MIPCES Exhibition: Tory Hughes

If you are a new visitor to Polymer Art Archive, you can find background about this event in the 2 posts, Past, Present Future and All About MIPCES.


10.5″ x 5.5″ x 3.5″

For the MIPCES catalog, Victoria Hughes wrote:

“The ‘Souvenirs’ series is composed of structures to evoke memories; of places, events, thoughts, visions… Our memories are always more than just the bare outlines of an experience- as moment to moment we move through time, changing ‘now’ to ‘past’, we color our memories with impressions, feelings, echoes of desires and dreams, until the memory becomes multidimensional, a reflection of our lives until that moment. Art illustrates life. My ‘Souvenirs’ give form to memories from my interior life.
These are experiments in larger scale, three-dimensional versions of an earlier body of work: my postage-stamp pins. I’ve combined many new surface techniques with architectural and interior spaces, moving and hanging elements, texts, and found objects into polymedia assemblages. Some elements are removable and can be worn. My interest for this group of work lies in combining dimensional structure with the particular material qualities that polymer clay alone provides.”

Recently, here’s what Victoria had to say about this piece:

vVctoria Hughes with her work at the MIPCES exhibition
Victoria Hughes with her work at the MIPCES exhibition

Where did the idea/inspiration for this piece come from?
“From a previous desire to make larger, more dimensional versions of my postage stamp pins. I wanted to really push the sculptural activation of space which sounds real dry, and do it using all those juicy aspects of polymer we love so much: color, translucency, textures, mixed media, metallic effects. We have the best of all worlds!”

What technical hurdles did you have to conquer in making this piece?
“This sculpture was easier than I thought. It was so exciting to be in the process of creating it. I swear I could feel my brain expanding as I did things I had often thought of but never let myself do before. There was just enough taking risks, confronting my own inner voices that said ‘what do you think you are doing, doing exactly what you want?’. Fascinating. So the challenges were very small, and internal. Mostly I just had a great time. The drawer was a lot of fun, too, had been thinkig about using those techniques, which create the ‘Little Amulet’ to make a drawer in something.
I went on to make two more in this series, and may make another couple, but different. The form continues to fascinate me. And of course the basic concept, of color and translucency moving through space, well what’s not to like about that? “

What connections do you see to the work you are currently doing?
See my notes on ‘Ola Nyingma’ for this one. Same thing.

Can you provide any other explanatory remarks about the title/intent of the work?
” ‘Souvenir’ means a remembrance. This is a remembrance of other places and cultures, of other art peices of mine; and the prince praying is remembering his heart, opening it as he recites the sutra.”

Can you provide any other explanatory remarks about the process of making the piece?
“Another aspect of making them that I wanted to approach was whether scale can be understood as part of design. Meaning that I think good design is good design whatever the size. A piece should not depend on particular attributes of its size to be thought of as good design. Likewise bad design is bad design, even if it is big. Ahem…. Anyway, pulling the design elements I liked from the smaller stamp pins into a bigger scale was a productive excercise, among other things. Took a small bit of fiddling, but then it came together.”

“These Souvenir pieces are always physically smaller than I think. In my mind the three pieces are about 18” tall. Other people had commented on how hard it was to figure out the scale of lots of my jewelry and sculpture. “Looks bigger in the pictures”, I hear that a lot. With the postage stamp pins, the stamps give them away if you can tell that’s what it is. Without that clue, the pins seemed bigger.”

I cannot remember a time in my life that I wasn't interested in looking at art, talking about art and the making of art. In 1990 I earned a Phd in art history at the University of Maryland. My first experiences with polymer clay were in 1992, but I consider my real work with the medium to date from 1999.