YOU NEVER HAVE TO WORK ALONE
In 1990 I went to visit my friend Mary who lives 600+ miles away. Because she couldn't take time off work to be with me the whole time I was there, I needed to entertain myself. So I brought t-shirts and fabric paint to play with. Mary and I continued to paint t-shirts in the evenings. We had so much fun Mary asked if we could do it again the following year. Thus was born A&C (Arts and Crafts) Week.
The next year we discovered polymer clay and tried to create millefiori beads. We both collect African Venetian Glass Trade Beads. We were using Cernit brand. That brand doesn't hold its sharpness after baking, so we were disappointed in the final results. The following year we discovered Fimo brand. Nan Roche had also published her book The New Clay, which was the only book on the subject available at that time. A lot of us referred to it as The Bible. I still think it is the best book on the market for beginners.
A&C Week has continued every year since. We probably should call it something else since we only do polymer clay now, with a couple of days worth of exploration with precious metal clay. It is also 12-15 days of intensive clay play. It is very hard to go back to our regular lives when it is over.
Recently I was talking to Mary and she was feeling pretty blue. Winter was setting in, so all the fun outdoor stuff she does (like gardening) was done for the season. We had occasionally Skyped since we both have computers with webcams. However neither one of us has thought about Skyping while working - DUH.
So on Tuesday December 6, 2011 - A&C Weekly was born. Now we can still sit across the work table from each other and talk while we work. It isn't as easy to see what the other person is doing. Holding up something in front of the camera isn't the same as passing the item across the table, or getting up and looking over the person's shoulder. But it isn't bad. So if you have a laptop computer and friends with laptops that you like to work with who can't be there in person, try Skype (http://www.skype.com/). It's free and there doesn't seem to be a time limit. We worked for 3 hours with no service interruptions. We have reserved every Tuesday night for A&C Weekly until next spring.