In the first half of February, early in my polymer explorations I was fortunate to be able to participate in a week of polymer workshops in Laurel, Maryland in the middle of snow storms. They call it Cabin Fever for a good reason. Workshops, food and lodging all under the same Holiday Inn roof for a week!
For me the biggest draw was being able to study with Jeffery Lloyd Dever for two days. I was not disappointed. I knew I had chosen the right teacher when Jeffrey began his class by saying he would share his process and as we explored our own direction, he would be happy to answer general questions but not not tell us what he though was best in our own artistic direction.
As it has turned out, four months later I find I have, in fact gone in my own direction. What I learned from Dever was a number of general techniques which I have found useful in my own work. More importantly, I came away with a sense of confidence about launching into this new material with imagination, following my muse and without fear of making mistakes. Along the way I’ve made many mistakes and, I’d like to think I have learned one thing or another from all of them.
During the week I also had workshops with Jana Roberts Benzon, Marie Segal and Nan Roche. Nan’s workshop explored techniques using an extruder. I left thinking that was something I would not have any use for. The irony is that today I use an extruder often in my work, but not in the way it was used in the workshop. What I learned there was that you never know when your creative direction will take you to a place where a tool or technique you may have been exposed to in the past will turn out to be perfect for something in an unforeseen future.
Though it is possible to learn a great deal about working with polymer clay on the internet, a benefit that could not be gleaned on the web was studying with and personally getting to know some of the true masters in this polymer arena which is so new to me.