Into The Forest Opens This Friday

Into The Forest,  the long-awaited collaborative polymer installation spearheaded by Laura Tabakman,  Julie Eakes and Philadelphia’s own Emily Squires Levine opens this Friday at the Spinning Plate Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA. 

I can scarcely believe that it’s been more than a year since Laura announced the project at Eurosynergy  and requested contributions from the polymer  community.  They responded with enthusiasm: polymer artists from 27 countries around the world and 37 States around the US sent  an abundance of hand-fabricated floral and faunal elements inspired by their geographically-diverse environments.  Into The Forest is more than an art installation; it is a celebration of diversity and unity. A virtual global forest.

A small version of Into The Forest had its first public showing in Philadelphia as part of a larger “Constructing Organics” show which ran at the Park Town Place Gallery from September 2 to December 30, 2016.    Emily, Laura and Julie have spent  this past year working to make Into the Forest come to life in Pittsburgh.

Here are  pictures of contributions from the Philadelphia polymer community that we made under Emily’s instruction at a meeting of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild.   

 

 

See you in Pittsburgh!

New Leaves and Old Friends at Synergy 4

I attended  the Synergy4: A New Leaf » IPCA North American Conference this year, although other commitments limited me to  the opening reception and  first day’s programs. Fortunately for me,  the conference was in nearby King of Prussia and I was able to get a ride with a friend from Philadelphia who decided to commute to the conference. 

I attended  workshops  (how to unbox my creativity  with Anke Humpert and environment as inspiration with Beth Wegener),  drank lots of coffee, rekindled old polymer friendships and made new polymer friends.  The attendees were a very friendly and lively bunch!

The Monday sessions opened with Emily Squires Levine, Laura Tabakman and Julie Eakes talking about their global polymer installation, Into The Forest scheduled to open the weekend of November 10-11 at the Spinning Plate Gallery in Pittsburgh.

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They brought a little bit of the forest with them as a preview:

Something new at Synergy this rear was Retreat Plus, an option that allowed people to have a polymer workspace and see polymer demos along with attending  some of the conference programs.

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Karen Woods and Alison Galant share screen printing techniques in the polymer workroom

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No one ever gets out of the Synergy Gallery without spending something, but this year there were even better reasons to part with your cash.   I bought the beautiful  flower pin above to support Into The Forest.  And Ron Lehockey was there with a pile of hearts in support of his Heart Pin Project.  Who could resist temptation like that?  

Tesla Necklace with a Nod to Cynthia

I love big beads.  Big hollow beads.  Doesn’t matter whether they’re made of glass, metal or polymer.    Maybe because it’s a challenge to figure out how to make them and probably because people are always surprised at how light they are.   And I have made a boatload of hollow beads over the years.  

Which brings me to last week when I brought a strand of big polymer beads into the pottery studio and someone was interested in buying it which was a problem because it was only temporarily strung and I had not figured out an appropriate clasp.  But it got me thinking.  

I have always admired the perfectly integrated polymer covered barrel bead clasps on Ford and Forlano’s big bead necklaces.  I wanted to make an integrated clasp myself but I did not want to use barrel bead – I wanted to use a hidden magnetic clasp.  Which brought up two problems.  First, it would have to be a very strong magnet. Big hollow bead necklaces still have some heft after all. And you cannot bake a magnet without diminishing its magnetic properties.   People used to bake their magnet clasps all time time. But we have learned that  baking weakens the magnets.

So I had to find a strong magnet and a way to integrate it into polymer bead halves without baking.  I was surprised to learn that there was a paucity of information on using magnets and polymer clasps.  I mean there are some old tutorials that instruct you to bake the magnet into the clay but as we have discovered, that’s a no-no.  

Then I discovered Mag-Lok magnets and found this video  from Cynthia Tinapple.  I put my own twist on Cynthia’s technique and  made a necklace with the Tesla beads and a magnetic clasp.   How very appropriate. 

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I will share how I make hollow polymer beads and magnet clasps at the next meeting of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild.   Thank you Nikola Tesla and Cynthia Tinapple!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polymer Clay in Puerto Vallerta

Have you ever dreamed about retiring to a small piece of paradise and spending your time making beautiful things?  It looks like Karen Mical turned that dream into a reality.

PV689_FotorI found Karen’s stand at the Old Town Farmer’s Market in Puerto Vallarta  Mexico which, while it might not be paradise, is pretty close by my standards.

 PV697_FotorKaren works in polymer and her jewelry was selling like mad.  Small wonder.  It was impeccably crafted and visually appealing.

PV688_FotorI didn’t get to talk to Karen but her husband told me that  they lived in Puerto Vallerta full time and that she was a regular at the market which requires that the vendors make their wares.

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Karen’s color palettes evoke the tropics making one of her pieces  a souvenir that does not advertise itself as such but that helps the wearer to remember a short time spent in paradise.  What could be better?

Check Karen out on Facebook!