Zooming In

Often  zooming in on an image can inspire new design and color combination ideas. Today I’m zooming in on chairs.

These are three very different details from chairs made by artists for the Chair Affair fundraiser – the annual auction for the Portland Community Warehouse.

Many Portland artists contribute pieces to the auction. Some make the chairs from scratch, some use recycled chairs. My friend and neighbor, pastel artist Greg Danielson started out with an old chair and the idea of making the legs of a chair be something else. Since many historic chair designs have legs inspired by animals he thought he would do a modernized version.

His first choice of animal was a giraffe, but the proportions caused a problem. How tall would the back need to be to mimic the long neck of the giraffe? His second choice was dogs. Multiple animals seemed more appropriate. While looking at photographs of African animals he saw an image of two zebras who seemed to be embracing neck to neck. Danielson decided that would be perfect.

He started out wanting the zebras to be 3D with the heads curving around to the front but that ended up tipping the chair over. So he went with a 2D design.  He calls his final version a “wingback” chair and says he was painting stripes for a week.

The auction raises money to provide basic furnishings to over 5000 people in need every year.  You can see the full size chairs and other auction items in the gallery for the 2012 Portland Chair Affair.
Portland Community Warehouse 2012 Tables, Chairs and Artists

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The Gift of Color for Valentines Day

Target aired a new commercial on the Grammies. It features the song ‘Alouette, Gentile Alouette’ by The Delta Rhythm Boys. If you haven’t seen this fun spin on color, check it out on YouTube.

Happy Valentines Day! May all your days be filled with color!

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Pasta Machine Standards 4.0

Since I alway start with the #1 setting, this version of the chart has the thick settings at the top. PDF Version: Pasta Machine Standards 4.0

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Pasta Machine Standards Version 3.0

Here’s my latest draft of a chart based on input from many sources. The standard sheet thicknesses are now only in millimeters, plus I added a column for the size of the sheet (in mm and inches) that you will get from a regular sized block of clay at the THIN, MEDIUM and THICK sizes.

Look for a guest post from Sage Bray and myself coming soon on Polymer Clay Daily. We will include a short survey to collect data on as many pasta machines as we can. It may take some time but we will have standards soon! In the meantime please keep the comments, suggestions and emails coming.

PDF Version Pasta Machine Standards – Version 3.0

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Thank You Elise

The Racine Art Museum’s Terra Nova: Polymer Art at the Crossroads closed on Sunday. The first major museum exhibit of polymer art in the country, this show could never have happened without the vision and intrepid determination of polymer artist and advocate Elise Winters.

I first heard Elise’s dream for a museum show as we were sitting around her living room during the Masters Invitational Polymer Clay Invitational Exhibit and Sale in 1997.

Held in Demarest, New Jersey, MIPCES was the first exhibit of master and emerging artists in this new medium.  The brand new polymer community happily converged on the Old Church Cultural Center to see the show, shop at the sale, and take the workshops. Envisioned and organized by Elise, MIPCES set the stage for Terra Nova fifteen years later.

Over the years between MIPCES and Terra Nova, Elise recruited a core group of volunteers that included Rachel Carren, Nancy Travers and many, many others.

They started Polymer Art Archives to record the evolution of this new art form, organized a show for the National Polymer Clay Guild’s 2001 conference at Bryn Mawr College, and established the Polymer Collection Project to place polymer art in museums around the country.

At the same time that all these organizational efforts were underway, Elise created a color filled body of work that took polymer to a new level.  Accepted into the top shows in the country, Elise traveled the show circuit and championed polymer clay as an artist’s medium up and down the east coast.  Along the way she battled cancer. And then battled it again and again.

If you are not a polymer artist, you may not be familiar with Elise’s story, her valor, and her beautiful work.

As gracious as she alway is, she will read this and then immediately give credit to everyone who helped the Terra Nova show grow from a dream into a reality.  But as polymer artist Jeff Dever said so well as the show was closing, “Elise . . . you were the catalyst that helped us dare to dream. Thank you!!! We are in your debt.”

Elise Winters website.
Polymer Art Archive.

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