Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Synergy2-The Banquet

In 2008 I missed the Synergy banquet due to illness. I vowed that would not happen this time around. This final post features pictures taken on the night of the closing banquet.

Before we sat down for the keynote, dinner and the auction, everyone gathered for drinks, a book signing, and conversation.

Socializing

Janice Abaranel and Sandra McCaw

Libby Mills and Karen Ottenbreit

Quassia, Diane, and Helen (CT Guild)

Libby, Janice, and Me

Dayle Doroshow and Carolyn Skei

Even the Food was Artsy

Around 6:30 the doors opened to the “Mirror Room” for the final event.

Lisa Pavelka introduced the IPCA’s secret handshake:

On one side of the banquet room:

All Eyes on the Head Table

And the other side of the banquet room:

Alison Lee of Craftcast was our keynote speaker. Alison shared one of her favorite books, Mike and His Steam Shovel as a reminder to take on a challenge, to think creatively, and develop alternate solutions. (This also brought back memories of watching Captain Kangaroo and listening as he read this story.)

The banquet ended with Tracy Holmes leading a rousing auction of wonderful polymer artwork.

Synergy2 attracted over 175 attendees representing several countries including:

  • The United States
  • Canada
  • The United Kingdom
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Israel
  • The Czech Republic
  • Germany

New friendships were formed and old friendships were reestablished. Synergy2 truly represented its theme of Exploring Connections.

For more thoughts on Synergy2, visit these blogs:

Iris Misly at Polymeri Online

Janice Abarbanel at Exploring the Art of Polymer Clay

Susan Lumoto at Daily Art Muse


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Synergy2 Days 2 and 3

Synergy Day Two

The day begins with continental breakfast and then it is off to another day of seminars. On tap today: Immaterial: Repurposed Possibilities with Jeff Dever, Ten Trends with Cynthia Tinapple, and Collaboration as Inspiration with Loretta Lam and Ronna Weltman.

I was looking forward to Jeff’s seminar and was not disappointed. Several key points standout: Think Differently, Plan Ahead (when using materials other than polymer), and Seek Inspiration. My head is buzzing with ideas and possibilities for using what I learned in creating future sculptural work.

In Ten Trends, Cynthia shared her predictions for the future of polymer in four areas: cultural uncertainty, manual competency, social activism, and new media.

And in Collaboration as Inspiration, Loretta and Ronna shared how their artistic friendship started and how it has grown over time into a collaborative relationship.

The Purposeful Marketplace

The panel discussion on Day 2 focused on selling in today’s marketplace. Speakers included Robert Dancik, Tamara Honaman, and Lisa Bayne from Artfulhome.com. Moderator Jeff Dever opened with an intriguing question: Is selling a form of validation? Is selling for everyone? This was followed by another curious question: How do you define recognition?

Hmm, certainly questions that are worth some thought. Other points from this panel included:

  • Feedback-who do you get feedback from and how do you integrate the information
  • Pitfalls-overextending yourself and not staying true to your vision
  • Creating a buzz-use social networking, blog, write press releases

Self Expression

Robert Dancik gave a lively presentation on Self Expression in the afternoon. Always inspiring, Robert started with the following quote:

Technique is what you know, expression is who you are.
-Michael Tracy, Artistic Director Pilobolus Dance Company

From here Robert shared ways to move out of left brain thinking and into right brain thinking, including:

  • working with new materials
  • changing your format (eg: small scale or large scale)
  • limiting your resources or color palette
  • letting your self feel things

He also reinforced what we all know to be true: ‘seat’ time improves creativity and artistic expression and to listen when something pops into our heads (and to write it down or record it.)

Synergy2 Day Three

The final day of Synergy always seems to go by quickly. Seminars are reduced to two during the day, the gallery and vendor fair close early, and the event ends with a banquet and auction. If there is time, a visit to the American Craft Council (ACC) show is also an option.

My final two seminars are The Impressionable Critique with Barbara McGuire and Mix and Match with Maureen Carlson.

In The Impressionable Critique Barbara explains how a critique can be conducted using the elements of design and the principles of design. These same aspects may also be used by art show juries. Barbara reminds us of two things:

  • to use the elements and principles of design to critique our own work, and
  • to focus on one aspect at a time when improving our work because focusing on too many areas at once creates overwhelm

Barbara shared her personal artwork to discuss issues that may come up in a critique (e.g. underdeveloped concepts, skill, edges and frames, unbalanced elements) and provided critiques of artwork brought in by fellow artists.

