Update on What’s Happening With Polymer Clay in the UK and Europe

Penny Vingoe from the UK Polymer Clay Community

Executives of the British PC Guild Resign En Mass To Open Door for Positive Change:

A few weeks ago I received an email from Penny Vingoe. She is planning to start up a polymer clay supply company in Britain. The name will be Clayaround… a jolly good play on words as the Brits would say.

It was great to hear about Penny’s business plans because there seems to be a real lack of support for polymer clay artists outside of North America. I wrote about this several months ago in a review of the British-based, Beads and Beyond Magazine.

Although I thought the magazine was wonderful, I was also somewhat “…disappointed to see an obvious lack of focus on polymer clay beads. This was surprising since I know there is a very talented group of polymer clay artists in the UK.”

Below, Penny provides an insightful update on where things are at with polymer clay in England. And at the end of the report, she presents some general questions for all of the European based readers here at the blog. It would be wonderful if you could provide her with some feedback.

Here’s What Penny Had to Say…

I have just come back from the Annual General Meeting of the British Polymer Clay Guild.  It wasn’t a very big meeting but those there were very enthusiastic about the Guild.  The existing committee have been running the Guild for a very long time and they expressed the desire for ‘new blood’ – they even resigned en mass to precipitate new nominations.  In the event many people offered to work on the committee (I landed myself with the job of webmaster and designer!). Two of the previous committee did remain.  Alison Gallant remained as Treasurer (she is a jewellery maker and demonstrator and was one of the originators of the Guild along with Sue Heaser – well known clayer and author) and Philippa Todd, previously Secretary, agreed to become Chair (she is a miniaturist and demonstrator).

I question constantly why Polymer Clay hasn’t taken off in the UK.  There are barely 200 members on the books of the Polymer Clay Guild   Whenever I talk about Polymer Clay with people who are keen crafters, the invariable response is “Polymer Clay, what is that?”   Philippa summed it up very succinctly:  “In America working with Polymer Clay is an Art, in Europe it is a craft, and in the UK it is fun for kiddies.”   This latter is because the clay distributor with the monopoly in Britain, Staedtler (the distributor of Fimo), have marketed this clay for decades here  as children’s play clay.  Other clays, particularly polyform  products, have limited exposure and even more limited distribution.  Kato is almost non existent here – and in Europe.

Less than two months ago in Nottingham, I attended some very successful ‘playdays‘ run by Helen Cox.  There were almost 60 people there of which only one third were from the UK – the rest from most of the European countries.  Donna Kato (who was one of the tutors)  kindly donated Kato clay for us all to use on our projects over the three days, and as a result, predictably, most of us were converted to her clay.  There are so few outlets for her clay in Britain that my idea was formed.  I will import Kato and supply it.

To that end I have been researching the market and developing a business plan.  My research of suppliers has shown some of the main British craft suppliers are actually running down their already limited stocks of clay – suggesting there is very little demand.   However I know there are clayers out there – but where are they?  Who are they (are they hobbyists or professional sellers) and where do they buy their clay?

This is where you might be able to help Cindy, because you have such enthusiastic and loyal followers.  Do your UK and European followers think that people would buy Kato clay were it more readily available in the UK? And were I to supply it, what is important to them:  is it customer service, is it access to other consumables and tools associated with the craft? Or is price the criteria?  What else is important?  Any thoughts and comments would be so welcome.

~Penny Vingoe

Thanks Penny for your insights. It’s great to hear what you have to say from across the pond.

Now… for all of the European based readers and members here at the blog, it would be wonderful if you could provide Penny with some feedback to her general research questions. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


  1. Angela Murtagh, 01 August, 2009

    Hi there

    I have been using the fimo soft and classic as I cant seem to find much here in the uk, I tend to find if I need other clays and colours I have to order from other countries other than the u.k.

    I am from Manchester (U.K)and I find it hard to get hold of the various types of clay available as like Penny has mentioned it is used as a childrens craft. I have just recently set up a jewellery party business where by my jewellery is made from fimo clay and so far it is going well, but I also think its because it is one of a kind and no-one has seen this kind of jewellery before up here. It would be great if there were more for the clay artist in the north west in the way of events or the clayaround that would be brilliant.

    Good luck with it all.
    P.S Cindy thanks for all your great tutorials I am learning so much.

  2. Larissa Joonas, 01 August, 2009

    Hello Cindy! So we do a great work to promote polymer clay as an artist’s media (you know our blog and our challenges – did you see them?) and people still prefer non-professional brands of clay, because they are cheaper, and they don’t need in high qualuty products and tools to make, as I usually tell, “orange slices”. We would be glad to participate in some educational projects in east Europe and Russia to develop polymer clay world.

  3. Sarah, 01 August, 2009

    Hi there, I’m a UK clayer in Glasgow, Scotland. It’s great to see that people are trying to raise the profile of this wonderful medium in this country. From my personal experience I think poly clay is making in-roads into the British market, albeit as a “craft” rather than an “art” material. Fimo Soft dominates but in the last 12 months I have seen my local art shop pick up Pardo Jewellery clay and Studio by Sculpey. I’ve even seen SbS stocked in WH Smiths, I was very surprised to see what I have always thought of as a specialist material appear in such a mainstream shop!

    I love Kato clay, it is far and away my favourite. I currently buy it from the Polymer Clay Pit however a little extra competition is always a good thing in my book. I would love to see Kato stocked in art shops (or Smiths :-) ) for that “instant” feeling, but I guess there is a way to go before that happens.

