Remembering Polymer Artist Elise Winters

We are sharing, with sadness, the death of the artist Elise Winters, a good friend of the Racine Art Museum (RAM) and an artist whose work we are archiving in the museum’s permanent collection.

The Rochester, New York, native was born in 1947 and Winters’ early career was as an artist and teacher working in the media of ceramics and photography in New Jersey. However, it was her participation in the polymer medium, where she worked as an artist, educator, and advocate beginning in the mid-1990s, for which she is known nationally and internationally. Winters began experimenting with this oven-curing clay-like material at that time and became one of a number of individuals, with professional art training, who explored the possibilities that this medium held for creating decorative arts objects and handmade jewelry. Winters’ unique wearable pieces were part of a national movement among artists to explore the use of unexpected and non-precious materials, in unusual forms and scale, for the creation of personal adornment. 

As an indicator of her career recognition, Winters’ artwork now resides in the permanent art jewelry and decorative arts collections of six major US museums, including: the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA, Boston); the Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), Philadelphia; the Racine Art Museum (RAM), Racine, Wisconsin; and the Mingei International Museum, San Diego.

Those wishing to make donations in Winters’ honor should consider a contribution to the Oncology Department of the Englewood Hospital, or to the Racine Art Museum, in Racine, Wisconsin

Elise Winters Full Obituary

Polymer Art Archive 
Terra Nova: Polymer Art at the Crossroads exhibition at the Racine Art Museum
How Polymer Hit the Big Time | American Craft Magazine 2012