Finding a guild in your area
National guild
Local guilds
...organization
...activities
...community outreach & charity
...group orders (discounts)
...dues & costs
...potential meeting places
My guild (SBPCG)
Non-USA guilds

GUILDS, etc.

Finding a Guild in your Area

CHECK both of these pages to see if there is a local guild in your area
....... (sometimes
a guild may not be listed in both places):

The National Polymer Clay Guild's website may have the most current list, but it can be hard to navigate to the actual guilds... on some Guild Directory pages they're mixed together with the names of individuals, and from this better page all the guilds from several states are combined in alphabetical order rather than grouped (so be sure to check each location, and be sure to click on the grouped states --not on the single alphabet letters)... includes Puerto Rico:
http://www.npcg.org/index.php?option=com_directory&page=viewcat&catid=20&Itemid=30
......for their NON-USA guilds:
http://www.npcg.org/index.php?option=com_directory&page=viewcat&catid=21&Itemid=30

PCPolyzine
also has a listing of guilds ... it's much easier to navigate, but not sure how current it is:
http://www.pcpolyzine.com/guilds.html

(for online guilds, and also for other kinds of polymer "groups" not affiliated with the National Polymer Clay Guild, see Groups-Online )

(for starting a guild, and for locating other people who might be interested in polymer clay, see Finding People/Creating Interest )

What are Guilds?

DEFINITION: "guild" --(especially in the past) an association of people with similar interests or pursuits (...formerly a medieval association of merchants or craftsmen)
... in polymer clay, the term "guild" is usually reserved for groups which join the National Polymer Clay Guild and abide by its bylaws, etc. (some polymer groups are not technically "guilds" however becuase they aren't formally associated with the NPCG)

Polymer clay guilds are much like any other clubs which form around a shared interest. Most guilds are "local" and made up of members in and around a city, but there are also local guilds for whole countries or areas of the world (one guild is even for followers of the Carol Duvall Show, a program which often features polymer clay projects).

Local guilds often meet together once a month, although a few "guilds" are totally online (especially for people who live far apart).

Local guilds may have classes or free demos or "clay days," lending libraries, and other activities, though there is no set way for one to be. Most have yearly dues, but some may not. (see more on local guilds below)

There is a list of polymer clay teachers who give classes and who've put their names at Polymer Clay Central: http://polymerclaycentral.com/teacherindex.html
and another list at the National Guild's website:
http://www.npcg.org/Education/Classes/classes.html

the NATIONAL Polymer Clay Guild... NPCG
http://www.npcg.org

In addition to the many local guilds for polymer clay, there is one national guild (National Polymer Clay Guild). The NPCG is located near Washington D.C. and is well worth joining in order to support polymer clay in general, but there are also many other perks! (Many individuals join both a local guild and the national guild.)
Here are some of the benefits of membership in the national guild:

--quarterly newsletter, the PolyInformer, which has tips, techniques, discussions, announcements, etc.; it has several pages of color photos with even more planned

--(Nov.2005) ...we are now adding more and more things in the members only area ... how-tos, listings for teachers, and very soon more galleries of art done by clayers. Patty B.

--directory of the ~1000 worldwide members, which now includes a great resources section

--lending library which is chock-full of books, videos, and magazines
http://www.npcg.org/Membership/library/librarylist.htm (take a look at the selection!) 
http://www.npcg.org/Membership/library/rentals.htm (rental form, details)
. . . for videos, the rental time is one month, and the charge is $5.00 per video, plus s/h/ins. each way ...so that would currently work out to around $13.70-$18.70 for 1-2 videos, or $20.00-$25.00 for 4-5 videos if I did the math right (it's not free, but most clayers probably don't watch a video more than once anyway...some do, of course).  You might also be able to go in with another clayer for the rental as well.

(see Books-Clay for more info and some reviews re polymer books & videos)

--supporting polymer clay as a medium, creating an influential advocacy group, networking, etc.

(-- dues are $30 per year)

Sarajane H's complete description of the NPCG
http://pcpolyzine.com/march2001/npcg.html 

LOCAL Guilds

NOTE: .Most of the information below could also apply to polymer "groups" which do not affiliate with the National Polymer Clay Guild and do not refer to themselves as "guilds."

See the top of this page for information on locating a guild near you (...also for guilds outside the USA).

guild WEBSITES:
...does your local polymer clay guild need its own website? The NPCG has piloted an exciting new program to provide low-cost web space for regional guilds.For only $10 per month, your guild can rent up to 10 MB of space from our site for a web home of your own. No more hassling with web hosts or relying on your members' personal web space!
http://www.npcg.org/Guilds/guilds.html (click on webmaster)

(You can also visit these guild links to check out all the activities and organizations that various other guilds have established)

Being a part of a guild is a great connection with other clayers, and it's *very* inspiring to see everyone's ideas and work!
...you'll be amazed at how much brainfood comes out of just one guild meeting... the ideas you see from the different people will keep your head spinning for days afterward…Elizabeth

Don't ever worry about being a newbie in a guild - the experience level varies greatly among the members and the more experienced ones will usually be very glad to help you get started, answer questions, etc. Everyone was a polymer newbie at some point.

