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 ›

Sarah Shriver, Earthy Circus Necklace-3 bead detail
2015, 24" overall, polymer, glass & brass spacers

With the coming of spring, two new gallery shows featuring polymer art will be on view.  One show is in winter-weary Philadelphia and the other one in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, but both will present a diverse range of new pieces.

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Judy Belcher, Knitting Missoni, 2013, 25" overall x 2 1/2"w x 1/2"d (max bead)
polymer, sterling silver

Well versed in the realm of numbers, Judy Belcher applies mathematical thinking to her practice of art. Belcher is the author of 2 books on polymer art* and a master educator about polymer in terms of studio practice and public outreach. These accomplishments all draw upon her extensive organizational, communication and business skills. She has been a strong advocate for polymer and other crafts at both the state (West Virginia) and the national level. Belcher moves fluidly between polymer enthusiasts and the larger network of craft organizations. The value of Belcher’s business experience and her capacity to get things done cannot be underestimated.

Belcher’s hands-on practice of her own polymer art has little to do with number crunching or numerical imagery. However, much of her work relates directly or indirectly to mathematics. Read more ›

Cynthia Tinapple and Blair Davis, Red Stripped Bowl
2013, 10 1/2" diam x 6" D, polymer on-lay and Ohio Walnut

In the spring of 2014, Diane Levesque, wearing her Assistant Professor of Studio Art hat, taught the first full semester class on polymer technique at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. This was a major development in polymer education, as polymer technique had never before been integrated into a college curriculum. In order for this to happen, Levesque wrote a proposal  advocating the value of polymer as a means to teach color theory and presented a complete curriculum, which then had to be approved by college officials. Students from the spring 2014 polymer class were enthusiastic about the class, which bodes well for future enrollment. After polymer class has been taught twice more for a total of 3 times, it will achieve a permanent position in the art department’s studio offerings.

Levesque’s initial inspiration was the Terra Nova Exhibition at the Racine Art Museum in 2011. After seeing the show Levesque became intrigued by the potential of
polymer and took it upon herself to learn more. She enrolled in a polymer workshop taught by Lindly Haunani for some “hands on” experience and attended the IPCG Synergy 3 conference in 2013. Ultimately, Haunani and Maggie Maggio’s book, Polymer Clay: Color Inspirations became the textbook for Levesque’s class.

In conjunction with the introduction of polymer into the Carthage art department class rotation, Levesque, donned her hat as the Director of the H. F. Johnson Gallery of Art at Carthage College and scheduled an exhibition of polymer art.  As the curator, Levesque invited 25 artists to send recent or significant artwork for display in a show entitled: A-Revisioning: New Works in Polymer. The exhibition opened on September 9, 2014 and ran through October 25, 2014.

Laura Tabakman, On the Trail, 2014, variable installation size, polymer, steel wire, wood

Laura Tabakman, On the Trail, 2014, variable installation size, polymer, steel wire, wood

The well-designed exhibit, installed in the white-box, on-campus gallery space, contained a wide range of works. Several stellar pieces were placed to spark attendees’ interest immediately upon entry. While these pieces might have been placed in the foreground as highlights, the depth of the show continued throughout the room.
The amount of distinctive, museum quality artwork was stunning in a show of this size and diversity. Many of  the artists sent examples of high quality jewelry art, but the most innovative work in the show was not the jewelry. Read more ›

Maggie Maggio, Temptation, 2012 14 x 14 x 5 inches, polymer
photo: Courtney Frisse

(in)Organic at Racine Art Museum

A small gem of an exhibition, “(in)Organic” is now open at the Racine Art Museum, in Racine, Wisconsin (Oct 12, 2014-Feb 1, 2015).  Curated by Lena Vigna, the show features work by a range of artists who investigate the interrelationship of the natural world and humans.   Their varied, mixed media artwork is innovative, colorful and offers plenty of visual richness for the eye.  Artist’s concerns touch upon social, historical as well as environmental issues as they relate to nature.  Approaches include manipulating scale and materials in unexpected ways.  Read more ›