, 2009

    That must have been some dinner! Wish I could have been a fly on the wall in that restaurant…so many creative minds all in one place! So, glad you enjoyed your time.

  6. Freda, 09 November, 2009

    I can just imagine how the talk and laughter flowed. How fun! So glad you took the time to meet with them and tell us about it.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 09 November, 2009

    Thanks guys for your comments!

    Lupe, we were laughing and talking so loud, you wouldn’t have needed to be a fly on the wall. You really could have been sitting anywhere in the restaurant!! ;-)

  8. Ken H., 09 November, 2009

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a creative person who was a shy violet. :P

  9. Jeanne, 09 November, 2009

    Julie was in Tucson last year and I took her class. She is a wonderful person and a great teacher. At the time I was very new to Polymer clay and was concerned the class would be to advanced for me, but the way she teaches and puts you at ease we we’re all able to leave with beautiful pendants. I would strongly recommend taking her class if you ever get the chance. I fell in love with her color combinations and look to them for inspiration.

  10. Peggy, 09 November, 2009

    It sounds so wonderful Cindy, I am very happy for you. I would love to meet you in person Cindy. Maybe next summer you can plan a class somewhere and we could all take a vacation to meet you and have a class face to face. Wouldn’t that be great, at least for me it would. I hope you don’t plan on leaving your computer any time in the near future. I would be lost without being able to visit with or read something about your constant working creativity. All of us are so blessed to be a part of your life. No pressure Cindy but we all need you way to much. I am a Polymer Clay Tutor addict

  11. Elizabeth S., 09 November, 2009

    Sounds like you made some wonderful friends. A few week-ends ago I drove to Albuquerque, NM for my first PC seminar with Ronna Sarvas Weltman, (author of, ANCIENT MODERN, POLYMER CLAY AND WIRE JEWELRY). I was nervous about not knowing anyone and also about the class possibly being too difficult. I did struggle a bit, learning the wiring techniques, but Ronna has a way of making one “celebrate their messes”, and as a result gave me confidence to push my creative boundaries a bit. In a nutshell attending the seminar was a wonderful wonderful experience. There is something about the collective energy and generous spirit in a room full of PCers. I can’t wait for the next opportunity, and I so envy those of you who get to gather with other PCers on a regular basis.

  12. JuLee Wolfe, 09 November, 2009

    It was great meeting up with you last Friday evening. Your observation that polymer clay brings people from all walks of life together with a common bond is so true. Since I started doing clay in 2005 I have meet so many nice, interesting and clever artists. I never thought I would be on the board of a PC quild before getting involved with this marveleous medium.

    PS. My hubbie will sure be surprized to hear me described as quiet :)

    PPS Thanks again for the lovely bookmarker.

  13. LindaG, 09 November, 2009

    Thanks Cindy for such a great post about our wonderful get-together, it really was a lot of fun and a wonderful kick-off to our weekend workshop.

    I totally agree with you that shared passions can make for instant friends. I have to say though, that when the person has as fun and dynamic a personality as yours – friendship is a given!

    I also agree with you that as far-reaching and information-filled that the Internet is, that nothing beats some good ole face-to-face time. There is something magical happens when we share our thoughts, ideas and energy with other people – it’s where I get my mo-jo and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

    So let’s talk about getting you out a bit more – we’ve got a great Polymer Clay Guild here that would love to meet you (groups.yahoo.com/group/Vancouverpolyclayers).

    Maybe we could arrange some workshops for you to teach your great ideas and tips locally?? What would people like to see and learn?

    Lot’s of possibilities to consider. Let’s grab some java, see what people are interested in and, as the commercial says . . . . get crackin’

  14. Catalina, 09 November, 2009

    Glad you all had a great time. You’ll have to video the next visit and post it here or on youtube!! That way we can be apart of it, too! Just a thought :)

  15. Tina, 09 November, 2009

    Hi Cindy,
    glad you got to meet Julie :) I finally did also and she’s the best! Awesome teacher, great personality. I was like a sponge and her method of teaching is brilliant, for beginners and advanced alike. There was so much laughter and fun. My mind is reeling with ideas…

  16. Polyanya, 10 November, 2009

    I’m sooooo jealous I want to cry.

  17. lynn watts, 13 November, 2009

    Oh Cindy what a lucky girl you are……………….. Julie Picarello WOW what an honor just one of the best in Mokume Gane ever, do you also know Dan Cormier/Tracy Holmes they are great People as well,their work is BEAUTIFUL and so precise. I would love to get to go to a workshop to both of those artistians. Maybe one day I can. Thanks for sharing. Lynn Watts

  18. Cindy Lietz, 14 November, 2009

    Yes it was exciting to meet with these great gals. I was very lucky indeed! Hopefully it won’t be too long before I meet with them again.