    All the best,
    Sarah

  4. Alice Stroppel, 01 August, 2009

    What a great discussion, thanks Cindy for bringing it to light. The best of luck Penny, with your new business venture.

  5. Polyanya, 01 August, 2009

    Hi Cindy and Penny

    I used to live in Nottingham and studied City & Guilds Pt 1 Embroidery where I was encouraged to make use of Fimo to make buttons etc. I remember it as a very hard clay which was marketed specifically for childrens play activities and was grouped with other products like Play-doh and Plasticine. At the time there were few colours stocked and as the printed instructions were tiny and most probably in German I had little idea that I could create a wealth of colours by mixing.

    I now live and work in fleece and felt in Shetland and am developing a polymer jewellery sideline. There are no stockists here and I have to buy everything in at high shipping prices. I too have bought from the Claypit and ebay among a few smaller outlets, but I’ve only seen Kato clay available at the Claypit. I would like to buy the larger (economy) sizes which I think are now being discontinued by the Claypit. I think it is an excellent clay particularly for millefiori canework.

    I think the price of clay in the U.K. may put people off but one of the main reasons I’m sure is the difficulty with conditioning. The pasta machine has revolutionised claying but it may not be a piece of equipment that many want to invest in.

    I wish you every success Penny and would be interested in hearing more from you.

    As regards the Guild, I wouldn’t consider becoming a member as being so far removed from everyone it really has little relevance for me.

  6. Silverleaf, 01 August, 2009

    I use Fimo Soft, which is basically the cheapest non-Sculpey III clay I can find in the UK.

    I buy it online, saving me 20p per 56g pack over buying it in a craft shop. I’ve thought about trying Kato but I’m not sure I can justify the expense as the only sites that sell it charge so much for postage and the clay itself is more expensive too.

    Yeah, I’m all about the money! I’d definitely buy Kato if the price was comparable to what I’m currently paying for Fimo.

    I’ve recently got some Premo on eBay but again it isn’t usually available at the right price for me to consider it.

  7. sally, 01 August, 2009

    Hi,
    I’m London based and although I have never used Kato I get my other clays as follows:
    Premo & Sculpey – polymer clay pit
    Fimo – Paperchase Tottenham Ct Road and other art shops
    Studio – craftyarts.co.uk (great prices!). I’ve heard you can get it at Hobbycraft stores too.

    I’ve been trying to get Pardo and have just found it at craftbarn.co.uk – seems strange to have a German clay more available in the US!

    You’d think in London of all places (particularly given there’s loads of bead shops) you might actually be able to buy all of the different brands somewhere, but I’ve yet to find a place!

  8. Louise, 01 August, 2009

    You can hook up with the French clayers. Being on the same side of the ocean might help.
    You can find their clay stores who have had Kato clay available for a few years now and ask them How to go about it: paroledepate.canalblog.com/archives/2006/04/10/1631223.html

    If you have a blog it will also help your artist community to make people discover what you can do as artist with that kiddy stuff.

    It’s what has been happening with the French groups.

    Good luck!

  9. Jocelyn, 02 August, 2009

    Penny, what an inspirational person you are! Interesting to read about polymer clay users all over the world.

    Thanks, Cindy, for giving all these wonderful folks a voice here.

  10. Dominique, 02 August, 2009

    Hi,

    I’m a Belgium polymer clay fanatic and I use Fimo because it is the cheapest option for me here at the moment.I buy it in a Belgian webshop where Fimo is the only polymer clay available. I do know a store nearby where they sell a clay called Pardo, but that is a very expensive clay. I would love to try other brands but then I would have to order in the US and the shipping costs add up to an amount that a student can’t pay sadly.

    To answer some of Penny’s questions:

    First of all the price is important for me. The cost for shipping abroad can’t be massive because if that is the case, I feel like I’m spending my small budget mainly on the shipping :S.

    Secondly, I find it important that the site is user-friendly,does not take ages to load, and looks professional so that I *know* I’m dealing with pros which I can trust with my clay money xD.

    Also, it’s not all about the clay indeed but also the materials etc. which are usually hard to get by here in Belgium.

    So to sum up :

    1. Good price combo of clay + shipping cost
    2. Trustworthy and userfriendly site.
    3. Hard-to-get materials also available with detailed information about them.

    Good luck Penny, It’s a great idea!

  11. jema hewitt, 03 August, 2009

    I’ve been doing my bit for clay by writing articles for “Making Jewellery Magazine”….

    I agree polyclay is not regarded as an artmedium in the UK, but to be honest I think thats because an awful lot of articles in UK magazines and books tend to only show how to roll “quick and easy” marbled beads and rather “kiddie” projects, rather than absolutely wow techniques.

    Helen Cox’s Polyclay days were great and I think a lot of UK artists are really inspired at the moment. So the more places I can buy clay the better!

  12. Dora, 05 August, 2009

    Great post on a fascinating and timely subject. Only yesterday, I was reading the blog of a polymer clay artist in Italy (my Italian isn’t the greatest, so it was quite an effort!)who had commented on one of the cane tutorials in my blog. What seemed to surprise her most was the amount of clay I was using. She said polymer clay must either be very cheap in the US or it grows on trees! Anyway, I wrote to her and asked what polymer clay sells for in Italy..She said that the 2oz/56g packages of Fimo and Premo cost between 2-4 euros. That translates into $3.17, $4.32, and $5.76 (US$)per package ! Talk about ‘sticker shock’!!
    It does seem that polymer clay is not taken very seriously in many parts of Europe. In North America, it has come to be regarded as an art medium, but that has taken a long time and a lot of effort on the part of the IPCA and reknowned polymer clay artists. The publications Polymer Cafe, Bead and Button, and Belle Armoire Jewelry have also helped to raise the status of polymer clay because they have gone beyond featuring the ‘cute’ in their articles and projects.

