Poker Chip Swap at Clay Carnival

At next week's Clay Carnival the last night is a "Poker Chip Swap." Everyone who wishes to participate makes some sort of design the size of a poker chip, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, thank goodness! Pictured below is my chips, I am not very good at millefiori (glad I'll be taking a class about that next week!) but attempted it. After slicing the cane and baking, I stamped and embossed them with gold to bring out the gold flecks in the cane (that you can't see from the photo) So the week after next, I will have a whole bunch of "poker chips" to show you. It will be fun to see all different styles and get some ideas from the participants!!

One of the guest instructors for the Clay Carnival is my mentor and friend, Maureen Carlson. Maureen has been an avid fan of polymer clay since 1979, when her first FIMO wee folk looked back at her and grinned - or so she says. This stuff had life! It was magic! For many years Maureen made one-of-a-kind characters which she sold primarily at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Then Wee Folks Designs was born with the start of teaching videos. Wee Folk Creations became one of the leaders in the rapidly expanding world of polymer clay design. Along the way Maureen began writing craft books of which she's had many published, and some in different languages to be distributed across the world! Her business expanded to specialize in Maureen Carlson designs, which includes how-to books, push molds, stories and several lines of collectible characters, including Pippsywoggins®, Friar Folk™ and Sister Folk™. She teaches classes at many locations and events across the country. Her latest book is Fairies, Gnomes, & Trolls, and I'm excited to say the Mushroom men concept created with the "Dent girls!" made the book! It's availabe at Amazon and pictured to the right.
Maureen's designs are about imagination and whimsy and the joy of recognizing a glint of understanding in the eyes of a wee clay creature. The seeds for this imaginative view of life began on a dairy farm in central Michigan, in the American midwest, where Maureen spent hours wandering the woods and fields and digging in the garden. The soil and sun and green sprouts and falling leaves eventually became the background for many of her stories.

In 1999, the Carlsons opened Maureen Carlson's Center for Creative Arts, in Jordan, Minnesota, just 35 miles southwest of Minneapolis. In this small town setting, perched on the edge of a small meandering creek, students and retreat participants have opportunities to learn, to share and to explore their creative interests.
She also does Clay Storytelling which is incredible to experirence. Imagine a room full of curious listeners sitting in a semi-circle around a costumed story teller. She is saying:"Reach into your back pocket and pull out your Imagination Hat. Stretch it until it fits. Put it on. Now, together, let's look into this pile of clay ... and meet ... and make ... a Storyclay® character ..." And so begins a Storyclay® Telling. Though no two Storyclay® Tellings are exactly alike, there are some similarities.
Next I'll tell you a bit more of my personal view of this incredible women and the impact she's made on my life!