Into the Forest in Philadelphia

Last year, polymer artists Emily Squires Levine and Laura Tabakman  spent some late summer days in the  Colorado mountains and were so inspired by their walks through groves of aspen trees  that they decided to collaborate on an installation.

The result  is “Into The Forest” which opened for public viewing in Philadelphia on September 12.  Located  in the South Tower Art Gallery of the Park Towne Apartments in Philadelphia, the installation  is part of the “Constructing Organics” show which features work by three other Philadelphia artists.  InLiquid and AIMCO  co-sponsored the show.

I attended the opening and was excited to see polymer art recognized as fine art. Laura, who lives in Pittsburgh, was not able to attend the opening but Emily did an excellent job of  explaining how she and Laura were influenced by their hikes through the aspen forests and how they translated that experience into an intriguing installation.

Here are some pictures

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Painting by Jeffrey Keith

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Emily talks about “Into The Forest”

 

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Installation at twilight

 

The Philadelphia venue is only the beginning for “Into the Forest.”

I first learned at  the EuroSynergy conference this summer that  Emily and Laura, who have been joined by award winning polymer artist Julie Eakes plan to expand “Into The Forest”  into an  international collaborative project.  Laura  announced the project at the end of her Synergy presentation on “Getting Your Work Ready to Show.” She’d  already wowed the audience with her stories  about how she scouted exhibition  opportunities for her incredible polymer and mixed media installations.  After she revealed the plans for the international collaboration she invited everyone to volunteer via a Facebook group set up for the purpose.   I volunteered right there on my iPad and many people in the audience did the same.

You can volunteer too. Just go to the Facebook group page, here.   You can follow the project on Instagram (@intotheforest17).   Read more about the project on the Polymer Arts Blog.

Several  polymer events to support the program are in the works.  Emily will lead one at the September meeting of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild.  For information on this meeting, go to the PAPCG blog.

 

 

 

Retreat to Morrisburg

Tray with tiles attendees made. Auctioned and proceeds donated to http://plancanada.ca/because-i-am-a-girl

My friend Patty and I, ever the intrepid travelers,  decided to take the recommendation of our friend Sherman and drive  to the little town of Morrisburg, Ontario and join a group of polymer artists who meet once a year at the McIntosh Inn for a retreat.

We crossed the border into Canada,  pulled up to the Canadian border inspection station, and handed our passports to the border screening agent in the booth.

“Polymer clay retreat? What’s that?” the  agent wanted to know after Patty told him the purpose of our trip.  

“It’s not like a religious retreat,” Patty explained, “it’s  a bunch of artists who get together and work on their polymer clay projects.”

“Polymer clay?” the agent wasn’t buying it.

I leaned over so the agent could hear me.  “It’s like what men do when they get together with their model trains.”

“Oh!” the agent, replied, “you’re gonna throw clay at one another?”  

I had never heard of that, so I laughed as if I got the joke.  The agent handed our passports back and waved us on our way.

We had a great time, renewed old acquaintances and made new friends.  We drank Tim Horton coffee, ate Butter Tarts, wrestled with the metric system and warned our Canadian colleagues that after the U.S. election in November, we might be back to stay.  

Here are some pictures

To see more pictures, go to my Flickr site, here.

 

 

New Work

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I still have a buzz from Clayathon  and am exploring some new ideas.  Here are some pictures.

 

Clayathon Goes to the Circus!

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This is the second collaborative piece made at Clayathon 2013,

 Sherman Oberson(Dancing Clown),  Patty Pickup Clown with Blue Feet), Patti Underwood (Bearded Lady),  Lois Rosenthal Seal),  Robin Milne (Elephant), Martha Aleo (Juggling Balls and hands), Sue Springer (Spinning Plates  and Hand), Mary Frederici (Dancing Dog), Arlene Groch (Clown Shoes), Denise Pettit (the Bear in the Cage and the Giraffe) .  Please leave a comment as to who else contributed to The Circus and I will update the post.  We have a Ringmaster, the Balancing Teacups, the Giant Octopus,  the Gag Flower, the platforms and who painted those lovely boxes anyway?

What We Made at Clayathon

The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

   A collaborative effort by the attendees of Clayathon 2013,  presented to Clayathon founder and organizer (and really cool person!!!)  Arlene Groch with gratitude,  affection and a big round of applause.

