Monday, January 7, 2008

New Beginnings

Seven years ago, a wonderful couple named Joan and Mike Clipp took a giant leap of faith and dedicated themselves to creating a brand-new magazine called Polymer Cafe. The odds were definitely against them. It's almost unheard of for an independent magazine to survive more than a year or two and to have one thrive and be purchased by a major publisher is a wonderful testament to the Clipps' dedication and hard work. When Scott Publications took over the magazine, Joan agreed to stay for a while as editor. But now, she and Mike are ready to start a new chapter in their lives and the editorial reins are being handed over to one of my favorite people, Connie Donaldson. Connie is a past president and co-founder of the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild and a talented and accomplished polymer clay artist. Many of you might remember her gorgeous butterfly wreath that graced the cover of Polymer Cafe's Spring 2004 issue (please ignore the remnants of my address label in this scan). She's been a technical writer and editor for about 30 years and began her career by editing refueling manuals for nuclear submarines until, she says, "I could feel the edges of my brain begin to curl up and die". Two years ago, she temporarily packed up her clay and returned to grad school. Connie received an MA in Counseling Psychology from Waynesburg University 6 months ago. For information on her fascinating work as a workshop facilitator in Family Constellation Work, you can check out her website here.

When I spoke with Connie last week, her enthusiasm and expectations for Polymer Cafe's future were so inspiring and exciting that I wanted to share her words with all of you.

Beauty, beauty, beauty! I honestly believe that we humans have a physical—not just a psychological or spiritual—need for beauty in our lives. We all need to experience it to be fully alive. The lucky ones among us also get to create it, and the really fortunate among us get to share it. That’s one of my goals for the magazine: to have every issue contain something wondrous, something well crafted, something that makes a person stop for a moment and forget the regular cares of the day.

I plan to find artists who are creating beauty with clay and give them a forum—to teach or simply to share—the beauty that can be created in clay. I’m looking forward to working with artists who may be a little shy about writing an article, but who create interesting work. We’ll work together to make it into an article.

I also want to share with newcomers the amazing heritage we have from the previous generation of clay artists. We’re so lucky. Polymer clay and its sister, precious metal clay, are relatively new mediums in this country. Many of the pioneers in the field are still creating and innovating. We have the opportunity to learn from them—not just techniques, but, the spirit that has kept them working with this material for decades.

I owe a huge debt to the National Polymer Clay Guild and to many of the local guilds. I want to repay it by having the magazine serve guilds as well as individuals. I’m very open to suggestions about how to best do this.

As you can see, Polymer Cafe's new editor has some wonderful things in store for us. But wait, there's more scoop to share! Scott Publications has made the decision to publish Polymer Cafe SIX times a year! All the details regarding these changes will be in the upcoming issue and, I'm hoping that many of the wonderfully talented artists whose work I've seen online and at classes and retreats will give some serious consideration to submitting articles and photographs of their work to the magazine. Polymer Cafe is the only publication that's dedicated to this wonderful material that we love so much and it's up to all of us to submit articles, images and ideas that will help keep the magazine's pages fresh and inspiring. Connie's first deadline is coming up in just a couple of weeks, so don't drag your feet! Contact her right away if you have an article you'd like to share. You can find information on submission guidelines here.

I'm so very grateful to Joan and Mike Clipp for their dedication and hard work over the past seven years and, for having the vision to start a magazine dedicated to polymer clay. I know it wasn't always an easy road to travel and I admire them so much for sticking with it. I wish Connie Donaldson much success with her new position and I look forward to seeing her wonderful ideas come to life in the pages of Polymer Cafe.


Raven's Clay said...

Good morning Kim! Thanks for a great start to the new year! I'm starting to get a feeling that Polymer Clay is finally "coming of age", as it were. What I mean is, it's finally getting respect and recognition from the rest of the world that it(and it's artists) deserve.

Looking forward to seeing you next month, my table-mate! ;)

Iris Mishly said...

Good News! 6 issues per year is a true delight!
Thank you Kim for updating us with the news, i just read about it in one of my Israeli friends blog - Michal Shoham and she forwarded us here.

Melanie said...

Sounds like Connie has some great plans for Polymer Cafe!..and 6 issues a year is a bonus!...I wish her the best of luck in her new adventure!!.... :)

simplyred said...

Looking forward to getting 6 issues a year! Joan (who is a member of our Atlanta guild) was a brave pioneer to start this magazine and I am really appreciative to her for all of her hard work getting it off the ground. She gave Connie a great foundation on which to build for the future and I'm excited about what that future will be.

Kim Cavender said...

Hi everyone! I'm excited too and I'm looking forward to new and different types of articles. I'd love to read more about where artists get their inspiration. I'd like to see pictures of their studios and maybe more interview-type articles. It would be wonderful to see the how-to articles stepped up a notch or two with maybe one beginner project. Connie has great ideas and I'm really hoping to see the pc community become more supportive of this magazine.

Tejae said...

awesome news! Thanks for sharing Kim!

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