Just what happens in a guild?
....Well it can vary by the group. (And there are also groups which aren't technically "guilds" --local guilds which are formally affiliated with the National Polymer Clay Guild-- which may do things quite differently based on what suits them.) . . .in general here is what we do at my guild:
.....For our regular guild meetings, we meet every 2nd Friday night from 7:30 till about 9:30 or 10:00, in a local senior center lunchroom with lots of tables (this is also where we've had most of our classes, etc.).
.....Our meetings are broken up into 3 main segments:
--business (this includes anything having to do with the guild, announcements of other things in the community we might be interested in, announcements/descriptions of upcoming classes/clay days, and misc. plans, as well as "Show and Tell" including items from the special exploration theme we've been offered that month, etc.
--break (we look at each other's Show and Tell stuff, sign up for classes, and peruse or check out magazines and videos from out lending library)
--demo (or another program like our yearly swap or sale). . . this is usually a demonstration of a particular technique or of someone's special figure/critter/whatever, or it can be a slide show or other talk (not too often). . . these are given by one of our members or by a visiting guest.
(in December this is eclipsed by a potluck Christmas party with random gift exchange)
....We also have special classes and events:
--- 1- or 2-day, weekend classes given by visiting teachers like Pier Voulkos, Gwen Gibson, etc., or by one of our members; these run from 10:00 to 5:00.
....class being given at Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild, showing some of the "baggage" too
http://www.cgpcg.org/photos/clayathon02_listening2.jpg
--- what we call "Clay Days" every 3-4 months, when we usually have a program of 3 demos given by members, interspersed with individual experimenting time . . . we've sometimes used a clay day for doing something introductory just for newbies/friends who might be interested in clay, or used it for a "group shop" or field day where we travel to a number of potentially interesting stores for clay supplies (like kitchen, plastics, hobby, thrift stores, etc.), or other special events. (There are sign-ups for the classes and clay days and for both there is a fee, but not for the introductory session or shopping.)
.... There are also quarterly meetings for our officers... those are usually held at someone's house and involve ten or fewer members. Does that give you a better idea? Diane B.

Organization

It's wonderful to be able to meet with people who addicted to the same thing.. Starting a guild is easy, keeping it going smoothly is a little bit harder. But never get discouraged. We started out guild about five years ago and it's been a great thing for all of us. We've had few ups and downs but everything always works out.
Here's how we do things in our (smaller?) guild:
....We are semi-formal at our meetings. . .we do follow our prepared agenda at each meeting, but leave room for lots of laughs and fun. Nothing stuffy is allowed.
...The president prepares the agenda each month and people can call her and ask for things to be put on it (then she moderates the meeting)
...the treasurer does what all treasurers do (see below)
...the Video Vixen/librarian takes care of and loans out our polymer clay videos and books.
Dotty

Other positions we have (in our larger guild) to spread out the responsibilities are:
Vice President, Secretary/s (for taking minutes mostly), monthly Program Coordinator/s, quarterly Clay Day Coordinator/s, Declarer of the Monthly Design Exploration Theme, Newsletter Editor, and also Newsletter Mailings and Minutes Mailings, Memberships, Web Master, Guild Photographer, Thank You's, Name Tags, Guild Oven Keepers, and 3 Members-At-Large.

In our guild, anyone who wants to arrange a special weekend class can do so; in other guilds, that may be one person's responsibility. That person is then responsible for:
making arrangements to reserve the room, making logistical arrangements with the teacher (date of class, deciding on class fee/payment to teacher, any lodging/directions needed, etc.), getting a description of the class as well as samples or photos of the teacher's class theme to show the guild, announcing the class at meetings or by mail (several times), taking sign-ups and payments from members, arranging for any supplies/equipment needed (ovens, for example), coordinating with the teacher once s/he is in town on the day-before and day-of the class, arranging for any photography desired, reminding anyone who needs reminding of anything they need to do <g>, arranging for clean-up of the space, arranging for a thank you note, if desired, etc.
...In our guild, any person who arranges a special class receives that class free . . .

I was treasurer of our guild for 5 years ...I can give you some info. I'm not sure about banking systems, however, we were allowed to set up a non-interest bearing checking account for an unincorporated organization acting as non-profit. The guild here does not have any kind of legal standing.
No, it would not be a good idea at all to have the account in your name for IRS audit type reasons as well as personal liability.  I recommend you sit down with someone of authority at a bank and see what options you might have.  Surely, there are other club type organizations in the same situation.  You might try calling some of them. .

"Board meetings" are often held by the larger guilds especially to coordinate all activities, and discuss larger guild issues or whatever needs discussing. We also have 3 "members at large" whose only function is to attend these meetings and sort of represent the non-officer members of the guild with ideas, etc. Our board meetings happen quarterly.

Activities

The many activities of guilds also help members get to know each other more easily, newbie or not.

At meetings, there are often demos and slide presentations after the business part of the meeting, as well as a show-and-tell time. (Things that didn't turn out quite the way you'd wanted can also be good things to bring to show and tell in order to get tips on avoiding problems the next time; it can also help keep others from having to learn the hard way...).

Since I have the most experience, I'm the regular monthly teacher for the (new) Victoria guild. It has been a great experience for me: I've learned from my students, gained new friends, and made polymer clay a viable art medium in South Texas! Patty B.