    Speaking of Kato Clay, the reason I have not ‘converted’ to it is because it is not available at retail outlets yet and is more expensive. My local Jo-Ann’s Arts and Crafts store periodically has Fimo Soft on sale for 99 cents for a 2oz package. You can’t beat that price! So until Kato becomes more affordable and readily available I am staying with Fimo Soft because I can buy huge quantities of it without taking out a loan!

  13. Penny, 07 August, 2009

    Oh wow – what a response. I am so excited. Thank you everyone. I have been completely overtaken by the work involved in this business start up and this sort of information is invaluable.

    I will be selling Kato – I have already negotiated to import it. A number of the Europeans at Helen’s Playdays expressed the desire to buy from the UK because of the cost of importing from US (and yes, that is why the cost of clay in Britain is so much higher than in the US).

    I am currently negotiating to sell Premo and Studio as well. And eventually other goodies too…. Keep your eyes open – I intend to be in business in the next couple of months (However my ClayAround website is being developed as we speak so it will look rather weird if you find it!)

    Oh – apropos of the British Polymer Clay Guild. Polyana – I too am far removed from any one and as such can’t get to meetings (I am based in Wales) – but the intention is that future focus will mainly be through the website (if I can find time to get it sorted!). We intend to give every member a page of his or her own to show work; we intend to provide lots more tutorials, And lots more….. And of course we already have a forum which is not used enough – yet! (The bad news is the annual fee has gone up!) We are even having a competition currently to design a new logo! Do give it another look.

    Once again, thank you everyone.
    Isn’t Cindy wonderful? A true inspiration!
    Penny
    .

  14. Polyanya, 07 August, 2009

    Hello Penny

    How nice to hear from you. I’m looking forward to seeing your website, will you let us know when its up and running?

    I’ve just this morning ordered a load of Kato clay, think its going to suit my style of work best plus I have incredibly hot hands and get soooooo sticky with the Premo.

    Maybe you have a point about the Guild – its better to feel part of something than nothing right? Although Cindy’s website is wonderful and I do feel right at home.

    Don’t like the sound of subscription rates going up mind! LOL!

    Take care and best of luck

  15. Polyanya, 07 August, 2009

    Just wanted to add a hello to Dora – I love your website and work. Particularly the plaid cane – wow!

  16. Silverleaf, 12 August, 2009

    @Jema I’ve notice that there are very few interesting PC makes in magazines. Pretty much everything I see is “make jellyroll/bullseye cane in straight-out-of-the-packet colours, slice, add to round beads, bake, slather in Fimo gloss, how cool are you?”

    I feel a bit past all that, to be honest! I understand that because PC’s not a mainstream thing here magazines feel they have to feature beginner-suitable projects, but as Cindy shows, there are a lot of easy-to-do projects that DON’T look like a 7-year-old made them.

    Let’s have some articles for those of us what are already claying! (You know what, I could write some myself! ;) )

    @Dora Cheapest I can find Fimo equates to about $2.50 for a 56g packet. You wouldn’t believe how jealous I get when I hear about sales with clay for $0.50!

  17. Penny, 13 August, 2009

    I know I am biased because I am going to be selling the stuff – but I worry about sales when I one finds clay at 50p, or suppliers that state ‘no longer in stock’ (and doing my research I have found so many) The sales are because the clay is not selling and they are getting rid of stock – which suggests what has been said before that people in Britain just do not know what an amazing craft it is. We really do need to proselytize.
    Penny

  18. Polyanya, 14 August, 2009

    Penny where do you see clay for 50p??? Think I’d buy the whole lot. I wonder if the current economic situation is hitting a lot of small business.

    I agree with Silverleaf in that ‘craft’ seems somehow dumbed down in the UK and at the risk of offending (which is not my intention) I’m bored beyond belief if I happen to glance at uk craft media.

    I have been brought up with the idea that if you didn’t have it, you made it, rather than go out and buy it. I was making patchwork before I could walk (I’ve got the scars to prove it), so art/craft is something that comes as naturally to me as all the other things I can do spontaneously.

  19. Penny, 14 August, 2009

    Polyana – it was Silverleaf that commented on finding clay at 50p. I, too, was brought up to ‘make and mend’ and made myself my first skirt at the age of 8, insisting on wearing it to school to the dismay of my teachers! I reiterate the remark made by the Chair of the BPCG ‘”In America working with Polymer Clay is an Art, in Europe it is a craft, and in the UK it is fun for kiddies.” – we really do need to change that. Maybe us Brits need to mount a campaign to make people aware of just how sophisticated is this medium.

    By the way, during my research for my new business I have been collecting the prices of clay all over Britain. The cheapest Fimo you can get is currently at craftcellar.co.uk – only £1.34

    I love your work by the way (the pictures that Cindy kindly displayed) – and I, too, lived in London and prior to that in Birmingham, before moving to the wilds of Wales – there really is no better way to live than in the countryside.

  20. Polyanya, 14 August, 2009

    Indeed there isnt Penny and thank you for your kind comments. I’ll have to check out the craftcellar. I don’t use Fimo anymore as I have a torn wrist ligament which makes conditioning hard clay quite painful, so Kato is about my limit.

