Friday, July 26, 2013

Art on the Farm

I love teaching. Traveling to teach-- not so much. When Cindy Wimmer  and Jeanette Blix first invited me to teach at ArtBliss a few years ago, it was a huge opportunity to introduce polymer clay to a mostly-polymer-virgin audience of mixed media and jewelry enthusiasts. This year I'm pleased to be teaching again for two classes, despite the long trip down to Washington, DC from Vermont. The creative energy, seeing old friends again and meeting new ones, connecting with people I've only met online, the intense satisfaction of teaching students who are passionate about their creative pursuits-- it's really worth the trip.

Colorful Landscapes with Christine Damm
Photos from the Colorful Landscapes class at ArtBliss 2013
Worlds of Color—Textured Polymer Clay Beads w/Christine Damm
Photo from Worlds of Color—Textured Polymer Clay Beads class at ArtBliss 2013
Now my polymer style and techniques are getting out into the wider world in a big way, thanks to people like Cynthia Tinapple, curator extraordinaire of all things polymer and the genius behind the blog Polymer Clay Daily, now in its eighth year. Her new book Polymer Clay: Global Perspectives is out this week and I'm honored to have a tutorial in the section “Mixed Media”, along with my friend Claire Maunsell  and Genevieve Williamson.     
So for a while people have been asking about doing work with me in a longer timeframe than a daylong class. My philosophy has always been more about exploration than a focus on one technique or medium. Hey, in her book Cynthia calls me the “Art Omnivore”! Since discovering polymer, I have learned everything I could about what's already been done in the medium with the express purpose of finding my own way with clay. I try everything--without judgment--and I play as much as I follow precise technique when I work. I've found my own unique way of working and it seems some folks would like to learn how I do that, as well as learn about my specific technique and methods of surface coloration.     
I’ve decided that it's time to offer an intensive class at my home workshop in our quiet corner of rural Vermont. I'll be doing this two times a year-- in the spring and fall-- and this year's dates are October 9-11, 2013. We're not too far from Boston and close to a charming village that has dining and groceries and bed and breakfast accommodations. Here's the flyer.  
Stories They Tell & Christine Damm announce
Art on the Farm: A 3-Day Polymer Clay
Intensive Workshop
New Ways with Construction, Texture & Color
Bonnybrook Farm – Braintree, VT
October 9-11, 2013
This course was created to provide insight into my technique but also into my method of working, with an emphasis on nurturing each participant's exploration of their own artistic expression and development of an individual creative voice. We all want to make art that is meaningful, emotional and that tells a story. I intend for this course to facilitate that ability. 
We'll begin this 3-day intensive class learning my signature method of texturing polymer clay. We'll use my extensive collection of my handmade silicone molds and I'll teach how to make molds and how to use everyday objects in unique ways for impressing textures and other designs on polymer. Then we'll explore innovative ways to use layering to construct textured beads and other jewelry elements, such as pendants, using wire and other metal findings to create integral connections.

Finally, a wide variety of surface-coloring techniques will be discussed and demonstrated on the completed polymer forms using oil and acrylic paints, chalk, texturing media, pencils and inks. In addition to studio time devoted to instruction and demonstrations, students will have ample time to apply the coloring techniques to their own pieces.
Consultations with individual students can be scheduled to discuss personal style and how the techniques taught can enhance and broaden their work.
This intensive is suitable for beginners in polymer clay, as well as advanced polymer users, as the technique I teach involves a completely different approach from traditional color blending-based polymer applications such as cane-making and mokume gane. Artists from any discipline may benefit from this class-- mixed media and collage, painting and watercolor, stoneware clay and jewelry arts, to name a few. All that's required is curiosity and a well-developed artist's or crafting skill-set. Class size will be limited to 8 students.
Participants will have access to all my personal coloring supplies, such as Pan Pastels, Genesis Heat-Set Oil Paints, Neocolor II crayons, Prismacolor pencils, acrylic and alcohol inks and acrylic paints. A tool kit with basic polymer clay supplies (blade, scalpel, Genesis Heavy Medium, Genesis Burnt Umber Heat-Set oil paint for antiquing, sanding pads, molding putty, and Premo clay) will be available for purchase for $20; other basic supplies, such as jewelry findings, wire and additional clay will also be available in the studio for purchase. Upon receipt of class fees, a list of useful tools and items needed for the class will be sent.


The Garden Workshop with hens
Battles Brook, which runs next to our house

 For more information about tuition, registration and all the other fine print, e-mail me at The class size is capped at 8 students so that everyone will receive the maximum of personal attention and instruction. I'm very excited to invite you all into my studio. I think we can do great things together.