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Why I do Tours, a cranky rant 3/6/02
Claymates: If you're near any of the areas I'm touring this month and
you want to get friends together to have a clay day, let me know as
soon as possible so I can plan a stop in your locale. I'm going
Amtrak on this Equinox Tour.

Jolie's gotten in touch with the San Diego Polymer Clay Guild but
haven't heard much back from them outside of "Who's NoraJean?" and
"Are you a member of our guild."  ooooookaaaay...

So San Diego folks, since the PC Guild down there isn't excited, but
you might be, let us know.

LA folks too, San Bernardino is accessible to Orange County, LA metro
and other areas down there.

Salinas is close to Monterey and Santa Cruz for folks down there. If I
can do a thousand mile round trip to bring clay and lessons to you,
you can make a drive of a couple of hours to come to a clay day.

You name me any other clay teacher who does this, makes house calls.

If you're home bound with young children, in a wheel chair, and you'd
like a visit to your home, let me know. I'm sure my hostesses would be
happy to bring me to you.

If you're wanting clay lessons and are broke, bring three of your
friends with you who can pay admission and you get in for free.
Organize something with your YMCA, like Jinx is doing in Salinas,
she's getting a bunch of kids together for me to come be a fool in
front of. Love teaching the kids because they are just so free
spirited. I'm bringing door prizes for everyone in a large groups and
gifties for the organizers.

If you're wanting clay lessons and are too broke to even have clay to
work with, get in touch with me and we'll work something out.

I'm bringing already made canes, all my scraps to show the new
techniques I'm working on currently in taking scraps to a whole new
level, and blocks of clay, just in case folks don't have clay to work
with but still want a demo. You can play with my clay. It's alright
with me.

Low cost tutoring, bringing clay to folks who want to learn but who
are in tight financial situations, the home bound, those who need and
can't find child care, these people and issues are what my focus is
concentrated on.

Also one of the reasons why I have not re-applied for membership of
the National Polymer Clay Guild is because all the guilds seem to
ignore miniatures. Ok, let them. I don't need to have my money going
into a direction that doesn't support that which is the life blood of
the CITY-o-Clay list and a major focus of my clay time.

There's the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts and I'm
going to discuss with James about joining that organization.
KatherineF, Tere, Lenora are part of NAME. It's not polymer clay
exclusive, but that's ok. If I'm going to part with my husband's money
it has to go to organizations and efforts that promote polymer clay
and miniatures, not one to the exclusion of the other.

We have our own polymer clay miniature webring, we have the list, we
got our mini tutorials. I'll come to you and bring the clay with me.
What more could a miniaturists or any other clayer ask for? Plus I
don't work from a script. If folks want to see a particular technique
all they have to do is ask and work it out with the group of people
there and I'll do it. I've heard tell of folks who paid hundreds of
dollars to go to clay week ends and couldn't ask for special requests.
The teachers are loath to deviate from their script. I think it is
because some folks are afraid to screw up in front of a live audience.

I'm not afraid to screw up in front of an audience because it gives me
an great opportunity to show folks how to do a quick save. If a cane
doesn't work out in a live demo I show folks how to do chop and toss,
Natasha beads. I'm doing this new technique that James says looks like
scratched crayon...where you layer black crayon over colored crayon
and then scratch off the black, this technique looks like that. So
there's no failure, no garbage or scrap clay that can't be salvaged to
look better than it once was. That's why I don't go by scripts and do
Short Order Claying.

Do I sound cranky? Well I am. It pisses me off to no end that a huge
population of clayers and miniaturists are swept aside as "not being
profitable" to cater to. It pisses me off when Shrinemount and
Ravensdale does not have child care facilities or wheel chair
accessibility. It pisses me off to no end that the Guilds ignore
miniatures and don't have a charity arm established to foster and
nurture artists who are in need of support and encouragement.

