Margaret Polcawich

Margaret Polcawich

About The Artist

Margaret Polcawich • Derwood, MD

Beginning with natural patterns, forms, and movements that inspire me to create, I construct vessels and sculpture that are a dialogue of processes, materials, and emotional balance. Vessels are a loaded imagery. They can speak to rituals, containment, protection, and all the beauty and dialogues of life. Natural processes often simultaneously demonstrate conflicting qualities: building while deconstructing; nurturing while sabotaging; peace and conflict. People and nature are a study in contrasts. My current vessels and sculpture are a culmination of years of exploring the strengths and nuances of a variety of materials including polymer clay, metal, wood, and paint. I enjoy the immense variety of techniques possible with polymer clay, and the technical challenges of combining it with other materials.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

My work is made in my home studio. Because so many of the techniques I use require multiple curings, or dry times, there is always an abundance of works in progress going on at once. My vessels often start with days of building up the form that will be a mold for the piece. There can be days of short bouts of progress followed by curing, followed by shaping with a rasp or sandpaper before I can begin to create the surface patterns or cane work seen on the finished piece. Every step is satisfying in a different way.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Polymer has unique capabilities for both surface patterning, and structural uses, additive and subtractive capabilities, and ability to combine with other materials. My pieces utilize this very modern material while drawing on a host of techniques from traditional craft materials. I incorporate mold and form techniques that draw on ceramic methods to create hollow forms. I draw on woodworking experiences in some of my shaping, carving and joinery. My surface techniques include millefiori-inspired canes, and mokume gane inspired surfaces. I enjoy the visual conversations between myself, my work and the viewer, as well as the conversations that develop between the materials as part of the process.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

After obtaining a BFA with a focus in sculpture I built and sold furniture for a number of years. More recently I obtained a Certificate in Botanical Illustration. All three of these disciplines are important contributors to my style and how I make my current work.