Blackford on PCDaily

I need your vote! Every Fall, Crafthaus awards a micro project grant and my application is in the running.

Prison Polymer: Art as a Lifeline Back to the Community is a project I’d like to nudge forward. This summer Leslie Blackford and Tammy Dye taught one class in Ohio prisons, Maggie Maggio and I taught another. We were all surprised and fascinated by the impact that our medium had on inmates.

What could we do with polymer in prisons that would make a difference? How could our community help? That’s what I’ll use the grant to discover. Please vote for Project #2. Thank you for your help.

It’s hard to look at Leslie Blackford’s Elvis and not smile at his gold leisure suit and sparkling belt buckle. Here are the characters from one afternoon’s class. You can follow her on Facebook too.

Re-Visioning on PCDaily

Catalog giveaway

Would you like to have a memento from the ground-breaking Carthage College Re-Visioning exhibit? In the show catalog Rachel Carren writes eloquently about how polymer art is expanding and reinventing itself.

This slim full color publication would make an elegant addition to your bookshelf. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below. I’ll pick five lucky winners on Monday.

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  • reply Melanie J Pierce ,

    Voted and hoping to be able to volunteer for this project!

    • reply Cynthia Becker ,

      What a great project, and one that can be replicated in prison settings across the country. Of all the finalist projects, this one has the greatest potential for far reaching impact, not only for persons in prisons but also for the artists who have the opportunity to interact with them. I voted and so did my husband (the cat was uncooperative).

      • reply Brenda Urquhart ,

        I think the Prison Project is a fantastic idea and will definitely cast my vote in support…I’d love to have a copy of the Vision catalog…

        • reply Joan Hau ,

          Very creative.

          • reply Helen Breil ,

            You’ve got my vote – what a great project!

            • reply Zan C ,

              You have my vote! I think the prison project is a wonderful idea. Please keep us posted on the project.

              • reply Ann Dillon ,

                Fabulous idea! I voted for it! Love Leslie’s comment above!

                • reply Gwen Crable ,

                  I voted. What a worthwhile project. Good luck!

                  • reply Sue O. ,

                    What a wonderful project and giving spirit you have with making the world a better place! No one deserves the grant more than you! Good luck!

                    P.S. LOVE Elvis — too cute!

                    • reply Tammy Dye ,

                      I agree with everything that Leslie said about teaching at the prisons. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Being of service through teaching polymer techniques gave Leslie and I much more than than we felt we gave them. They were so hungry to learn and their motivation and gratitude was truly heartwarming.

                      • reply Meredith ,

                        What a wonderful thing to take polymer into prisons! That is a population of people that truly need to re-imagine how their world could/should be and also find other avenues of expression. Very cool, Sylvia…(I know it’s not your name but it is!).

                        • reply Deborah M ,

                          You have my vote! What a great idea! I’d love to have a copy of the catalog to add to my collection.

                          • reply Carolyn A. ,

                            I think your project to bring polymer to the prisons is wonderful! When my son was younger, he was involved in drugs and ended up in the prison system for a year. He would have welcomed something like this to ease that experience. Fortunately, he learned from his experience and has been a productive citizen for over 20 years.

                            • reply Aims ,

                              And you have my vote too! What you do every day is amazing. It’s a lot of hard work as well!

                              • reply Virginia Tyson ,

                                The prison project sounds like a wonderful idea. It can be a profound experience discovering that there is a creative person living inside you who can pull beauty out of thin air and transform it into something useful or wearable. You look at yourself in a whole new light. Polymer clay facilitates this process. Certainly this is an experience that would help someone who has loss the freedom to move around. You certainly have my vote.

                                • reply Becky Acosta ,

                                  I voted! Sounds like a great and therapeutic project. And what wonderful characters the inmates made 🙂 I’d love to have a copy of the catalog, too.

                                  • reply Carol Cooper ,

                                    You have my vote!

                                    • reply Dorothy ,

                                      I voted for an excellent project! I am inspired to see whether we can get this project going in our local jails. When I voted, Project #2 was in the lead!

                                      • reply Judy ,

                                        I would love to win a catalog! My fingers are crossed ( so are my toes)!

                                        • reply Luann Udell ,

                                          You always have my vote! I don’t know if you remember, but about 15 years ago (maybe more??) you approved a mini-grant for me to teach polymer clay skills to teachers, so they could use it to enhance their teaching environment–make tokens for games, props for class plays, etc. It was my first ever grant application, and my first craft teaching experience. What I learned from that has stayed with me lo-these-many-years. So….back atcha, Cynthia! :^)

                                          • reply Patty Barnes ,

                                            Since my husband has worked as a guard at a state prison for many years, I can definitely support such a program! In fact, I think if everyone played with polymer clay, we’d have fewer people behind bars!! LOL

                                            • reply Lorrene Baum-Davis ,

                                              Me too…. I’d love to participate and teach intro workshops. Randee posted this and I have already voted. Good on you Cynthia… I bought a bracelet from Lee Ann at ARCHES. I brag on our community to anyone who will listen. This is the most unselfish and giving trove of artists. BTW… http://www.lorrenedavisdesigns.com is valid.

                                              • reply connie williams ,

                                                what a terrific project! I hope it goes forward!

                                                • reply Terry ,

                                                  I think the Prison Project is an excellent idea. I also like the Crafts for Kids.