That's why I go on Tour, bring clay, offer discounts, will make house
calls. It so all the folks who have been ignored and neglected get
some action and get hooked up. I don't pay a mortgage, don't own a
car, don't have credit card debt, therefore I do have some resources
that I can share with other folks. In time those folks who got support
and encouragement will do the same for another. This is the point of
the Tour. With what I'm asking for as donation is so I can continue to
do outreach. Each Tour will fund the next. I'm not looking to get rich
off of this. I do aim to encourage and foster the creative energy of
my claymates who can't take advantage of the other offerings that are
out there. I'll take in all the clayers who others have over looked. It's a
matter of principle.

That is the What of the Tour.

+++++ Why I do Tours

Art has been part of my life since I was 13 years old, in a training
sense. Before then it was just a part of our family life, the Japanese
domestic arts got to be taught and learned in order to marry off three
daughters. So brush painting, origami, flower arrangement, singing and
dancing and all that stuff we were surrounded by and MADE to learn,
sewing, knitting, cooking and being a good hostess. It was mandatory.
Then I found that I liked the art part of it and focused on that for
my creative outlet. It was one of the ways I could spend peaceful time
with my mother doing these arty things. She showed me that we could
sculpt with modeling clay. She was impatient if you ever said,

Of all the stupid and sad things that have happened in my life Art has
 been a refuge in the storm. I could pop into a book store and hide
out in the Art section and just look and read for hours and forget
that times were tough. Of all the times when I was told I wasn't "good
enough" for X, fill in the X... too fat for a kimono, too Asian to
pass for white, too short (was turned down by a man I loved to bits
because he's 6'5 and I'm 5'3) I was too loud to be Japanese and too
weird for anyone on either side of the Pacific... in all this I knew
one thing...

All those nay sayers can't sculpt a nose to save their life. They
can't draw what they see. They can't make their own patterns for
cutting cloth and they can't sew or cook. So they can kiss my fat
mixed ass, alright? All the Art and Crafts that have been part of my
life have been extremely VALIDATING to me, in spite of what others
were telling me of my unworth in their eyes.

I knew I could learn a thing, replicate what I learned, innovate off
of that and find my own expression. All the measuring sticks of others
don't mean anything if we aren't answering our own call of the Muse.
What does it matter if we aren't tall enough or thin enough, or rich
enough, or white enough... anyone judging us on those standards aren't
worth knowing anyway.

How to we RE-create ourselves? Recreation, the word we banter about
without really breaking it down is RE-CREATE. How do we re-create
ourselves? By going out into nature, standing in the sun, smelling the
new cut lawn? How do we re-create ourselves if we are in an urban
setting where maybe there's no parks or trees?

Through what we make, our creative energy can be expressed in making
cupcakes, with frosting, with little faces put on them with penny
candy. By making a particularly good meat loaf. I can find creative
satisfaction in ironing a shirt for Said in minutes and see the happy
look on his face when he puts on a warm crisp shirt... "Thanks Ma.."
no worries, I get a kick out of racing with myself and beating my best
time in ironing a shirt. Anything can be made into a creative event if
you want it to be.

So what does this all mean? Fostering art in others...nurturing their
creative spirit which is the hallmark of being human and sentient, is
a sacred duty. All else is pupkiss in my book. Wealth, power, material
goods, they don't mean anything if the person who has them hasn't
expressed their creative potential to satisfaction. They will always
have a hole in their soul, says the cobbler priest. Could make them continue the pun.

I'm sharing with others that which gave my life meaning that meant
something to ME. To express your creativity is the supreme act of
being human. All else is commerce and chores. So whether you sing,
dance, or get a grip on your clay you're doing it for YOU, for the
part of you that is most divine. You don't see your cats or dogs doing
this, it's particularly human. To share this with those who are having
a hard time is a blessing wrapped in a gift.

For me, to ignore folks who want to create but are hampered in some
way is a sin of omission.

So that's why I'm on a rant about this. It's more than going on the
road and making a few bucks. It's an expression of my thanks, for
having good teachers in the past, for having friends who have been
fans who have fostered and encouraged me, it's part of paying forward
since I can't pay those folks back. Most have crossed over.

Time to pass the torch.



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