Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

Arriving at the Conference: Goodies

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/04

I’m just back from the 2010 PMC Conference at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, with nearly 300 participants this year, from (as I recall, at least) the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe. So my next few posts will cover a range of different items, activities, and impressions from that.

Rarely terse myself, I’ll give lots of detail. While some readers will surely choose to merely skim this, I figure that detail will (a) be good for someone new to this who might appreciate it and (b) as a log for myself, should I ever want to go back and review any part of that.

I’ll start at the beginning, with registration. When you sign in at the conference, you are given a name badge and a carrier bag. The badge clips onto a rather long lanyard. This is a great design because it means you can either (a) take it off that and clip it onto your clothing as you choose, or else (b) wear it on the lanyard but hanging well away from any of the lovely pieces of jewelry you brought to wear. The font used for the names is fairly large, which permits most people to read them from a distance. Some people hand-write where they are from on the tag too.

This year the carrier bag was black with red trim and lettering, sponsored by Eclectica. In it was a large, clear plastic water bottle from Rio Grande. There was also an “easy rolling sheet” from Metal Clay Today that consisted of a sheet of graph paper, ruled 1/4 inch, with two thin sheets of plastic (a bit thinner and more flexible than the “report covers” I sometimes use) along one edge, so you can put your clay between those two to roll it out.

It also contained the following items (or, in some cases, coupons you could turn in to receive them):

I did find all the “pampering” products a bit of a surprise, such as the sample of hand & body balm from Oregon Sunstones and a little scented oil diffuser set with reeds from Rio Grande. But a nice surprise. (Note for next time: Open everything up while you’re there. I didn’t open these until I got home, and was sorry to see I’d missed the raffle ticket that was to be turned into the booth for Oregon Sunstones in the Vendor’s Hall.)

The “aluminum detector” fromNatureScapes Studio is a bit of an in-joke: it’s a magnet, so if it sticks to the tool in question that indicates the item it steel which is safe to use. If it doesn’t stick, then the item could be aluminum (which you don’t want to leave in contact with your metal clay) or some other non-ferrous metal (which might be OK, or might not, and you get to decide what risk-level you can handle…).

There were a couple different notepads, from PMC Connection and the Masters Registry, always useful at an event like this. (Though one pad and one something to write with might have been a better mix! Still, I’d brought a couple pencils, so I was set.)

The small Sunshine Cloth, also from Rio, was a good idea. For anyone not already familiar with those nice yellow polishing cloths, it was a good introduction to the product. Better yet, since (almost) everyone had come to the conference with an assortment of jewelry items, it was very useful for those last-minute touch-ups, or for a bit of cleaning after a number of people had handled and admired your work.

Also included in the bag were two bronze-related items from Rio Grande. There was a coupon for a 30 gm (sample) pack of the new “quick fire” bronze clay from (the one made by Bill Struve at Metal Adventures). When I’d at last decided to try some bronze clay, I’d chosen to start with Hadar Jacobson’s quick-fire powder, so it’ll be nice to have this to try for sake of comparison. The last item (that I remember) in the bag was a small embeddable bronze bail that will be nice to try using with that sample.

One thing I somehow missed at registration was the sticker-table. You can embellish your badge with a range of stickers that enable you to spot people you may know online (e.g., on the MetalClay group at Yahoo) but not in person, or who participate in various activities (e.g., have signed up for the Masters Registry program). Oh well, no crisis over that.

Especially because one reason I was distracted is that I took the time to sign up for one of the last remaining “1-2-1” slots. There is a marker board with a number of columns (times) and rows (people). The people listed down the side are “senior” folks of various sorts, and the timeslots are 20 minutes long. You get to spend that time talking privately with your person about any topic you wish to raise.

One of the 1-2-1 people was Jack Russell. He is not actively involved in working with metal clay. Instead, his own “arts” are sculpture and photography, and working with other arts-related agencies (e.g., the NEA). In particular, he spent many years as director of the Brookfield Crafts Center in Connecticut, which had the “nerve” to sponsor one of the first major events to showcase pieces made using metal clay techniques. I signed up to talk with him on Friday afternoon, and took advantage of the opportunity to engage in some discussion about how he saw metal clay fitting into the larger “arts & crafts” world. Since I am coming at this from a non-arts background (if you don’t already know my background, my blog-page on “Who’s This Blogger?” has some info), I found that to be a pleasant and informative session.

Over the next week or so, I’ll post some more “notes from the Conference” on a variety of topics. Feel free to add comments or ask questions! (Just, please, be patient if I don’t respond right way, especially if I know that, “It’s coming!” I don’t spend much time online, and try to not let myself get toooo distracted when I am there… Thanks!)

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