Jeffrey Lloyd Dever, Seeking Solace (teapot), 2011, polymer, plastic coated wire, steel wire, 5 1/8" x 10 1/2" x 5 1/2", RAM gift of Acquisition Fund, Photo: Gregory R. Staley
Jeffrey Lloyd Dever, Seeking Solace (teapot), 2011, polymer, plastic coated wire, steel wire, 5 1/8" x 10 1/2" x 5 1/2", RAM gift of Acquisition Fund, Photo: Gregory R. Staley

Do you want an uplifting experience viewing polymer art in museums?  If so, then please pay attention to the new exhibition, Polymer Art: Recent Acquisitions at the Racine Art Museum in Racine, WI.    Often RAM shows include art works of multiple mediums, but this show focuses exclusively on polymer art.  Polymer Art: Recent Acquisitions highlights additions made to RAM’s collection since 2011, as well as other examples of polymer art from their  permanent collection.  Much of the polymer art at RAM is jewelry but the collection includes furniture, wall art and sculpture, thus demonstrating the wide range of polymer as an art material.

For museums there are many paths to the expansion of a permanent collection.   These varied means of acquisition have always played an important role in any museum’s holdings.  While PAA intends to examine several of the works mentioned below in greater detail sometime soon, for now, here is a preview of what is new and a bit about how it came to RAM. Read more ›

Lindly Haunani, Crayon Lei in Oranges and Greens, 1998, 8 11/16" x 8 11/16" x 1 3/4"
polymer, crayons, nylon. collection of Racine Art Museum

A new show, Spectrum: Contemporary Artists in Color, has opened at the Racine Art Museum.  Humans live in a vibrant world full of color.  In many cultures, young children are taught color identification as they are first learning about their world.  Initially the naming of color is descriptive but over time color associations come to carry meaning as well. Artists throughout history have used color to create or enhance their work in various ways.  Color helps to define form and content as well as to further an emotional reaction.   Spectrum focuses on the idea of color as a dominant motif that extends through RAM’s permanent collection. This show of non-figurative objects presents the work of contemporary artists working primarily in glass, ceramics and polymer.

The ability to express oneself via color is a core component for many artists, including those who work in polymer. Modeling in 3-D color via polymer is one of the joys of the material. Spectrum includes 8 works in polymer by four artists. Read more ›

Sophie "Fifi" Rehbinder-Kruse, Sunflowers, 1940s, FIMO, photo: Staedtler

The story of how polymer originated generally begins with Fifi, her mother, Kathe Kruse, and a by-product from oil production late in the 1930’s. Kathe Kruse, a well-known German doll maker, had experimented with the strange new compound in hope of finding something new for her doll heads, but found it did not suit her needs- so it was set aside. A few years later in 1941, Kruse’s daughter, Sofie, rediscovers the discarded substance and began to re-examine its properties. Sofie adds both plasticizer and color to the material and eventually developed an easily workable modeling compound. Read more ›

Ford/Forlano, O'Keeffe pin, 2015, 3"h. x 3" w. x 1/5" d., polymer, sterling silver. Photo: Patina Gallery

Patina Gallery in Santa Fe has been featuring the work of Ford/Forlano this month in a special show called, “The Language of Color”.   While Ford/Forlano are long time exhibitors with Patina Gallery, this show dovetails with the city of Santa Fe’s overall focus on a “Summer of Color”.   From their earliest step-by-step color modulations as City Zen Cane to their current “painterly” applications of hue, Ford/Forlano’s distinctive use of color has always been one of the defining characteristics of their work.  The show is up for a few more days but Ford/Forlano’s work remains a staple of the extensive jewelry selection at the gallery.

On Friday, June 26, at 5:30 PM, Ford and Forlano will speak about their work at the New Mexico Museum of Art, which is hosting a slide show/ lecture titled, “Speaking in Color”. Their talk will address the evolution of their understanding and use of color as exemplified through their artwork over the past 28 years.  Ford/Forlano’s thoughtful and direct commentary on their creative work ought to make for a memorable evening. This event is also part of Santa Fe’s “Summer of Color”

Ford/Forlano have been the subject of many PAA posts.  You can start here with this list.

For more information on this successful collaborative relationship, please visit Ford/Forlano.

Robert K. Liu, Photography of Personal Adornment

A few years ago, I began to study photography because I wanted to better understand the presentation of any given image. With the arrival of Robert Liu’s book, Photography of Personal Adornment*, my education has been greatly facilitated. These days when our attention is always at risk of being diverted, the power of a strong photograph is of greater importance than ever.

Although this book is a more serious approach than many “how to photograph your stuff” manuals, Liu carefully guides the reader toward taking more professional and striking photographs. What Liu, master photographer, artist and co-editor of the esteemed magazine, Ornament, seeks to do in this densely packed, well-illustrated volume, is explain the intentionality and concepts that anchor the art of photographing objects. His focus is on the full range of personal adornment both past and present, but the information could be applied to shooting other items such as a ceramic teapot, a wooden bench or a basket. 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.


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

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  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.