“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, the best weekend ever” “I’ve been to lots of metal clay conferences but this one stood out for me for the warmth and enthusiasm of the delegates” “It was just magical, everyone was so welcoming and friendly” “When I left I felt like I’d walked back through the door from Narnia” “I learnt so much and made so many new friends, and was still buzzing when I got home”
These are just a few of the comments from the attendees of the inaugural ‘You can make it’ event, who left at the end of the weekend feeling inspired, happy and with lots of new friends!
You Can Make It 2017 took place in Wareham, Dorset, UK on the 24th – 26th March 2017. It was the brainchild of Petra Cameron Wennberg and was organised by her company Metal Clay Ltd. When Petra first approached me in 2016 to see if I might be interested in teaching at it I jumped at the chance. There hadn’t been any kind of large metal clay gathering in the UK for quite a few years and we were long overdue one. Petra was quite clear. She wanted to organise an event, but to be sure they could make the pricing viable they were asking if the tutors would be prepared to give their time for free – of course I said yes, and so did everyone else! We certainly weren’t going to miss out on it.
And so it was that I arrived by train with a very big heavy suitcase (lots of tools, very few clothes!) and a great sense of excitement on the Thursday to set up ready for teaching. There had been various ticket options available, one of which included staying on the Thursday night before everything kicked off with the optional Masterclasses on Friday. I expected to see a few others checking in but people were arriving en masse! It turned out about 80% had decided they were not going to miss a thing either. There was much hustle and bustle as rooms were readied and transformed into workshops and the full Metal Clay Ltd team of staff were on hand, ably lead by Petra and Stuart, making sure we had everything we needed. After dinner, the bar area was buzzing.
The format for Saturday and Sunday was shorter hands-on sessions and talks/demonstrations. There was an amazing amount of choice with fourteen hands-on sessions each about three hours long and nineteen hour long talks/demos over the two days. As well as the tutors who had taught on the Friday, sessions were also given by Kuniaki Iwahashi, Anna Campbell, Grainne Reynolds, Leigh Armstrong, Kim Paige, Amberlee Gurr, Shayna Bowles and Petra Cameron. The hands-on sessions included Fuchsia paper clay earrings, Adding Colour, Bezel Making, ACS950 Rings, 3D Butterfly, Ceramics with metal clay, Playing with Paper type, Make your own stamp, Soldering, Magical Moulds, Efco Enamels and Design. Phew!
Saturday evening also saw a Meet the Makers round table event with more demos and a chance to talk to various tutors about their work and how they create it, and of course lots of amazing work was on display to be ogled at! Then there was the charm swap!!! Well that had already got to frenzied level in the Facebook group before anyone even arrived! The most amazing and inventive charms had been created and were swapped, (Wanaree said “best charm swap ever!”) and some resorted to little pots of jam and Nutella, and even IOUs to ensure they got some swapping done!!!! I came home with the most wonderful collection of charms that I’ll be turning into a mobile to hang up and inspire me when I’m working 😀 Maybe I’ll add my little jam and Nutella pots too once they are empty!
All through the conference there was a Market Place where Metal Clay Ltd were joined by Shangrila Gems, Elsilver, Silhouette and Efco, so there were LOTS of wonderful goodies to buy. And of course no conference would be complete without a raffle or even two! Yes, we had two and they really got everyone very excited. Firstly was a handmade bracelet with a charm made by each of the tutors – fourteen charms in total. The second raffle was also awesome. Prometheus had not only sponsored by giving clay for the goody bags and two of their PRO 7 kilns to be used at the workshops, but they had also donated one of those to be a raffle prize!!! There was much discussion all weekend as to who would win the kiln – and there were also many other fantastic prizes in the draw including 50g packs of Art Clay Silver from Aida and Metal Clay Ltd and a Stampmaker kit from Photocentric. Both raffles raised an amazing £1,390 for charity and some people went home super happy with their winnings!!!
As the event drew to a close on Sunday afternoon there were many goodbyes and even a few tears. It was obvious to see that long lasting friendships had been created and everyone was keen to know – will there be a YCMI in 2018? As for Petra and Stuart and their team who worked so tirelessly throughout the event, everyone was in awe at what they had created and all the hard work they put in. Kudos to them all, I know I speak for all when I say we are very grateful to you for creating such a magical event. And events like these just do not happen without significant financial support and generous sponsors and contributors so a huge thank you to Metal Clay Ltd, Art Clay, Prometheus, Pebeo, Town talk, Efco, Photocentric, Metal Adventures, Making Jewellery Magazine, Docrafts, Cool Tools and Metal Clay Supply.
Will there be a YCMI in 2018? Well I have it on good authority there will be! If you are interested in going then make sure you sign up for the newsletter on the home page at www.youcanmakeit.co.uk and join the Facebook group ‘You Can Make It’ http://www.facebook.com/groups/YCMI2017 so you are one of the first to hear about it – it is sure to sell out very quickly!!! And if you want to see more photos from this year’s event just search for #ycmi on social media.
Joy is passionate about colours and textures in her work combining traditional enamel with silver to create vibrant, unique and fun pieces. She delights in the privilege of being able to impart knowledge to others. To see a rainbow will always bring a smile to her face. She tries to be – Joy by name and Joyful by nature.
Joy lives and works in Hastings, East Sussex, UK, and is known for her colourful ‘joyful’ work. She teaches from her base, as well as nationally and internationally, and has taught at various metal clay and enamelling conferences around the world. Her award winning work has been featured in many magazines and publications. www.joyfunnell.co.uk