Go ahead, be a stick-in-the-mud potter (pun intended) and cringe, but polymer clay offers incredible elasticity, negligible shrinkage and versatility. Case in point: Orcas Island artist Maria Papademetriou uses it to create ethereal sinuous ‘veins’ around driftwood branches as part of her assemblages.
I found this out first hand at an Introduction to Polymer Clay workshop by the very gracious Maria herself, whose intriguing artwork reference shrines, amulets and talismans from her Greek Orthodox childhood. The class was held at Monkey Puzzle Workshop – a cosy, new art-discovery space at Eastsound Square launched by the inimitably bedecked Ms. Sallie Bell, as an extension of her stone bead and metal jewelry shop, Monkey Puzzle, a few doors down. In fact Sallie joined the class and together with Charlotte Sumrall, a textile artist, we three had a great time watching Maria’s demos, and getting our hands dirty with rolling and cutting the polymer clay (a hand-cranked pasta maker is involved), stamping with ink, and even applying gold leaf. It is just the most agreeable and approachable medium! To my delight, the material fees included some bead shopping at Sallie’s shop for embellishments to add to our ‘masterpiece’.
Maria has over 35 years of experience working with ceramics, but she is infectiously enthusiastic about polymer clay as a medium. Her enthusiasm alone made the class really interesting. She is an engaging speaker and generously opened the window to precious little tips from years of art practice. Oh, and she also brought a mean plate of homemade chocolate brownies. It was a Sunday well spent. I am still too much in love with ceramic clay but I AM already thinking of using polymer clay elements to incorporate into my own mixed media work.
There’s another class this Sunday. Check it out.
Sunday January 27th 10am-12pm 1pm-4pm
Location: Monkey Puzzle Workshop, Eastsound Square, Orcas Island
Fee is $50, plus a $20 materials fee.
PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Please contact 317-5522 or email monkey@rockisland or information/registration.
P.S. Did you know there is a Northwest Polymer Clay Guild? Check out their site to see the work of artists already using this medium.