In January 2000, after making a New Year's resolution to return to my roots as an artist, I began studying and working with polymer clay. In July 2010, after 41 years of public service in government and nonprofit agencies, I retired from my day job to focus on creating art with polymer clay.
Polymer clay is a man-made substance that begins as blocks of solid-colored clay-like material that does not require water to become soft. (You may know it as Sculpey, Premo or Fimo.) Repetitive kneading softens it. Like clay from the earth, polymer clay can be shaped, carved, and textured. Unlike non- polymer clay, the colors of the polymer clay can be blended just like blending paint. That is, mixing together blue and yellow polymer clay yields green clay. Also, polymer clay bakes at 275 degrees rather than in a high-temperature kiln. Like many polymer clay artists, I use a pasta machine to blend colors and achieve new designs. However, unlike many other artists who work in this medium, I do not use any paint or inks on my work.
Many of my pieces interpret in polymer clay the fluid sense of fabric caught at a moment in time. The work appears to blur the line between what appears might yield to the touch and what actually is permanently formed. Many people believe my clay pieces are made from fabric when they first see my work.
I am fascinated by the wide range of color, texture and form that can be created with polymer clay and the sense of exploration that comes with mixing the colors and draping the clay. My background in architecture and urban planning inspires my use of geometric and structural forms. The pieces of baked clay are mounted on canvas that I cover with fabric that brings out the colors in the work. This allows the pieces to be presented without glass over them to better allow the viewer to experience the intricacies of the work.
Fran Abrams, a resident of Rockville, MD, has an undergraduate degree in art and architecture and a graduate degree in urban planning. In January 2000, after making a New Year's resolution to return to her roots as an artist, she began studying and working with polymer clay. She retired from her day job in July 2010 after 41 years of public service in government and nonprofit agencies and is focusing on her art. She is a President of the Board of the Foundry Gallery in Washington, DC. She helped to found the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room in the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans' Plaza in downtown Silver Spring, MD and served as its first manager from 2010-2012. She also serves on juries for art shows in the region.
Recent awards include:
Honorable Mention, Fine Crafts, Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts, Fredericksburg, VA, December 2011
Two Honorable Mentions, The Power of Color III, Gallery West, Alexandria, VA, August 2011
Third Place, Laurel Art Guild Regional Juried Show at Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel, MD, March - April 2011
Third Place, Annual Strathmore Members' Juried Exhibition, The Mansion at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD, March 2010
First Place in Polymer Clay, Creative Crafts Council 27th Biennial Exhibition,The Mansion at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD, June 2009
Judges' Choice Award & Children's Choice Award, Virginia Fall Foliage Festival, Waynesboro, VA, October 2009
First Place, Annual Strathmore Members' Juried Exhibition, The Mansion at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD March 2008
MD Art @ College Park, Juried Group Show, The Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park, June-August 2013
Polymer Clay--Gallery Style, National Juried Group Show, Flow Art Space, St. Paul, MN, June 2013
Seven Variations and a Conversation, Group Show, Gallery B, Bethesda, MD, May 2013
Grayscale, Juried Group Show, Mansion at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD, November-December 2012
Modern Geometry, Solo Show, Glenview Mansion Art Gallery, Rockville, MD, July 2012
21st Annual Strathmore Artists Exhibit, Juried Group Show, The Mansion at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD, March-April 2012
Black, White and In Between, Solo Show, Foundry Gallery, Washington, DC, March 2012
Patuxent Art League 21st Annual Open Juried Art Exhibition, Juried Group Show, Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel, MD December 2011
The Power of Color III, Juried Group Show, Gallery West, Alexandria, VA, August 2011
Summer Salon Show, Group Show, The Artists' Gallery, Frederick, MD August 2011
Committee Members' Group Show, Gallery Har Shalom, Potomac, MD, July - August 2011
Works on Paper and of Clay, National Juried Group Show, d'Art Center, Norfolk, VA, April - June 2011
Laurel Art Guild Regional Juried Show, Group Show, Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel, MD March - April 2011
20th Annual Strathmore Members' Juried Exhibition, Group Show, The Mansion at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD, March - April 2011
Colorful Clay, Solo Show, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls, Church, VA, January - February 2011
Clay Squared, Solo Show, Howard Avenue Arts Incubator, Kensington, MD, December 2010
Clay on the Wall, Solo Show, Foundry Gallery, Washington, DC, November 2010
Polymer Revolution, National Juried Group Show, Parsons Gallery, Lexington Arts & Crafts Society, Lexington, MA June 2010
Many Textures, Many Colors, Invitational Group Show, Dennis & Philip Ratner Museum, Bethesda, MD, May 2010
Visions, Invitational Group Show, Bodzin Gallery, Jewish Commuity Center of Northern VA, Fairfax, VA, January - February 2010
Feb Four, Group Show, Foundry Gallery, Washington, DC, February 2010
19th Annual Strathmore Members' Juried Exhibition, Group Show, Mansion at Strathmore, N. Bethesda, MD, March - April 2010