I wanted to write a more comprehensive post on Elise Winters who died earlier this year, but I find myself too sad to write much of anything. So let me say that if I remember Elise for anything, it is not for her artistic ability, and her innovative spirit (which would have been more than enough). And not for her advocating for the acceptance of polymer as a serious art medium. Not only did Elise start the Polymer Art Archive Blog, she persuaded the Racine Art Museum to establish a permanent polymer collection. This was a huge accomplishment. Finding a museum to take a collection is a more difficult and expensive proposition than most people realize. But this is not why I will remember her.
The pictures that follow are from a trip Elise made to Philadelphia in 2005 to give the Philadelphia Guild a slide show on her development as an artist. She showed us some of her first attempts at making art that were far less accomplished than the work she was known for. She told us that most artists have day jobs, or a parent or spouse with a credit card. She told us not to be discouraged and to keep on making art.
I will remember Elise for her great generosity of spirit. And that will keep on living long after everything made of clay crumbles.
Update: I received a more complete obituary from Bruce W. Pepich, Executive Director and Curator of Collections, Racine Art Museum. To read it, press here. The Museum also supplied two images of Elise’s work.
Red Ruffle Cascade Neckpiece, 2009 Polymer and acrylic paint 9 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 3 5/8 inches. Racine Art Museum, Gift of Elise Winters and Sherwood Rudin
Woodland Ruffle Cuff, 2008 Polymer and acrylic paint 3 x 4 x 4 1/8 inches. Racine Art Museum, Gift of Elise Winters and Sherwood Rudin
Photo credit: Penina Meisels