(South Bay Polymer Clay Guild)...We have monthly meetings at which a guest artist speaks, or a member demos a new technique, or we have a swap meet, or we do some other activity. All of our meetings include a member "Show and Tell." Members show their successes and failures, getting oohs and aahs, or technical assistance, if needed.
…. We offer a regular Clay Day roughly three times a year. Clay Days are typically held on a Saturday or Sunday, from 10 AM to 5 PM, and cost $10. Members offer tutorials to other members on a variety of topics. Usually three topics are covered during a Clay Day. Previous topics have included photographing your work, making face canes, making bead shapes, making four strand braids, simulating natural stones, etc.)
.. We also offer one- or two-day classes given by clayers like Mike Buesseler and Pier Voulkos, or by one of our members (these tend to run from $25-over $100).
..We also have a quarterly newsletter and an extensive video, book and magazine lending library, and we do an occasional bulk order of clay and supplies. (SBPCG website)

....Our SBPCG guild is also beginning a (once-twice a year?) Free Clay Day. Members will be able to invite friends who may be interested or just beginning polymer to the opportunity to see some of the basics of clay and play with the techniques (using clay and tools provided by the friend). I think this may be open to others too, but not sure how the supplies for them will be handled.)
...We are also currently have a monthly Member Challenge or (optional) assignment. A subject or technique is given the previous month, and anyone who wants to participate makes something on that theme
... (some of these have been: Use of Color on Color --Exploring the use of one color in various shades, values, etc.), Weaving with Polymer, Making something with an Ikat pattern, , 2D things that look like 3D, Mosaics, Trick Or Treat with Scrap Clay, Use least favorite color or least favorite cane, Photo transfer or rubber-stamping to make something with a heart motif, Faces, Clay Guns, Kaleidoscope Canes, Red, white & blue, etc.--see Explorations for many of the other themes we've had over the past few years). The exploration theme now also involves "doing something you've never done before with whatever the theme, shape, technique, is.) Diane B.

In our guild, we also have teachers coming from all over the country to give day-long classes on the weekends (usually on Saturday or Sunday, or both days, 10:00 - 5:00) --usually you do have to be a member to take part in these things.
(see above in the "Organization" sub-category for making these special weekend classes happen)

Also, many groups have weekend events (our one-day versions are called clay days and happen several times a year; these usually have three different demos plus time to try them out, or several demos on the same theme (various techniques using translucents, e.g.).
...As for what a clay day is, it varies a lot by group and the setter-up. It can be just a few (or many) clayers getting together to work on anything they want for a few hours (to all day), or it can have one or more demos on various topic which everyone works on there (can be one step at a time alternating with clayers doing the step, or everything can be covered in one demo-step). Some clay days are specifically for beginners or those who might want to take a closer look at polymer clay, some are for just a few people interested in the same thing (for example, making dragons or Bottles of Hope), but most are probably open to everyone. So you see, it can go any way *you* want it to. When you finish your first one, you could ask everyone what kinds of things they'd like to try too. Diane B.
.... I just got an idea today for a fun clay day... maybe "Unexpected Adventures in Clay" ...In the morning there would be a field trip to an interesting but large hardware store (maybe a Home Depot or something), and a recycling store or thrift store or antique store.
The goals of these field trips: find interesting items that could be used as a polymer clay tools and/or to find interesting things to cover with polymer clay. The entire field segment should take about 2 hours.
Then we do lunch, and spend afternoon at the (guild meeting room or somewhere else) using the newly found tools (along with the standard polymer clay tools and equipment) and/or covering the items found with polymer clay.
This clay day theme is kind of in line with Diane's new Design Exploration (was Member Challenge) since I was thinking the goal for this particular Clay Day would be to explore using things NOT originally designed to be used with polymer clay or cover things one may have not really thought about covering before. Desiree

the San Diego guild has a monthly clay day on a weekend... they don't have any specific programs, but just come to work, play, be inspired by others, and do problem solving, etc. http://www.pcpolyzine.com/2004february/clayday.html
...the Columbia Gorge Polymer Clay Guild's ClayAThon --two-day, open clay day event featuring demos, working time, sales, etc. http://www.cgpcg.org/ClayAThon2001/ClayAThon2001.htm

see examples of what a (fairly crowded) class could look like, and individual work areas for various clayers (tools, surfaces, clay, etc.) in Groups-Retreats & Conferences

So. . . there's lots more to "joining" a guild than simply attending meetings! 

Most of the guilds also have a free lending library of videos and books (which you can mail back if you can't attend the next meeting) . . . those things can teach you a lot!  

Many guilds also have newsletters with articles, tips, etc. 

I started the CFPCG (Central Florida) a couple of years ago and in less than a week or two we had ten members ....We had some really good things going for us until we tried to get all the members together at one time. Our biggest enemy became distance. . . . I put up a guild web page and the response was good. We stayed in touch online… We have meetings every month but it is rare that anyone can make it. . . . Great stuff is being done through forums, groups, websites... ...Swapping is a great example of how we can get together as a group and do something.
...If we only met at one of those two-day retreats once a year it  would be something to look forward to. Michele H.
(see also Impromptu Get-Togethers/Mini-Retreats in Groups-Retreats/Conferences)

Our guild (Metro Detroit Polymer Art Guild) started ten years ago with about a dozen people meeting. Now it is about 100 members (many out of state). We have monthly meetings (none in July, August and December), a newsletter, a retreat in March and play clay days 3 times a year. . . . . We have well known pc artists come about twice a year for workshops and also have "members only" workshops taught by members at someone's home for about 5-6 students. We don't clay at the meetings (but sometimes have demos) and a clay challenge to create something with one color, flowers, bugs, etc.
...If your guild is small, you could start meeting in member's homes and keep it more informal. The bigger it gets, the more complicated things can become. Dorothy

