Category: Critical Commentary

Inspiration and Interpretation

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Ford/Forlano, Big Bead Necklace, 1998 Throughout time, artists have found countless sources of inspiration.  Sometimes it comes from the world around them; the song of a bird, the curve of a face, or the color of a flower have all inspired art.  Other times,  an idea springs from something that is already integrated into an artist’s culture such as the lilt of a folk tune, an archetypal myth, or even a work by another artist.  

How do I love thee?

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Debra DeWolff, Bracelet, 2007 “How do I love thee?     Let me count the ways.” * Expressions of love are numerous and vary from culture to culture.  In many cultures, not only is holding hands a tangible connection between two people, it generally is an outward sign of affection.  Wearing a bracelet that encircles the wrist in a kind of embrace might be considered as a symbolic manifestation of love.  Indeed, the words “embrace” and “bracelet” share the same Latin root, “brachium”, which means arm.

Ideally Positioned

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“The Ambassador of Handmade,” an article about the Do It Yourself (DIY) movement and one of its chief proponents, Faythe Levine, recently appeared in the New York Times. By the time I had finished reading the piece, it struck me that polymer serves as an ideal toggle between the world of fine craft and the world of alternative craft or DIY.

Rachel’s Thoughts inspired by Jed Perl’s Essay on the Artisanal Urge

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In Jed Perl’s article, “The Artisanal Urge” American Craft (June/July 2008), he defends the “human desire to make something with one’s own hands” against the current stylistic trend of a more detached approach to creating art. Perl, an author of several books on art and the art critic for The New Republic, argues that the point of creating art is to allow the hand of the maker to be expressive whatever the chosen medium- be it paint, clay, ink or metal.

Leslie Blackford’s Distinctive Voice

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The first time I encountered Leslie Blackford’s inventive creations was the summer of 2007. It was decidedly different from the figurative polymer work I had seen before. From the early days of polymer clay, many artists have found the material to be well suited to sculpting. Two notable artists who use polymer in a sculptural or figurative manner are Katherine Dewey and Maureen Carlson. Although stylistically very different, both Katherine’s and Maureen’s pieces are fanciful, and highly accomplished in terms of technique, finish, and completeness of an idea. Their figures always seem to allude to a story. Leslie’s figures also