Monday, September 24, 2012

1 FIMO Symposium, 4 Teachers, 70 Students and 140 half Hemispheres - The 1st FIMO Inspiration Symposium in Staedtler's headquarters

How often do you spend 72 hours with 12 nations polymer clay artists and play with clay?

Students Brocade Collection Purses
The 1st FIMO inspiration took place in Staedtler's headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany will be remembered as a wonderful weekend.
Play with clay? we sure did, and we got behind the scenes tours to see FIMO production line, writing instruments and it was beyond my expectations.
Staedtler's team - Mr. Nils Henssen and Mrs. Gerlinde Karg along with dedicated Staedtler's people put together an amazing event. No other words can describe it.

Staedtler's main room
The first day started with an opening gathering, we had  a chance to meet all 70 students coming from 12 nations, along with my collogues teachers - Sarah Shriver, Sabine Backer and Bettina Welker.
A warm (and tasty) welcome and off we went to our intensive 3 in 1: One day - Three tours.
Glass display cubes showing teacher's work

The first stop was Staedtler's pencils production line, did you know That Staedtler people play with canes in their pencils?
Going through endless colored and graphite pencils, markers and pens - makes you want to grab several and do some drawings!
Big storage warehouses

Huge machines, micro technology, smart production are only a part of this fascinating process (sorry, no photos were allowed...).
Packaging is brilliant as well, we've been inside huge warehouses where computers are running all stocks, building a box of all "ingredients" of an order starting from 1 item to thousands.
At this age where writing is done with our keyboard and printers, its great to see that colored pencils and pencils are still so popular, important and valuable, the look of all these colorful pencils immediately made me want to sketch.

Guided tour in production factories
Next stop was the FIMO production in Neumarkt, 20 minutes by bus from the headquarters - huge mixers with colorful piles of FIMO, like colorful yummy sugar paste. Machines creating blocks for the entire world! Unbelievable. The clay is molded into portions and packaged in small packages - 100 packages per minute!
We could not resist not to touch the endless clay piles and got ourselves  small leftovers to play with while walking around.
Old City of Nurnberg

Last tour was a "medieval style" city tour in old Nurnberg, walking around the old city at night and listening to ancient stories about battles, Napoleon and old ages celebrities.

We ended up the day in a lovely restaurant eating traditional cuisine and headed to bed to have our beauty sleep just before we start a new day.

Evening dinner at the
Museum of Industrial Culture
Thursday morning started with workshops, workshops and more workshops, I gave my popular Brocade Collection purse workshop and each student created his/her own wonderful purse - start to finish. 2 workshops a day, fresh beverages flowing and pampering, great lunch and then in the evening a luxury dinner at the industrial museum including a fun auction selling all 4 teacher's special edition pens. My set has a new warm home and was purchased by nice lady from Switzerland :)
Staedler's team did everything they possibly can to make us feel comfortable, gave their full attention to every detail, made sure we are enjoying good food, music and an entertaining show.

Teachers Pens Sets - Auctioned
The following day was once again packed with workshops, group photos and a closing ceremony, giving the students fancy certificates signed by all teachers and organizers.

Did I say already I enjoyed every minute?
I had an amazing weekend, met lots of new and old friends and what's important, enjoyed seeing my students smiley face when they finished their cute little purses, some of them already placed them on their bag as a decoration.
There is something about the "together" atmosphere that fills your heart with joy forgetting for a minute all the laundry, dishes and sleepless nights.
Saskia Veltenaar and Marjon Donker
from the Netherlands
Learning new things, improving your skills, helping simplify things, discovering a new trick,  or even exchanging ideas for Christmas gifts!
Having fun :)
I had one student, a beginner with polymer (3 months), she could not believe she will be able to make "that complicated purse". In the end of the class she said she is so happy with the results, now she feels much confident to make her family Christmas gifts.

Staedtler's Main Courses Room
So thank you my dear students and thank you Staedtler for making this happen. I am looking forward to my next trip to Maryland, US, having fun with more Brocade purses, meeting old and new friends on CFCF.
Teaching (with a smile)

More photos are posted in my facebook, you are welcome to take a look.
Thank you!


  1. Wow!!! Sounds so great.
    What an experience :-)

  2. Great to read, almost like I have been there as well... ;-)

  3. Yes Irish It was great!!!!! It was a wonderful weekend!

  4. How fun. I sure wish they had wonderful things like this closer to my home. Are you teaching at synergy? I would love to be in one of your classes. I have been sick and unable to try the purse tutorial. But after reading this. I think I may just take a coupld me days and make myself one. We as clayers deserve me days. Im so happy you had a wonderful time and look forward to your blog posts everyday. Hugs Kim from