CLAYING AROUND THE WORLD: Cyprus Polymer Clay Association
Meet the Cyprus Polymer Clay Association (CYPCA)
While teaching stained glass art, mosaics and handicraft in general to 100-200 students in Cyprus per week, Maria Alexandrou decided to add polymer clay instruction as well. In March 2008 Maria attended a miniature & jewelry workshop in Lichfield, UK, followed by an art silver clay workshop in Legnano, Italy. Thrilled by both workshops, she found herself creatively inspired, especially by polymer clay.
Maria realized that while there was a lack of knowledge concerning polymer clay in Cyprus, people were very interested in learning. So she decided to take on the task of creating an association whose sole purpose was to deal with training and education in the use of polymer clay and eventually in sponsoring workshop sessions. With hard work and perseverance, Maria's vision has taken flight.
The Cyprus Polymer Clay Association (CYPCA) was founded in the summer of 2008, and on July 2nd the CYPCA held its first meeting at Makedonitissa Conference Center in Nicosia and elected members of the board. The Association rents the "Cave Hall", an ancient natural cave that is fully equipped, to host their meetings and workshops. Continuing to grow by leaps and bounds, membership now numbers 128 from countries all across Europe.
The CYPCA hosts four workshops every first weekend of the month, teaching two new techniques each time. Each course is presented twice during the weekend, ensuring that each course will be available for most of our members. Each member is provided with a certificate for the specific course attended. The CYPCA also sponsors internal competitions in which all members can take part and present their work, ensuring that they are able to attain the desired professional level and standards as associations in other countries.
Now that her vision of a polymer arts organization in Cyprus is firmly in place, Maria has taken on yet another challenge. Realizing that language barriers were limiting the use of polymer clay in Cyprus, Maria has begun writing a book in both English and Greek to help publicize the medium in her country.
Pictured: Aphrodite's Rock, Cyprus; The Cave Hall; workshop in progress