  19. Julie Picarello, 24 November, 2009

    Well shoot! I’m late as always…meant to leave a comment DAYS ago and finally got a free moment…my apologies, Cindy!

    It was such a treat to spend a bit of time with you, and I came away so impressed by your enthusiam and dedication to polymer artisans the world over. You provide an amazing source of information and inspiration, and it’s all presented with that sweet smile of yours!

    I wish you all the best and hope to see you again soon. Until then – keep up the fabulous work!

  20. Cindy Lietz, 24 November, 2009

    *smiling and blushing*

    Thank you Julie! It was a pleasure to meet you too!

    I hear the girls had a great time at your workshop and I bet they did! If your teaching style is half as warm and cheerful as having a coffee with you was, then I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend!

    Hope we cross paths again, sooner rather than later.

    Until then…

  21. Michelle, 08 January, 2010

    Well, as a relative newbie to polymer clay and only a few weeks watching tutorials here.. I am sorry to say that I haven’t a clue (yet) about just whom these ladies are.. BUT.. it sounded really lovely to hear about your meeting. It sounded really special and a great meetings of minds.

    Yes, getting out there more often is what we all need…sadly polymer clay is not a buzz word up here in Finland… but who knows.. maybe thats to come. Here it is needlefelting, wet felting and such like. I like those too but love polymerclay. The downside for me is the lack of craftshops here, I have to buy fimo over the internet and can only buy VERY expensive Cernit and Ive found that way too soft.

    Still.. if EVER you are in the Lapland region of Finland… give me a shout! I am not a shrinking violet either! :D

    PS.. Are there any other site members here from Finland?????

    Love Michelle x

  22. Cindy Lietz, 08 January, 2010

    Hi Michelle. Thanks for sharing a bit about your situation in Finland. I hearing about love polymer clay stories from the around the world. They bring us all so much closer together.

    The only other person from Finland (that I am aware of anyway), who has commented here at the blog, is Nellie Visscher-Jäkkö. She works with canes for making miniature food for dolls and doll houses.

    Now I’m guessing there are other people as well, from Finland, who read the articles here, but that have not yet commented. A good thing to do when you leave comments is to sign off with something like Michelle from Finland. Just add it after you comment note. This will hopefully likely encourage others from your country to join into the conversation and say Hi.

  23. Michelle, 15 January, 2010

    Thanks Cindy.

    I have just found the link on another blog thread to upload my gravatar (not heard of that company before) and worked my way back to this particular thread to find your message. Tell me, is there any way on this site to locate with ease (or better still, have the history of) all of ones own personal blog messages thus saving having to just remember what was written and where?

    I will go now and have a read of that blog. Thanks again!

  24. Cindy Lietz, 15 January, 2010

    Hi Michelle,

    Great to “SEE” you. That’s wonderful that you figured out how to upload your Gravatar image. It really is quite an easy process to set up, and I am hopeful that many others will follow your lead.

    For anyone who is interested, I’ve added a link by my name for instructions on how to set up those little thumbnail Gravatar images that show up beside comments instead of the sideways “G” logo.

    In regards to locating messages you have posted here at the blog, using “Michelle” in the search box at the top of the page will work. For future posts if you add your last name to your name field, that would allow you to search more specifically for only the posts from you, as opposed to including posts from all the Michelle’s who also leave comments.

    Also if you did not know, you can use the “Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail” feature at the bottom of every comment section here at the blog. This will provide you with automatic alerts when new messages are posted to individual comment threads.

  25. Jena D, 05 April, 2012

    Hi Cindy,

    Thanks so much for guiding me to your blog! I found several posts that answered my question and listed several ways to deal w/old, dry, crumbling clay!!

    First, I sprinkled Sculpey clay softener on the crumbles and squeezed my crumbles inside a plastic baggie for quite a while. Then, left the mess to rest over night. Next day I squeezed some more and finally it seemed to be coming together a little in a rough lump. I used the heel of my hand to press down on it some and finally it seemed – not flat – but getting there, so I used my heavy rolling pin (crumbles still inside the baggie) – to flatten it some more and finally thought it was ready to try the pasta machine. However, it was still not good enough. It left a bunch of crumbles under the machine and all over the table and cracked apart when I tried to fold it. Then, I remembered another tip from the posts! I added some still fresh, newer clay and first used the rolling pin and then ran the clays together through the machine. SUCCESS!!!

    I am now half way to my first Mokume Gane beads, thanks to your blog and Julie Picarello!!

    Thanks SO MUCH Cindy, for your blog and the wonderful clay artists who post on it!!!


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