There are loads of benefits to simply getting together with other people interested in clay (in a guild or simply as a get-together).
You could do things like:
-- borrow or buy a polymer video* and watch it together (then try out one of the techniques together or later)
--do the same thing with a book or a magazine article
--do the same thing with an online lesson/project
--have show and tell, and talk about what you learned or analyze what didn't work out the way you planned
--have exploration themes (see Explorations)
--have swaps between yourselves, or swap as a group with one of the Internet swaps (see more below)
--communicate online between "meetings" if distance is a problem
--join the "Carol Duvall online guild"
*if you are a member of the National Polymer Clay Guild, you can borrow videos and books--see above).
.....(there are links to lessons on most every polymer technique on the home page here at GlassAttic)

We are hosting our first of a series of "round robin" classes . . . We have fifteen 1-hr. demos (during a 5-hr. period?) (you have to pick from 3 each hour) (but will eventually see all 15?).  All taught by members.
The first purpose is to introduce members to new techniques/products so that they will know whether or not it is something they want to pursue further (ie: more expensive classes). 
The second purpose is to give new members some "class" experience under their belts, so that they will be more willing to take other classes.
The third purpose is to give members an opportunity to get teaching experience and to share with others their great ideas (for money!!!). 
The cost for each demo/class is only $10, or $50 for the whole day!!!! ...Most of us have little tricks that wouldn't fill a 3 hour class or an all-day class, but can blow 10 students away in an hour!!! Syndee

We have a raffle each month with one of our members making and donating something. These are usually very nice pieces and people seem willing to buy quite a few tickets. (in our case, we aren't as fortunate as you to have a free room in which to meet. We pay $35 for each night we use it. But our raffle money pretty much takes care of it, thank goodness.) Dotty
...I got some very cool pieces in a swap, but also some that I would never use. Not my style at all. So I donated them to my guild's raffle. Kim2

Our guild has been doing "in guild" swaps the past couple years and they're lots of fun. Once a theme for the swap is settled on, a sign-up sheet is then passed around. We do the sign-ups at the fall meetings and have the due date set for the April meeting. It's up to you all how long you want to extend the due date.
We usually have around 20 people sign up (make 20 items, keep one for yourself and turn in 19).
Everyone turns their items in to me at the meeting and I take them home and swap everything around. I then return the goodies at the May meeting.
Swap reminders and updates go in our newsletter each issue. I also work with anyone unable to attend the meetings of the due dates (dropping things off at my house or mailing them to me...just as long as they include the  return postage if necessary.)
I ask everyone to put each item in an individual baggie with their *name* and any info they would like to include about the item. They also need to have their name clearly marked on their container when they turn the items in or else you won't know who to give them back to :). Geo
.....We have also done one-item swaps, where a person would make one of something, like a fetish, then they would all go in a bag and each person who contributed could pull one out (having each person pass out their own swap beads did not work <G>) Becky
....A thought would be ...to have everyone bring unloved pieces to trade.
....Or put beads together in a bag with some findings to give as a gift kit.  One person's trash is another's treasure.  Kim2
...Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild’s many swaps, etc.
http://members.aol.com/CAPCG1000/swaphome.htm

Some of us get together and do craft shows several times a year. Dotty

Polyzine's themed Wreath Project, where a guild may select one of the proposed themes and make items related to that theme to be attached to a wreath...photos of the wreath and of making it are featured in an issue of Polyzine... then each guild decides what will be done with it.
...suggestions: raffle at group meeting, enter into a fair or show, make it a door prize at a holiday gathering, donate it to a charity, auction on eBay for group funds, or donate it to Polyzine to be sold! Patty B.
(5 wreaths and links to more info and photos for each, plus themes for future wreaths ... http://www.pcpolyzine.com/2004february/wreath.html

I just had an idea for Polyzine (http://www.pcpolyzine.com). What about having every local guild be responsible for several articles for each issue? (It could also be a sort of Guild Highlight or not, depending on what the individuals wanted.) It's often easier for a submitter to get something together (and get "reminders" from others who know and see them around) when there it's a one-time thing, and one unchangeable deadline. Several members could collaborate if they weren't confident enough too. At the least, the guild could offer a gallery of images. Maybe this would also get many of the clayers' feet wet and make it easier for them to submit on their own later since they kind of know the ropes? Diane B.

Community Outreach & Community Service

sometimes arrangements can be made with libraries (etc?) to exhibit work from members for a period of time (maybe a month) in display cases they often have near their fronts . . . I believe that those areas are dedicated to "community exhibits" but not sure.
Mile High Polymer Clay Guild's library exhibit: http://www.npcg.org/milehigh/libdisplay.html
Southern Connecticut's travelling exhibit: http://scpcg.org/travelingexhibit.htm

Community outreach activities can be fun for members, and are also very rewarding to do.