  21. Jocelyn, 14 August, 2009

    Polyanna, due to hand difficulties I understand perfectly what you mean about conditioning the harder clays.

    This works for me, so hope it helps. Use a small coffee bean grinder, like a Black and Decker model with steel blades. Just put the amount of clay to be conditioned in the unit and buzz it around until the motion and speed warms it up into a crumble.

    Then I transfer the crumbled bits to a sturdy sandwich bag, and use an acrylic roller to get a piece cohesive enough to put through the rollers of the pasta machine.

    A couple of rolls through and TADA, perfectly conditioned Primo or Fimo, ready to go.

    Really cuts down on all the hand manipulation, because all you are doing is pushing with the acrylic roller with both hands to get the contents in the bag to join together.

    Also cuts down on the mess. The crumbled bits go from blender to bag to pasta machine and keep them off the acrylic carpeting, where holes will eventually form as it eats through.
    .

  22. Silverleaf, 14 August, 2009

    Sorry for the confusion, I was referring to clay on sale for 50 CENTS in the US! I’ve never seen it on special offer in the UK.

    Penny, you can totally count me in for the awareness campaign! I’m by no means an expert, having been claying for a year now, but I’m definitely beyond the craft magazine project stage. ;) If I can help in any way I’d like to.

    And I’m with you an Polyanya about the countryside – I live right next to the Peak District national park myself and a 10 minute walk from my house puts me in farmland. I wouldn’t swap for a city (even though I do like nearby Sheffield because it’s full of parks and trees.)

  23. Larissa Joonas, 14 August, 2009

    50 cents – this is abnormal price, only when the seller wants to close the store, so when I hear that somebody sells clay for 50 cents, I worry about this seller. Sometimes it could be because big store wants to sell a big amount of old clay to buy new one, but, as a polymer clay store co-owner, I know that it isn’t normal situation. So please think realistic about prices.

    For Cindy. Few days age we got a lot of Bake Shop clay, and I tried to work with it. It looks very close to Sculpey3, a little bit softer. I know, you don’t like sculpey3, but if you could get it in a half price? Our price is 1,2 USD per 57g and I think it is a great opportunity. I didn’t test it yet to look how strength and flexible is the baked clay, but people say, that it is better than Sculpey3.

  24. Polyanya, 14 August, 2009

    Thats ok Silverleaf, 50p 50cents whats the difference LOL!

    We have lots of rural nature here, not that many trees sadly, but hey great views!

  25. Polyanya, 14 August, 2009

    Jocelyn thats a great idea, you are clever! I never thought to put it into a sandwich bag to catch the crumbles. Sadly I threw away our coffee grinder when I stopped drinking coffee and Mr Polyanya will be a tad upset if I buy any more electrical items. He wont really.

    But that is a great idea, thank you.

    I have had him help out with conditioning by bashing the packet of clay with a hammer on a concrete or stone floor, that sort of wakes up the polymer fibres then its not too difficult pressing down with the roller and then into the pasta machine – but I invariably get crumbs all over the table, so I will definitely use your tip.

  26. Jocelyn, 14 August, 2009

    LOL! Love the hammer bashing myself. Cathartic. Heard somewhere that someone ran their car tires over a package of clay to soften it, lol….whatever works!

    The last three grinders I found, I paid either a minimal fee or got them free by going to places here like week end garage sales and the Good Will or Salvation Army.

    You must have the equivalent resale markets over there too. Sometimes, if you purchase other things, they throw in the grinder, lol.

    Never would pay full price for a pasta machine, food processor or grinder just for polymer, since that’s all you use it for after anyway. Just need to keep an eye out and snag stuff when you see it.

    My Atlas machine and motor I found upstairs in the attic, abandoned by my Mom as an anniversary gift years ago. What a find! She didn’t even remember she had it, and those motors are expensive. But so necessary, if you have difficulty with hands.

  27. Jocelyn, 14 August, 2009

    Larissa Joonas

    Larissa, I love the work you have displayed on your site.

    I so wish I could read Russian to hear about the details of the work.

    Does anyone know if there is an online service or site that will translate a page into English?

  28. Silverleaf, 14 August, 2009

    @Jocelyn – try babelfish.yahoo.com or translate.google.com. :)

  29. Silverleaf, 14 August, 2009

    @Penny – looks like Craft Cellar have put their prices up – Fimo’s now £1.45.

    I buy mine from cardcraft-uk.co.uk, it’s also £1.45 but with free postage.

  30. Penny, 15 August, 2009

    Jocelyn – google.com/intl/en-GB/toolbar/ie/ – to do instant translation
    And – Silverleaf – I had better keep up to date on prices!
    I found myself wondering how Cindy’s gang of Brits could meet up – so far I know of one from Shetland (do you ever have cause to get off the island Polyana?), one from near Sheffield, one from Oldham and me from Manchester – and I am in Wales. Rather far apart, but logically around Lancashire somewhere might be an option. What do you think? Where do other Brits live?

  31. Silverleaf, 15 August, 2009

    @Penny – what a great idea, meeting up!

    I suppose the most convenient place to meet depends on how people are getting there – somewhere like Manchester would be more convenient for public transport for example (although not so much for Shetland I guess!!)

  32. Angela Murtagh, 15 August, 2009

    @Silverleaf

    Meeting up is a great idea, I will be traveling by public transport unless I can get a lift from someone, Manchester does sounds like a good central place but like you say it depends on where your coming from I’m only in Oldham so its great for me.