Maureen’s Mix and Match seminar was quite fun. Maureen explained the various modeling materials available to artists, including moldable wire, cloth/fiber, air dry clays, powders/fibers, and two-part epoxy resins. Samples of various products were shared which gave us the opportunity to feel and play with the various materials. Once again I left a seminar with a head full of possibilities and ideas for future work.

Clay Manufacturers Forum

The final panel discussion at Synergy2 was a clay manufacturers forum. Moderated by Seth Savarik, the panel included Iris Weiss from Polyform Products, Gerlinde Karg from Staetdler, Germany, Donna Kato for Van Aken/Kato Polyclay, and Lisa Pavelka and Bettina Welker for Viva Decor/Pardo Clay.

Clay Forum

Viva Decor/Pardo Clay is the newest player on the block. Pardo has been available in the US for about one year. It is made with beeswax, comes in jewelry clay and artist clay, and, instead of the usual block format, Pardo is extruded into ball shapes. There are six balls to a package and the package is recyclable.

Other tidbits from the forum included:

  • Polyform products are shipped on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to stores to (hopefully) keep the clay from sitting on a loading dock through a weekend
  • Fimo should be kept in a cool, dark place to maintain quality
  • State of California law is stricter than German law regarding the manufacturing of polymer
  • By law, polymer clay products (plastic that is hardened in an oven) cannot be labeled “not for children”
  • Kato clay has one mixer that is used for all colors from white to black
  • Staedtler proposed that guidelines be developed for shipping and storage of polymer clay

Next: The Banquet

More impressions of Synergy2 can be found on the following blogs:

Kelly Russell’s Beadfuddled

Heather Campbell’s The Purple Door

Julie Eakes


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Synergy2 Kick-Off Event and Day 1

Synergy2 Kick-Off

It is hard to believe that two years have past since the inaugural Synergy event sponsored by the International Polymer Clay Association (IPCA). This past week I was in Baltimore taking in the fun and excitement of Synergy2 Exploring Connections.

I took my laptop with the intent of writing a synopsis each night. Right; that obviously did not happen. I got as far as writing two and a half sentences. Fatigue tends to set in early after a full day of seminars and socializing. So, instead of an “as it happened” update, I’m giving you a review of what took place during the conference.

Ford and Forlano

Synergy2 kicked off with a presentation by Steve Ford and David Forlano, better known as Ford and Forlano (or City Zen Cane in their early days.) Ford and Forlano have collaborated for over 20 years. In this presentation, Steve and David shared how their working relationship began, how it has evolved, and how they’ve maintained it over the years. They agreed that it is like a marriage with its ups and downs. Not only is this collaboration significant for the length of time they’ve worked together, but since 2006, they’ve worked separately with Steve residing in Philadelphia and David in Santa Fe.

A slide show accompanied their presentation which showed the evolution of their work. It was amazing to see the transformation of their art and the growth and development of their style. 

After their presentation, Charm City Cakes presented this amazing cake in honor of the IPCA’s 20th anniversary. It was quite tasty.

Synergy2 Day One

On Thursday, the seminars started. I attended seminars by Nan Roche (Inspiration from Scientific Imagery), Lisa Pavelka (Build Your Brand), and Barbara McGuire (Incredible Lightness of Learning). In between the seminars, two presentations were scheduled.

Collecting Polymer

The first presentation “Collecting Polymer” featured Elise Winters and Bruce Pepich. Elise is a pioneer in polymer. Bruce Pepich is the Executive Director and Curator of Collections at the Racine Art Museum (RAM) in Wisconsin. Together Elise and Bruce are working to debut a permanent polymer art exhibit (the Polymer Collection) at RAM. Elise and Bruce shared how this dream exhibit became reality. Bruce shared pictures of RAM, explained the museum’s philosophy, and discussed his exhibit aesthetic.

As with many artistic endeavors, money is needed to make bring this event to fruition. Please take some time to read about Bruce and the museum here, read about the collection here and here, and then consider making a donation in support of this exhibit here.

Intentional Evolution

In the afternoon a panel discussion was moderated by Jeff Dever and featured Rachel Carren, Bruce Pepich, and Kathleen Dustin. The panel discussed the evolution of polymer and how to push the medium to the next level. The pertinent points I took away from this panel were to:

  • increase the public’s exposure to polymer via education
  • view polymer as an alternative material that is used as a medium of expression versus technique
  • improve polymer’s credibility as a medium
  • have a vision and direction when using polymer
  • cross-pollinate polymer with other media
  • refer to the medium as “polymer” (and remove the word “clay”)

For more impressions on Synergy2, check out Libby Mill’s blog and Polymer Clay Daily