Sorry for the delay in posting, it's taken me way too long to get back in the swing of things after last week! By now, I'm sure you've seen and read about many of the wonderful things that occurred in Baltimore. It goes without saying, although I'll say it anyway, that everyone who's a member of the NPCG owes our thanks to the board members and all of the volunteers for the tremendous amount of work that it took to make Synergy a reality. One of the things that I enjoyed most about the conference was listening to Lindly Haunani tell the story about how the NPCG was born. I'm a bit of a history buff and I loved getting the details from someone who was there from the beginning. And maybe, Lindly can be convinced to share the funny and fascinating talk she presented during the Synergy banquet on her blog sometime soon.
And now, if you're up for a long post, I have a story of my own to tell . . .
Sometimes, the stars line up just so and fate steps in and quietly opens the door to new and exciting possibilities. We're rarely aware of this as it's happening, but afterwards, when we think back on certain moments in our life, we realize just how magical they really were. When I arrived in Baltimore last week, I looked across the room and saw Robert Dancik (that's his gorgeous pendant in the photo) and I suddenly realized the actual origins of this conference.
In August 2006, Judy Belcher and myself were asked to teach a workshop for the Columbus Polymer Clay Guild. While we were there, we had dinner with Cynthia Tinapple and Hollie Mion. Hollie, an accomplished metal clay artist, offered to come to West Virginia and give both of us some lessons. When she arrived a few weeks later, she mentioned an exciting workshop that the Columbus Metal Clay Guild was hosting with Robert Dancik the following week. There were only a few spots left and after reading Robert's class description, both Judy and myself, along with our friend Marcia Laska, decided that we really wanted to attend. Marcia, who is Recording Secretary for the NPCG, had, a few days earlier, recruited Judy to run for President in the upcoming elections. We joked about the fact that Judy had volunteered me to serve as election coordinator several years ago and I had recruited Marcia (sorry, Marcia!) who in turn had recruited Judy. In the event that she ever regretted her decision to run, we made it perfectly clear that Judy had no one to blame but herself!
It just so happened that the weekend of Robert's workshop was also the same weekend that the Columbus Polymer Clay Guild was hosting a workshop with Maggie Maggio (her amazing pendant is shown above). Maggie was staying with Cynthia Tinapple and her husband Blair and they kindly invited Robert, Hollie, Judy, Marcia, and myself to dinner at their lovely home. The conversation during dinner eventually led to all of us discussing how to improve the NPCG. The deadline for entering the upcoming elections was less than 24 hours away and somehow, by the time the dishes were cleared away, we were all gathered excitedly around the computer cheering Maggie on as she completed the questionnaire which would allow her to add her name to the ballot for Vice-President. Afterwards, we enjoyed an exciting, impromptu drumming performance by Blair and Robert. It was a pleasant evening spent with wonderful people and, at the time, that's all it seemed to be.
When I saw Robert again in Baltimore, I immediately thought back to that night in September 2006 and I realized how many things had simply fallen into place during that time. Being a believer in serendipity, it's not a stretch for me to acknowledge that the events that brought all of us together that weekend had a "synergy" of their own. None of us realized that the tiny seeds that were being sown around Cynthia's table that night would grow into an event that would revitalize and strengthen the polymer clay community the way that Synergy has. Thank you Judy and Maggie for nourishing those little seeds so wonderfully!