The Conference Center at Wingspread

Wingspread…………..a single word that both names the venue and describes the accomplishments of our October symposium, “Polymer 2.0: The Field at the Beginning of the 21st Century”  in Racine, Wisconsin. Three years ago we were here celebrating the fact that polymer art had become a medium of choice for entry into the permanent collections of major museums across the country. This year 67 participants celebrated another breakthrough; Read more ›

Gwen Gibson, Kabuki II Bracelet, 2002<br /> Polymer, Lazertran image transfer, gold acrylic paint

Gwen Gibson’s contribution to polymer art was deep and far reaching as an innovator, teacher and accomplished artist. Gibson was a pioneer in the evolution of surface techniques as related to polymer. Her background in painting and textile arts enabled her to apply many of the skills and techniques from those fields to her polymer work. As one of the early explorers of paint and polymer, Gibson initiated many to  the process of silk-screening. Her “tear away” etching technique enables a shadowy image transfer that can be highlighted with pigment.

An unerring sense of design and attraction to strong graphic  patterns quickly became distinctive elements of Gibson’s style.
Her aesthetic influences often derived from ancient cultures.  Ethnic and Asian motifs are often present in her work. Jewelry as well as larger objects such inro style containers and wall hung layered panels were all part of her artistic repertoire.

As a teacher and friend to many, her gentle, funny and creative spirit was a continuing inspiration.  She will be much missed.

Dan Cormier, Videojuegos Pin, 2012, 3" h x 3" w
polymer, aluminum, steel rods and pin findings

It has been a while, so here are some current “happenings” related to polymer art.

Read a synopsis of “The Broken Telephone Project” conceived and orchestrated by Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes in the upcoming issue of Ornament magazine (vol. 36. no.4).   Cormier first presented this take on a well know communications game at the IPCG’s Synergy 3 conference in Atlanta, GA in March, 2013.  The article written by Cormier leads the reader through from conception to realization.  Eight artists participated:  Cormier, Cynthia Toops, Meredith Dittmar, Kathleen Dustin, Sarah Shriver, David Forlano, Celie Fago and Maggie Maggio.   Read more ›

Kathleen Amt, Zodiac Game, detail, 1992
polymer, cloth, paper, elastic, metal
overall opened: 11 1/4″ W x 28″ L x 1 3/4″ D
game board: 10 5/8″ W x 12 1/4″ L

While unfamiliar to many today, Kathleen Amt was a notable figure in the early years of polymer art.  During the late 1980’s and 1990’s the Washington D.C. area was an important hub of polymer discovery.  Amt was very much a part of the local polymer community, which among others also included Kathleen Dustin, Nan Roche, and Lindly Haunani.

Amt initially stumbled upon polymer.  As the director of the Arts and Crafts Center at Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia from 1980-1987, she was looking for family friendly materials when she came across the original white version of Polyform’s Sculpey.  However, it was not until she happened to meet Kathleen Dustin in the fall of 1988 that she realized its potential. Read more ›

The Racine Art Museum has just announced that it will host another polymer symposium at the Johnson Foundation (Wingspread) in October 17-19, 2014.

Plans are underway for 2, or possibly 3, exhibitions in the vicinity of RAM to coincide with the symposium. Event details will be forthcoming but please keep these dates in mind if you are interested in attending.

RAM has established a page on their website that will be updated as they have more information to share.

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.