Sunday, May 29, 2011


We are home from the Orlando Clay Fandango Retreat and still basking in the glow of the great fun, fellowship and learning.

Shown left is a picture of the beautiful Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center grounds where Fandango is annually held. Right is the office building where we checked in after arriving in our motor home. Behind it is a beautiful pond with a waterfall and fountain. RV's can camp on the grounds along with the motels and meeting hall.

This year was the 6th all inclusive Lake Yale 3 day/4 night retreat. Meals and lodging were included. It was great fun to spend time together and get much better acquainted over meals in the big dining hall. The RV spots were under ancient Live Oak trees with Spanish Moss gracefully drifting in the breezes. Check out the view from our front window.

The instructors were: (drum roll here) Christi Friesen, Maureen Carlson and, yours truly, Penni Jo Couch.

Christi Friesen
, as fun and energetic as usual, taught a delightful tree, created over an armature, dripping with beautiful beads and overhanging a pond with fish and turtles. The tiny clear resin pond is fed with a clear resin waterfall. (Can you hear the music of the breezes blowing through the beaded branches?)

Maureen Carlson taught Narrative Beads: Beads that are created to tell a story that can bring the maker's memories back when worn or when hung to be easily seen. Memories like the smiles of friends, the sounds of laughter, the joys of working and playing with a group of like-minded friends. The necklace was made of polymer clay, miscellaneous fibers, alcohol inks, acrylic paint, embossing powder, and the texture of found items as well as words and numbers. (humming the "Memories" tune here. )

Yours truly was the third teacher. For the last two and a half years I've been playing with the idea of creating Faux Ribbon Embroidery. The first half of the tutorial went well and I taught "Sliver Flowers and Leaves" class at Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild, Corpus Christi Polymer Clay Guild, and San Antonio Polymer Clay Guild. Sliver flowers are made using 'stitches' 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. Left are some pieces created using this technique. The tutorial used in the 'Sliver Flowers and leaves' class was the heart pendant, far left.

The sliver technique was used in a large format to make this open filigree ornament. The Poinsettias and leaves were made using the same technique taught in the "Sliver Class".

Student Allyson in Corpus Christi Guild created these beautiful earrings and a matching pendant.

Over the next few months, I developed a way to emulate some of the stitches of Ribbon Embroidery. The new tutorial slowly took shape and the photos of the step by step pictures kept increasing. By the time the tutorial was finished it had over 190 photos in it.

Just for fun, I used my sewing machine to sew the tutorials using variegated thread as the tutorial teaches how to make variegated ribbons using Skinner Blend clay.
I 'stitched' a sampler using all 15 of the 'stitches' in the tutorial.

The classes were so much fun and it was a delight to see how each person's personality came through in their choices of color and styles chosen.

In addition to the classes, demos were provided by Linda Hess, Kathy Davis and Nancy Welch
. These very talented gals provided great demonstrations during the day and during classroom breaks and had me wishing that I could spend more time watching the demos!!

We were first time vendors this year. Joe manned the table during breaks and before and after meals and until the show 'officially' closed for the day. Since the vendor tables are in the assembly room where everyone could see them, we left order blanks on the table with a little sign, 'Pick the molds you want, write a ticket. Come back and pay later.' The honor system seemed to work. We sold a lot of molds and were not even in the booth! :-)

Other events were the Brown Bag exchange, Treasure matchboxes swap, Silent Auction, Raffles, Bottles of Hope large and small, and a Hidden Treasure contest.

Tired and worn out we spent an extra day in the lovely RV campsite, napping and packing up and filling outstanding orders from our inventory. We did not push ourselves coming home, but relaxed as much as possible.

'Can't wait 'till next time!

Penni Jo


Trina (Trina's Clay Creations) said...

Sounds like a wonderful time of fellowship and learning!!

I love your Faux Ribbon Embroidery Penni Jo, it's beautiful!!

oapcg said...

We certainly loved having you and Joe with us, Penni Jo. Come visit us again, please!!


marysclay said...

I had fun getting to know you and Joe and sharing stories :-) I look forward to seeing you again.

Ellie AKA Claylady43 said...

Trina, thanks so much and it was, as you say, a wonderful time of fellowship and learning.
Charline, Thank you. We are eager to return sometime.
Mary, It was fun getting to know you too and I look forward to seeing you all again.

Penni Jo

Melobeau said...

It sounds like a wonderful time of exciting new learning and friendship was had by all. Your work is lovely and I'm sure you had many happy students who are now putting your classes to very good use. Your Faux Ribbon Embroidery is so beautiful!

MoeArt said...

Looks like you had a dandy time! And what great stuff to show! Love your faux ribbon...heck I love all your stuff! Thanks for sharing all this with us!

treeseaoriginals said...

Penny...I so enjoyed getting to meet you and enjoyed the class! Was the trip home uneventful?? We were all worried about the storms and your travels. Hope all was wella and would love to see you again somewhere! Patrice

Sher said...

I love your blog and your work is just beautiful!

I haven't tried my hand at polymer clay yet but I'm thinking of giving it a try.

Keep creating!