Last October and November I spent a lot of time working on new brooches, which could also convert to pendants.
The first two shown below began with skinner blends. Then I had a great time going through scraps and canes I had, using them to create little collages on the center strip. Using gold and silver leaf scraps added great accents. Some have said they look like shimmering silk! These pendants were inspired by the work of Lindly Haunani.
Continuing on brooch/pendants influenced by textile traditions, I got into weaving polymer with variegated, extruded strips!
In the first half of February, early in my polymer explorations I was fortunate to be able to participate in a week of polymer workshops in Laurel, Maryland in the middle of snow storms. They call it Cabin Fever for a good reason. Workshops, food and lodging all under the same Holiday Inn roof for a week!
For me the biggest draw was being able to study with Jeffery Lloyd Dever for two days. I was not disappointed. I knew I had chosen the right teacher when Jeffrey began his class by saying he would share his process and as we explored our own direction, he would be happy to answer general questions but not not tell us what he though was best in our own artistic direction.
As it has turned out, four months later I find I have, in fact gone in my own direction. What I learned from Dever was a number of general techniques which I have found useful in my own work. More importantly, I came away with a sense of confidence about launching into this new material with imagination, following my muse and without fear of making mistakes. Along the way I’ve made many mistakes and, I’d like to think I have learned one thing or another from all of them.
During the week I also had workshops with Jana Roberts Benzon, Marie Segal and Nan Roche. Nan’s workshop explored techniques using an extruder. I left thinking that was something I would not have any use for. The irony is that today I use an extruder often in my work, but not in the way it was used in the workshop. What I learned there was that you never know when your creative direction will take you to a place where a tool or technique you may have been exposed to in the past will turn out to be perfect for something in an unforeseen future.
Though it is possible to learn a great deal about working with polymer clay on the internet, a benefit that could not be gleaned on the web was studying with and personally getting to know some of the true masters in this polymer arena which is so new to me.
During the past summer three of us, who had met online selling our jewelry on the same site, decided to join together and advertise in Ornament Magazine using our 1000Markets.com shop URLs. No sooner had the edition been published with our ad in it, than 1000Markets.com was acquired, and with it’s demise, those urls were rendered useless.
What followed was scampering by the 1500 or so 1000Markets shop owners to find new online homes. Not only had we lost our shops, but had developed a large online community of artisans and it was sad to go our separate ways as we searched for new venues that would best suited our own work.
One thing became quickly apparent to some of us — if we had our own domains, they could not get sold out from under us and we would have more control over our destinies.
The three of us with our, then current, Ornament ad rendered useless by the sale of 1000Markets, immediately agreed that we would do another Ornament ad, this time, with our own domains.
I happily share the latest issue of Ornament Magazine here … and our new ad.
For me, it is personal pleasure to be in the current issue, the one that annually features the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, one of the top shows in the country. I had participated in that show in 1999 and consider it to be one of the greatest honors of my career.
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I want to give special recognition to the extraordinary generosity of the staff at Ornament Magazine. They felt so badly that the urls in our first advertising venture with them had suddenly gone bad, rendering the ad all but useless, that out of the goodness of their hearts they not only went out of their way to get this ad in under deadline, but have promised a free repeat of our ad in the edition that follows this one. For years I have known Ornament as an outstanding and beautiful magazine, tops in its field, but now I know it is created by truly good souls.