There is something so wonderful about organizing - getting everything into a container and then getting the containers into a space where they fit - very satisfying. Last year I embarked on a quest to organize one of my studio areas and all the things contained in it. I made great progress.
I was down in that area yesterday and looked around - not so good right now. Time to get it back in order! There is jewelry out that was photo'd but then never put away; beads from a few projects that I left out just in case - then never got around to putting them back; remnants of photo shoot supplies that are just here and there...ugh! it's not pretty
The other studio area in my office is also looking a bit overrun. It's too dark to take a good picture right now - here is what it's supposed to look like:
Now add in plastic boxes everywhere, stuff sticking out of the boxes and then things that I need to have out but don't have a home. Bring in the new containers! Then please wish me luck as I tackle the mess.
This seems to be the word that comes to mind every time I'm asked about the week spent in Baltimore, MD, attending the Synergy2 conference. And it is a really good word to sum things up succinclty, not just the one word I can utter given my brain is still mush from all of the intense input.
If you want more than one word, please read on...
The overall theme of Synergy2 was exploring connections. All efforts (seminars, presentations, exhibit work) were focused on connections and collaboration. I understood this concept when I put together proposals for speaking at the event - it all hit home while attending as the Synergy2 team delievered the theme throughout, and then some.
The seminars were all wonderfully thought out and positioned so you could really focus and hone in on what you were there to do. And whether it was that you wanted to learn a technique like combining enamels on copper, presented by Gwen Bernecker; explore the ins and outs of combining color, with Lindly Huanani; or learn the some great tips for using the web (a major connection device if I do say so), presented by Cynthia Tinapple of Polymer Clay Daily, it was all there for you and cleverly positioned to be about connections!
The presenters whose seminars I attended were aces. In addition to the above, another great connective-relationship seminar was by my roommate, Wendy Outland. She spoke on getting your work into galleries and the ins and outs of working with gallery owners. Another was Seth Savarick's "Think Big/Work Big" seminar which I got to attend with my good friend Hazel Wheaton, the Editor of Art Jewelry magazine.
And speaking of Hazel - I had the pleasure of introducing her as one of the panelists in my publihing seminar. Hazel, Alison Lee from Craftcast and Susan Lomuto from Daily Art Muse all participated on the panel and offered the audience a wealth of information and inspiration to get out and get their work in print (or on the web)!
And speaking of panels - there were large panel discussions delivered on the concept of Synergy as a whole - propelling the artist to the next level, not to mention the medium of polymer. The highlight from the panel discussions for me was hearing Bruce Pepich from the Racine Art Museum share his passion for art and how he was excited to be integrating a wonderful collection of polymer art, compiled by Elise Winters, into the museum.
In addition to the seminars and panel discussion there were lots of opportunities to spend money!
A very artfilled exhibit of collaborative work was on display throughout the conference and really pushed the boundaries of collaboration and connections by combining two artists' work, one being primarily polymer in nature, the other, not so much. For instance a steel bowl decorated by polymer cane slices. All work on display was for sale and the pieces were all very, very tempting.
The gallery, run by friends Judy Belcher, Maureen Thomas and Mary Fassler, was filled with work by attending artists - also, all for sale. The work these great ladies and many, many volunteers watched over and cared for was a feast for the eyes. And no surprise given their professional abilities, the gallery itself was run like an honest-to-goodness gallery, although I was never afraid to linger and hover and fraternize.
The vendor area brought together a great assortment of my favorites like Polymer Clay Express, Whole Lotta Whimsy and Art Clay World as well as some that I hadn't shopped with before but will frequent going forward!
There was lots of time built into the conference for enjoying each other's company - breakfast and lunch served on site, coffee breaks, a great overall location for the event which allowed you to stay in one place and do it all if you wanted to. I'm inclined to explore as time permits and thanks to the great location it was very easy to get to the Inner Harbor, museums, galleries and the ACC Show at the Baltimore Convention Center - not to mention some fabulous restaurants.
Conference aside - for me this was a time to visit, socialize, laugh and enjoy the company of good friends. And a time to reflect and look forward. Still in the process of assimilating all of that...
