Tory Hughes passed away last Sunday.
My first polymer clay class ever was an imitatives class with Tory, at the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association conference in 1993, I believe. It was an amazing introduction to the medium! I was so new to it, and she was so patient with me.
But what I keep coming back to is the seminar that I took with her at the Courting the Muse conference in 2000. It was called something like "Talismans of Your Inner Ecosystem" or some such hippy dippy nonsense. The first thing we did was write in these little notebooks that Tory had handmade for everyone. All the sensory inputs that made us happy – which is how I learned that my inner ecosystem is at the beach.
Then we designed a piece based on that. Mine was a hollow tube bead containing a secret note inside with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut: "You are better than you think. A-one, a-two, a-three." But I was having serious trouble with the construction. I got frustrated, and I was ready to scrap the whole thing. Tory sat down with me, one on one, and listened to my frustration. But she also though the idea was really good, and helped me work through the engineering.
It was a kindness, a support, an encouragement that I have never forgotten.
Intelligent, intuitive, inspirational, and innovative...
To say that my interactions with this woman changed my life is not much of an overstatement. Thank you, Tory. Wishing you safe passage as you move on to the next.