  33. Victoria, 16 August, 2009

    Hello From Lincolnshire
    Just thought I’d drop a few lines to put in my 2 pence worth…lol

    I am a transplanted Texan living in Lincolnshire and I’m rather new to working with Polymer Clay, although I’ve known about it for years. At the moment I’m into Bead..beads and more beads. I love to twist and marble colors and then form my beads and I need clay that dosen’t blend too easily. I use Premo. Fimo and Sculpey III and too soft for my purposes. I haven’t tried Kato yet but plan to load up on some when I next visit Texas in Nov.

    I completely agree with Penny about the lack of credit Polymer Clay has as a true art form and I’m all for changing that. Penny..count me in! Tell me what I can do to help change that! I haven’t joined the British Polymer Clay Guild yet..but if it helps to promote Polymer Clay, I will.

    As for a UK meet up..count me in. Just tell me when and where and I’ll be there..no problem. As long as it’s after January 5th..lol..I’ll be in the states from Nov 9th till January 5th…watching the Carol Duval show and loading my suitcase with US goodies I can’t get over here..lol

    Cheers,
    Victoria

  34. Polyanya, 16 August, 2009

    Thanks Jocelyn, I’d read about the car before, bit too extreme for me I think, imagine trying to extract clay from the tyre tread! Yep I may look out for a grinder in the charity shops.

    Penny/Silverleaf – nice idea but you’ll have to count me out re travelling down to England I’m afraid. We keep livestock so impossible to get away.

  35. Ritzs, 18 August, 2009

    Hi; Penny Like you I also live in wales and buy most of my clay from the clay pit. I also bring back lots from the u s but have to be carefull or my lugage goes over weight. I do find it almost imposible to find in Wales were i live (Carmarthen area)so have to pay postage at a high price I will keep watching with interest, good luck Ritzs

  36. Penny, 18 August, 2009

    Victoria – could you make a date in September? Supposing we arrange to meet at Picadilli Station in Manchester on either a Saturday or a Sunday in September. Who could make it?

  37. Penny, 18 August, 2009

    Sorry Guys – I think I have spelled Picad….wrongly – dyslexia rules!

  38. Silverleaf, 18 August, 2009

    How exciting! September sounds good to me, as long as it’s not the 12th.

    Would be great to meet up with some other clayers!

    Any ideas what we might do?

  39. Penny, 19 August, 2009

    I am at a craft fair on 12th!
    What we could do is, for a start, go to Fred Aldus (which if I remember from my youth is situated near to Picadilly) – it used to be one of the most exciting craft stores I had been to when I was young.
    We could find somewhere where we could sit and talk polymer – I don’t know the centre of Manchester but I am sure someone who does might have ideas? Maybe the cafe in Kendal’s? (I suggest we maybe bring a packed lunch however – buying food in the centre of Manchester can get very expensive.) We need someone who knows Picadilly Station to suggest a specific meeting place too.
    So what do you think Cindy’s Girls?

  40. Angela Murtagh, 19 August, 2009

    Hi All

    September would be great not the 4th as I am at a wedding or I think the 13th? will have to check as I am arranging to have a Jewellery street party (something different)but its in the evening so should be fine.

    I know Fred Aldous shop very well (i’m always in there)I could ask if we can meet up in there I know they are starting to arrange craft lessons there so it maybe a thought. I also know Manchester very well, there are lots of places to meet up, let me know what I can do to help out guys.

    Ohh this all sounds like fun stuff.

  41. Penny, 19 August, 2009

    Well – from the concensus so far how about 11am at the Tie Rack at Picadilly Station Manchester on Saturday 19th September? We go to Fred Aldus craft centre and we go to Costa Coffee and sit and talk and plan what we want to do next on the day – or indeed for the future if appropriate. What do you think? So far we have Silverleaf on board and Angela – and me of course. Three is a good start. Anyone else game? Cindy’s girls UK.

  42. Silverleaf, 19 August, 2009

    Yay! that sounds like fun!

    Haven’t been to Manchester for ages. Last time I was there I was singing at the Bridgwater Hall with about 700 other people (we learned and performed Tallis’s Spem in allium in a day (big Tudor choral piece which is rarely performed because it’s in 40 parts and requires at least 40 very good singers). That was an experience!

    Really looking forward to meeting you guys. :)

  43. Jocelyn, 21 August, 2009

    Just wanted to wish all you folks across the pond the very best of times when you have your Polymer Clay Tutor get together. It sounds like so much fun!

    Please take pics and share results with us here. It will motivate us to sponsor some regional get togethers here too.

  44. Penny, 21 August, 2009

    You realise this could be the start of something big – Cindy’s Girls UK – to Cindy’s Girls world wide!

  45. Jocelyn, 21 August, 2009

    Amen, Penny! someone should come up with a pin or a badge using Cindy’s pic (image transfer?) and logo, so that everyone can celebrate the reason behind the get-together, plus advertise the site to others on the way to, during, and back from the fete.

    Make a nice collectible honoring a very special lady who is running a very special site.

  46. Penny, 21 August, 2009

    Well I don’t think we should come up with something – Cindy knows what her logo is and will surely want a say: it could be her picture, it could be just her signature – it could be the site name. Lets wait and see what she says!

  47. Angela, 21 August, 2009

    Hi Polyanna

    The Fred Aldous, its a craft shop in Manchester the P&P prices are not bad, not sure for up where you are but you could give them a try they do the fim classic and soft both in big bars as well. The prices are 1.99 for a small block and 10.25 for the big block but thats all they tend to do an the moment.