Our guild members volunteer to spend several days at our county fair .... we do demos with the clay which is a lot of fun. Dotty
museums and community centers and even shopping malls are great places for this sort of thing… it's best to be part of say, the "Cartier exhibit" which is already a big draw …
....One of the things the bead societty did was they went and demoed at the feild & science museum…the museum sponsored it and covered supplies and gave us parking vouchers… we provided props and demo volunteers and needed tools and it was free to the patrons …we were in the main hall which is huge readily seen and accessable …ie don't let em put you in the closet, signs don't cut it. faun
what we did: we covered several aspects of beading from making beads in polymer (my demo) to bead stringing to applied beads… all together there were 12 tables of how to's they were quickie demos not intended to be the answer to everything but enough to wet the appetitie and imagination
this definately could be done by a polymer group demoing faces/ dolls / canes / beads / jewelry / boxes/ stamps another table of done things pined down or in cases and books about clay scattered here and there (see more in Demos)
…one table would definately have guild info …also pictures of events and meeting schedules would be good
…the one thing needed by the museum was some way of seeing how many patrons came through the demos, like how many beads made or necklaces( other demos)
…not as intense as you were planning…but I saw tons of happy faces..... Faun

Various members or teams of members could give demos on basic polymer techniques to senior centers, nursing homes, kid's hospital units, etc.
.....or they could do the same basic polymer demo for the instructors of those groups/centers, and let them take the info back to their charges. ..
.....teach a mother's group how to play clay with their kids....do this even if you don't think you are an expert. LaurieD

go do Bottles of Hope workshops at hospitals and schools.

after donating something to a worthy cause ... ALSO EXPLAIN how you did it to the person who bought it. LaurieD

I also thought about putting together craft kits for each indiviual to complete on their own time. CraftsRFun

donations, etc.

Donations can be given to individuals in group settings
.... or they can be given to the organzations trying to support those groups (as fundraisers,etc.)
.......I often make cat pens or dog pens, put them on the counter to sell, and let the animal shelter keep the money. Feels nice. : ) Amy

After donating something to a worthy cause ..ALSO EXPLAIN how you did it to the person who bought it. LaurieD

(members of a guild could donate unwanted things to a senior home, battered women's shelter, or school teachers, etc, etc..)

For seniors, etc., you can also donate items for game/bingo prizes
....at our adult day care center there are seniors who can't do the crafts themselves but appreciate the hand made items.
....What about making a completed Valentine's Day card for the residents of a nursing home.... cards could also be Christmas/Hannukah/Season's-Greetings themed instead, or even be birthday cards which would be passed out as birthdays arrive (often nursing or similar facilities have many older people never have visitors (or cards or gifts)
.......there are a lot of ways polymer clay could be used with these cards... alone and/or with other media like stamping, embossing, cut outs, etc.... The simplest clay thing might be creating a marbled or patterned or stamped-Pearl-Exed sheet of clay, then cutting a heart shape from it to be glued onto the front of the a piece of folded cardstock or construction paper (or left freestanding like a polymer postcard), but there would also be loads of other possibilities.
(see Cards and also Halloween,etc. > Valentine for more ideas)

My daughter who is a resident manager of a group home for teen age girls is asking for clay and tools for her craft projects.Trina

gifts (pens) donated to military personnel serving overseas in Iraq, etc. .... the "Freedom Pens" project is run by woodturners (who often cover their turned blanks with polymer clay)
http://www.freedompens.us ....... (some of their pens) http://www.freedompens.us/pens/pens_01.html

To an art teacher on a VERY tight budget in my guild, I gave a box of my beads, including some store-bought beads I no longer wanted and other findings -- her students love to take stuff apart for restringing or whatever. Sherry Bailey
...Yesterday I found out about a group of mentally challenged adults that has a creativity meeting every Wednesday. They're always looking for supplies to make things with. So, my formerly unloved beads are going there. Kim

Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild donated ornaments to AIDS groups
http://www.capcg.org/orn99.htm
http://www.capcg.org/orn01.htm

A snowflake wreath was made by the San Antonio Guild & sold on eBay, with the proceeds going to local battered womens' shelter
... many individual large "snowflakes" were made by guild members (all different) to attach to the wreath ... see Activities above for more guilds which did wreaths with various themes for the Wreath Project)
http://www.pcpolyzine.com/2004january/wreath.html
(more in Christmas > Other Ideas)

For the Orlando Museum of Art fundraiser .....our guild is working on a tree covered with clay ornaments to donate. LaurieD

Art Doll Angel Project for kidney research ..... for example...collage, stuff, embellish, stamp, paint, sew, sculpt, or otherwise assemble a one-of-a-kind "angel" art doll creation with polymer clay --or using any medium or mixed media.
http://www.art4change.com/artdollangelproject.htm

There are ton of small charities that would love something beautiful to help them raise money. LaurieD

Bottles of Hope (small bottles covered with decorative clay) can be made for cancer patients, hospitalized kids (at a Ronald McDonald House or just a local hosp.), or others who could use a little cheering up and distraction from their situations (these could also be Bottles of Caring, etc.); short demos or classes could also happen when the bottles are delivered...
(see BOH for many details, ideas and instructions)

I was also thinking of doing something next year in the way of Bottles of Hope with my son's 7-8 grade school class ...we're looking for things we can do under the aegis of "community service" without having to leave the school. . .

worry stones & word stones” …What a wonderful idea to put your art to work to help others! Here's my suggestion: My psychiatrist showed me a beautiful polyclay object one of her patients had made her. It was like a very smooth river rock that just fit nicely in the palm of your hand. It had a beautiful abstract design on it and a lovely smooth finish. She said just holding this and turning it over in your hand for a while is very calming, helps relieve anxiety. -- Suzanne TN
(gifts, AIDS patients, anyone)
...some touch stones (made with inclusions) with words on them
http://www.art-e-zine.co.uk/playwithclay.html
...Years ago I bought a piece of glass that had been etched with *words*... the kind that speak to you on many levels. I started a word list of my own way back then... and thought they'd work up real well in polymer, but never did it till now. I used different faux treatments than you did... and I used stamp sets to create the words & symbols... sanded, buffed & antiqued 'em... but basically it's the same idea. It was fun & I agree... it would be a wonderful item to donate to troubled people. They make a good *focus* point to bring your mind away from your particular trouble & back to something that's positive, or important, in your life. Joanie
...I gave some words to our secretary in one of the handmade felt pouches and she keeps it on her desk, every morning when she comes to work she picks her word (without looking first) for the day. I do the same thing, but at home and its amazing how the word seems to be just what's needed for that day. Joyce
...That's VERY cool! I was working on some words for sister & my niece who's getting married soon. I think I'm going to make them a bowl as well... or some sort of vessel to hold them. I'll suggest they start their days off that way too & see how it works out for them, thanks! Joanie

(see Disabilities for more info on seniors ....and those with physical or mental disabilites, psychological stress or trauma, etc.)

