Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome To Our World!

So happy you found us. This is PMC Connection's new blog, CornerStone. Capital "C", capital "S". I'm Lora Hart, the Artistic Advisor for PMC Connection. In addition to me - Senior Instructors Linda Kline; Peggy Houchin; Mary Ellin D'Agostino and President Jennifer Roberts will also be posting. Some of our posts will be jam packed with information and others may be short and sweet, but there will be two new posts every week.

A cornerstone is defined as a "fundamental assumption from which something is begun, explained or developed". That seems to define PMC Connection's mission as well as anything. If you look to the left you'll see the PMCC motto "Supplies. Education. Inspiration."

To begin offers some of the best supplies around; with carefully considered explanations the Senior Instructor educators are dedicated to sharing skills and techniques with which to build a firm metal clay foundation; and by developing CornerStone the goal is to inspire us all to bring our craft to new heights.

Linda will be posting everything educational; Peggy will give insight into the world of marketing; Mary Ellin will delve into the technical aspects of metal clay and Jennifer will be wandering behind the scenes at PMCC (and anywhere else that strikes her fancy). Me? I'll be sharing interesting tidbits about the art jewelry world, inviting you to take part in personal challenges and generally (hopefully) presenting inspiration as you travel your metal clay path.

I'd also like to introduce you to each member of the education team, so starting next week there will be a profile every few weeks on one of our talented Senior Instructors. There are about 20 of us - so you'll get to know a bit about us all before the year's over. To start us off I thought it would be nice to meet our fearless leader.

Introducing PMC Connection President Jennifer Roberts

How did you first come to PMC Connection? When?
I first became involved with PMCC two years ago. My dad, Earl Roberts, had been with PMCC for years as the Director of Marketing and I loved the medium. He learned that there was an opportunity to purchase PMCC from its former owner and I jumped at the chance to join him. At the time, I was practicing law full time and wanted to get back to my artistic roots – and away from the daily snarkiness of a litigation practice. We haven’t looked back since.

What does your position entail?
Much of the past two years has been about learning for me. Learning about the art form, the business, our customers and students – everything. Recently, I have shifted my focus to re-shaping PMCC to make it more responsive to the needs of our customers. The re-structuring of the education program is part of that and we have some exciting projects planned for 2011.

Were you artistically inclined before joining the PMCC team? What mediums?
It seems like I started life surrounded by art. My grandparents had ceramic stores and I used to spend a lot of time there. That’s one reason I took so easily to PMC. Anything involving clay is like second nature to me. Our family business ultimately broadened into general art supply stores and I used to “work” in the stores, though I’m not sure how much help I really was. Because of this background and my later interest in art, I think there are very few art forms and handcrafts I haven’t dabbled in. Painting, drawing, weaving, basket weaving, stenciling, calligraphy, metal sculpture, pottery, glass fusing, photography, printmaking, website design – I’ve done it all at some point. Just don’t ask me to knit or use a sewing machine. Those are two areas where my exploits can only be described as “disastrous.”

Photo by Bill Jack
While I was surrounded by art supplies and art classes as a kid, my preferred fields were dance and music. I started dancing when I was three and, over the years, played the guitar, drums, and flute. Dance was really my passion and I ultimately attended the Booker T. Washington High School for the performing and Visual Arts, majoring in Dance. The photo above is from a modern piece I was in during that time. I also got a B.S. in Dance from Texas Woman’s University, with an emphasis in Education.

Throughout high school and college, I taught dance in many arenas and for many populations. This included working on studies that measured the usefulness of arts in general education (think a dance class for third graders learning about states of matter) and I wrote Texas state dance curriculum standards. I also did a lot of choreography, including an opera and produced an independent concert. Much of my choreography was cross-disciplinary and included original works of music and visual art. Following graduation, I was the Director of Education for a dance company and an adjunct faculty member at Booker T. Washington HSPVA.
Then I changed gears completely and went to law school. I wanted to practice animal law and I have done a fair amount of that. During my years of practicing law, I was also very active in the community and did a lot of event planning and chaired a dance festival. But, after ten years of being a lawyer, I found that I was restless and thinking a lot about getting back into the arts.
And viola! This opportunity appeared. Today, I split my time between PMCC and a little bit of pro bono legal practice on behalf of animals and artists. I also sit as a commissioner on the City of Dallas Animal Shelter Commission. I always joked that someday I would find the perfect career for my strange skill set and PMCC pushes me to grow as an artist, educator, and leader every day.

Have you worked with metal clay yourself?
Yes, but not as much as I would like to. I am hoping to spend more time creating in 2011.

What is your vision for PMC Connection?
My vision is a work in progress. I am still learning and the metal clay world is changing rapidly. In a nutshell, I want PMCC to be a source of innovation and quality in all of our offerings – from supplies to education to inspiration. I also want PMCC to provide opportunities for artisans and teachers to advance the art form, in addition to being a resource for metal clay instructors everywhere.

How do you find inspiration?
I enjoy creating and that takes many forms. I find that how I create has evolved over time. I used to be a full-time dancer and now I express that energy in yoga classes. I never had much interest in drawing until about four years ago and now I can't get enough of my life drawing class. I never had any interest in the business world, but with PMCC, I seem to have come full circle. I’m back in the world of art and education, working with my family, and loving it.

Wow! Thanks Jennifer. We're all really excited to see how PMC Connection develops over the year and are so happy to have you at our helm.

1 comment:

Who is this person? said...

This is such exciting news! I can't wait to see what the PMC Connection is going do this year! With all these artists with all this knowledge working together its going to be inspiring!