Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A review of 2014

This was my first post of the year:

This year I want to continue teaching polymer clay but for my own personal creative work I just want to "do what inspires me", as I spent so much of last year preparing teaching material and samples. In particular I want to:

1.   Focus on one-off artworks/sculptures to sell through galleries, gallery stores and selected shops.

2.   Experiment with lighting, starting with translucent polymer clay covered candle holders and then larger scale electric lighting (this may involve some non-polymer clay materials for larger scale pieces but it is something that really inspires me).

3.   Try and win an international polymer clay award, to add credibility to my teaching ability.

4.   Expand locations to teach polymer clay workshops. 

When I look back over this year, some things I have achieved and others have fallen by the wayside. Sadly I do not feel I have spent that much time doing what inspires me, partly because other things have happened (the first four months of the year were spent on my application to CreativeNZ, for a grant to attend the EuroSynergy Conference in Malta, which was successful; then organising for and attending the event at the end of April/beginning of May, which was a fantastic opportunity) and partly because I have been working through a backlog of old ideas and completing unfinished projects.’

1.   I have created a number of one-off sculptures: ‘Rainbow Cauldron’, ‘Colour Play’ (wall hanging), ‘Global Reflections’ and ‘Colour Rings’. As I have only sold one these and still have my ‘Out-of-this-World’ sculpture, I am running out of storage space in my small studio. This is making me think that I would be better going back to 2-D artwork which I can hang on the wall. Also, as mentioned in my post of 1 October, I want to spend more time developing my ‘dot mosaics’.

2.   I have made some  LED candle holders with polymer clay over spherical glass bowls. These are quite effective but I still need to do more experimentation to be able to make large self-supporting hollow polymer globes that could be used as lampshades for electrical lamp bases. My fear is that polymer may not be strong enough at the thinness required for translucency and that I might have to move to a different medium to achieve the effects I have in mind.

3.   The receipt of a ‘Best in Sculpture’ award for ‘Spring Trio’ at the 2014 IPCAwards, presented at the EuroSynergy Conference in Malta, was the highlight of this year for me. It gave me a tremendous confidence boost but then actually made it really hard for me to create anything new, as I was scared that whatever I did next would not live up to my winning piece.  

4.   Apart from teaching a short course of polymer clay evening classes at Glaze Ltd, other polymer clay workshops have waned because of lack of participants, which is disappointing after the amount of time I spent last year preparing teaching material. This year has led me to review the workshops I offer. I had hoped that teaching through recognised art centres would make it easier to attract students than doing the promotion myself. Whether it is a sign of the times or still the fact that New Zealanders are not aware of or interested in polymer clay, I am not sure. Anyway, I have decided to take a year out of teaching so I can concentrate on my own work and will only teach small groups of up to four, at home, if approached.

Once I have developed my dot mosaics further, I might look at teaching workshops on this technique, with the emphasis on contemporary mosaics rather than polymer clay. It seems such a shame to do this but I so enjoyed the teaching and apart from the few regular members of the Auckland Polymer Clay Guild, it seems so hard to raise general interest in polymer clay. This is why I may have to place the emphasis on mosaics – and then introduce polymer clay through the back door.

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