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PCC Chats With
Meredith Arnold

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September 7, 2000:
MEREDITHA1> We be here!
SUNNISAN:sunni> life is good!!
SUNNISAN:sunni> we are just getting ready to officially start!!
SUNNISAN:sunni> meredith, You are an active member in the Northwest Polymer Clay Guild in the Seattle area. I understand you hold a rather unique position in the officers? Could you tell us a little about that?
MEREDITHA1> I am the Advisor to the Board. It is a permanent position creatd to maintain the intent of the organization and minimize politics, etc. It keeps the NWPCG consistent according to policy and bylaws
SUNNISAN:sunni> was this position karen's idea or was it a joint decision?
MEREDITHA1> Karen Murphy, our founder was the original Advisor to the Board and she chose to designate her successor. Karen and I wrote the Bylaws and Standing Rules framework and this position was created at that time. Karen popped up with it one night and kind of spiraled into it. It;s really a very good idea for clean operation.
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you plan to be in the position for awhile yet?
MEREDITHA1> I just accepted the position fairly recently - June, I believe. I will probably stay in the position until someone else is ready to take it on...
SUNNISAN:sunni> just what does the advisor position entail?
MEREDITHA1> I get consulted on Board decisions, legalities, liability issues, what needs to happen for Ravensdale, Clay Camp, etc. and I know where all of our assets are..
SUNNISAN:sunni> so you are an integral part in the activities your guild puts together?
MEREDITHA1> So far, I have been. The last two Ravensdales I either chaired or co-chaired and have co-chaired our Clay Camps for the last three. Others put together our Clay Days (thank goodness!)
SUNNISAN:sunni> The Bottles of Hope were started by cancer survivor, Diane Gregoire of the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild. (To see the full story, members please go here: She created "Wish Bottles" from castoff serum bottles she discovered during chemo therapy. Diane said, I told my friends to just make a wish, write it down and put it in the bottle, and it would come true. I don't know why, but we all just believed this... maybe because we just wanted to, or that it was something to hold onto." They were such a success she challenged her guild to make bottles for a competition juried by Jody Bishel. All the entries were then donated to local agencies with chemotherapy patients. I see the Bottles of Hope have taken off around the country. Is the NWPCG going to participate also?
MEREDITHA1> Yes the NWPCG will be doing their own Bottles of Hope project at our next Clay Day in November. Right Krista?
KSHUFELT> Right. Meredith and I will be putting info in the newsletter about it, right Meredith?
MEREDITHA1> Oh yeah, that newsletter...indeed, we will! I didn't get a date for this upcoming Clay Day either!
MEREDITHA1> Krista has a bunch of bottles for us to use and we will be donating them to cancer patients.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Seeing the bottles from the juried show was amazing. People really get to have fun making them.
MEREDITHA1> They are beautiful, too!
CANEGURU:caneguru> Some are beautiful. Some are funny.... All are different
KSHUFELT> We also will be attempting to get local channels of communications set up with local hospitals and clinics So that we can keep it going here in this area.
SUNNISAN:sunni> :) oops! do you have an idea how many people will are planning to participate?
MEREDITHA1> We usually average 10-15 or so people at our Clay Days. So hopefully we'll have about that many of our members making them...
SUNNISAN:sunni> that's quite exciting!! is your bottles of hope project a one-time deal or will your members commit to xx number of bottles per month or quarter?
MEREDITHA1> Ahhh a question for KRISTA!!! (heh heh) Go ahead Krista
KSHUFELT> We only introduced the idea last night to our group. We'll all try out the idea and tell the story in full at our next clay day, and see what the interest of the members is. Hopefully an element of competition will keep things lively. Most of them haven't seen the brochure that tells the story, and I think that will help inspire them to participate.
CANEGURU:caneguru> And when folks bring what they made at Clay Day to the following meeting, it may inspire others, too.
SUNNISAN:sunni> will you be putting your bottle of hope clay day up on the web with pictures?
CANEGURU:caneguru> Of course!
KSHUFELT> We put EVERYTHING up on the web with pictures, thanks to Linda!
CANEGURU:caneguru> my pleasure
SUNNISAN:sunni> A little off-topic question here: Terry Lee Czechowski wanted me to ask you if you have your keys. Something about Ravensdale?
CANEGURU:caneguru> LOL!
MEREDITHA1> So here we are, all NWPCG members except for sunni...let's ask her questions!!!
SUNNISAN:sunni> Speaking of Ravensdale, you were co-chair with Karen Murphy for the year 2000 event. Will you be co-chair again for R2K2?
