Synergy Conference

EuroSynergy2 Conference 2016 Teasers

(find out more on our Facebook EuroSynergy2 Page)

Presentations by Jeffrey Lloyd Dever:

  1. Stretch – The Journey Toward Artistic Growth (General Session - 60 minutes)

  2. Immaterial Evolution – Seeking Re-imagined, Repurposed, and Recycled Possibilities

(Seminar - 90 minutes)

 Edensong Reverie full wall  Ephemeral Muse

Read more: EuroSynergy2 Conference 2016 Teasers

Thank you from CERF

cerf logo

The IPCA received this thank you note from the Craft Emergency Relief Fund /  Artists' Emergency Resources (CERF+). Additionally, a personal note was added. Click here to download the document and view the entire note.

June 19,2013

Read more: Thank you from CERF

Synergy3 Wrap-up

logoIn March of this year, people from all over the world converged in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States for the polymer clay event known as Synergy3: Seeking Higher Ground. It was four days of wall-to-wall polymer clay art and discussion. Beginners in the field got to hob-nob with established artists. People who had only talked online got to meet in person. Everyone got to see a lot of fabulous art and even bid on some historical pieces. Following are some of the lectures that we were treated to.

Craig Nutt, How to Save Your Studio from Aliens and Other Emergencies

Craig gave a revealing talk about what happens to an artist when Bad Things Happen. Most artists don't have the proper insurance coverage for their business because they are based out of their home. Regular home insurance doesn't cover business items, and therefore when a disaster happens, the artist is on his own to replace business-related items. Craig gave an extensive list of ways to prepare ahead of time for disasters, in order to make getting your business up and running again afterward faster and easier. The CERF+ website ( can take you through the steps necessary to protect yourself and your art business.

Harriete Estelle Berman, Creating, Connecting, Community: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Harriete gave a very engaging talk on the stages of creative development and the role of innovation and copying in our community. Copying is necessary in the beginning of one's development as an artist, Harriete says, but in order to grow, the copying needs to give way to exploration and innovation. The full slideshow can be viewed on her website.

Magazine Panel, Sage Bray from The Polymer Arts, Anne Huizenga from Polymer Café, Saskia Veltenaar and Marjon Donker from From Polymer to Art

The four lovely ladies gave the audience all the tips and tricks on how to get published. They discussed things like how to write and photograph your projects, and what rights go the magazine and the artists for the published articles. Check out the Polymer in Print section of the newsletter for links to each of the magazines. The ladies are looking for submissions.

Lindly Haunani, Mokume Gane Re-Mix

Lindly led us through the history of polymer clay, and the development of the Mokume Gane technique in its varied forms. She detailed several ways to produce Mokume Gane and the various methods of inking, stamping and cutting to achieve different end results.

Ron Lehocky and the Samunnat Project

Ron gave a detailed talk on the Samunnat Project and they ways it is transforming lives in Nepal. The center helps women who have been touched by violence to learn life- and money-making skills so they can begin to rebuild their lives and support themselves and their children. More information can be found on their website, and some of the beautiful jewelry they produce to support themselves can be found on their Etsy site.

Beth Ackley and Barbara Forbes-Lyons, Social Media

Beth and Barb gave the rundown on the social media scene. The social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming the new marketing avenues. They advised putting together a plan before venturing out, just as you would with the more traditional marketing avenues. They discussed different social media and what they are better suited to, and how to use them to their fullest effect.

Dan Cormier, The Broken Telephone Project

Dan put together a very unique project. He started out making a piece himself, then sent that piece on to another artist, who then created their own piece, using Dan's piece as inspiration and incorporating some of its elements. The second artist then sent their own piece on to a third artist, and so on, to an eighth artist. Each artist was asked to document their creative process. The resulting slide show was very interesting, in that themes would disappear in one iteration and reappear several iterations down the line. Also, the different interpretations of the same themes were very interesting to see. The eight pieces can be seen on Dan's Flickr site.

Anke Humpert, Trends In the European Polymer Clay Scene

Anke gave us some statistics for defining the typical polymer clay artist in Europe. Then came the slide show of artwork. Piece after piece of fabulous jewelry, sculpture and other artwork by European artists, many of whom you already know, many of whom I'm sure you will get to know. It was a very inspiring show.