Group Orders (& possible discounts)

Guilds can often get discounts on clay or supplies because they can order so much more than an individual might order.

If you buy 3 or more pounds of Alley Goop (2-pt silicone putty for making molds and texture sheets), there is a graduated price break that can't be beat with any of the silicone molding putties. Jeanne R.
....so 10 lbs of putty = $18.50 per pound (+ shipping about $1 for each lb.) ....the lesser discounts are: 5 lbs = $21.50 ... 3 lbs = $25.00 ...(1 lb = $27.50) http://www.clayalley.com/goop.htm (there's also a 4 oz "sampler" for $8.50).... and a "Brush-On" type too (see Molds > Silicone for more info)

I'm thinking local guilds should get together and order these cookie cutters made by Foose. .... up to 100 cutters for $5.25 flat rate shipping! And a 20% discount for orders over 100 cutters! Everyone could get a real good deal that way. Laurel (see Cutters)

the Precise-A-Slice stand slicer gives bulk discounts? (see Cutters > Stand Slicers)

Our guild gets a discount on clay

books?

Dues, Costs

Most guilds charge dues . . . these can range from the cheapest you can get away with (depending on how much you need for renting space, getting teachers, stocking a library, etc.) up to $35 or more per year. Some guilds allow yearly dues to begin whenever someone wants to join, others want dues to run always from say Sept. to Sept., others have half-yearly dues, etc. (the second option can discourage some people from joining since they may get only a few meetings for the full year's dues). Some guilds may also charge by the meeting for visitors, or allow visitors a free meeting to allow them to decide if they want to join.

I'm sure that all the guilds have a different amount for their dues. Ours is $20 a year, or $10 every six months. If they can't manage that, then we let them pay a fee each time they come, but that way it's more expensive. However, if they know they are not able to attend all of the meetings, that might be the best way for them. New people can come for the first time free. After that they need to join. Dotty

I forgot to add that, yes, we do use our dues for buying videos and books. We vote on which ones we want. Also, we are now purchasing two "craft" tables, the kid that the legs fold up so you can transport it if you need to. (gotta have a pickup, van or SUV however) We will use these at our Clay Days, and then for a small fee, let members use them now and then for a craft show. We also offer a small money prize for people who submit polymer clay items to the fair, trying to encourage more of them to show their clay items. Also, some of our money went to our first clay retreat this year. It paid for our guest artists hotel rooms, food, and air or car fare. We had built up a rather large surplus of money and thought this would be agreat way to use it. And it WAS! The fees for the classes all went to the teachers. Hope this helps. Dotty

What Dotty mentioned in her post is pretty much the same thing that we do in the DC/MD/VA area guild. We do have an extra officer...the workshop coordinator...who gets in touch with all of the teachers and make the arrangements to bring that teacher to our guild for workshops. We also have monthly meetings, with a raffle each month of an item that has been donated by a member. Fees are $10 a year and with that comes great benefits. Two of which are the wonderful quarterly guild newsletter (I believe we're going monthly soon) and lower member rates when we have a workshop. Our guild also tries to have some kind of demo or guest speaker at each meeting. The speaker is usually a guild member with something really good to teach or show. We have show and tell, too. Oscelyn

Meeting places (...for guilds, groups, or just for classes)

I'd check into your local arts support type organization and see what facilities they have available! Those type of organizations are usually inspired to encourage local artists! Jan Ohio (we use the Ohio Arts Council Building.... I don't know if we pay a fee or not).
.... see if your city has an Art Studio. It would be listed in the yellow pages under Parks And Recreation. Jacqui

Check out your local library for reading rooms. ... there is no fee and there are tables and chairs available
..... We were also able to bake and use our pasta motors as long as we kept the door shut.
.... But... we had to allow other people to come in, so sometimes we did demos for visitors.
....We did demos for ourselves too, viewed videos (the library let us use their equipment), had show and tell and had great fun. Helen P.
...our library is free, but the main branch is so sought after that it would be very hit-or-miss. Irene NC

Our Orange County guild meets in a craft/sewing room at a wonderful store called Piecemakers. It's not free, however, but when we pay for it we know we won't get bumped and that it will be open to us every month. It's worth the money we pay. There is usually hot water, tea, coffee, cocoa and spiced apple cider available for us. The group that runs Piecemakers has been exceptionally kind to us.
...Do any of you pay for your space? Our guild meets at Piecemakers Country Store and pays $30 for the priviledge. At least we can stay as long as we want. We used to have to be out when the store closed at 9 and now they close earlier so we just put the key through the mail slot. Trina
...Another advantage to our meeting place- is that it's a nice neutral place-fairly centrally located- that encourages new members to come and give us a try. Piecemaker's also advertises for us. It's really worked out well for us. Kathndolls

