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museums | Polymer Clay Daily

Elise Winters’ legacy

Elise Winters, 1947-2019, portrait by Barbara Bordnick

Polymer’s finest champion, Elise Winters died on New Years Day after a long struggle with cancer.

While we absorb the sadness of her passing, it may be comforting to read How Polymer Hit the Big Time, the story written by Monica Moses about Elise in American Craft Magazine’s October/November 2011 issue.

It begins, “In the 1990s, Elise Winters became convinced polymer artists weren’t getting the money or respect they deserved. “The whole field needed to be elevated,” she says. A natural strategist and organizer, Winters set out to make that happen.”

And she did make that happen.

The Racine Art Museum (RAM) was the first to put together a permanent collection of polymer art. Then RAM director Bruce Pepich helped pave the way for smaller chunks of Winters’ collection to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Newark Museum; the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

Elise elevated our craft and artists around the world mourn her loss. Our community will forever be in her debt.

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