img_0379Well, another annual Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild retreat has come and gone and like most things I look forward to it seems to take forever to get here and is over way too soon.  This year we had a few less folks than in the past which made for a more intimate gathering of polymer artists.  I’ve been attending the guild retreat for several years now and as always there are the regulars and also some new faces.

After a few years with the same people you’d think you’d pretty much seen caught on to everyone’s style but each year I am amazed by the creative versatility of my fellow “clayers”.  New techniques are always in use and different things are being made.  This year we decided to make “inchies”.  An “inchie” is a polymer piece that is an inch in size, whether it is square, circle, oval, or any other shape.  In the past I’ve shied away from things like artist trading cards and charm swaps because I’ve struggled with the ability to make multiples of the same design.

The Benefit of Polymer Clay Guilds

This year I decided to just “get over it” and participate; I cannot tell you how glad I was that I did.  Oddly enough there was something about making a bunch of the same piece that gave me a little release from the rut I found myself in.  I have a tendency to sit down with a plan to make several things with no two being alike.  This plan usually lands me in a position where, after making a couple of pieces, I don’t know what else to make and end up leaving the retreat without much to show for my time.  Making a bunch of the same piece allowed me to feel productive while simultaneously allowing me to plot what I wanted to make next.

Another benefit of participating in making the “inchies” is that it is run as a type of swap which allowed me to receive pieces made by other attendees.  It was nice to talk away with a small representation of the style of each person in attendance and makes for a fun souvenir from the retreat.  I will definitely participate in these swaps in the future.