MEREDITHA1> Oh dear. I am begging off this time from chairing anything. I enjoyed chairing Rdale 98 and co-chairing R2k2...but would like to focus on teaching now.
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you know yet who will be stepping up to chair r2k2?
CANEGURU:caneguru> Chairing R'dale is an enormous task!
MEREDITHA1> Actually, our current Prez is looking to co-chair Rdale. I think she has finally given up on me and is now casting about for another chairperson...
SUNNISAN:sunni> what all is involved with putting together rdale?
MEREDITHA1> OOO simple question - HUGE answer: First you need a site that can reasonably accomodate our group of people. Then you need some money to seed the thing. Lots of volunteer hours and love...
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you use the funds from 1 rdale to finance the next?
MEREDITHA1> YES. If we don't make the money to seed the next one, we won't have Ravensdale. It costs way too much to put on otherwise and we don't make that kind of money in general
SUNNISAN:sunni> and i don't see how love can't help but be an integral part of all this!! the keyword here is "sharing."
MEREDITHA1> NWPCG is a family. Sharing our time and commitment to make a good thing happen
CANEGURU:caneguru> Actually, Chairing R'dale seems a lot like a juggling act!
SUNNISAN:sunni> oh? how so, linda?
MEREDITHA1> OH it is...!:)
CANEGURU:caneguru> There are soooo many balls to keep up in the air at the same time.
MEREDITHA1> Plus you have to be able to be flexible KSHUFELT:Krista> while standing on the wire
CANEGURU:caneguru> on a unicycle
CANEGURU:caneguru> in your BATHROBE!
SUNNISAN:sunni> goodness!! now THAT'S a talented juggling act!!! so you really need ALL the members to be chairing SOMEthing to get it all done?
MEREDITHA1> Ah well...we are a talented question about it
CANEGURU:caneguru> Other than exhaustion, Meredith, what inspirations, thoughts, did you come away from R'dale with?
SUNNISAN:sunni> !!!! what was the memorable thing to this rdale for y'all?
MEREDITHA1> There is a law of conferences...we do our with heart and that's what counts.
SUNNISAN:sunni> so - meredith, what inspirations, thoughts, DID you come away from rdale with?
MEREDITHA1> We do ours with heart...NWPCG has their head in the right place and it's amazing to see them pull it all together. I love this group of people. It's a gift that they have to share their fun energy and play.
SUNNISAN:sunni> excellent!! krista, you?
CARLA567> meredith LOVES to play!!
KSHUFELT:Krista> We spent a few weeks downloading all our thoughts about what to remember to do for next time. Now that that's sort of done,
KSHUFELT:Krista> I'm actually getting back to clay and getting to finish those things I started there and using all that inspiration in my clay. It's finally made it from the big view down to the individual view for me, over the past 3 weeks or so.
SUNNISAN:sunni> interesting!! will we be seeing any of your work on pcc?
KSHUFELT:Krista> Possibly. Linda and I need to have another photo session first. :-) and of course, I need to FINISH something before that!
SUNNISAN:sunni> linda - your turn, what did you come away with?
CANEGURU:caneguru> Well, I really like the way our guild loves playing host or hostess to the community.... Real pride in putting on a good event.... I also enjoy the people angle of meeting new folks and renewing older acquaintences...
SUNNISAN:sunni> so your network of clay friends has grown? is that true for all of you?
MEREDITHA1> ABSOLUTELY!! These are my best friends!
CANEGURU:caneguru> I also like that the clay community allows us to be a bit kidlike, too...
KSHUFELT:Krista> always, at Ravensdales
CARLA567> 8000%
CANEGURU:caneguru> As in Wow! Look what *I* did. How often in the rest of our lives can we toot our own horns and not be considered obnoxious?
MEREDITHA1> I think because we're artists we can get away with anything. At least I hope so!
SUNNISAN:sunni> let's switch to clay camp - what is that, where is it, is it annual or what?
MEREDITHA1> Clay Camp is held at Camp Huston outside of Sultan WA. Pics are on our web site, still, I think' Clay Camp is in May every year.
CANEGURU:caneguru> <------------ takes a bow
KSHUFELT:Krista> Yes the pics of the site are there, as well as pics of us in May and also last September.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ok! what's the URL for the website?
CANEGURU:caneguru> Krista, got the URL handy?
SUNNISAN:sunni> :)
SUNNISAN:sunni> meredith here's another question for you. You mentioned in an earlier conversation you had a daughter with Down Syndrome. She journeyed from you to The Summerlands when she was 22. What have you done to commemorate the effect of her Journey and of others dear to you?
