Sunday, May 4, 2014

EuroSynergy 2014 - a short summary

EuroSynergy is over and I now start my long journey home. All the presentations were really interesting and useful but I was particularly inspired after the seminars ‘Working with polymer on a large scale’ by Bonnie Bishoff and ‘Polymer lab: new approaches to age-old techniques’ by Daniel Torres and Natalie Garcia de Leaniz. I think they will both greatly help with my forthcoming ideas for illuminated sculpture using translucent polymer clay. It was also great to put real faces to the names I only knew of online; being able to talk to fellow polymer clay artists, sharing knowledge and experiences was so helpful. I met a lot of lovely talented, creative people and feel like I am leaving behind a whole group of new friends.
At the opening night speech I got a special mention, as the person who had travelled the furthest. There were a record 29 different countries represented out of the 146 attendees at the conference and this was the first time that New Zealand had a presence. I think most people got to know me (as the lady with the list), as I took every opportunity to introduce myself to as many people as could, where appropriate giving out the silver fern lapel pins I had made, as small tokens of friendship. They proved quite useful for pinning the conference identity badges to our clothes, as the neck string that they came on was too long and interfered with the necklaces and pendants that many of the attendees were wearing.

When the winners of the 2014 International Polymer Clay Awards were announced, I was thrilled to get a Best of Category for Sculpture award, for ‘Spring Trio’. Particularly when the jurors were: Cynthia Tinapple (founder of the Polymer Clay Daily blog), Christine Knoke (Director of Exhibitions & Chief Curator, the Mingei International Museum) and Christine Dumont (founder of the Europe-based community website Voila!). Unfortunately the actual statuette awards were not brought to the conference (for customs reasons?), so I do not have it yet, they will be posted out to us. All the 2014 International Polymer Clay Awards winners can be seen here 
The small artwork ‘NZ Kiwi’ that I created for the auction, held at the Gala Dinner on the last night, went to Judy Belcher for €80 (approximately NZ$130). I was pleased that it raised a reasonable amount, as I am not a famous name (yet), and also that it went to a prominent figure in the polymer clay world.

'NZ Kiwi' being auctioned at the Gala Dinner
Now that I can call myself an ‘international award winning’ polymer clay artist, I feel I have reached the point where I can stop trying everything as I teach myself new techniques (not that I will ever stop learning). This next phase in my polymer work will focus on the ideas I have had for a while, for illuminated sculpture using translucent polymer clay. I will need to do a lot of experimentation as I develop what I hope will become my signature style.
Once again, I express my thanks to CreativeNZ, for the grant funding that enabled me to attend EuroSynergy. I feel so inspired now, I just need to find some time to put into action my own creations and also to continue to raise awareness of polymer clay as a creative medium here in New Zealand.

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