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"One of my coworkers, Marilynn, has a very special godson, Christopher, and she has been encouraging him in his love of working with Polymer Clay. Christopher participated in the Dinko Bird Swap, and Dinko has become something of an idol to Christopher. Well, since Dinko was our houseguest for the holidays, it was a wonderful opportunity for Christopher to meet him - and so, Leigh and Marilynn arranged a visit. What follows is Marilynn's account of this special visit."
- Stephen

For me, Wednesday, December 27 was a day like no other and will not be forgotten. My godson, Christopher, most definitely agrees.

Two years ago, I caught up with the rest of the world, purchased a computer and began exploring the World Wide Web. My coworker, Steve, gave me the URL's to his websites and I marveled at the composition and presentation of Polymer Clay Central, Delphi Rubber Stampers, and Arts & Crafts. What was this guy doing working at the phone company when he can do work like this? Soon I realized that his wife, Leigh, the driving force and gifted artist responsible for the content of these sites, was an even more amazing person. Her talents seemed limitless.

For years, Christopher enjoyed making figures with his Playdoh. We, his family and friends, noticed that he was able to make caricature likenesses of us in minutes, and we thought, "Hey, he's pretty good for a kid!"

Without any mentor, Christopher progressed to Polymer Clay. Whenever he received money as a gift, he chose to spend it at craft stores to reap the benefits of polymer clay, which I now know is much better than Playdoh.

Meanwhile, I continued to casually explore Polymer Clay Central and vote on the Challenge entries of the month. I finally put two and two together and realized that this is the same stuff Christopher was using!

Last year, for this 10th birthday, I consulted with Leigh and purchased clay and supplies and instructional videos and a little orange pirate made by Dinko Tilov. I printed some of Leigh's lessons from PCC, and brought all of this to Christopher. Using these gifts during this past year, Christopher has grown a great deal as a young artist.

All of this leads to yesterday, December 27, 2000. Christopher, Valerie (his Mom), and I went to the home of Leigh and Stephen Ross. We were invited specifically because Dinko was there, and Christopher would soon have the opportunity of his young lifetime to meet and learn from Dinko... an artist who had begun creating with clay at about the same age as Christopher is now.

Chris was so nervous about meeting this artist from Bulgaria! What would they talk about? He had never met anyone famous before, or been invited to meet someone like this before. I told him, neither have I, yes, this is unusual and very special.

Within a half-hour of our arrival, Chris was mimicking some of Dinko's techniques! Everything went so well. Leigh and Dinko made us feel right at home, and Christopher and Dinko really hit it off. Three hours flew by, and when we were leaving, Dinko gave Chris one of his creations. Christopher was thrilled! While driving home, Chris kept saying how much he enjoyed the day and that this was the BEST Christmas ever!

Thank you, Leigh and Dinko for making this possible. You both have changed Christopher's life in a very wonderful way.

Marilynn Dietz
©January, 2001

We want to thank Marilynn for sharing this wonderful story showing the "people" side of Polymer Clay, and we wish Christopher all the best in his pursuit of Polymer Clay Art. PCC is here to help in any way we can - don't be a stranger!

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