Closing Ceremonies, Tracy Holmes

At the end of the conference, there was a banquet dinner, and an auction emceed by Tracy Holmes. She kept everyone laughing as the items were bid on, and even managed to keep smiling as the joke was turned on her. You see, the ladies from From Polymer to Art had decided that they were going to bid on her husband. All for donations, of course. It was such a hit that the gentleman from Staedtler decided to put himself up for auction as well. With those two and a few other surprise auction items, several hundred dollars extra were garnered for the IPCA and other charities. All in all, it was a very profitable and enjoyable evening.

Christi Friesen, How to be a better Teacher (by Kathi Briefer-Gose)

Well, Christi was Christi and that is what makes her an awesome teacher. As someone who is starting her teaching adventure in April of this year I really needed to be in her seminar. She had a wonderful handout that pretty much took us through, step by step, what will/could/may happen in a class. From the people to the supplies and so on. I will be hanging on to her handout and re-reading it a long my teaching path.

Melanie West, Armature (by Kathi Briefer-Gose)

What a wonderful seminar. Melanie explained how she uses Apoxie Sculpt to achieve her magnificent designs and how that enables her to make pretty much "indestructible" pieces of art. Lots of slides to accent each point she was making. Between her seminar and Danny Torres's seminar my brain is percolating in over drive on fun things I can do.

Daniel Torres, Hollow Forms (by Kathi Briefer-Gose)

High density Styrofoam. Who would have thought to do that? The scientific and engineering explanation behind the creation of his hollow forms was great....sometimes mind boggling. Especially on the last day and the last seminar. However, I will take from this seminar the desire to experiment and challenge myself to think outside the box.

Diane Villano, Breaking Ground - Introducing Polymer to the Other Arts (by Corliss Rose)

I was keenly interested in Diane's presentation because teaching polymer to other disciplines has been a professional goal for me. I see it as a way to raise the perception of polymer and extend its acceptance into the collector and fine craft markets.

Diane has a teaching background and she certainly put it to excellent use. All attendees received a printed, color handout of each of the powerpoint slides with room for notes.

Diane's presentation had four areas of focus:

1.Identifying with a creative market

Once you select a market, take time to research it. Get to know the industry terms, the prominent artists and some of the techniques employed by those that field. For example, if you have your focus set on the weaving market, how would weavers benefit from incorporating polymer into their medium? What can you learn about weaving that would connect you both technically and artistically with this market?

2.Soliciting a proposal for a class

Diane explained that this step also takes just as much time and preparation as your market research. You'll be preparing a contractual document that will state your teaching fee, travel & lodging expenses, the class curriculum, class dates, time, location, minimum number of students, experience level, cancellation policies and the materials / equipment that you'll be providing. This area of focus requires that you dot your "Is" and cross your "Ts" most thoroughly.

3.Class syllabus

This consists of a concise and well written document that gives students a tangible reference of what they will be taught.

4. Dealing with the unknown

Diane emphasized to always arrive early for a class set up. Be prepared for scenarios that include an absence of power cords, broken equipment, last minute location changes and anything else that gets blamed on Murphy's Law.

Being a consummate professional, Diane concluded by asking all attending to kindly complete a feedback critique of her presentation.

It left me with good food for thought on how constructive criticism works to raise your level of professionalism.

Jeffrey Lloyd Dever, Immaterial Revisited-Seeking Reimagined, Repurposed and Recycled Possibilities (by Corliss Rose)

Welcome to the world of Jeff Dever!

This unique peek behind the curtain revealed an engaging speaker as well as a determined pack rat who has developed refreshing applications for his eclectic treasures.

Through the powerpoint images of his work, Jeff described his collection of materials and how they were transformed into the signature pieces that so many of us are familiar with today. If you listened and watched carefully, you really got into the groove of "it isn't what you use but how you use it." As Jeff spoke, I simultaneously thought about my own creative process and how this presentation was introducing alternate ways of approaching the use of materials.

Jeff discussed in detail how he finds his immaterial objects, deconstructs them to their simplest form and then repurposes them into stunning works of art. Paper clips transform themselves into branches for colorful berries. Pet chew toys and coosh balls become resplendent floral blossoms with iridescent petal tips. Embroidery thread and cyanoacrylate glue fool the eye with the look of intricate wood veneer. And then there are Jeff's organic polymer components with their utterly gorgeous color palates.

I emerged from this wonderland as an Alice with her batteries fully charged. I was also delighted that my own methods of inventory management have now been validated!


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