More on my Synergy Experience

I love photography and taking photos. I used to drive my kids crazy with having my camera at the ready for every little wonderful moment of their lives. Of course, now that they’re adults, they enjoy looking through the bulging photo albums at their younger selves. So, very surprisingly, I didn’t take any pictures at Synergy except for the photo of the sunrise on the first morning. That’s how very absorbed I was in the whole experience. My camera sat in my backpack the whole time.

I was delighted and honored today to see my blog mentioned on Cynthia Tinapple’s fabulous Polymer Clay Daily. Cynthia was the keynote speaker at the Gala banquet last Saturday night. I’m sorry to say that I was so tired that I missed the banquet. I heard it was a lot of fun. So, I was excited to see that Cynthia has generously provided her slide presentation here.

There were 3 guest lecturers, one for each day of the conference. Day One focused on Craftsmanship and Kathleen Dustin presented “The Early Development of Polymer Clay in Bead Making”. I believe that Kathleen mentioned giving this presentation in Istanbul, Turkey when she attended the International Bead and Beadwork Conference there. I first had the pleasure of meeting Kathleen at the Crafts at the Castle show in Boston last December. Her work blew me away and I was so excited to see it finally in person after drooling over photos in many polymer clay books over the years. What stayed with me after meeting her was how very down to earth she is and I just wanted to sit down with her, have a cup of tea and chat. One of the things I found most fascinating about Kathleen’s presentation of the early years in polymer clay was how artists in different states started creating canework jewelry almost simultaneously. I enjoyed listening to how it all started. It seemed the universe was ready for the springtime of our medium and it burst into bloom.

Day Two was about Business and the guest lecturer was none other than our craft tv hero, Carol Duvall. Carol is so sweet and humble that her presentation felt like you were sitting at her kitchen table with her chatting over a piece of coffecake. She shared with us her story of how many years ago on a whim, she went down to the local station for an audition and, as they say, the rest is history. From a 2 minute and 40 second spot talking about crafts before the local news to the host of her own show on HGTV, Carol has inspired us and introduced a lot of us to the medium of polymer clay. She is a lovely lady and I was honored to hear her speak in person.

Day Three was about Design and the guest speaker was Jo Lauria, one of the contributing writers of Craft in America, described as a journey to the artist, origins and techniques of American Craft. I ended up going to the ACC show instead of attending this talk. After sitting for 2 and a half days, I really needed to stretch my legs and move around.

The ACC show was downstairs at the Convention Center, with over 700 artists participating in the largest indoor juried craft show in the nation. I found it to be a sea of colors, textures and forms which left me breathless with wonder. We moved through the aisles, stopping at booths that caught our eye. I found myself attracted the most to whimsical sculpture and, for some unknown reason, lamps. I think I was being drawn to the light. We left the show with glazed eyes and great respect and awe for the amazing artists there.

More tomorrow on the panel discussions…


4 comments on “More on my Synergy Experience

  1. Dora says:

    Another very interesting and entertaining account of your Synergy experience, Karen ! What I found most fascinating was Kathleen Dustin’s account about how artists from different parts of the country started creating canework at the same time ! My own polymer clay journey began sometime in 1996 with a few packages of Fimo and one of those ‘Design Originals’ booklets (‘Trade Beads Oven Baked Clay’). I knew absolutely nothing about polymer clay and no one around me used it, so I was working in a complete ‘creative vacuum’. When I made my first cane, it was like magic to me. Of course, my early efforts were quite unimpressive, but nonetheless, I was hooked on caning, and it’s still my favorite technique!

  2. artandtea says:

    Thanks Dora. I did a very similar thing in 1994 when I picked up Nan Roche’s book at the bookstore. I was looking for a way to make beads for my jewelry. I have to dig out my first attempts but I can guarantee that they were very crude and primitive looking. I am more into sculpting the clay and mixing colors now but I do love to make simple canes, too. Your canework is wonderful!


  3. Frivolitea says:

    Wow. The conference sounds wonderful. Can anyone attend? Even a beginner with polymer clay?

  4. artandtea says:

    Absolutely! I believe the next one will be in 2010 in Baltimore.

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