Last week, I took a two-day workshop with Bonnie Bishoff entitled “Polymer Meets Wire,” sponsored by the New England Polymer Artist Guild. Bonnie is probably best known for the extraordinary furniture she made with her husband and artistic partner, J.M. Syron, and her superbly-crafted cane work. But there was no cane making instruction in Polymer Meets Wire. Instead, the class was packed with information on how to construct lightweight and durable open forms, findings, and components by first making cores of epoxy clay and wire and then covering them with polymer veneers. Then she showed us how to assemble them into delicate-looking necklaces, pins, and bracelets that did not rely on soldering to hold them together.
I am really excited about what I learned because now I have the means to address some design and construction problems that have been dogging me for years! I also learned about the properties of various metals and why some are better for building inner cores than others. Good to know.
Bonnie also showed us some clever wire measuring tricks and taught us the ins and outs of working with epoxy clay, Genesis Heat Set Medium and liquid clay.
My head was exploding by the middle of the first day and I still need to process all I learned. Fortunately, Bonnie provided us with detailed written materials and drawings.
Here are some pictures of a cuff bracelet that I started in the class and finished when I got home. Not my favorite cane work, but I have a feeling that I will be making more of these. Thank you, Bonnie!
The class was held in the home of Ann Marie Donovan, who was a gracious, welcoming and friendly hostess. Not only did she open her home up to 14 students, she provided us with a delicious lunch both days, coffee and snacks. Thanks, Ann Marie and thanks to Kathryn Corbin for organizing the class and laughing at my jokes. Well, most of them anyway!
To see more of Bonnie Bishoff and J.M. Syron’s work, check out their Pinterest board.