The Houston Guild meets at a store called Texas Art Supply. They have a nice room and they get some of our business in return. Good for everyone involved. Shauuna
....An alternate to Michaels, is Hobby Lobby. ...Most of them have a classroom and don't charge for individuals holding classes in them. In fact 2 guilds I'm in, use them for our meetings. Patty B.
... I think I've seen people mention libraries and a JoAnn's store recently. Nancy T.
...Other guilds I know of meet at craft or art stores. Some pay rent, some don't. But usually a craft/art store will let you or rent you a room or space if they feel that your members will make some purchases from them. Dotty

Nancy, our guild meets at a bead store, The Rock Garden, in Branford, Connecticut. They let us use their classroom space free (!) for our meetings. Before and after our meetings, most of our members take advantage of the opportunity to purchase beads and findings. The Rock Garden also displays our annual bead strands and occasionally offers discounts on clay to guild members. The relationship is great for both the store and our guild. For our Clay Days and guild-sponsored workshops, we rent studio space at the Guilford Handcrafts Center in Guilford, Connecticut. The studio fee we charge participants generally covers the rental costs. You also may wish to try schools, colleges, church halls and community centers. Hope this helps!

We're currently at the YWCA. Several of us searched for a meeting space to no avail! Most places wanted more rent than we could afford. The Y charges us only $10 per meeting, but we can be bumped if someone who's paying more wants the space.
A consistent place seems to work best, so we're sticking with the Y for now. Irene in western NC

A couple of places I haven't seen mentioned that have worked for our Calligraphy Guild are:
1) churches - their meeting rooms can be cheap to rent, especially if you will schedule a night that they already have something going on, i.e. choir practice. We have also been able to get the room for an all day workshop on a Saturday, of course Sunday's are out.
2) volunteer fire stations - at least the ones in the Baltimore area have a room or rooms you can rent for a nominal fee for meeting or birthday parties. (OK - the usual reason is for kids birthday parties but they will rent them for other things, i.e. guild meetings or workshops.) Carle

Our guild's favorite place for workshops is the party room in the development where one of our members lives. It has tables & chairs, & there's a kitchen & enough parking. ... Marla

The New Hampshire guild met in an activity room at a senior home when I visited. Jody

Our local school system will sometimes rent out for a non-profit event. Allison
......I know of another guild that meets at a school. Dotty.

Our Atlanta guild has been meeting in a neighborhood clubhouse, but we've been bumped a couple of times and it's not exactly centrally located, so I'm trying to come up with ideas of other places to try.Nancy T.

Try your local Chamber of Commerce. They may not have any room to rent but might have a lot of good ideas.
...I use the Elks Lodge once a year to hold a show but I could also rent it for other events. If someone in your group belongs to the Elks, Moose, etc. it might be worth a look. Allison

Another guild meets in the large studio of one of the clay artist members. Everyone brings a fold-up chair to the meeting. Dotty in CA

Of course, until you get going, someone's house is usually fine . . . this can be rotated among the people who want to volunteer or always held in the same place…


South Bay Polymer Clay Guild

(my local guild, San Jose CA)
http://home.earthlink.net/~sbpcg/

My guild is the South Bay Polymer Clay Guild. We are a large, active group of 100 members or so. 

Our monthly friday night meetings feature speakers or demos, plus Show and Tell, and something called Exploration Themes (anyone who wants can participate by doing something within the given theme...emphasis in on stretching by doing something you've never done before, or doing it in a way never done before" just for fun ...to see the Exploration Theme topics we've had in our guild, take a look here:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/EXPLORATIONS.htm 
During the 20-minute "break" before the feature presentation, everyone browses around and looks at the show-and-tell items or browses the books/videos. Some guild meetings may instead be a member sale (any handmade items by members, guests are welcome) or a member trade (everyone brings anything to do with clay and sells or trades it to other members); in December we usually have a potluck (famlies invited) and a "gift exchange" where each clayer bringing an clay ornament or item gets one from another person.

We also have "clay days" 3-4 times per year. Those run 10:00am - 5:00pm on a Saturday or Sunday, during which several techniques or new ideas are demonstrated by members (after each, we go back to our tables and try it out); cost is only $10 --members only.

From time to time, we also have well-known clayers give classes on one or both weekend days.  Some of the teachers we've brought in have been City Zen Cane, Pier Voulkos, Lindly Haunani, Mike Buesseler, Donna Kato, Sarah Shriver, and many more!

We sometimes have special events like trunk shows or demoing clay at the local country fair, etc., as well.
Our large lending library of how-to books and videos is available at every meeting, and is especially great for beginners since each video would normally cost $25-$40.
We also have a quarterly newsletter. 

If you're interested in joining or just coming to a meeting to check it out, the first one is free ...after that our dues are $30 per year. 
If you're interested, or just in the area during one of our meetings!, go to the guild website above for contact info and more details.

(There are a number of people who can't come on most or any regular friday night guild meetings, but who feel it's worth it to join the guild to be able to participate in weekend classes and other activities, or simply to support polymer clay.)

Non-USA polymer guilds

(duplicate of info on Groups--Online page)
...also see that page for a few more? non-USA mailing list discussion groups ...

