Monday, August 24, 2009


It's always been a real chore here in rural Vermont to get together with other artists for the kind of idea-generating, think-outside-the-box, give-and-take of artistic energy that's the real excitement about taking a class. That's one of the reasons I am so looking forward to the Bronze and Copper Clay class that I'm taking at Celie Fago's studio next month. I have fond memories of Friday afternoons after class in my ceramics program at the School for American Craftsmen. The wood shop folks, at the studio next to us, would wander in and frequently the glassblowers and textile people would stop by as well. Lively conversation was usually about the work and design ideas were thick in the air. We potters often visited the studios of other craft disciplines and found inspiration in the creations of the other student craftsmen. It was heaven!

Now we have a powerful tool for forming working relationships with other artists-- the Web. We swap photos, ideas, sketches, and inspiration easily. We share our work, critique and encourage each other and benefit so much more than if we stayed isolated in our own little worlds. Lately, I was priviledged to collaborate in two different projects with other jewelry artists. The enrichment that this has created in my personal artistic life is immeasureable. I'm writing about them in separate posts--one today and the second later this week.

I first met Cindy Wimmer virtually through a tutorial that was published in Step by Step Wire last summer. I'd been thinking about a necklace all composed of various styles of silver links and loved the ones in her creation, called “Heart Strings”. I saved the article in my design notebook for future inspiration. Next thing I knew, she had e-mailed me that I was the winner in her blog giveaway, and was shipping me a lovely little mixed metal pendant called “Joy”. This gift came at a time when I was struggling with the bureaucracy of a mortgage re-finance and I can't tell you how many times looking down at that word—JOY-- around my neck saved my spiritual equilibrium!

We started up a correspondence and shared ideas and personal stories and when the opportunity came to submit a design to the Objects & Elements blog of Susan Lenart Kazmer for a challenge called “Summer Colors”, I suggested we collaborate on the piece. I loved the idea of dangling charms in mixed metals and we agreed that stamping them with the names of colors would add an extra interest. Cindy's clasps are amazingly well-crafted and inventive so she agreed to supply that element as well.

The rules of the challenge require using items from the O&E shop. The colorful recycled sari silk yarn caught my eye immediately and served as the inspiration for the colors in the polymer clay pendant disk. I have to say I've been very influenced by Robert Dancik's book “Amulets and Talismans” that I purchased last month so I did a faux ivory disk to back the main pendant and set the colors off. I added a handforged bail and wirewrapped the silk around it and the clasps and named it “Midnight in Mumbai”.

It was a dream working with Cindy-- she is a superb craftsman and we seemed to swap ideas almost by ESP! Her metalwork was even better than my expectations. We are planning future adventures together, maybe a magazine submission? Anything is possible when like artistic minds meet and the result is synergistic.

Oh, the voting is open until August 26, 10 pm EST this Wednesday. There are a wealth of beautiful interpretations to choose from and, if you feel so inclined, we'd love your support!

*Synergy--from the Greek syn-ergos, meaning working together, is the term used to describe a situation where different entities cooperate advantageously for a final outcome--meaning teamwork will produce an overall better result than if each person was working toward the same goal individually.


  1. Beautiful work by two awesome artists. I love how all the components come together to reveal an adventure story of color, metal, fibers, and collaboration to create this art piece! Great minds think alike and I cannot wait to see what the two of you will create next!

  2. Christine
    The pleasure was mine working with you...I was so excited that you wanted to collaborate...can't wait to do it again!! :-)

  3. Stunning piece you both created, absolutely stunning....I love the contrast of the metal with the clay!! And the colors..WOW. And I will agree, Cindy is an awesome artist and friend, truly special!!

    So glad that you liked my necklace...thanks so much for your sweet compliment!

  4. Lovely piece. It all works well together and the colors are perfect. Beautiful collaboration!

  5. Working together you both created a "Work of Art", simply amazing! I agree Cindy is a wonderful lady!

  6. Christine,
    Your work is beautiful. And, you couldn't have chosen a better partner. Cindy is quite the artist too.
    Thanks for stopping by!
    BTW...I definately would have voted for you if I hadn't already used mine =) LOL.

  7. The two most wonderful and giving and inspiring artists (when I saw you both on the collaboration at O&E I placed my vote for you right away!). The joy that you get from being in a collaborative effort is so worth it. I can attest that working with Christine has been an honor (the project of which I think she will be writing about later this week). Such creative energy arises when you put aside yourself and think outside of the box with another creative. I am so inspired to do more and more and more collaborative work. I find that it is really energizing. I have recently become acquainted with Cindy myself and find her to be the most professional and sweet person. She is a truly gifted artist as well. thank you both for sharing your rich talents with the rest of us! I look forward to seeing (and participating in!) more.
    Enjoy the day!

  8. such a stunning piece...I love the stong bold colors and the metalwork...very nice

  9. I love this necklace. I have never seen polymer clay used in this way. I can tell even without touching it that the craftsmanship is top notch.

  10. I just absolutely love this piece! It's even more lovely up close. You and Cindy work very well together.