    Good luck
    Ange

  48. Angela, 21 August, 2009

    sounds like the word is getting out it should be good.

  49. Cindy Lietz, 21 August, 2009

    Hi guys. I am so excited about what you guys are planning here for a UK meet up. And I’m even more excited about how this inaugural UK event could become a template for other polymer clay meetups in other parts of the world… as well as for follow up get togethers in the UK.

    Penny and I have had some email conversations about using the blog here to help encourage the process along. At the end of the month, Penny is going to write up a summary of the dialog that happened here in this thread. I’ll publish that info at a new post early in September.

    The September post will announce the actual date and location for the event, plus a tentative agenda. More discussion can happen at that time to actually finalize everything.

    So between now and then, please do help out by spreading the word about this post in polymer clay forums that you participate in. Do some Tweets to announce this to your followers on Twitter. Blog about it. Bookmark it at sites like Stumbleupon, Blogcatalog and Technorati. Chat about it on Facebook… and anywhere else you think there may be interest from other UK clayers.

    Everything helps to build momentum for this wonderful initiative that will hopefully bring more glory and attention to polymer clay in the UK.

    In regards to branding these events, I’m absolutely flattered about your suggestions to have my name included somehow. Looking forward to see how this might evolve and how I can continue to offer ongoing support and assistance.

    By the way, for a fun story about how Anna and Chris arranged their own little meet-up in Iowa, click on the link by my name above… the one labeled as, “Stalking People in Michael’s.”

  50. Penny, 21 August, 2009

    Right – so if you are going onto twitter, hows about we use a twitter tag – if you you use #polyUK in your tweet then it is easy for people to search for that tag. Using #PolyUK we can (beyond this meeting we’re going to have) find each others Polymer Clay related tweets in the future.

    I’ve also saved some time, here is a shortened URL for tweeting that brings your followers back to this post: http://bit.ly/6kySC

  51. Cindy Lietz, 21 August, 2009

    Good idea Penny on using the Twitter tag. By the way, I edited the short url link so that it directs people to Angela’s 7:12 am comment (today Aug 21) about the “word is getting out” about this event. That way visitors don’t have to scroll through all of the other dialog in this thread unless they want to.

    I sent out a tweet earlier today. My Twitter address is linked to my name above. FYI: Jenny Barnett Rohrs (CraftTestDummy) already RT’d it to her followers. Thanks Jenny… much appreciated.

  52. Polyanya, 22 August, 2009

    Thank you Angela, I haven’t checked out Fred Aldous recently, but will do.
    Good luck everyone meeting up, I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

  53. Josie, 25 August, 2009

    Hi from NEWCASTLE in the North East. I’ve only been working with clay since July when I joined Cindy’s course. So far have only been able to buy Sculpey111 Or Fimo, have seen Pardo in the local craft shop but to expensive for a pensioner. So can’t wait to see what happens when Penny gets going. Will be watching this space.

    Good luck with your get together.

  54. Silverleaf, 25 August, 2009

    Well I’ve already checked out how much the train is going to cost me! Luckily it’s only an hour’s journey from my home town so it’s not too bad. (And weirdly the return ticket costs just 10p more than the single, what on earth’s the deal with that??)

    I’m really really excited!!! I love meeting new people and it’s going to be so much fun. :)

  55. Penny, 25 August, 2009

    Hi Josie – can you afford the time to come and meet us all in Manchester on 19th September? Meeting at the Tie Rack on Picadilly Station at 11am? At the moment we are going to find somewhere to sit and have a coffee and talk Polymer – and plan how we can persuade more people to be as addicted as we are! And maybe go to Fred Aldus craft store – and anything else anyone else suggests….

  56. Victoria, 26 August, 2009

    Penny, I’d love to make this meet, but I’ll be in Cornwall from the 11th to the 21st…long awaited holiday…lol. The 26th would work for me though or any Saturday in October. I’d be arriving by train so I’d need directions from which ever train station is the nearest.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

  57. Victoria, 26 August, 2009

    LOL..okay..just now read the rest of the posts..lol. So it’s set for the 19th…just my luck, but I’ll be thinking about you all while I’m laying on the beach (hopefully)..lol.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

  58. Penny, 26 August, 2009

    So everyone – how about 26th instead of the 19th so Victoria can make it? Sliverleaf and Angela and Josie -and of course anyone else who can make it?

  59. Penny, 26 August, 2009

    No Victoria – it was an arbitrary date – 26th is fine if others can make it. Democracy rules!
    Penny

  60. Victoria, 26 August, 2009

    I’ll await the final vote with fingers crossed..lol
    xx
    Victoria

  61. Angela Murtagh, 26 August, 2009

    Yep the 26th Sept is fine with me as well. The more the merrier lol. I just cant wait to meet you all this will be the first time Ive been able to chat polymer without people thinking I’m crackers lol.

    Ange

  62. Silverleaf, 27 August, 2009

    Yeah, I can do the 26th I think. :)

  63. Josie, 30 August, 2009

    Hi Penny would love to join you all but hubby is just getting over a stroke and I need to be at home with him. Will be keeping in touch to see how things progress.

    Cheers
    Josie.

