polymer clay art jewelry and beads

Biography

Pat_11_15From an early age, designing and making objects by hand has intrigued me. With scraps from my mom’s sewing projects I constructed small figures and creatures and sewed dolls’ clothes. I explored drawing, painting, and collage, enjoying the interplay of materials and design. I also worked in clay, did macrame, and created greeting cards. Along with this early impulse to create, is an affinity for the rhythms, patterns, and forms of the natural world. I’m an avid collector of natural artifacts–spiral shells, driftwood, stones, and seed pods–visual fragments that often spark ideas.

I studied Art History with a focus on Asian art at Wheaton College in Norton, MA, earning a B.A. After graduation I worked at an antique gallery on Boston’s Newbury Street while continuing coursework in graphic design, drawing, and painting at Massachusetts College of Art, Northeastern University, and Boston University. I later attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, graduating with a Studio Diploma.

My early work at the Museum School centered on painting and silkscreen, but I began to incorporate into my work vintage, natural and found objects and other materials that resonated with me–old maps, photographs, small vintage toys, scraps of textiles, wood, and rusted metal fragments. My focus shifted from painting and silkscreen to using these scavenged materials to make collages, assemblages, and artist’s books.

Since 1995 I have worked as a professional artist exhibiting my assemblages and artist’s books in juried and curated exhibitions across the United States and in Europe.

In 2000 I began working with polymer clay for fun and as a way to relax. Making beads and other components led to making jewelry, which I made for myself and to give as gifts to friends and family. In 2002 I developed vulvodynia, a chronic pain condition, which left me disabled by severe pain.  I continued to work in polymer clay and to make jewelry because I found that it distracted me from the pain and helped me to relax.

Pippi-and-lambi-nappingI shifted my focus to jewelry-making in 2006, when it became clear that my life would be limited by being unable to sit for long periods and by unpredictable bouts of pain. While polymer clay and
jewelry-making are my current mediums, I continue to work in assemblage and collage, artist’s books, and drawing as time allows. I live in Waltham, Massachusetts, where I work from my home studio designing and making jewelry under the diligent supervision of my inquisitive Chihuahua, Pippi.

Professional Memberships

American Craft Council
International Polymer Clay Association
The New England Bead Society