Convergent Series

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

A Regular Event: The Charm Exchange

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/08/05

One of the regular events at PMC Guild conferences is an evening reception that involves a charm exchange.

Participation in the exchange is optional, but lots of fun. Prior to leaving for the event, you make up a number of charms: how many is your choice, but if you think that 15-20 makes a good-size charm bracelet, a lot of people will use that as a guide. (Of course, there’s no reason to limit yourself to a bracelet. Some folks will make a necklace. Others will decorate a purse. And so on: it’s entirely up to you!) At the reception, folks will wander around asking, “Do you have charms to exchange?” If the answer is, “Yes,” then you hand one over and get one in return. (At the end, a few people who made a lot will find that everyone else seems to have exhausted their pieces to exchange, but will often be generous and just give away their last few. If you feel so compelled, you can always make a few more and mail them one afterwards.)

The thing that is worth noting is that this is a sort of grab-bag event. Only rarely do you see in advance what you will be getting in exchange for your piece. You are just trusting that the people who attend this event are mostly interesting and creative people who’ll have produced something worth having. Most of the time, that is the case; and I just hope that most of the people who get one of my charms will appreciate what they have received as well.

All those little fan-shaped pieces I’ve blogged about in recent weeks were my entries into this event (and its spin-off, the Charms for Charity raffle, which raised a bit under $10K this time around). I had a few silver ones (made from PMC+), plus some copper and bronze ones (from Hadar’s powders). I took the grab-bag aspect one step further: I had them all in my pocket, and just grabbed one at random to hand out each time.

I took 30 in all. (I think it was 2 silver, 10 copper, 18 bronze. Or close to that.) Shown above are the 20 silver charms I got. I’ll post a photo of the other ten, all base metal (except one that has a silver base but includes some (again, this is what I think it is) resin in a sort of bronze-color that I thought went better with those). I’ve decided to assemble a bronze bracelet to hang those from, however, and add one of my own fans and maybe another small early experiment or two, so it may be a little while before I post that….

Some people include interesting elements. My biggest surprise, this year, was my exchange with Nicola Callow of Murano Silver in the UK who handed over a bar of all-natural handmade soap.

Now, Nic did get that this was a charm exchange. The soap was a bonus. A bonus that matched her charm! Note the round charm with a flower-shape having a red (resin, I think) heart in the center up at the top of this image (clicking on the image will open a larger version of it) that has the same design as the yellow flower in the soap.

The thing is, I’m now up to four charm bracelets (one from 2008, one from exchanging with folks in my local guild chapter, and these two from 2010), and I’m really not much of a charm-bracelet person. Oh well. One thing I do like to do with these bracelets is to take them when I teach metal clay classes. Even though the pieces are very small, they are a good way to open up discussions on a range of topics: design, construction, finishes, specific artists, and more. Lots of fun!

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