  64. Penny Vingoe, 03 September, 2009

    Well – the meeting we are going to have. So far as I can see Josie can’t make it (sorry to hear your husband is ill) and nor can Polyana – its a long way from Shetland. Angela and Silverleaf and Victoria seem to be potentials. I have suggested 26th ~September. Guess What – Sue Heaser – one of the most prominent clayers in Britain – is doing a workshop on that day. I would quite like to go to that (she is the person who started the Polymer Clay Pit – and has recently sold it – and has written a lot of books on Polymer Clay). How about 3rd October guys? I am Addressing Silverleaf mainly because you said that October was OK for you Victoria dind’t you? and what about those other people from Britain we have heard from – Ritzs – are you interested (we could set up a Polymer clay group in Wales maybe!) and Sarah from Glasgow and Sally from London – are you interested? Once we set a date (see previous postings to find suggestions of what we will be doing) then Cindy has kindly said she will post on her main blog to see if anyone else might be interested. This does not rule out 26th September if its more convenient by the way….

  65. Victoria, 03 September, 2009

    October 3rd is good for me. I saw Sue’s workshop listed as well and would love to attend but it’s just not in my budget yet…lol. maybe I can catch one at a later date.

    I’ll keep watching for updates on our meet up.

    Victoria

  66. Silverleaf, 04 September, 2009

    I can’t do 10th October, but any other time’s fine.

  67. Penny Vingoe, 04 September, 2009

    So shall we make it 3rd October then ladies? (and if I make it to Sue’s workshop I can report and share!

  68. Victoria, 04 September, 2009

    I’m set for the 3rd then! I’m really excited about the chance to meet other clayers. Penny, I Hope you make Sue’s workshop..I would love to hear about it.

    Victoria

  69. Cindy Lietz, 15 September, 2009

    FYI: The date for the Manchester Meet Up has been set for October 3, 2009. The link by my name above (“UK Polymer Clay”) will take you to the announcement post with details about the agenda. All aboard for Piccadilly Station…

    NOTE ADDED OCT 8, 2009: Penny Vingoe wrote a wonderful update report of how the Oct 3 Manchester Meet Up Went. Here is the link: Polymer Clay In Britain

  70. Cindy Lietz, 08 October, 2009

    In regards to the Manchester Meet Up Event that took place on October 3, 2009, Penny Vingoe wrote a wonderful summary of the event, complete with a nice gallery of photos from both Penny and Silverleaf (Anna). The link by my name will take you to that post.

  71. Caroline, 18 September, 2009

    Hi all!
    I’m going to a Sue Heaser workshop on the 27th! It is quite close to me here on the beautiful Suffolk coast. I was also at Helen Cox’s Playdays both years – and will be going next year, with luck.

    Won’t be able to go to Manchester to meet any of you but it’s a brilliant idea – one of the best things about the Playdays was being with other clay addicts!

    I mostly buy my polyclay online, eg at the Craft Cellar (the cheaper price was a short-term offer and I wish I had bought more), and also in The Range, where it’s competitively priced. Otherwise, local shops are expensive.

    A craft shop in Ipswich stocks Fimo, Pardo and Studio now, plus a range of Studio tools etc. Not cheap though!

    I didn’t enjoy conditioning Kato clay at the Playdays so for that reason prefer Fimo Classic, or the soft if I don’t need a firm clay.

    Price is obviously a major factor, especially when postage is factored in (thanks for the links to the suppliers, btw!)

    I am really disappointed by the UK mags – the project in Beads and Beyond was very pretty but aimed at beginners. Jean Power who edits Bead magazine was at the Playdays (hope she doesn’t mind me saying this!) but even so the mag doesn’t feature polymer clay – the one occasion when it did it was a piece straight out of Carol Blackburn’s book – grrrr!! If only we had a mag more like Polymer Café over here….but that’s a magazine which always leaves me feeling slightly disappointed – I am not a fan of the whimsical stuff which features too often for me!

    Have a great time in Manchester!!

  72. Penny, 18 September, 2009

    Caroline – I tried to book on Sue Heaser’s workshop but was too late – full up – much to my disgust! Let us know what you got up to. Maybe the next thing we have to do is produce a magazine!!!

  73. Angela, 18 September, 2009

    Sorry to hear you missed out on the workshop that would have been great. I do on the other hand love the idea of a polymer clay based magazine as this can be aimed at both beginers while also for people that have used clay for some time. I see lots of ideas and possibilities as it still isnt widely know in the U.K.

    Heres looking forward to Manchester though I cant wait!!

  74. Silverleaf, 19 September, 2009

    A magazine, now that sounds fantastic! I’m with Caroline, we really need a magazine with a little bit more than simple bullseye cane slices on round beads.

  75. Silverleaf, 19 September, 2009

    Or even worse, liquorice allsorts! Getting really bored of seeing them now, lol.

  76. Caroline, 20 September, 2009

    Apparently the trading standards people have just put a stop to the sale of beads that look like candies and sweets…….health and safety gone mad.

  77. Angela, 20 September, 2009

    hi caroline where did you find that out??? thats crazy dont you think at least theres no calories in them lol??

    Ange

  78. Polyanya, 20 September, 2009

    Oh dear – and I was thinking of making a few ‘allsorts’ beads this winter, where have you seen so many that you’re fed up of them Silverleaf?

  79. Cindy Lietz, 21 September, 2009

    @Caroline: I wouldn’t mind finding out where you heard about that ban as well. Would make a newsworthy post!

    @Polyanya: The ‘allsorts’ beads are pretty popular in the UK. Much more so than in other places in the world. Silverleaf probably just saw too many of them where she is. :-)

  80. Silverleaf, 22 September, 2009

    @Polyanya – It’s not that I’ve seen so many, but they’re really a novelty thing. And once I’d seen a couple of allsorts necklaces the novelty wore off!

