Synergy2 – Day 2

It has been a full day and my mind is reeling.  Really there’s just so much to take in:  workshops, panel discussions, presentations, the exhibit, the sales gallery and the gathering of friends new and old.

The seminar I took this morning was “Evolving Mokume” with Dan Cormier.  It’s always fun to get a peek into how Dan’s brain works.  He spends a lot of time carefully analyzing a process and developing techniques that can be precisely replicated.  His presentation bridged from the philosophical all the way to the tightly engineered.  I am taking his new “Cutting Edge Evolved” workshop following the conference and I am hoping that he will cover some of his new mokume techniques.

After a short coffee break, Elise Winters spoke about the Polymer Collection Project.  Elise then introduced Bruce Pepich of the Racine Art Museum who spoke about RAM’s philosophy, about the museum’s commitment to polymer and about the various ways that RAM’s new polymer pieces will fit in and play off other items in the museum’s collection.

He’s an engaging speaker and his enthusiasm for fine craft in general, and more recently polymer in particular, is exciting.  Up to this point it feels like a select few polymer artists were recognized at this high level.  Now through the hard work of Elise Winters, her team of volunteers, as well as Bruce Pepich and the Racine Art Museum, it  feels like polymer is starting to finally be recognized as a fine art medium.

Elise concluded with a plea for donations to RAM to support the polymer collection and upcoming exhibit and catalog.  There was a heartwarming response by attendees as well as large donations from the IPCG and my own guild the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild.

Next up was a panel discussion moderated by Jeff Dever entitled “intentional Evolution”.  The members of the panel were Bruce Pepich of RAM, Rachel Carren, artist and curator of the upcoming Lark Book “Masters of Polymer Clay” and premier polymer artist Kathleen Dustin.

Highlights of the discussion:  treat polymer as a medium of expression instead of technique, increase exposure in academia, look at broader sources of inspiration, have something to say with your work, “don’t be afraid of excellence”, intentionally refer to the medium as “polymer” not “polymer clay”.

There were two other seminar slots today, but I missed them both.  I walked over to the ACC Show during the late afternoon and then tonight I went out to dinner.  I’m not sure how much else my brain could have taken in today.

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Racine Museum Polymer Collection

Something I feel strongly about:

I think all artists working with polymer clay and all polymer clay guilds should make a donation to the Racine Art Museum Polymer Collection.

In a few short years the Polymer Collection Project spearheaded by Elise Winters has made great strides in elevating the profile of our chosen material.  The Racine Art Museum has agreed to host a major polymer art exhibition along with a hardcover catalog, and to establish a permanent collection of polymer art.  Pieces from the Polymer Collection Project have been acquired by 5 other major museums around the country.   The Racine Art Museum’s collection will ultimately become a center for the study of polymer art.

We are working in a medium with a short history and a very low profile compared to many of the traditional artist’s materials.   Raising the profile of polymer clay as an accepted art medium benefits us all.  As museums acquire and exhibit pieces of polymer clay art, polymer clay can  truly be seen as more than a child’s toy.

Whether or not you aspire to having a piece of your work in a museum collection some day, a donation to the project is a donation to advancing the profile of our medium.  Whether or not you think you will ever go to the Racine Art Museum to view the collection, their collection is a very big step in establishing polymer clay as an accepted art material.  That is a huge benefit to any polymer clay artist or polymer clay guild.

Checks can be made out to RAM/Polymer Collection and sent to:
Racine Art Museum
441 Main St.
Racine, WI 53403

Or click here to make a donation.

Learn more about the Polymer Collection Project at Polymer Art Archive.

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