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With the coming of spring, two new gallery shows featuring polymer art will be on view.  One show is in winter-weary Philadelphia and the other one in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, but both will present a diverse range of new pieces.

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Judy Belcher, Knitting Missoni, 2013,  25"l overall x 5"w (max), polymer, sterling silver

Well versed in the realm of numbers, Judy Belcher applies mathematical thinking to her practice of art. Belcher is the author of 2 books on polymer art* and a master educator about polymer in terms of studio practice and public outreach. These accomplishments all draw upon her extensive organizational, communication and business skills. She has been a strong advocate for polymer and other crafts at both the state (West Virginia) and the national level. Belcher moves fluidly between polymer enthusiasts and the larger network of craft organizations. The value of Belcher’s business experience and her capacity to get things done cannot be underestimated.

Belcher’s hands-on practice of her own polymer art has little to do with number crunching or numerical imagery. However, much of her work relates directly or indirectly to mathematics. Read more ›

Cynthia Tinapple and Blair Davis, Red Stripped Bowl 2013, 10 1/2" diameter x 6" D, polymer on-lay, Ohio walnut

In the spring of 2014, Diane Levesque, wearing her Assistant Professor of Studio Art hat, taught the first full semester class on polymer technique at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. This was a major development in polymer education, as polymer technique had never before been integrated into a college curriculum. In order for this to happen, Levesque wrote a proposal  advocating the value of polymer as a means to teach color theory and presented a complete curriculum, which then had to be approved by college officials. Students from the spring 2014 polymer class were enthusiastic about the class, which bodes well for future enrollment. After polymer class has been taught twice more for a total of 3 times, it will achieve a permanent position in the art department’s studio offerings.

Levesque’s initial inspiration was the Terra Nova Exhibition at the Racine Art Museum in 2011. After seeing the show Levesque became intrigued by the potential of
polymer and took it upon herself to learn more. She enrolled in a polymer workshop taught by Lindly Haunani for some “hands on” experience and attended the IPCG Synergy 3 conference in 2013. Ultimately, Haunani and Maggie Maggio’s book, Polymer Clay: Color Inspirations became the textbook for Levesque’s class.

In conjunction with the introduction of polymer into the Carthage art department class rotation, Levesque, donned her hat as the Director of the H. F. Johnson Gallery of Art at Carthage College and scheduled an exhibition of polymer art.  As the curator, Levesque invited 25 artists to send recent or significant artwork for display in a show entitled: A-Revisioning: New Works in Polymer. The exhibition opened on September 9, 2014 and ran through October 25, 2014.

Laura Tabakman, On the Trail, 2014, variable installation size, polymer, steel wire, wood

Laura Tabakman, On the Trail, 2014, variable installation size, polymer, steel wire, wood

The well-designed exhibit, installed in the white-box, on-campus gallery space, contained a wide range of works. Several stellar pieces were placed to spark attendees’ interest immediately upon entry. While these pieces might have been placed in the foreground as highlights, the depth of the show continued throughout the room.
The amount of distinctive, museum quality artwork was stunning in a show of this size and diversity. Many of  the artists sent examples of high quality jewelry art, but the most innovative work in the show was not the jewelry. Read more ›

Maggie Maggio, Temptation, 2012 
14 x 14 x 5 inches, polymer  photo: Courtney Frisse

(in)Organic at Racine Art Museum

A small gem of an exhibition, “(in)Organic” is now open at the Racine Art Museum, in Racine, Wisconsin (Oct 12, 2014-Feb 1, 2015).  Curated by Lena Vigna, the show features work by a range of artists who investigate the interrelationship of the natural world and humans.   Their varied, mixed media artwork is innovative, colorful and offers plenty of visual richness for the eye.  Artist’s concerns touch upon social, historical as well as environmental issues as they relate to nature.  Approaches include manipulating scale and materials in unexpected ways.  Read more ›

Not only has our appearance changed but the scope of this site has broadened significantly, inspired by discussions at the recent symposium, Polymer 2.0.  Read more ›

Introduction to PAA:

Polymer Art Archive: 
This is a site where professional artists working in the medium of polymer will find inspiration. Museum and gallery curators will be able to access documentation about the evolution of this vibrant medium for artistic expression. And serious collectors will discover windows to new works and the medium’s most collectable artists.

Archivists:

Rachel Carren is an art historian and recognized polymer artist devoted to the advancement of polymer art.  She brings an historian’s approach to the study of polymer history.  Her distinctive artwork finds inspiration in textiles, pattern and geometry. This unique blend of credentials enables her to see, create and write from both the academic and makers’ perspective.   Additional information can be found at www.rachelcarren.com.

Elise Winters, founder of Polymer Art Archive, is also a renowned Polymer Jewelry Designer, teacher and innovator.   Read about her achievements in the field at www.EliseWinters.com.  Read about her advocacy on behalf of the medium on her website page, Professional Activities or in the Oct/Nov 2011 issue of American Craft magazine.