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The Broken Telephone Project

Making Meaningful Connections




“In an environment of trust, seven artists were challenged to be influenced by the work of someone else.”

Remember Broken Telephone? Or maybe you knew it by another name like Whisper Down The Lane or Grapevine. Whatever the name, the game was the same: one player would start by whispering a sentence into another’s ear, then that player would whisper the same phrase (or what was thought to be heard) into the next player’s ear and so on, down a line or around a circle, until the last player announced the phrase to the group. Sometimes, some of the original sentence stayed the same, but usually words changed or went missing with each whisperer, until the phrase announced by the last player was wildly different from the message sent by the first.

This game was the inspiration for The Broken Telephone Project, a collaborative art experiment that I debuted in a keynote presentation during the Synergy3 International Polymer Clay Conference in Atlanta in March 2013. It started more than a year ago, with the idea that a ‘telephone game’ might be one way to touch on some themes I had been thinking about: collaboration, evolution, inspiration, imitation, interpretation, attribution, and personal style, in polymer clay and art in general. Seven established artists were invited to play along, most I knew as friends, others I admired through their work. Of course, I wanted to play too, but my version of the game was not about whispering; it
was about work.





Dan Cormier
Dan Cormier is a Canadian artist working in polymer clay. Following formal studies in illustration and interior design, Cormier discovered new ways to explore this three-dimensional medium. In the early 1990s, polymer clay was mostly a hobby material, but he was among the early adopters pushing its possibilities beyond just ‘kids stuff.’ Cormier is still exploring, as an artist, teacher, author, and inventor. He has taught worldwide, and his work was part of the Polymer Collection Project, now housed at the Racine Art Museum. With his partner Tracy Holmes, they design and sell polymer clay tools and techniques under the banner The Cutting Edge. Their first book, Relief Beyond Belief: Silhouette Dieforming in Polymer Clay, was published in 2011.



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