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JUAN & KATHRYN CUKIER

Your Company Name:
Email Address/Web Page: Glocandle@aol.com
City & State: Casselberry, FL
Type of Craft: Mixed Media

Tell us in your own words, how you discovered polymer clay and how long have you been using it?

My husband and I discovered polymer clay in the mid eighties and most of the work we were inspired by came from the San Francisco area. An artist there made the most incredibly detailed beads out of the clay and we vowed to learn the clay process of Venetian Millefiori Art.

Are there any special artists that you can attribute your interest to or that have inspired you?

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What is your specialty?

For several years we have been perfecting our Millefiori cane creations . Along with that we have tested the clay on various surfaces . We have also perfected a technique we use to finish our pieces both large and small.

Can you tell us why you find polymer clay the expressive medium for you?

Our interest in the medium of polymer clay has come for our great appreciation of the ancient Venetian Millefiori glass artisans. We realized by working in this medium early on we would be able to achieve a different level of understanding of the original art by breaking their techniques down to a science and applying this knowledge to our own aspirations.

Have you published any polymer clay books or do you have any in the works?

Juan & I would love to publish a book and teach, but between two young children and exhibiting in over Forty shows this year we are dedicating the most part of our time to educating the public at every show about this new and exciting medium.

I know it is very difficult to express, but have you won any awards for your polymer clay work?

Almost every weekend Juan and I are competing against other artists for some pretty fantastic $ awards. Unfortunately the judges often pass by not even knowing the medium or technique we use. There are those who we have educated along the way only to arrive at the show the next day to find an artist in wood or fiber has taken our categories awards! We just keep on keepin on! It is frustrating however to compete with artists in such different medium when in painting and photography & glass the artists are equally categorized. We have actually met some milestones for other polymer clay artists to come. In November of 1996 We were juried in to exhibit at "FESTIVAL OF THE MASTERS" at Walt Disney World. I am led to believe we were among the first polymer clay artists in mixed media to ever exhibit in this shows history. We have also taken other smaller awards at other shows we have been at. But no reward is greater to us than for us to be invited to do a show good or bad for this time we have is for us to show others that this medium is up and , coming and watch out!

What are your expectations for the future? Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?

Juan and I plan to exhibit at shows and gallerys for as long as possible . To be around people, opinions, & Media, that is the best place we can be to represent this new medium & show other artists that we deserve to be juried in & we work just as hard as all of the others that are there. I Believe extra credit should be given to those who are actually trying to pioneer a medium . We are devoting double time to not only developing this medium but exploring our inspirations and, dreams.

Do you have any advice for the beginning polymer clay enthusiasts?

I would love to be able to teach other upcoming polymer clay artists so they don't have to go through the hard times Juan and I have . "When there were no Books!" and , all the clay you could buy was old stale fimo and horrible colors of sculpey because no stores sold enough to order more. We started out actually only being able to purchase $20-$50 dollars in supplies and now we spend 2,000 dollars on supplies every couple of weeks. My best advice would be to take full advantage of all the classes, books, videos & wonderful Clays, & call us if you ever have any questions . We are certainly in the business of promoting this medium.

Are you a member of any Polymer Clay group,or any other craft organization?

uan and Kathryn Cukier are proud Members of the National Guild. We are presently not members of any local guilds ,Orlando has not established one yet. Since We travel four days out of every week to shows our remainder days go to preparing for the next show and family time. Its a hard life but you' have to love it . Our kids get to see so much wonderful art and, they are very proud of what we do.

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

We started using fimo and, because we know the limiations of the clay we have begun to work on the limitations of what we can actually do with the clay.

Last and most important can you tell us all about you? Your family, your training?

First and, Foremost our art and life would have gotten to the place it has without all of our hard work and love for each other. As hard as it is to work with someone the ending artwork never ceases to amaze us. Our children spend a great deal of time with us because we are able to set our own schedules. It is a rewarding and enjoyable life ! Sincerely J&K Cukier

See Juan and Kathryn's Photo Gallery Page!

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