Tuesday, June 26, 2012

PMC Conference Re-Cap

This was among the nice things I found in my conference goody bag.

Oh, Wow! What and experience this conference was! It met all of my expectations (except for the hotel itself, which was old and not in the best shape. Let's just say it was like camping with air conditioning.... too much air conditioning.) and at first I was quite star-struck seeing the people who write books and teach classes.

It all started at 2:00 on Thursday and I arrived from the airport at 1:50. I felt like I had skidded in on two wheels! I only missed a few minutes of the key note address by Ellen Wieske, Assistant Director at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. She spoke about the connection between materials and objects.

The next session was a demonstration by Chris Darway and Terry Kovalcik, better known as "The Jersey Boys".Chris showed us how he attaches titanium wire with silver metal clay and Terry demonstrated how he makes armatures out of polymer clay to make three-dimensional metal clay pieces.

Chris Darway and Terry Kovalcik

After the demo I headed to the lobby to meet up with the other seven members of our Etsy Metal Clay Team who attended. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture, but it was sooooo good to meet some of the people in person that I've only known online. I had a feeling that we would "click" in person and I was right. The team members are Lora Hart, Lorena Angulo, Lori Magno, Evelyn Dombkowski, Lis-el Crowley, Wanaree Tanner, Catherine Witherell and me.

On Friday morning our fearless leader, Tim McCreight gave a presentation about the history of Metal Clay in the US. He had some funny stories about the group of artists and scientists who got together in the early days to figure out what the great grey goop was capable of.

The next session was with Helga van Leipsig and her topic was Process As A Design Tool. That was really helpful to me, as I tend to be scattered and her tips on organization will be valuable.

Helga van Leipsig, me, and Catherine Witherell
Next, I went to another demonstration, this one by Barbara Becker Simon and Vickie Hallmark. They talked about combining glass and metal clay. 

Barbara Becker Simon and Vickie Hallmark
After lunch I went to hear Hadar Jacobson talk about how to combine base metal clays. I was disappointed in this one. Not that the presentation was bad, just that there's so much uncertainty when you do this. She often mentioned that pieces either did not sinter (the process of turning from a powder to metal) or that they melted or alloyed. I like good old reliable silver!

Dinner that night was in the company of the Australians. Those women are a hoot! I enjoyed my time with them and would love to go Down Under one day.

On Saturday morning the entire group gathered again to present the Fusion Award to Dr. Morikawa, one of the inventors of PMC, and to acknowledge the work of Tim McCreight for the PMC Guild. Tim was presented with a solid gold business card:

Tim's solid gold business card. He did NOT give this out to anyone. I was lucky to get a picture.
 Next I went to hear Lisa Cain talk about Innovative Textures. She showed us examples of textures that you can find anywhere and how to capture them to be used in metal clay.

Then I went to Susan Dilger's presentation on social networking. She shared tips on how to market yourself and your business online. Again, something that I need help with!

Me, Susan Dilger
The last night of the conference featured a big party sponsored by Rio Grande, the major American distributor of PMC. We had a Dolly Parton look-alike, balloon hat making stilt walker who turned out to be our own mild mannered Donna Penoyer! 

GRRRR!!! Blogger will not let me post the rotated picture! Turn your computer sideways.
They had a DJ playing disco music and I danced so much that my knee is not happy right now. I also had more alcohol than I've had in a long, long time because I didn't have to drive anywhere! It was great fun.

Evelyn Dombkowski with Lis-el Crowley in the background.

Cindy Silas
My trip home was difficult. My plane was supposed to take off at 1:55, but I went to the airport right after breakfast so I could get a good internet connection and have a nice lunch (says a lot about the hotel, doesn't it?). At first the plane was delayed until 4:15, and then until 6:25. Delta gave us each a $6 food voucher and another voucher for $25, good for any shop in the airport, so I found a comfortable seat in a restaurant, ordered a snack and a drink and told the waitress she could have the balance of the vouchers if she'd just let me sit there. She took real good care of me! 

Airport pigeon. It looked as bored as I was.

We finally got in the air and, thank God, the flight was quick and smooth. Unfortunately, when we got to the gate we had to wait 20 minutes for someone to bring us STAIRS!

I had to stay with my Sister on Sunday night because I was so tired I was close to tears and there was no way I could drive the three and a half hours home. I got home yesterday morning and took the day to recover and rest and nap and go to bed early.

I'm glad to be home and this conference will be something I remember for a long time. Deep friendships were formed and I hope that there will be opportunities in the future for us to all get together again.


katherine said...

So glad we met. When I get to NC, I will do my best to visit.
Love your blog and am anxious to follow it (and read back postings).
I, too, wish I'd gotten more photos of friends.
Susan and I had a fun ride to the Indy airport. The rest of my drive was lonely but easy.
Kath (Katherine) from ner Chicago

Zoe Nelson said...

Hi Kath! I'm glad we got to meet, too!

Alice Walkowski said...

Glad to hear you finally got home. Seems odd that I beat you home in my car. It was good to finally meet you in person. It was a great conference (barring the accommodations.) But hey, it's all about the people!
I'll be sure to look you up if I'm down your way. I expect you to look me up if you ever come up my way. Got a nice guest room if you need it.

Cindy Silas said...

Hi Zoe, it was nice to meet you at the conference. Despite the balloon hat, I actually look poised in your photo. That was a fun night, wasn't it?