Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Art of the Bead: Polymer Clay...

Last year, we had an art exhibition at Allegory Gallery called, "The Art of the Bead".  The aim of the show was to showcase the diverse approach to bead-making and feature the pieces as works of small-scale artwork.  Really, what are beads but small little sculptures that we wear?  We had 50 different artists participating from around the world.  The artists represented a wide range of different techniques and materials.

Back in November, there was a pop-up exhibition called, "Into the Forest" organized by Julie Takes, Emily Squires Levine, and Laura Tabakman.  The show was in a gallery space in Pittsburgh and featured the work of polymer clay artists from around the world.  They also had a guest speaker during the opening named Brigitte Martin.  Brigitte Martin is a goldsmith and the founder and editor of Crafthaus.  During her presentation, she talked about how we can elevate polymer clay and further the artistic dialogue about polymer clay as an art medium.  And it got me thinking... how can I help the conversation?  And it dawned on me that I have a unique position as a gallery owner and creative director to use my influence and put my stamp of approval and say, "this is art".  In the grand scheme of things, I don't know really how much my "stamp of approval" is worth, but I still wanted to do my part.
Polymer Clay beads by Andrew Thornton
So, we decided to do a follow-up exhibition that focused on polymer clay as the primary medium.  We asked 13 different artists to participate.  Instead of having each artist show just one bead, they created a collection of 12 beads.  This multiplied the beads of exhibit threefold!  We wanted each artist to have the opportunity to show a range of their work and represent their point of view as polymer clay bead artists.  The show features the work of Christi Friesen, Pamela Wynn, Ann Marie Donovan, Terri Powell (aka Artsy Sciencey), Brooke Bock, Erin Prais-Hintz, Heather Powers, Jenny Davies-Reazor, Kelly Russell, Rebecca Watkins, Wendy Wallin Malinow, and me!  The show will be up until May 18th, so if you're in the Ligonier area, you should definitely stop by and see the collection in person!  If you can't make it to Southwestern Pennsylvania, you can see all of the amazing submissions, CLICK HERE.

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