Dustin Speaks About Sculpting Color

Steven Ford & David Forlano, Char, 2002
Wood, polymer clay, magnets, steel, sterling silver,
21.5 x 13 x 5″

The Curator's Statement for Sculpting Color currently at the Fuller Craft Museum reads:

“Unlike any other materials in fine craft, polymer clay has no ancient history, no millennium as a utilitarian art form, no past masters from which to draw inspiration or technical expertise. And unlike any other material, the artist often works directly with color in their hands: mixing color; blending color; squeezing color; pinching different colors into patterns; sculpting color – all without tools. However, when tools are used, they are simple, many of which were easily adapted from kitchen equipment. Originally, techniques were drawn from other media, including hot glass, natural clay, and metal, but today there is a high level of technical innovation specific to polymer clay based on this intrinsic property of color. The artists chosen for this exhibition have developed these techniques, use them in a masterful way, and express a strong personal vision through sculpted color.”

Kathleen Dustin shared some further thoughts about the show:

Victoria Hughes
Mandala Box, 1999
Imitative Pietra Dura Plaque, 2006
Souvenir #3: Oh Clever ButterFly, 1999

“I was honored and excited when Gretchen Keyworth, director and curator of the Fuller Craft Museum, asked me to curate a polymer exhibit two years ago. She specifically mentioned “not just jewelry” which excited me even more. From the beginning, I decided this would be an invitational rather than competitive exhibition and that I wanted to show a great diversity of polymer techniques. Mastery of technique, however, was not my primary focus for this exhibit. What I really wanted to emphasize when I chose artists was that they had concept as an important part of their work.

Steven Ford & David Forlano
Arc, 2003, polymer, copper sterling silver, steel
Char, 2002, wood,polymer, magnets, steel, sterling silver
Satellite Necklace, 2006, sterling silver polymer

The polymer community, in general, does not talk much about concept, when in fact it can often drive the invention of techniques. We have workshops exclusively about surface techniques, how to make a flower, how to do more intricate millefiore, or how to make pretty colors. All of these are important things to know, but we don’t get together and discuss what makes good design, how to be creative in a basic way, how to make your work distinctive, and how to say something with your work. Often, when the idea or concept is the driving force behind the art, we find ourselves developing techniques to fulfill that idea. The participating artists were all included because their work isn’t just beautiful or exquisitely made, but because they express themselves in a unique way with polymer, both in their concept and in the techniques they developed to support that concept.

I only invited 11 polymer artists initially because of the relatively small size of the space the Fuller had scheduled for us and each artist was asked to contribute one or two large or major pieces. A couple of the artists had earlier told me they wanted to do an installation, so I knew we couldn’t display a lot of artists work. I do regret that there are a few additional polymer artists I should have invited, but I must say that the exhibit is extremely interesting and includes a great diversity within only 25 artworks by the 11 artists. I am very proud of the show, the community of polymer artists, and the Fuller for putting this on.”

Rebecca Mazur (aka Zimmerman)
Teapots from the collection of D. Kinder
Polymer clay and plastic coated copper wire

ranging from 9-13″ high

Elise Winters is an art jewelry designer who has worked for the last ten years to promote polymer clay as a recognized medium for fine craft. Additional information can be found on the Mission page. You can see examples of her award-winning jewelry and learn more about her background at www.elisewinters.com Rachel Carren is an art historian and an artist who is devoted to recording polymer history, promoting polymer as a valued medium for fine craft and to the making of distinctive polymer jewelry. To learn more about her background and her unusual blend of skills see: www.rachelcarren.com