Meanwhile, the birds are out today and a blue bird amongst them - patio furniture is being restored to the patio from the garage - and for some reason I felt it necessary to wash the windows. All goods signs that spring is right around the corner.
There are many things on the to-do list so off I go to be sure I can cross something off the list today as well as fill my lungs with some fresh air!
Oh, before I go - the cake! Here is a shot of the cake created by Charm City Cakes of Ace of Cake's fame, brought in for the 20th anniversary celebration of the International Polymer Clay Association (formerly NPCG) - and yes, it did taste good.
It was an amazing day in Baltimore today. Warm enough to go outside and walk to the Inner Harbor and warm enough to enjoy being near the water. And even though it is just the harbor, it was wonderful. Something about a body of water and my soul.
More snow is on the way, so this was an extra special treat and one I did not squander - my feet can prove it!
Synergy is under way with a grand celebration tonight...and a wonderful opportunity to see and hear Ford & Forlano. Their work is truly amazing and innovative, and always something to behold.
Somethng else to behold tonight will be the CAKE! For the evening's festivities, a cake was ordered, and it is a cake from Charm City Cakes - as in a cake from the "Ace of Cakes" - how cool is that? The request was for a layered cake that incoporates polymer-style work, i.e., caning, scultpure, etc. I can't wait to see it - and taste it!
Another site to behold while in Baltimore is the "American Visionary Museum."
I had been told this was a place "to see" while in town - so I did. I came away not sure what I had seen although knowing it was something special, just something my brain has to still translate.
The work, the buildings, the art of it all - was just amazing...but really so far out of my scope it is hard to translate. I tried earlier and in doing so verbally, left a friend feeling like it was a disappointment - which isn't the case. It really is a jewel and an amazing accumulation of artful things.
The people who work there were wonderful and engaging, yet leave you alone to explore on your own, at your own pace. I think I could've stayed and studied the work all day, and maybe that would've helped my brain grasp it all better, and faster. Too much to do for that kind of luxury, so it will just have to soak in and let me know when it's ready!
And for now - off to mix and mingle.
There is something about polymer clay that takes me back to the beginning - oh, could it be that my current career (spanning the last 16 years) began with this material?
Polymer is what drove me from home dec to jewelry to teaching to writing to editor to now. Amazing how powerful those colorful blocks of clay were.
Where the basis for change and transition truly lies is in the friendships and bonds (no pun intended) I formed along the way. The polymer community is where I forged friendships that spanned the wires (now wireless!); the polymer community is where I realized that anything was possible; the polymer community (and some encouragement from my family) is where I realized I could do more than I ever believed; the polymer community is where I was accepted as is, site unseen - no questions asked. It is to the wonderful people of this community that I will be forever grateful for taking me in.
This week in Baltimore will be very artfully filled - a visit to the Visionary Museum; a day at the ACC (American Craft Council) show; days filled with presentations and seminars on business topics and techniques at Synergy 2, not to mention the work in the collaborative exhibit, the gallery where everyone will have their work out for show and sell and all the jewelry that everyone is wearing!; nights filled with laughter, good friends, new friends and I'm sure a bottle of wine or two; time to reflect on all that has happened in the past and time to embrace all that is yet to come.
And to my sister - thanks for showing me that book on that fateful day when I was just ready for a change - and to my dear sweet husband who said no to glass and the torch that goes along with it! (which I've since purchased and use as often as I can...but let's save that for another day!)
Synergy 2 is fast approaching...deadlines looming
Publishing seminar in good order with very generous and knowledgable editors lined up to share their thoughts and ideas on the current state of, and the future of, publishing, from their perspectives. Now to get slides in order for a Power Point so I don't forget which questions to ask!
Copper & Bronze Presentation, including all the wonderful images shared by so many wonderful artists are prepped and in their proper place inside power point - gotta love that software.
New pieces in the kiln that I'm crossing my fingers will come out okay - if so - I can move on - if not, I'm going to start thinking I don't have enough clay or time! Wish me luck.