Finding people and/or starting a guild
Finding claymates


FINDING PEOPLE who might be interested in clay, or teachers
STARTING a GUILD .....or just a group


It's wonderful to have connection, support, and stimulation with and from other people who are interested in polymer clay. Whether it's a full-scale guild (club), or just two or more people getting together, a group situation is really wonderful! Diane B.


Here are some ways to find individual clayers, or potential clayers
....... or to actually start a polymer group or guild:

--Join the National Polymer Clay Guild and use their membership directory to find all the people in your vicinity (look by state and zipcode).

--Check to see if there is already a local guild near you; at least two websites have listings of guilds and contact info (& sometimes one lists a guild the other doesn't):
.......farther down that 2nd page they also have a list of folks who are looking for other clayers by area of the country or world
.......that page also allows you to post your interest in creating a guild in a specific area
(click on "contact us" near the top of the page)

---You can also ask in the numerous online polymer groups for anyone who might be in your area (see Groups-Online for listings and contact info)

---You can put up notices or do demos to find people, or to create interest
........some places to try are bead stores, craft stores, art departments of schools, etc.

ALSO, don't forget you can *create your own* polymerites by giving some classes or doing demos.
.....You can also do an arranged demo for some of your friends or other acquaintances one day, and make an informal group for awhile (while they learn).
.....since I've been teaching (at Michaels, etc.) , the added contacts have provided me with a whole new circle of friends and even two new guilds being formed. :-) Patty B.

I highly recommend putting feelers out into your community to see if just one or two others are out there. Don't get very well may take a while.....any before it comes together you may have a few night's of self-doubting...." what am I doing" " is there anybody out there?"...hold on...." if you build it; they will come"* ...Lois
This can work. . . it did for our guild. I didn't think there was ~anyone~ in my area who used polymer clay .... but lo and behold, we've got a very decent guild going in a very short time .... Several people drive over 2 hours to attend monthly meetings; one person drives 5 hours each way. Irene

Karen and Kellie's saga on starting a guild in Anchorage, Alaska (in Polyzine)
story of the beginning of the South Bay Polymer Clay Guild
Patty Barnes' chat on starting a guild
Jewelry crafts site... there is a link to "how to start a guild". Helen
description of the first meeting of a new guild (Sarasota)

---Don't forget kids . . . if you begin working with a few kids at school or anywhere or offer classes for them, some of their parents WILL be interested.

---If you sell at shows, or have the opportunity to donate to an auction, or sell at a small church bazaar, etc., be sure to have some flyers/cards which let people know where they can find you (or so they can give your name to someone who might be interested later).

---Since most people associate "clay" with firing pots or fiddling around with modeling clay in kindergarten, a *good description* with photos of the huge BREADTH of polymer possibilities would probably be essential, or folks will pass right by thinking "they're painted on" or "you must need a kiln or lots of special equipment," or "I don't like working small/can't scuplt/don't like bright colors/don't like muted colors or like natural looks (like jade, wood), or like geometrics (or only representational) or don't wear jewelry, etc., etc.!!).

--Quilting groups all over the US come from long distances to meet at least once a month, feeling that it was just too important in their lives not to do it.) So there might be more willing people in your "area" than you realize.

Have you given any thought to making a few extra dollars by giving classes? That can be reasonably lucrative if you're a good explainer and a bit organized, and you can find some people to plug into. Teaching in craft stores are one possibility, but doing them yourself (in your home, or wherever the participants are, if possible) are more satisfying and better paid. Oftentimes, once a student gets an inkling of what can be done with clay, they will return for class after class . . . . Don't overlook kids either... good places to get your name and classes out there are private schools, parent participation schools, scouts, etc.... anywhere parents are happy to keep their kids stimulated with extracurricular activities (and can afford it). Diane B.

Developing a "mailing list" group for students you've had will help with both the development of a guild (and also promoting and continuing interest in your classes). Patty B.
....check out Yahoogroups for one large service which offers these mailing lists .... (you must be or become a member of general Yahoo first, then they'll ask you to select the category there which best describes your group's topics, give it a name and a description, and finish creating your group --everything is free)

(for much more on finding potential students for classes, see Teaching > Teaching at Other Places & at Home)

Also, before I ever set foot into a meeting , I made contact with other guilds....asking them for their own personal advice ( Nan Roche spent an hour on the phone with me during the crazy holiday season )....Had I not gotten the support and advice beforehand, I can see many times where I might have thrown in the towel. There is so much help out there ...access it.....and get GOING!!!!!!!! Lois

online polymer groups:
Once upon a time, i was just like you....alone in my claying......until I got a wild hair....went on this newgroup (rec.crafts.polymer-clay) and groped (LOL ) ....A couple of folks contacted me right away and that's how the guild here in St' Louis began!!! We were sooooo excited that we started it in the middle of has taken a while to get a steady core of members but in the last month or two, things have really of getting our own web site....and out of our small group.....3 of us are going to Ravensdale.

See also the Guilds page, for info on what guilds are like
... what kinds of things they might do, how they might be set up and run, where they might meet, and suggestions for activities, etc.

Check these two pages if you're looking for teachers in your area (...this isn't all of them by far, but many have registered):
(see more in Teaching > Finding Classes and Teachers)

... take the bulls by the horns, as they say.
...Post an announcement to online polymer groups --yahoogroups, rec.crafts.polymer-clay, PCC at Delphi (get a list of them and contact info inGroups-Online) . . . an announcement saying you're trying to get people interested in forming a guild or group in your area.
...Are you a member of the National Guild? Post in the "looking for guilds" on their web site.. . . And get out your national guild directory, so recently updated, and contact everyone within 150 - 200 miles of you. Send them a postcard if they don't have an email address.
...Post flyers in the window of every craft store, book store, natural food store, laundromat, library, etc., that you're trying to get a guild together.
...Put notices in your local freebie weekly newspaper, or even the daily paper, since they often carry non-profit organization announcements at no charge. . . . Will your local public radio station announce a new guild forming?
....Do you have web space available? Our guild's web site drew several new members within the first couple months of it being up. I think they found us through link from the national guild site. Irene

*You* might have to be the person to get it all going.
You'll need to create flyers and postcards and get in touch with people and talk to people you've never met.
You'll need to find a place to meet, it might be your living room or a coffee shop or a community center.
You might need to be the one to set a date and time for the initial meeting.
You'll need to keep in touch with people and not wait for them to get back to you.
Once it gets going, it takes on a life of its own - it kind of snowballs.
......Do this! If you do all of these things, and you ~still~ can't find anyone, then you have every right to whine and I personally will pat you on the shoulder and say, "there, there." :). . . It will work though. Trust me. Irene in western NC

(see Groups-Guilds for guild activity ideas, dues, possible places to meet, and organization)

nearby (or somewhat nearby)

Many of the ideas above on finding people for a guild (or for classes, etc.) are applicable also to just finding people in your area who are now, or could become, interested in polymer clay.

I personally have also found a clay-mate who I meet with once a week outside of guild time....we do work on projects but also have escaped to the art store to cruise the aisles ( i.e. get ideas...look at new products...etc) . . . . We help each other problem solve; it's a wonderful thing. We also sort of compete ( in a comical way ) as to who has found the most articles, techniques, catalogues since our last get together. Lois

Look under Groups-Retreats-Conferences for "mini-impromptu retreats" held for two or more people, in a motel, library, or house, etc., when clayers are far enough from each other that a guild isn't practical ...they can still have periodic get-togethers ...either structured or not.