Wow. What an amazing two months. I am at a loss for words to adequately describe the feelings of love, relief and happiness that I have felt since the metal clay community came together to fundraise for our benefit. My family and I went deep into debt trying to keep the magazine alive, but it just wasn’t possible. When we finally called it quits, I was scared. Very scared.
I started the magazine out of my studio on a lap top computer… and suddenly it threatened to ruin our lives. In absolute despair, I wrote a letter to our readers explaining the journey. Then I braced for the angry comments. Instead, hundreds of readers came out and started fundraising. Companies that advertised with us donated money and items to auction. And the letters from readers did come, but they were filled with love and encouragement. Some shared stories about how their family businesses were lost due to similar situations. Many mothers wrote to me, understanding what this stress was doing to our family and to our children. I cherish all of these notes. I am also very grateful to magazine publisher Ryan Jones at Jones Publishing who took on our readers subscriptions. All subscriptions to MCAM have been honored by Ryan with his magazine titles.
I would not wish to go through this stressful experience again. However, the most marvelous thing happened. Our community became closer. The comradery, encouragement and friendships developed over the past two months have changed me. I have marveled at the conversations online between people who have never met in person, but whose common interest in metal clay connects them. Friendships made, art exchanged, ideas shared. Amazing.
I had to find a way to keep us together and keep the lines of communication open. Facebook has been a nice way to connect, but conversations and ideas are not easily searchable and get lost in the feed. I hoped that a blog would work better, so I created “Creative Fire” based upon an image from a conversation with a fellow artist. I had quipped that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. She replied that it was the tribe of metal clay artists—all gathered around the fire I had lit. I want to keep us gathered. To grow in numbers. To continue to share, explore, learn and create with metal clay. We are an amazing group of artists.
Fueling this fire…PMC Connection! In addition to the letter I wrote to MCAM readers, I reached out to our advertisers seeking ways for MCAM to continue. PMC Connection president Jennifer Roberts immediately wrote back and asked what she could do. Like so many, her company donated to the fundraiser and the auctions. When I posted a link to the very rough start of the blog about a month ago, she asked for more details about where I wanted to take it. We both felt strongly that preserving the wealth of information and projects from the magazines was of equal importance to exploring where metal clay is going. We were looking for a hybrid – the best hits of MCAM combined with the future of metal clay. Above all, we agreed that it should be FREE. So, Jennifer and PMC Connection offered to sponsor the re-imagining of Metal Clay Artist Magazine as Creative Fire.
So here we are, dear readers. What this blog becomes is up to you. We still need your photos, your ideas, your questions, and your lessons learned. Most importantly, we invite you to continue the conversation with us. This is our blog. This is where we gather!
Jeannette Froese LeBlanc
CreativeFire.com by Metal Clay Artist Magazine
From our Founding Sponsor
For the past few years, many have lamented the loss of community in the metal clay world. Things appeared to go downhill even more a few months ago when the editors of Metal Clay Artist Magazine announced that, due to factors beyond their control, they could no longer produce the much-loved magazine. But then the metal clay community rallied and came together in an unprecedented way to help Editor-in-Chief Jeannette LeBlanc and her family retire the debt created by the print magazine’s demise. The community was there all along, we just didn’t realize it.
Through the GoFundMe drive and the three Facebook auctions benefitting Jeannette and her family, contributors left countless messages of support, thanking Jeannette and all who worked on the magazine for years of friendship and inspiration. Not only was MCAM an exceptional magazine, it was trailblazing. From its all-female editorial staff to its place on the shelves of mainstream bookstores, MCAM elevated metal clay to new heights.
CreativeFire. It’s an appropriate name for a project born from the ashes of a distributor bankruptcy that turned the publishing world on its head. Everyone at PMC Connection is thrilled to be a part of this new endeavor. The website is in its infancy. But in the coming months, CreativeFire by Metal Clay Artist Magazine will bring the best of the print issues, together with a wealth of new information, ideas, and functionality to your fingertips. Most importantly, it will all be online, available 24/7, completely searchable, and free.
We’re honored to support MCAM in creating its new online home at Cre8tiveFire.com.
President, PMC Connection