MEREDITHA1> My RAVE entry for the exhibit at Ravensdale was called "Soul Imprints" and it is my head. I made the substructure out of coat hangers and artistic wire. Wired in polymer panels that had transfers on them, etc. It's about how others imprint your life and then leave. Even after they die, they are always there. Because of continual thoughts, processing, the change in your life from the holes that they leave are never filled again. Not in the same way. But they are still filling them in your head. I dedicated the piece to my husband and daughter.
SUNNISAN:sunni> i like that. is that also going to be among the pictures for rdale, linda?
CANEGURU:caneguru> I have pics of it that will be posted. yes. KSHUFELT:Lexi> And we LOVED it!
MEREDITHA1> thank you sweetheart
SUNNISAN:sunni> meredith, What themes or plans do you have for future sculptures?
SUNNISAN:sunni> (this is a real treat to have 4 of you gals from the seattle area!!)
MEREDITHA1> Soul Imprints was the first of a series. I have some others that are percolating - "household gods" is one...perhaps a tribute to my mixer. I have other heads to make, too.
CANEGURU:caneguru> tribute to mixer?!?
SUNNISAN:sunni> your mixer? this one i gotta know about!
SUNNISAN:sunni> you must use your mixer a lot!
CANEGURU:caneguru> Didn't K. Dustin do something with the vacuum goddess? In The New Clay?
MEREDITHA1> When I was a Mom, it was my whole life for many years... I love to bake and finally saved enough for a KitchenAid mixer - the big one. I baked a lot. Haven't been able to since my daughter died. YET.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
SUNNISAN:sunni> any other ideas formed yet? and will they all be on heads?
MEREDITHA1> Some are heads - heads and eyes are riveting and there is a quality about that that is appealing
SUNNISAN:sunni> will you move to torsos for the "heart?"
CARLA567> corny, but true that the eyes are the window to the soul...
MEREDITHA1> My heart is in my head - in Soul Imprints, it's in my throat, so no, no torsos on the table...hehheheeee
CANEGURU:caneguru> Meredith is always doing something different. She's also talented, BTW, with Precious Metal Clay.
MEREDITHA1> Most humble bow.
SUNNISAN:sunni> linda piqued my interest: You mentioned to me you are a certified precious metal clay (PMC) instructor. How did you get involved in this and where do you teach?
MEREDITHA1> I found out there was a certification here in Seattle. My husband gave it to me as a gift...I teach at a Community College and am in the process of proposing a program to an arts school here.
CARLA567> oh-BTW, wanted to ask what was the content of your BCC course...
CANEGURU:caneguru> Has the class started yet?
SUNNISAN:sunni> yes!! good question!
MEREDITHA1> It's going to be so cooool! It starts Sept. 12th and runs till Oct. 3rd It's one night a week for four weeks. It covers different clays..
SUNNISAN:sunni> what will you be teaching in this class? different as in gold, silver, etc>?
MEREDITHA1> imitatives, structures, pros and cons of different clays by brand, color mixing, making stuff! More info is at go to crafts there.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Do you know how many folks are enrolled?
MEREDITHA1> I have four students presently! Small and intimate.
SUNNISAN:sunni> that's a good size class for artwork.
MEREDITHA1> Yes, four or a few more will be quite a switch from the 20 at Rdale!
CANEGURU:caneguru> Thanks!
SUNNISAN:sunni> how fun. which art school are you trying to get into?
MEREDITHA1> I have been asked to submit a syllabus at Pratt here in Seattle
SUNNISAN:sunni> thank you!! let me ask one more question: I understand you developed techniques of your own with a spin on silk screening and transfers? Would you care to let us in on your secrets?
MEREDITHA1> My transfer methods consist of a variety of results, from watercolor to illustrative. I can tell you one of my faves.... Embossed transfers are very cool and fun to play with. You have to let a transfer sit for an hour and a half... until you get "taffy threads" when you go to pull the transfer off (standard xerox image). Or if the toner looks shiny on the clay, that will work, too. Once you get either taffy threads or shiny toner, dump embossing powder over the toner. Sweep off the excess using a paint brush. Bake as usual. You will have an embossed transfer - it's very cool!
SUNNISAN:sunni> ok! i'm so ignorant about embossing powders. don't have a clue how to use them. don't have a heat gun.
MEREDITHA1> Don't need a heat gun - just gotta bake it. The window is 1.5 to 2 hours, but, time it....
CANEGURU:caneguru> Yes, but the embossign powder really gets puffy...
CANEGURU:caneguru> meredith. is there a window of time that the taffy threads will happen? Or when it is likely to be too late?
