Polymer at PMA Craft Show 2022

I got my first real look at polymer back in the stone age at the Philadelphia Craft Show at the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia. That’s where I first saw the the work of City Zen Cane. I bought two pairs of earrings at their booth: a pair for me which I still have, and a pair for my mother-in-law. She later confessed that she lost one earring and was so upset, she threw away the other one. That’s alright. I got her son.

I joined my friend Patty for the 46th annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show at the Philadelphia Convention Center recently. The show was less crowded than I remember it, probably because of the pandemic, and it was easy to take pictures of work with your cell phone. But there’s a danger in doing that. If you want to remember something, you’re much better off going to the artists’ websites, and everyone has one nowadays. They pay a lot of money to have their work professionally photographed in the best possible light. Still, I could not resist taking some pictures of the venue itself

City Zen Cane, now known as Ford and Forlano, were at the craft show this year with their distinctive work that has evolved greatly from their early days.

But this year’s show will be their last one. Now, we’ve all heard things like this before. How many farewell tours has Cher and The Who had? Don’t even mention Tom Brady. Still, there’s a lot more money to be made from stadium rock concerts and professional football than polymer clay, no matter how innovative and visionary it is. I am sure their work will still be available on their web site.

I had never met Wiwat Kamolpornwijit, but he proved to be a friendly and affable guy who loved to talk about his work. He looked like he was having a good show. Go to his website to take a look at his jewelry.

I have admired Genevieve Williamson‘s work for years. I love her muted and understated palate and her commitment to recycling clay and materials. Great earring cards!

Follow Genevieve on Instagram here.

Last but not least is Bonnie Bishoff, who was showing work with her husband and collaborator J.M. Syron. Bonnie will be this year’s guest artist at Clayathon.

Check out their website here and Instagram feed here. Drop me a message in the comments section if you want to learn more about Clayathon.

Wayne Cambern at the Boston Street Gallery

Two weeks ago, I hopped the Market-Frankford El to the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia in search of the Boston Street Gallery.  The Boston Street Gallery is about a mile from the York-Dauphin El stop.  I had occasion to visit this neighborhood on a regular basis in another life, but I had not back for many years.  It certainly has changed.

 

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I went to the Boston Street Gallery to attend the opening of a show called Lyrical Perceptions which includes work by Wayne Cambern.   I met Wayne at the open pottery studio at Fleisher Art Memorial.   Like me, he was getting back into pottery after a multi-year hiatus.  But his primary interests are drawing and painting.   So I jumped at the chance to see his other work when he told me about the show.

 

The urge to make art has been with me for as long as I can remember.   I love color, design and craftsmanship in its many manifestations.  I hope this quest to make something that qualifies as art speaks to the viewer. –Wayne Cambern

My big regret in writing this post is that my pictures simply cannot convey the mastery of Wayne’s drawings and portraits.   In order to get the full effect, you will have to visit the show which runs until December 1, 2018.  In the meantime, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts

More than 1500 visual and performing artists will participate in the first Philadelphia International Arts Festival which takes place from April 7 to May 1, 2011.  To get a schedule of events,  click here.  What’s special about the Festival is that it partners local artists with artists from across the globe and  offers events for every age group and area of interest.   It even has a two week science festival within the main festival with collaborators as diverse as the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Monell Chemical Senses Center,.  There really is something for everyone.

I trolled through the PIFA website and  pulled a few things that looked interesting to me.  In no particular order,   they are an April 8 Couture fashion show at the Kimmel Center showcasing local designers and student   designers from local colleges and universities. The evening will culminate with Temple grad Ralph Rucci receiving the Visionary Award for Fashion.

And if you’ve always wanted to see what goes on  behind the scenes at the Kimmel Center, treat yourself to a tour.

Gallery night on April 15 showcases galleries all over the city with exhibits prepared specially for PIFA.   If you’re interested in pottery, visit The Clay Studio.   You can see cutting edge crafts at the Snyderman-Works Gallery. The Seraphin Gallery will offer artist talks, music and a video.    For a map with the locations of all participating galleries, click here.

I could not begin to list all the festival has to offer.  Please be sure to visit the web site and see for yourself.

Klay Kismet

A couple of years ago, I spent a few days at Arlene Groch’s house claying nonstop alongside Arlene, Ellen Marshall and Melanie West. During the course of the claying frenzy, I made some bracelets with long beads usinga variety of techniques.

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In October, Barbara McGuire taught a master class in Philadelphia and was the guest artist at the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s monthly meeting. She saw my bracelets and remarked that I had used oneof the stamps she designed. Then I remembered admiring one of Arlene’s stamps and using it to texture some of the beads.  Arlene bought the stamp on Barbara’s web site.

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Barbara McGuire is the author of two of my all time favorite polymer clay books,Foundations in Polymer Clay Design and Wire in Design. So I was  looking forward   to her demo at the meeting.  I was not disappointed.  And the members who took her face canes class gave it rave reviews. The Guest Artist Program is one of the best perks of PAPCG membership.

If you want to see pictures from the meeting, go to the guild’s Flickr site. If you’re in Philadelphia this weekend, try to catch the  PMA Craft show where Melanie West is participating as an emerging artist.

And not for the last bit of Klay Kismet:  Arlene happened to go to school with my boss.  How Kool is that?