Tuesday, 27 September 2016

My first workshop!

I decided it was time to update my blog and I found this incomplete draft sitting in Blogger waiting for some pictures and publishing! What can I say? It's been a busy summer! Here is the very belated post about the Bettina Welker workshop in Toronto on August 6th.

August 8, 2016
This weekend was the Bettina Welker Polymer Clay workshop I organized. What a great experience it was! It all started when Bettina posted on Facebook that she was coming to Canada on vacation with her family this summer. She asked if any guilds wanted to run a workshop for her to teach. I love Bettina's work and really wanted the chance to learn from her but don't belong to a polymer clay guild. (the closest guild to me isn't very convenient). I have become very active on Facebook and belong to several Polymer Clay groups so I figured that I could find enough clayers to make it work.
There are very few polymer clay events in Canada because we're still a very small number compared to the US and Europe.But there are some very talented polymer artists here.Unfortunately we are such a big country that we're all pretty far apart. I attended a workshop last year with Helen Breil who luckily lives goes quite close to me. That was the beginning of getting to know other local polymer  clayers. Contacting those folks and advertising on Facebook started the process of finding participants for the workshop. Several other people helped out by spreading the word. Thanks to Helen Breil, Jane Penner, Wendy Orlowski of Shades of Clay, and  Pearl Blay from the Beading Gem for getting the word out.
I ended up with 20 students so the workshop was a go! 
I learned a lot about organizing workshops and will hopefully do better next time. I probably took on more work than needed but it resulted in a great day. There are so many factors to consider like venue, cost, parking,diets, sponsors, supplies just to name a few. I was happy that Bettina is an expert at teaching workshops and is extremely well organized . With her input and suggestions from many of the students everything came together quite nicely.
It was a whole day workshop where we learned  many of Bettina's tips and techniques for making her Swivelling Necklace. 
I have to mention that all of the clay for the workshop was supplied by Staedtler, Canada . We were given everything that Bettina  listed on her supply list, including  5 full blocks( 2-3 oz.) of Fimo Professional each and a bottle of Fimo liquid clay to share between  every two participants at the workshop. It was great to have the opportunity to work with the new Fimo and it was wonderful to work with. Really rich colour saturation and easy to condition.

Bettina was an absolute joy to work with and to learn from. She shared so many tips and techniques that I'm sure I will use them for years to come in all of my polymer work. She is super organized and has a great manner for teaching. Concise and on topic but always with a keen sense of humour and a generous spirit.

Concentrated Learning

Besides learning from one of the best polymer artist/teachers in the world the other benefit I realized from this weekend experience  was getting to know so many talented polymer artists and gaining 19 new clay friends. I'm sure there will be many reunions in the future since most of us live within 100 miles of each other plus a few outliers from the Ottawa region.Still only a 4-5 hour drive away!

Sharon : Ottawa

It was fabulous getting to know everybody and seeing the incredible artistry and skill from everyone in the group.I can't really show the work done by everybody here because there were too many of us. Here are some pictures  of some of the results and just a few of my new friends!

Gails's necklaces
Maureen : London
 Sandra: Burlington

MaryEtta: Port Dover
I hope you enjoyed this little visit to my workshop. One of the best times of my recent years! Both organizing and attending it! Who knew?
Here's the teacher and the organizer at the end of a wonderfully tiring day! 
Bettina and me!
Thank you Bettina for a once in a lifetime experience and to all of the participants for helping out before and during the workshop. I couldn't have done it without all of you. 


  1. Excellent write-up, Nan! It was a stupendous day - and again, Hearty Thanks for your organizing it's!

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