Metal clay, Polymer clay, Air Dry Clay,
Paverpol, Doll Art & Mixed Media.
OCTOBER 26th to 29th, 2018
Greenhills Conference Centre
Cotter Road, Canberra, Australia

Melanie Dilday

Info to be added soon.

                                Contemporary Craft Retreat Instructors

  Meet the talented Instructors from Australia 

For Instructor Contact details see TIMETABLE


From early life I have held a fascination for the Natural World. It is through my art making that I express my sense of wonder and awe at this exquisite organism. In many ways I work with the products of this earth. Pigments, wood, paper, resins, dyes, fire, inks and wax all form my tools for creativity. Sometimes it seems I am carving and moulding my internal environment to make it visible to the outside world. 

As I age, it is my wish to expose the beauty of the weathered surface. Texture forms a major part of the work and the fascination to reveal this wonder continues. 

Most of my work has a microcosmic/macrocosmic look about it, somehow familiar from either through a microscope or from the air. Whether the work is Painting, Printmaking or Encaustics, this truth shows through. “As above, so below”.

Wendy Moore

 I see myself as a creator and connector; an artist and a teacher. Ultimately most of what I do is about celebrating life and connecting people with their inner creative voice.  I know that hearing and responding to that voice transforms and empowers. I see it regularly in my classes and in my work as a mentor with women involved with Samunnat Nepal, a project for women escaping domestic violence.

For over twenty years my primary medium has been polymer although I often combine it with other materials.  Every day I learn more about the potential of polymer and I am endlessly delighted by its possibilities in terms of colour, form, texture and function.  I love to make art that tells stories and promotes mindfulness. Or that just makes you feel gorgeous.

I have taught in locations as diverse as outback Australia and eastern Nepal; and in classes ranging from single day workshops, six week programs to four day creativity retreats. I teach in Nepal twice each year and, having recently moved to Canberra, will teach locally from my studio. 

I presented at the IPCA Conference in Malta in 2014 and have contributed to The Polymer Arts magazine, The Bead Society Journal (UK)  and am featured in Polymer  Clay: Global Perspectives by Cynthia Tinapple.  My work is exhibited in various galleries and my first solo exhibition was held in 2013 at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.  I teach not as one with all the answers but as one who lives the questions.  And as one for whom too much jewellery is hardly enough.

Janice Laurent

Janice has been creating Art Dolls and sculptures for several years at her previous Victorian studio and most recently in her new studio "STONECREST CREATIONS" at Murrumbateman just north of Canberra. Her work has been featured in several National and International Craft and Art magazines. Over the years Janice has worked with all sorts of mediums, including Paverpol, Apoxie Sculpt, Makins Clay and Polymer Clay to name a few, however recently Pal Tiya and ceramic Clay have been favoured.

Over the past couple of years "Gourd Art" has started to feature and been included in her designs. Gourd Art is becoming popular in Australia and Pyrography, (wood burning), is an enjoyable and satisfying form of art. "It is important to know how to prepare and use the gourd" Janice says.

Janice feels very humbled to be invited again to join all these talented ladies at the Contemporary Craft Retreat, Canberra. It is probably the highlight of my craft year to be able to teach and also learn, surrounded by so many talented people.... "it is wonderful and such fun"!!
A Certified Instructor for Paverpol,  a Gold Seal member of NODAAA and also the CCIP (Contemporary Clay Instructor Program).


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Bobbi Oliver

Bobbi Oliver has been making her original one of a kind Art Dolls for 10 years.  Prior to doll making she was a potter/sculptor for 30 years. Owning her own gallery/studio.

She is an American artist that came to Australia in 1999 to live and work. Bobbi was active in the local Arts Council, a government funded organisation in Lakeport, California.  She held the position of Executive Director, President, Vice-President during her 6 years with the organisation. She worked with the art council’s board to establish many arts programs in the local community for schools, craft fairs, events in fine arts, theatre and dance. She most recently has worked as an Arts Facilitator, teaching people with Disabilities in various art mediums. She currently teaches sculpting, painting and mixed media sculpture and paper crafts from her own and other studios and shops around NSW. She also travel’s around the Central Coast and Sydney of  NSW selling her creations at craft markets and doll and bear shows.

 She has an Associated Arts degree in Fine Art from Mendocino Junior College in Ukiah, California 1988 and a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Humboldt State University, Arcata, California in Studio Art with an emphasis in Sculpture in 1992.

She is a Member of the Maitland Regional Artists Society .
Hunter Artist Network committee member.

She has been Featured in-

 Dolls, Bears and Collectables plus Patchwork and Stitching.

blog Spot

Sonja Kobelt

 The love of textiles and needle arts began in primary school where my crochet and beading skills provided pocket money earned from my fellow students. Though trained as a dressmaker I have always experimented with the more creative areas like dollmaking, both Porcelain and Cloth ( my absolute passion) textile embellishment, needle arts and beading. I have been fortunate to have my work, especially the Cloth Dolls recognised with awards both here and in the USA and it excites me to bring these skills together in my projects but the biggest buzz is to watch how others take some of these skills from a class and discover their own magic.