This info has gotten complicated as so many more guilds and groups are creating blogs, mailing lists, and other groups... so just take what you can from it:

some of these are official guilds, some are not

Alaskan Polymer Art Guild: http://kelliesklay.homestead.com/apag.html . . .the city is Anchorage, but we want all Alaskan clayers. ....message board for the ones who aren't in Anchorage http://forums.delphiforums.com/apag ). Kellie Robinson
Hawaii: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hawaiipolymerclayers


Puerto Rico: Puertorican Polymer Clay Guild (Spanish-speaking) ...Fajardo, Puerto Rico
http://www.geocities.com/ebaydilan
Hawaii: …there is a group that meets at Fort Shafter I believe on Sundays and they get together and share their polymer clay ideas and techniques. Sometimes Darlene Richardson teaches stuff she learns on the mainland.
...Also, the Hawaii Stitchery and Fibre Arts Guild has brought in several polymer clay artists. Our guild meets at the HMA building on Beretania Street at 7:00 p.m. Meetings are usually help on the first Wednesday evening at 7:00at Linekona Art Academy (across Thomas Square) and are free and open to the public.
....There is also a Bead Society which meets on the 4th Wednesday of every month at Linekona Art Academy at 7:00 p.m (Oahu?). Sarah from Honolulu
(??...Svetlana has taught at Bead It and the Honolulu Academy of Arts)

Canada:
Montreal Polymer Clay Guild http://www.claycave.com/mpcg.html
Southern Ontario Polymer Clay Guild http://www.geocities.com/SOPCG...monthly, usually in Mississauga
.........Canadian suppliers: http://www.geocities.com/SOPCG
Vancouver Island Polymer Clay Guild http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VanIslePolyClayers
also Vancouver Polymer Clayers http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Vancouverpolyclayers/?yguid=263723744 ...not a guild, affiliated with
Clayamies
, the online Canadian guild http://www.clayamies.com and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/clayamies)
Kingston (Ontario) Polymer Clay Guild ... second friday of every month at 2:30 -5 at 99 York Street, Kingston..... Georgia at 613-374-3582 or email georgia@beekslanestudio.com
Lindsay Ontario .. first Monday evening of every month at The Crafty Stamper located in the Cambridge Mall (705)324-4655 or e-mail to craftystamper@bellnet.ca

British Polymer Clay Guild
http://www.bpcg.org.uk
Spain + Spanish-speaking
...a message board for the Asociación de Arcillas Polimericas de España (currently at fimoland.com)
http://www.fimoland.com/foro
Finland... PoRRo’s site :
http://www.dlc.fi/~markkujt/index.html

France... PoRRo’s site :
http://www.dlc.fi/~markkujt/index.html
French-speaking
...a blog for the French guild that has just stated recently
http://lefilalapate.canalblog.com

(...+ blog with a lot of information in French, Parole de Pâte: http://paroledepate.canalblog.com )
Italy ...Milan http://it.geocities.com/milanoclay --Milanoclay
some websites from Italy: http://guide.supereva.it/hobby_femminili/progetti/
(Monica's projects) http://bussola.supereva.it/italyclay/eng/home.html?p (click on Gallery for various)

Kazuo (Yamashita) Kono kykaz@aol.com (e-mail contact)

Israel ..(not a guild or group) ...Naamaza's site has basic info about using polymer clay, as well as some projects
http://www.naamaza.com/site/detail/detail/detail.asp?detail_id=39109

Australia....Australian Polymer Clay Artists Guild
http://www.polymerclay.com.au/Aussiepolyclayersguild.htm
New Zealand Guild
http://www.zigzag.co.nz/ ...
http://www.polymerclay.co.nz/nzpcg/index.html
Japan ....group (supplies?)
http://www.polymerclayart-japan.com/ (in Japanese)
http://www.polymerclayart-japan.com/english.html (in English)


Brazil... Polymer Clay Brasil
http://www.polymerclaybrasil.com.br
We meet monthly (Saturdays) at Casa do Restaurador (art store). Our website is in portuguese and english. Contact: Vera Pessoa - faleconosco@polymerclaybrasil.com.br

ONLINE-only international guilds

European Polymer Clay People (mostly in English)
http://europeanpolymerclaypeople.forumup.org

Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE)
....blog now at http://pcagoe.com
(photos still at their 2 previous pages: http://etsypca.blogspot.com and http://pcagoe.wordpress.com)

"Carol Duvall Polymer Clay Guild" (a virtual guild) --still available?
Membership: General Member status is open to anyone who loves Polymer Clay and doesn’t have a local or regional guild within one hour’s driving distance of their home, OR who is a consummate fan of the Carol Duvall Show. Member Emeritus status is available to anyone who demonstrates PC on the Carol Duvall Show ... At this time, membership is free. As the group grows, dues will be added as necessary.
Contact info: Mags Bonham <mags@vtcrafts.net>, or Sharon David <sdavid06@swbell.net>
Short-Term Goals

• To provide members with a weekly update of PC episodes on the Carol Duvall Show
• To provide a PhotoPoint Album for Member Creations inspired by a particular episode and/or instructor.
• To build a library of Carol Duvall Show episodes for sharing with the membership
• To honor Carol Duvall and past and future instructors for their promotion of polymer clay as a craft and art medium with a Membership Pin designed by the guild members.

more International Contacts

see also this directory of Non-USA polymer clay teachers located in many countries... these teachers may also know more about others who are interested in polymer clay, groups, etc., in their specific areas
...Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan
...England, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, France, Germany, Croatia, Russia
...Greece, Turkey, Israel
...India....Nigeria...Brazil
...Canada
http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/teacherindex_international.html

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(see also mailing lists above for UK, Australia/New Zealand, France, and Canada, etc., which may function a bit as guilds)

 


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