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Elise Winters, a Personal Reflection

Polymer artist and icon Elise Winters passed away on January 1, 2019. The IPCA will continue to be a supporter of The Polymer Project and is grateful for her years of support and service to the polymer community.


Elise Winters, October 2014Elise Winters, Racine Art Museum Polymer Symposium October 2014
Photo Credit: Ann Duncan Hlavach
The first time I met Elise Winters was in February 2008 and I was a nervous wreck. The polymer community had converged on Baltimore, Maryland for the first-ever Synergy Conference and I’d just finished my presentation on websites for artists. On the way out of the room, Elise stopped me to introduce herself and to ask if I had some time during the conference to talk about her website plans.

That small request blossomed into a business relationship and then a personal relationship. I remember a call from her one day to talk about this project she’d been working on – to get polymer into a museum permanent collection. Oh, and there would be another website and did I know Rachel Carren? At Synergy2 I was honored to introduce her and Bruce Pepich as they kicked off what she and Rachel called The Polymer Project.

Over the course of the next ten years we talked websites, polymer, and so much more. We talked health issues – her cancer, my husband’s diverticulitis and later, a foot wound that refused to heal, my son’s diagnosis with a rare sleep disorder. We shared pictures of trips – mine to Malta for EuroSynergy, her trip to France with Woody. Menus – brisket or a turkey for Rosh Hashanah, and what do you put in your charoset for Passover? The call from Pearl Paint in Miami to tell Elise that they had a stash of the (recently discontinued) FIMO Classic and what colors did she need?

Elise was a driving force in the arts and in the polymer community. Ann Duncan Hlavach recalls Elise’s comments at the second Polymer Symposium in October 2014:

“I was at RAM for both symposiums and each time I left deeply affected by her words. She said “what will you do to further polymer” to the entire session and it imprinted on me like a branding iron. I hope to make her proud. I hope we all make her proud.”

Postings on social media and other online platforms are a testament to her and how she will be remembered. Without any doubt, her memory will always be a blessing.

Barbara

Barbara Forbes-Lyons
IPCA Executive President