Emily Squires Levine

As the middle of three daughters growing up in New England, I inherited the right brain skills of my mother and grandmother.  While my sisters were playing outside, I was knotting macrame and making yarn dolls.  As I pursued an MBA and a 30-year career in finance, sewing with colorful fabrics or testing a new chocolate cake recipe provided a welcomed diversion.

Although I played with polymer clay with my young children, it was not until 1994, after participating in a workshop at a local arts center, that I discovered my niche.  What started as an avocation became my occupation over time.  I am fortunate to be able to pursue my art full-time in Philadelphia.

Why vessels?  I have always been drawn to small containers, particularly those with colorful, intricate designs:  a ceramic bowl from Turkey, a box made from mother-or-pearl.  Often they would hold a few perfect shells, a pair of earrings or those tiny gold toned safetly pins.  Always, the container intrigued me more than its contents.

Exploiting the properties of polymer clay, I translate my love of color and pattern into vessels of many sizes and shapes.  Using the Italian millefiori technique, I layer hand blended colors of polymer clay to create designs which run through the entire length of the “cane”.  Canes can be combined endlessly, then stretched without disturbing the integrity of the interior design.  I build the vessel on a form, juxtaposing slices of canes of contrasting colors, shapes, patterns and complexity;  often I incorporate open space between the slices as part of the design.  After curing in a convection oven, I sand the outside of the vessel and release it from its mold.  Each piece is one-of-a-kind.  The result excites me, and I am gratified to share it with others.


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