art medium category?

art medium category?

Post by LTC4 » Mon, 20 Oct 1997 04:00:00

I always check "other" and fill in "Polymer Clay"  in the "Fine Crafts"
 category.   IMHO we, as polymer clay artists, need to push for polymer clay to
 be recognized as a "medium".  Because I do more than just jewelry, I do not
 enter in the jewelry category.  There's tons of competition in that area
 around here, probably half of each show is some type of jewelry, and I don't
 want to get sorted out due to those limitations.   I always send an "artist's
 statement" with my resume'/entry and describe what polyclay is and the
 technique used to create my work.  Some folks I know send actual thin cane
 slices (baked, of cousre!) in with their slides.

My approach is to promote and educate on the subject of polyclay when ever and
 where ever I can!  Hope this helps!

Linda in W.TX.


>Hi all,
>    I've recently been faced several times with the category question
>when filling out forms to register with arts agencies, or entering work
>in general art exhibitions (not jewelry or polymer shows).  The form
>lists type of work as fine arts, crafts, etc. and media.  Formats and
>categories differ, but most often I debate between checking the box
>marked "clay" or "other____" and filling in "polymer clay".  Many of the
>exhibitions for which I am entering slides are the type where polymer
>clay may be completely unknown by the gallery staff or even the juror,
>so I don't know if the latter choice is a good one.  On the other hand,
>my objects and techniques are so different from ceramics or other clay
>that I don't know how they are recieved when viewed among a bunch of
>    Also, what do you select if you are faced with categorizing
>yourself?  Fine artist, craftsperson, jeweler, etc. and how do you feel
>about this?
>    All opinions and experiences welcome!
>Patti in Iowa


art medium category?

Post by Sherry Bail » Wed, 22 Oct 1997 04:00:00

Ah, the never-ending debate!

One thing I'll toss in (my overall views have been posted several times
already, if totally fascinated you could check DeJaNews ;^)  ) is that
SOMETIMES when you choose a category it's for prize money consideration, so
don't lock yourself out of the running without knowing that! (This is more for
juried shows than for art fairs, but be aware.) The art museum where I used to
work awarded sponsored prizes in specific categories (often "in memory of"
someone who used to do that kind of work, like watercolor or jewelry.) If you
do nothing but polymer clay jewelry, it might be better to enter that category
rather than claim polymer as your medium, at least if you want to compete for
the prizes. (If you do lots of things, and it's a fair, it's a little

Just something to bear in mind. (Hey, get your guild to sponsor a polymer clay
award, then you have both results -- possible prizes and PC promotion!)

I think of myself and most serious pc people as "artists", by  the way. I
think artists SHOULD, ideally, be excellent craftsmen (meaning skilled in
technique and quality control) as well as have a strong, expressive design
aesthetic. But since the term "crafts" these days has such a strong overtone
of "artsy-craftsy" to the general public, meaning hobby crafts for fun, not
fine crafts for serious reasons, I prefer the term artist to signify that my
goals are not "cute". (No offense intended to anyone who is in the other camp
-- the language sounds more disparaging than is intended, but it's hard to
phrase it so it doesn't sound insulting! Especially when there IS some
difficult to define DIFFERENCE, but recognizing it seems politically
incorrect, somehow!)