    It’s just me having a horror of jumping on the bandwagon with these kind of trendy, quirky “check out how retro I am!” kind of beads. Don’t let me put you off. ;)

  81. Polyanya, 22 September, 2009

    Heh! I must be showing my age! Cindy – I expect there are an awful lot of ‘allsorts’ beads in the uk – it is the home of Bertie Bassett am I right Silverleaf? Maybe I’ll restrict it to a couple of pairs of earrings then. Acutally it was my hubby who suggested it coming home with a ‘bag of’ one evening. LOL!

  82. Silverleaf, 22 September, 2009

    Yeah, home of Mr Bassett himself! There used to be a Trebor Basset factory in my home town near the train station, I used to catch the train in the morning accompanied by the smell of Blackjacks (chewy aniseed sweets) or Fruit Salads (similar but fruit flavoured) or buttermints. Made me hungry. Don’t think they made liquorice there though.

    And some friends of mine from choir sang at Bertie’s recent wedding!

  83. Polyanya, 23 September, 2009

    Well well, it is a small world really. I remember fruit salads, a favourite of mine!

  84. Caroline, 28 September, 2009

    @ Cindy. There’s been quite a lot of mostly exasperated discussion on UK beading message boards about this as you can imagine!
    Some UK suppliers of Allsorts type beads have been told to stop selling them, probably after a complaint. The government legislation which was used can be found if you scroll down here:
    opsi.gov.uk/si/si1989/Uksi_19891291_en_1.htm

    When Trading Standards offices have been contacted it seems there hasn’t been a consistent reply – some saying it’s ok if they are threaded up, others saying they mustn’t be sold at all. It is absolutely ridiculous!

    Small children can just as easily choke on a real sweet!

    @Penny. I had a good day with Sue Heaser – only four of us on Sunday – a good small class! I think there had been five in Saturday’s class.

    Have a fab meet-up, everybody :-)

  85. Penny, 28 September, 2009

    Caroline – I really don’t want to know that you had a good day with Sue Heaser – I missed it so I am envious!! So tell us all about it – what specifically did you learn? ( The next jewelry class she is holding is on 10th January – with luck I will be able to make it then.)

  86. Caroline, 29 September, 2009

    Penny – I went to her faux gemstone class. Although the techniques are already published in her books it was very useful to have her show us “live” :-) We made faux turquoise, jade (very successful), agate slices and a surface a bit like abalone.
    Really it was just good to spend a day playing with other friendly people! The other three in the group were complete beginners – they had been at the previous day’s class as well.

  87. Penny, 29 September, 2009

    I have her book on Faux stones – very good. My motivation for going on her class was more to see her at work, and as you say, to be with other people who are interested in this wonderful craft.
    I am excited – I have my first clay now from America – so we are soon to be in business selling at ClayAround.com – but much more importantly they have sent me lots of sample goodies so I can play and ‘try them out’ – like Cindy I can form an opinion on all the new Studio products.

  88. Cindy Lietz, 02 October, 2009

    Getting to be with Sue Heaser would be awesome! You gals are lucky to have had the opportunity.

    @Caroline: Thanks for that link to the govt info about the all sorts. Arghhh… legislation :0

    @Penny! Love to see what you think of the Studio by Sculpey Products.

  89. Cindy Lietz, 13 November, 2009

    **FYI: A Spotlight article featuring Zuleykha McMillan has just been posted. She is a Russian polymer clay artist currently living in the UK. The link by my name will take you to the post.

  90. Anne o, 19 December, 2010

    Anyone know of any clay days!

  91. Phaedrakat, 28 December, 2010

    @Anne o: Oh, I wish there was something like that near me! BTW, Where are you looking to play, Anne? :)

  92. Anne o, 29 December, 2010

    I live in Grimsby, northeast lincolnshire! But wouldn’t mind traveling any where where are you ?

  93. Phaedrakat, 04 January, 2011

    @Anne o: Oh, sorry…I’m in the US! I wanted to reply to your comment so someone closer to you might notice your request. I wish you the best of luck in finding some “claymates”…

    (I’m replying again to “bump” this up the recent comment list.) C’mon UK clayers…Anne wants to play~ :D

  94. Penny Vingoe, 04 January, 2011

    There are bi monthly meetings for claying enthusiasts at Lichfield near Birmingham, the next one almost certainly being on 23rd January. Details are on the British Polymer Clay Guild website (which I built!) – bpcg.org.uk. Visitors are welcome. People come from all over the country – from the south coast to North Yorkshire. On the BPCG website click on ‘midland region’ in the menu on the left hand side to see reports of previous meetings.
    Also there is a more expensive option on 11th,12th and 13th March in Dorset – a ‘Polymer Pamper Weekend’ when Carol Blackburn and Christine Dumont (both respected clay teachers) will be offering workshops. More information is on this blog: polymerandmetalclayheaven.blogspot.com/2010/12/great-guest-teachers-for-our-polymer.html?spref=fb

  95. Tracey J, 05 November, 2014

    I am desperate to find a spray varnish for polymer clay, I have seen the PYM II but I cannot find the equivalent or the very product here in the UK, is there any way you can recommend a, non sticky product after a few months, product that I can purchase here please.

  96. Jocelyn C, 06 November, 2014

    Hi Tracey!

    Never have used spray varnishes. But I did use google search for the UK, and there are a couple of links that recommend certain sprays as compatible with polymer clay. Up to you, but I would certainly pre-test them for a period of time before selling the product. Good luck!

Copyright © Polymer Clay Tutor Bead and Jewelry Making Tutorials