When I first joined the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts cooperative last year I was overwhelmed with all the responsibilities that came along with it. I learned of the Featured Artist Show that we all participate in each year. The idea is that we all have to come up with some new work by trying something new.
I found it very intriguing what a deadline can do. Out of nowhere, it seemed, I decided I could use my etched plates, a technique I’ve used for years, and make an impression in some white polymer clay. I could then fill the delicate impressed lines with black acrylic paint and remove any paint from the surface. I now call it my black and white series.
For our present show Ali and Ellie and I chose Dwell for our show’s title. Home is a common theme for all three of us. So after working with my black and white line on and off last year, I began to experiment with trying to transfer narrative impressions from my etched plates to the polymer clay. I tried etching some of my most used images and would just end up with unreadable lines, a mess. Then I began to sketch little flowers that could be around people’s homes or houseplants. Etched flowers are simple enough that they have just enough lines to make the image impression readable. I managed a couple of more narrative images in this group of work but delighted in the flowers I was drawing.
I decided to color my little pictures with watercolor and acrylic and ink. So I etched a plate of my little drawings and made some round and square and oval bezels of different sizes, rolled out the polymer clay into a thin layer, impressed the etched plate into the clay and used my bezels to “cookie cut” the shapes out. I then baked them to a hard consistency and put them in their bezel and set them in a clear resin.
This year I welcomed our Featured Artist Show. I have embraced our challenge for a push for growth.