Karen and I flew down to Baltimore on Wednesday. I surprised myself at being able to pack everything into one carry-on bag.
After settling into our hotel room, we ventured over to the Baltimore Convention Center to check-in, get our “welcome” packet, and catch-up with a few people from our local guilds. Dinner that night was at the hotel restaurant which quickly filled with Synergy attendees. Here we met Alison Lee of Craftcast and chatted with Susan Lomuto of Polymer Clay Notes, Libby Mills, Jen Doiron, Diane Villano, and Sharon Mihalyak from the Southern CT Guild.
Day One: Craftsmanship
Day One of Synergy focused on Craftsmanship. My first seminar was with SL Savarick who presented on The Polymer Clay Jewelry Studio. Seth discussed aspects of fine craftsmanship and design, questions to ask ourselves regarding our work when entering the art/craft market, and provided a series of demonstrations on creating light, durable forms.
The guest speaker for the first general session was Kathleen Dustin. Kathleen presented on the history of polymer clay up through the 1980’s with an emphasis on beads as that is where many of the leaders in polymer clay made their marks.
After lunch we visited the teacher fair and talked with Dayle Doroshow who is already planning her 2009 workshops at Gwen Gibson’s La Cascade Retreat Center in Southern France. We also met Kim Cavander, Laura Tabakman, Laurie Mika, Maureen Carlson, and caught up with Jana Roberts Benzon.
Before the afternoon sessions began, a panel discussion was presented. The Thursday panel discussion, Hallmarks of Craftsmanship was moderated by Jeff Dever and featured art historian and polymer clay artist Rachel Carren, polymer clay artists Donna Kato and Sarah Shriver, and the host of Craftcast, Alison Lee.
Some great quotes and thoughts from this panel discussion included:
Imperfection is the nature of handmade art.
Don’t be apologetic.
Workmanship of Risk.
My afternoon session was spent with Robert Dancik who discussed Cold Connections for Polymer Clay. This includes things like rivets, bolts, and tab closures. The use of cold connections opens up a whole new world of possibilities and creativity when it comes to problem solving how to connect non-polymer items to polymer clay. Glue may not become obsolete in my studio, however, with what I learned from Robert, I hope to use it less frequently.
Before taking a dinner break, we wandered through the Synergy Gallery which featured Holly Mion’s fantastic collection of polymer art as well as wonderful polymer art for sale by our fellow Synergy attendees and items for the live and silent auction. Dinner was down at the Inner Harbor at a Tapas restaurant. And then it was back for a final session with Katherine Dewey on Molded Armatures.
Katherine’s seminar was a bit more technical than I was prepared for. She gave us a very detailed handout on creating inner “skeleton” (my term) armatures and two-part molds. By this time my brain was on overload.
Being the Lost devotees that we are, Karen and I hurried back to the hotel to catch the last 40 minutes of the show and to rest before getting up the next day for Day Two of Synergy.
Tomorrow: Synergy Review Day Two-Business