                                                  • reply Marina Guard Whigham ,

                                                    Voted for you! Great project.

                                                    • reply JL ,

                                                      Will vote and email others, about this wonderful project. Creating helps to change a person’s view of the world… in a very good way. Great idea!

                                                      • reply Adriana Ayala ,

                                                        As artists/designers, I believe we have a duty to use our talents to create positive change, and to inspire others to do the same. This is one of those life changing projects. Loved it, voted and shared it.

                                                        • reply Kathleen ,

                                                          I think this is an excellent idea, we have known for years that art is valuable as both a therapeutic tool and an outlet. In addition to that many of the people you would be working with May not have had an opportunity to “play” in art and that in itself could be invaluable to many! I truly hope this project shall be able to continue and expand!

                                                          • reply Claire Fairweather ,

                                                            I voted too – at that time your project was in the lead, so keeping my fingers crossed for you. Good Luck!

                                                            • reply Deborah Susswein ,

                                                              You’ve got my vote! We need more creative and productive rehabilitative assistance for inmates. I’ve heard of a number of innovative programs being introduced in to the prison system, but this is the on of the best. These men and women being connected to their inner creative child is truly a valuable contribution.

                                                              • reply Carol Blackburn ,

                                                                I’ve voted and of course I’d love a copy of Rachel’s catalogue. If I was lucky enough to win, I’ll donate it to our London Polymer Clay Group library! Yay! in anticipation!

                                                                • reply Arlene Birmingham ,

                                                                  Wonderful project. I’m finding young adults fascinated when they see my studio. Maybe a project with young offenders serving time could be attempted here.
                                                                  The catalogue would be a great addition to my libray as in this part of the world there are no clubs. Good luck on your project.

                                                                  • reply Arlene Birmingham ,

                                                                    A very inspiring and wonderful project. I’m finding young adults fascinated when they see my studio. Maybe a project with young offenders serving time could be attempted here.
                                                                    The catalogue would be a great addition to my libray as in this part of the world there are no clubs. Good luck on your project.

                                                                    • reply Rochelle Rodier ,

                                                                      I voted for the prison project a few minutes ago and now I would like to cast a vote for Carol Blackburn. Her proposed action truly reflects the caring and giving spirit of the polymer community.

                                                                      • reply Michele Wineland ,

                                                                        I voted!

                                                                        • reply Melissa Terlizzi ,

                                                                          I voted! What a wonderful idea!

                                                                          • reply Kit Lockwood ,

                                                                            I LOVE the prison project idea. I read the comment about the cat who wouldn’t cooperate in voting. I wonder… My poodle’s just sitting over there… She’s pretty obedient… Oh. And I’d love to win the drawing, too.

                                                                            • reply Wendy Jorre de St Jorre ,

                                                                              Voted, and you are currently in the lead by the way!

                                                                              • reply Mary ,

                                                                                Voted for you. What a great project!

                                                                                • reply Susan Samuel ,

                                                                                  Have voted for you. I think that polymer is a medium that can transend all barriers. It will be nice to see someone hopefully prove this.

                                                                                  • reply linda prais ,

                                                                                    I think that your project is wonderful. I think sharing is such a big part of our creativity, especially when that sharing is adding “light” into anthers life and what a great idea a prison. I believe when our concentration is on building and creating our spirits grow. A prison wow an area i personally had never considered. Way to go! I want to share on my site hope you won’t mind.

                                                                                    • reply linda prais ,

                                                                                      and of course I voted!

                                                                                      • reply Randi B. Bystrøm ,

                                                                                        I voted and now you have 41% of the votes! It is a great project.

                                                                                        • reply Suzy McNeil ,

                                                                                          What a wonderful idea & great gift you are giving to these inmates! Polymer has a knack of drawing people in. I’ve taught a few fun workshops to young children & children of various ages in my son’s special needs class & it always leaves them smiling. I’m going to head right over & cast my vote as well. Thank you Polymer Clay Daily for continuing to inspire!

                                                                                          • reply barbara HELDER ,

                                                                                            Leslie is such a giving and wonderful artist. What a cool project!

                                                                                            • reply Ann Schroeder ,

                                                                                              I love the idea of using art to change lives in prison. I would also love to win a catalog of the Carthage College exhibit. I grew up near there and read about the exhibit, but did not get a chance to see it. Thanks for the drawing!

                                                                                              • reply Janell ,

                                                                                                Looks really awesome!! I love your work, and I think giving inmates a way to express themselves artistically is a wonderful idea!!

                                                                                                • reply Janell ,

                                                                                                  P.S. I too, just voted for your project, btw… I really do think it’s a wonderful idea!!

                                                                                                  • reply Jeannie Havel ,

                                                                                                    I am happy to vote to support your Prison Project and glad to see it leading the poll at 41%. Thank you (and the group of artists) for supporting this often forgotten segment of our society with a project of that encourages personal expression.

                                                                                                    • reply debra ,

                                                                                                      What a wonderful way to help prisoners express themselves. If it acts the way doll therapy does with kids who cannot express what happened to them, maybe this is a way for them to getvrid of their demons or if they are really lucky have a qualified person recognize this and then get them some help, it is possible the prisoners won’t even realize that they are finding a way to heal but later on maybe they will reach for clay instead of drugs or weapons or other violence
                                                                                                      B

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