Sonja lives in Benalla, Victoria.



Lex Sorrentino

This dynamic and exciting contemporary clay artist continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the contemporary clay world. Senior CCIP and Paverpol Instructor; Diamond Gold Seal NODAAA Member based in Canberra. Lex has 19 years of Polymer Clay Sculpting experience and holds classes and workshops in Polymer Sculpting and Caning, Silver Metal Clay and Chain Maille. She also holds regular workshops in Paverpol Garden Sculpture and has been teaching this medium for 10 years. Lex recently started working with and teaching a liquefied form of Makin's Air Dry Clay dipped in fabric with spectacular results. (The Makin's Clay Company have purchased a few of these sculptures.) She has won numerous awards for her Polymer Clay work including winning the Australian Doll As Art Judges Choice Award - twice.  Her tutorials and amazing work have featured in multiple publications including the Australian Doll and Bear News and Dolls Bears and Collectables, Australian Beading Magazine and the USA Publication Polymer Café & Steampunk magazine.

Wilma Simmons


I am a mixed media and textile artist because what I do makes me happy and ‘reminds me that I have a soul.’  It took me a long time to take up an art practice as I worked in a diverse range of jobs before settling to school teaching and administration as a career.  I think we are all born artists but it takes some of us longer to develop and in my case, not until my “retirement” in 2005.

  Some of the artistic highlights of the last few years have been:

  • teaching creative workshops at various levels and in diverse places;
  • exhibiting, solo and collaboratively;
  • an artist residency at Studio Artes (supporting disabled artists) and 
  • co-ordinating community art programs including a village women’s project in Papua New Guinea and an anti-domestic violence project with Timeless Textiles Gallery.


My art works are “handmade treasures”, inspired by special people, interesting places, my Asian heritage and multicultural literature.  I like working with a mix of materials, especially naturally found and recycled objects. New works evolving from my message stick art dolls currently monopolize my time as I complete a very large installation related to local Newcastle history.       

I hope that my art celebrates diversity, with a harmonious mixture of techniques, materials and ideas and will encourage others to create. 






Sara Feeny- Marks

Arts and crafts have always been a passion of mine, for as long as I can remember, but I lost touch with it until the late 1990's, where I re-established my love of all things crafty as a form of therapy.  I quit the IT industry and established my craft and wedding stationery business and I also taught within the mental health industry teaching various crafts as therapy to help patients find a sense of self again after illness or major personal trauma.
I work with mixed media and find inspiration in everything I see and do and some of my favourite mediums are Friendly Plastic, Angelina Fibres and Tyvek.  Some of the things I make are funky wonky clocks, photo frames, mirrors, cards and jewellery.  



Pamela Annesley

                                       Pam is creative; she constantly works with her mediums to produce innovative work. She is a mixed media artist and jewellery designer using metal and polymer clays. She is interested in promoting culture and creative pursuits and also sharing her vast knowledge and experience with her students.

Pam, a former high school art teacher and Art Lecturer at TAFE College, helped in the development of the national certification program, the CCIP or Contemporary Clay Instructor Program and is a Senior Instructor and a Precious Metal Clay Level 1 Artisan.  Her work has been published extensively in Quilting Arts & Australian Beading Magazines, Polyformer, ‘Encyclopaedia of Polymer Clay Techniques’ by Sue Heaser, ‘Mixed Metal Jewelry’ and ‘The Handbook of Metal Clay, Textures and Forms’ by Hadar Jacobson and ‘Textiles Now’ by Drusilla Cole.

Pam lives in the coastal town of Two Rocks, just north of Perth, where she holds weekend retreats and studio workshops and classes.




Lara Le Reveur

 I was born in New Zealand grew up in Canberra. I now live with a menagerie of pets and boys in the Macedon Ranges, which is very similar in climate to what I call ‘Home’.  

I have been involved with the Arts and Crafts movement at some level for most of my life, as I grew up the youngest member of an actively creative family.  I worked for 13 years in the family business where we taught porcelain dollmaking and other associated crafts. During that time I was lucky enough to have had exposure to several excellent sculpting teachers, which is my preferred method of expression.  I also traveled to the US to study antique doll conservation and restoration.

In early 2014 I returned to the US and completed two Metal Clay accreditation programs.

 At present I divide my creative time between fabricating small run or one of a kind objects and jewellery using contemporary clays and teaching classes in base metal, precious metal and polymer clay.

2015 was a particularly exciting year for me as I attended the Borneo International Bead Conference to lecture and run polymer clay workshops.  Sarawak, Borneo, is one of the most fascinating places that I have ever visited and there I met many interesting historians and archaeologists who have kindled my interest in looking at the bead as an object with much more significance than being purely decorative.

Class dates and information: