Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meet Our Teachers...

Former Directors of Education

Ken and Mary Ann Devos
How long have you been working with metal clay?
Ken: Since 1999
Mary Ann: I have worked with metal clay since 1996. I participated in Tim McCreight's first class for studio jewelers. In 1999 I trained in Japan with Art Clay and helped introduce their products to the US and Europe.

What did you do before that?
 Mary Ann: I began my arts career as a ceramic potter, then a stained glass artist and a studio jeweler/silversmith. My previous profession was in Nursing Administration as an ICU Head Nurse, Hospital Director and Administrator of three kidney centers.
Ken: From 1989 to 1999 I worked as a studio jeweler with Mary Ann primarily making sterling silver chains for her pendants. My work outside metal clay was, and still is, as a commercial real estate appraiser. I have also worked as a luthier, creating numerous lap dulcimers and mandolins.

How did you come to be the education directors of PMC Connection? What year?
Ken: Mary Ann and I worked with Earl Roberts when he headed the Art Clay program. In 2000, Earl negotiated with Mitsubishi to become the second importer/distributor of PMC in the US. He was successful in this effort and in 2001 established PMC Connection. He asked us to join the new company as Director of Education (Mary Ann) and Program Coordinator (Ken). We joined the company in 2001.

Why did you decide to step away from the business side of the company?
 Mary Ann: Ken & I decided to resign as administrators to devote more time to our own work and prepare more new classes for our students. 
Ken: Over the years we have spent much of our time traveling across the US as well as abroad representing PMC Connection to new markets. Recently however, we have been spending more time and effort in presenting classes. We still find a great deal of inspiration from the efforts needed to create and present new classes for our students.

Sea Nymph - Detail
What are your plans going forward?
Mary Ann: We are spending more time promoting ourselves both as artists and as teachers. I have joined two co-op galleries on the resort islands of Sanibel and Captiva, here in southwest Florida. We also have expanded the number of locations at which we present classes, including our home studio.

What do you think is the most exciting aspect of teaching?
Mary Ann: We love teaching. It's so rewarding to help people find an artistic voice in this medium. Imagination is the only limitation.

Where do you find inspiration?
Ken: It's hard just to walk around and not find things to inspire new ideas and new processes. Many times it's a simple matter of seeing an interesting design or object and saying "What if...". No matter what media you use, simple ideas can lead to interesting works.

Is there a new direction that you'd like to explore?
Ken: There are always new ideas, media and techniques that spark my interest. Recently Mary Ann and I participated in a scrimshaw class. The pieces that we were able to create in that class made us consider seriously adding that type of work to the jewelry we will create in the future.

What else would you like to tell us about yourselves?
Ken: I have been fortunate that from an early age I received encouragement to explore and develop whatever talents I might possess to express my vision of the world around me. Now that I have resigned the administrative duties for PMC Connection, I hope to have more time to continue that exploration to see what awaits me over the next hill.
Mary Ann: I have loved working with metal clay. Teaching is a passion for me. It's been a privilege to be a pioneer in this new medium and an honor to be Director of Education for both Art Clay and PMC Connection. I wish the best for the new leaders of the Connection and the best for all in 2011.

Thanks You Two! And we wish all the best for you in this new phase of your creative careers.


Lorena Angulo said...

Wonderful interview !!!

Phoenix said...

It's a sweet PMC love story :) It's lovely to learn more about those that have come before us.

Bev ~ MangoTango Designs said...

Mary Ann and Ken are two of my favorite people on earth. Have taken numerous classes with them; Mary Ann certified me, and two finer or friendlier people would be difficult to find. Hugs to you both!

Moda di Magno said...

I love it when teachers say they find inspiration when teaching. It keeps the circle in motion. Great interview!