I’m getting excited for a class I am going to take next weekend in Philadelphia. I just booked my room, so I can easily hang around for the guild meeting the following day, and I’ve been spending this morning drooling over reacquainting myself with some of Julie Picarello‘s work.
Most of the images that illustrate this post are from her flickr photostream. Aren’t they interesting? It’s a look that is very uniquely hers. Anyone who knows polymer clay and is familiar with the various artists’ styles will recognize a Julie Picarello bead from a mile away.
I went through a phase a while back, where I was taking 2-3 workshops / year from well-known polymer artists, and while it was always a lot of fun, I eventually made the decision to scale back to one class (or less) per year. There were a few reasons for this:
- For one thing, these workshops are not cheap, and if a hotel stay is involved, it can turn into a $200-$300 weekend.
- At this point, I have no real interest in drastically changing my body of work. Any class that I take must involve techniques that will enhance what I already do, and fit well into my current way of doing things.
I won’t lie. After last year’s big discussions on this blog about copyright and ownership, I’m somewhat gun shy about taking classes. There are two questions that are always very much in my mind when I consider signing up for a workshop. Does this artist have the wrong idea about my artistic ethics? and Will I be able to use this technique in a way that personalizes it enough to incorporate in my work?
I have no real control over the answer to that first question, so I just have to hope that my reputation is intact.
The second question is really the more important one, and while I think that yes, yes I can make it my own, I’ve seen before that ownership is in the eye of the beholder. This is just one of those things that I’m not going to know until I’ve taken the class and given the technique a try.
I’m eager to see what is involved in building patterns like hers (left), on structures like mine (right). But if it ends up looking too much like a Julie Picarello pattern on a Lisa Clarke pendant, well, I just won’t sell it.
It’s happened before. I took a fabulous class with Jana Roberts Benzon, made a really nifty cane to her specifications in my own color palette, used it on pieces in my own style, but in the end, I just couldn’t get over that it was clearly a JRB cane on Lisa Clarke pieces. I ended up keeping them for myself and sharing with friends. (BTW, if you like that JRB look, there is a video…)
Anyway, I’ve got lots of eager anticipation about Julie’s class. I’m getting excited about clay again, which is always a nice thing, when you consider my entire business is wrapped up in it (as is a good portion of my dining room and basement. Heh.)