SUNNISAN:sunni> oh!! you can leave something on too long for a transfer?
MEREDITHA1> If the transfer is on too long you lose the sticky toner window of time. If the room is warm, for example, that will shorten the time to leave the transfer on.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ah!! so the powder sticks like glitter on white glue.
MEREDITHA1> Yes sunni, that's it. For some reason the toner gets sticky at 1.5-2 hours and then again at about 12-14 hours later.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Interesting!
MEREDITHA1> It's a chemical reaction between the plasticizer and toner components.
SUNNISAN:sunni> oh my. that's too long to wait!! i'm not patient when i want to see results!!
MEREDITHA1> that's why you set up a few and do something else, leaving the timer on! ONE good thing, if you forget your transfer: it will be perfect the next day!
SUNNISAN:sunni> !!! PIGION2> ok see if i can catch up here. is sticky toner the pink stamp pad with invisable ink
SUNNISAN:sunni> pigion - that's the toner from a xerox machine when you make a photocopy of something. you would be using the photocopy face down on the clay.
MEREDITHA1> Pigion: leave a xerox on clay for 1.5 hours until the toner is shiny on the clay.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Meredith, how much time on the average (excluding R'dale prep times) do you devote to clay?
MEREDITHA1> On average, huh...lately doesn't count!! Ravensdale has been my job. I try to spend a 2-5 hours a day.
JJJJAMI:Jami> So Meredith, have yu caught up on your sleep and done all the things that got put off for months?
MEREDITHA1> Mostly. I am slightly behind on a couple of committments..
CANEGURU:caneguru> What do you do when the inspiration just isn't there? Or is there always something brewing?
MEREDITHA1> AHHH, take my Creativity class..actually, I have little methods that I use. The easiest is making handles for tools or postcards and then something always wants doing at that point and I have to finish the postcard or handle hurriedly
JJJJAMI:Jami> great segue Meredith!
MEREDITHA1> Thanks Jami! It works, eh? another method is putting ideas into a jar - that I never have time for. When stuck, pick a slip of paper out of the jar.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Much like the chaos card idea.
JJJJAMI:Jami> Very cool, a random idea generator :-)
SUNNISAN:sunni> chaos card - what's that?
MEREDITHA1> Yes, the chaos card idea originates from a plus or minus chart created by Edward de Bono, a guy that studies and teaches about creative thinking. Dayle Doroshow teaches Chaos cards
CANEGURU:caneguru> Creative Whack? Or is that somebody else
MEREDITHA1> Creative Whack is something else...and art venting is good for you!
SUNNISAN:sunni> creative whack?
JJJJAMI:Jami> I'll whack you with something creative :-)
MEREDITHA1> Put onto cards different surface techniques or suggestions, stuck pick a card. Creative Whack is the book Linda is GOING to write!
CANEGURU:caneguru> HEY!
CANEGURU:caneguru> Creatively whacked, you mean
SUNNISAN:sunni> ah!! thanx! linda - i'll be waiting expectantly for that one!
MEREDITHA1> I jest - and yes. whacked is more appropriate!
JJJJAMI:Jami> Meredith, how important do you think your wicked sense of humor is to your art?
SUNNISAN:sunni> jami - that's vital for mine!! :) and yes, meredith, this WAS fun!!
CANEGURU:caneguru> Don't you know, meredith. Silly rabbit. Definitely fun!
MEREDITHA1> Sense of humor is lateral thinking and I believe that lateral thinking is a major component to creativity
CANEGURU:caneguru> Can you explain the term lateral thinking?
MEREDITHA1> Lateral thinking is thinking sideways. Edward de Bono defines the term in his writings as thinking, other than straight ahead. That's simplified, to be sure. But all the points between A and B and C, etc. would be lateral thought.
JJJJAMI:Jami> Agreed! being able to look at something from a different point of view, looking thorugh the obvious
MEREDITHA1> For example, if I wanted apples from a tree and I were restricted from climbing up to get them, yet not restricted by any other means... I could breed a dwarf apple tree and bend over to pick apples or I could shake the tree. I could fly a helicopter and get them - all lateral solutions, but, the elegant lateral solution would be to wait for them to fall.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Elegant? Seems like you might get hungry in the meantime. Sorry too literal here...
KSHUFELT:The Brat> To pick an apple, or not to pick an apple...the real question is HOW to pick the apple.
MEREDITHA1> ah then does one wait to savor the moment?
SUNNISAN:sunni> ladies - i must go. i have a date to move a truckload of boxes across town. i will stay logged in for your convenience. meredith and other members of the nwpcg - THANK you for being here today!!

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