Your vote counts

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.

Re-visioning polymer

Toops on PCDaily

Peek at the polymer exhibit that began this week at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. The opening reception for Re-Visioning: New Works in Polymer at the H.F. Johnson Gallery of Art will be held next Thursday, September 18.

Gallery staff have posted snapshots of the works on Facebook as they arrived to get us excited.

Laura Tabakman’s On the Trail is a delicate installation of a field of blossoms that emerge from the floor and climb one wall.

You can see her sitting on the gallery floor arranging every petal in what turned out to be a 15-hour operation. She says of the show, “OMG, don’t miss it!”

Here you see Cynthia Toops’ So Much Yarn, So Little Time which includes tiny knitting needles that pierce one of the balls of imitative yarn wound in Cynthia’s fastidious micro style. At one time or another all knitters and artists have shared the sentiment of the piece.

Re-Visioning on PCDaily

The event is being held in conjunction with an October polymer symposium, labs, and (in)Organic exhibit at the nearby Racine Art Museum.

The first college level polymer studio class was launched last year at Carthage College. Professor Diane Levesque taught the class and curates this exhibit.

Polymer jitters

Wendy Moore on PCDaily

This week's theme seems to center around the jitters! We all get jitters about what lies ahead and sometimes those jitters lead us into new creative territory.

Today you're looking at Wendy Moore's necklace Tsarang Mala #4 that she created for the exhibit she mounts in two weeks at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in Australia. It started with the stripes in Nepali aprons and then Wendy added the horn shapes that she remembered above the doorways on her latest trek in Mustang province. Then flowers appeared. Her story about this evolving creation is fascinating.

Her exhibit is described as, "…inspired by the contrasts of living in the Outback and her frequent travels to Nepal where she works helping women to create jewellery and objects to sell, enabling them to escape lives of poverty, trafficking and abuse."

If you'd like to try some of your own Tibetan style, check out Wendy's project in the new book! Or visit the Samunnat shop on Etsy.

Botanical polymer

Dever on PCDaily

Two polymer artists, Jeff Dever and Annie Pennington advance polymer’s reputation by appearing in The Nature of Jewelry:Botanical Design and Symbols exhibit at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, Wisconsin.

In the show twenty-nine notable jewelry artists from throughout the US, Ireland and Canada display a sampling of process drawings and reference materials to trace the creative process for their works.

“They thought I’d add a bit of color,” says Jeff. He sent us larger pictures (gathered here) so that you could witness the color. This exhibit was a spinoff of the RAM’s Terra Nova and it runs until July 13.

Polymer up a notch

Maggie Maggio made a conscious effort to step out of her comfort zone when she applied for the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ (SNAG) virtual exhibit, The Body Adorned.

“In the same way a landscaper trains a plant to take the desired form, this piece is designed to be shaped to the body of the wearer,” Maggie says of her exhibition pieces. Polymer tendrils sprout from the model who happens to be Maggie’s daughter Monica, herself an urban farmer.

On her updated website and blog Maggie explains how a polymer symposium at the Racine Art Museum exhibit prompted her to take her work up a notch.

Watch Maggie playing with a early version of these designs in this Studio Mojo video from last spring. Join with others who want to take their work up a notch by signing up for StudioMojo.

Win the Terra Nova Tee

Something significant changes when an artwork is set on a pedestal and encased beneath a clear polished museum vitrine. The necklace that was once casually worn to a party is now handled with gloves and tagged with new meaning.

That shift in significance is what we’re all pondering after the opening of the Terra Nova exhibit at the Racine Art Museum. The weekend exceeded all my expectations and you’ll see more as soon as I unpack and catch my breath.

In the meanwhile, you can order the lovely book here. I brought back this souvenir black tee with irridescent artwork for some lucky reader.

Register to win the limited edition Terra Nova t-shirt by leaving a comment below before midnight Tuesday.

Museum-quality polymer

The once-snubbed material is making a grand entrance in the art world, thanks to one woman’s vision and drive.

That’s the tag line for polymer’s coming out story in American Craft Magazine this month and you can read the whole article here.

Written by Monica Moses it celebrates the efforts of Elise Winters and a host of artists who have muscled their way into museums by demonstrating the power of polymer. The pieces chosen for this article were drawn from the upcoming RAM exhibit and you can sneak a mouthwatering peek at the catalog.

Smaller chunks of the collection Elise gathered have gone to the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Newark Museum; and the Mingei International Museum in San Diego.

As Elise’s husband Woody says, “We’re stepping on the surface of a new world, just beginning an artistic exploration of a medium that will reveal itself for decades to come.” Read all his comments on the PolymerArtArchive blog.

Apfelbaum’s cachet

Polly Apfelbaum creates hybrid works that exist in an ambivalent space between painting, sculpture, and installation. For her latest show in New York she fashions small, smooth, brightly patterned panels she calls Feelies from unbaked polymer.

Studiowork showcases an improvisational studio practice and engages an exchange about the dimensionality of clay and its potential for abstraction.

Considered one of the most original artists working today, Apfelbaum pushes painting past its traditional forms, off the wall, and into pop culture. Her work is in the collections of many major museurms. Often arranged on the floor, Apfelbaum’s forms are usually comprised of intricate, nearly psychedelic layers of dyed fabric.

A New York Times review says of this exhibit, “There is a cuteness factor here, but it is quickly overruled by the blazing colors, assorted stripes, dots, checks, swirls and grids and abstract intelligence evident in the 200-plus examples.”

Steven Ford, who sent us the link says he’s followed Apfelbaum for years and admits that, “The work in this current exhibit is crude by most polymer clay artists’ standards but it’s fun to see what she finds consistent with her other work.” The polymer community has worked toward being considered a serious art medium and Apfelbaum’s exhibit may be one more step toward the cachet we’ve been seeking. The show runs through August 13.

Sculpting Color exhibit opens

Kathleen Dustin reports that this weekend’s opening reception for Sculpting Color: Works in Polymer Clay at the Fuller Craft Museum drew the second-largest crowd the museum has ever had. “I am thrilled at how nice the show looks, and how well it is being received. This is a large step forward for the medium of polymer clay as an expression of fine art,” she says.

Kathleen curated the show and added a few tantalizing snapshots to her Facebook page. I’m sure we’ll soon be seeing more. A few of them are posted below for those of you who haven’t taken the Facebook plunge. The teapots above are by Rebecca Zimmerman.

The opening festivities included a panel discussion with Kathleen, Bonnie Bishoff, Jeff Dever, Elise Winter, and Grant Diffendaffer. A synopsis of the discussion will be published on PolymerArtArchive.

The exhibit continues until November 22 at the Brockton, MA museum.

Kathleen Dustin and her 4’x3′ Nature Fix, Jeff Dever’s flowing forms, Grant Diffendaffer and his rayguns, Bonnie Bishoff’s Meander Credenza.
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