In October 1993, two local polymer clay artists, Dr. Z Kripke and Syndee Holt, founded the San Diego Polymer Clay Guild (SDPCG) along with a small group of polymer clay enthusiasts. The guild has since become formalized and has over 100 members. We have many accomplished and published polymer clay instructors, and several have been featured on TV shows. Pieces made by SDPCG members can be viewed on the internet, in many local and regional exhibit halls and galleries, as well as at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. We are dedicated to the ideal of sharing polymer clay knowledge and techniques in an ethical and responsible manner. We welcome established artists, people who have never touched polymer clay but would like to try it, and people from other artistic mediums.
At each monthly meeting we take care of guild business. Then we have “Show-and-Tell” which includes new items made by our members, items purchased by our members, books, and tools members have found to be useful. Our library is very well stocked with books, instructional videos, magazines, and magazine articles both in print and from on-line sources. SDPCG members can borrow library items for a specified period of time.
SDPCG members also enjoy monthly gatherings called “Clay Day”. In this open workshop we have an opportunity to work on our own projects, learn from each other, and generally have fun away from the distractions of home or work.
In addition to our monthly “Clay Day” we have had annual “Sandy Camp” retreats. The San Diego Polymer Clay Guild has been having a wonderful retreat since 1999. The first year was held in Imperial Beach. We then migrated to Old Town in San Diego. In 2001, we moved to Warner Springs Ranch, just outside of Julian. At “Sandy Camp” we offer different demos given by nationally acclaimed artists, as well as a workspace to do independent work on clay and have fun. With the closing of Warner Springs Ranch, Sandy Camp moved to the Temecula Creek Inn in 2011 and then to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mission Valley in 2015.
The list of classes offered through the SDPCG has exceeded even the most dedicated clay artist’s expectations. We offer classes from world-renowned artists from all facets of the art of polymer clay. A few years ago, we lost Julie Downing, a sister in polymer, to breast cancer. She was our “traveling clay sister”. She often participated in retreats and conferences that were held around the United States and abroad. Julie initiated a “challenge” and we have continued it in her memory. The object of the “Julie Challenge” is to have our members incorporate polymer clay into a piece that will include three components: a technique, a color, and an emotion. These three items are randomly selected and challenge the creativity of our members and brings out ideas whenever knew we had.
SDPCG meetings and “Clay Days” are held at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 4324 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA. Our monthly meeting is held on the second Monday of each month (except December) and “Clay Days” are held on the fourth Saturday of each month. Our annual dues are $35 for an individual membership and $45 for a business or family membership.