Some of the contributors: Sherman Oberson (chef),  Mary Frederici (fish),  Lisa Clarke  (napkins),  Terri Powell (wasabi peas),  Sarah Sorlien (bowl of oranges), Martha Aleo (baked potato) and Lenora Kandiner.

Here are the names of more contributors.  Thanks Robin and Sarah!

Sandra Donohue (pizza),   Jenn Dorion (salmon mousse), Lois Rosenthal (polka dot cake), Perrie Layton (orange flowers) Emily Squires Levine (bowls) Robin Milne (roses, banana and fortune cookies) Sue Springer (candy corn)

 I know that more people made things.   If I left your name out or omitted what you made, please leave a comment.

 

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Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild Website

ClayConneCTion 2012

This year, I finally got to go to ClayConneCTion, the semi-annual retreat of the Southern  Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild.    The SCCG knows how to throw a party-er-retreat.  Besides plenty of work space in a brightly lit room, they had a full schedule of interesting demos in a quiet room with an overhead camera,  a fundraising auction,  a bead contest, a bottle of hope challenge and more.  You could participate as much or as little as you wanted.    There was lots to learn and lots of eye candy.   The facilities on the Connecticut College campus were conveniently close to one another and there was easy access to workroom, dormitory cafeteria, parking and a clown complete with funny shoes and a big red nose.   Now for the pictures.

Best Demo Set Up Ever!

Work Room

Lynne  Ann Schwarzenberg

Darleen Bellan

Sherman Oberson

Throw in a side trip to Wolf Myrow  in Providence RI with Sherman and Patty (and meeting the rest of the people there with the same idea) and my joy was complete.

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Cynthia Toops Came to Philadelphia

to teach a polymer clay class to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. I was fortunate enough to take the class in micro mosaics and other techniques.  What I learned is that you don’t have to be able to cane The Last Supper to be a great polymer clay artist. Cynthia Toops makes simple components, but she assembles them with virtuosity and imagination.  And superb craftsmanship.

And she works simply.  I took a lampworking class with her husband, Dan Adams, a few years ago.  He told us that for the first several years, her only tools were a drinking glass and a single-edged razor blade.   Her class materials list was short, but the instruction was intense and personal.  I came away with some mediocre work and the realization that I had a long way to go.  But I had fun and I am already thinking how to integrate the techniques I learned into my own work.

Detail

Detail

 

I fooled around with some techniques in these little pins and then I poured clear resin over the elements, leaving some of them poking out.

To see pictures from the class, go to the Philadelphia Area Guild’s blog.  Cynthia Tinapple took the class too,  and put up some images on Polymer Clay Daily.  To see a video with Cynthia Toops explaining her work, press here.

 

Clayathon Wrap Up with Pictures

 

Clayathon is a place to relax, mix with great people, see the work other people’s work in progress and watch demos of  polymer and non-polymer techniques.  I saw demos on caning, faux dichroic glass,  soldering solver bezels, metal fold forming, and I gave a demo on drilling glass and making ring clasps with copper washers.  Lisa Clarke of Polka Dot Creations was there with the latest books and videos and Wilma Yost was there with the latest products from Polymer Clay Express  including their Shape Frames  that Wilma showed everyone how to use.  We had a cane swap and worked on a group cane too.  To sum it up, we had a blast.

Here are some pictures. 

Collages and Color Choices

In my post on Clayathon 2010, I mentioned that I continued to work through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations while I was there.

I went armed with a notebook filled with collages I put together in a collage making frenzy a few weeks before. I’m not going to mention how many I made, but I had so much fun experimenting with different colors and palates that I will probably die with collages.

I read the Ruffle Spiral Brooch project and started making Skinner Blends. Then I decided to diverge from the book and started making twisties and turnies from the colors I mixed to go with the collages. I don’t plan to do anything with them; I was simply trying to stretch beyond my color comfort zone and see if I could mix colors that looked happy on the collages. Here are the results.

Here are a few of the Tasting Tiles I made.    Betcha can’t make just one.

I’ll put up more pictures of the exercises as I work my way through the book.

Clayathon 2010

I don’t know what I enjoyed more: watching Wilma Yost of Polymer Clay Express demonstrating the Dream Machine and trying it out for myself, watching Melanie West’s demos, catching some of Arlene Groch’s enthusiasm or having uninterrupted time to continue working through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.

I clayed, drank whiskey, sat up until 7:00 am one night (morning?) claying and chatting, made new friends and saw old ones.
Everyone had a wonderful, relaxing time.  See you in 2011!