For at least 5000 years people of all cultures have felt compelled to create and play with toys. Archeologists' findings have confirmed our collective need to produce miniature representations of ourselves and other objects, and manipulate them manually and in our imaginations.
As a child, my few toys provided me with an entrée into my imagination. I used these characters and objects to help me reenact, understand and integrate my experiences and fantasies. They also served as vehicles to assist me in understanding explorations of new ideas. In my next life as a practicing Play Therapist I continued to explore the mystical, magical power imbued in toys, utilizing their inherent characteristics to help me understand the subconscious.
My interest in glass andfound objects has allowed me to once again immerse myself in toys, this time with a more mature twist. As I refer to my most sacred toys, I try to evoke universal images. There is a compelling irony as I create symbolic toys, whichask to be touched and manipulated, from glass, an extremely fragile material. I manipulate glass, recycle and integrate it with well-worn artifacts from the past whichare often perceived as useless in today's culture. This gives discarded items renewed purpose. As we interact tentatively with these objects they take us back to our most early memories while connecting us to other societies and eras.
Paula Mandel received degrees in Fine Arts and Psychology from Temple University. She worked in oils/mixed media for 25 years, creating psychological portraits, never imagining her future involved glass sculpture. Once hooked on the medium, however, she determined to learn every glass technique offered. She embarked on a four year journey, first taking her to Lucartha Kohler at University of the Arts. She studied flameworking, kiln-casting, fusing, stained glass and coldworking at Corning and Urban Glass with Judith Schaechter followed by 2 years in the Fine Arts Degree program at Salem Community College with Anna Boothe, Paul De Marco and Paul Stankard.
Mandel often melds glass with other materials such as fabric, hardware, and natural materials, addingcolor, texture and pattern to her sculptures. Her work was included in volume 1 of Best in America: Glass Artists and Artisans as well as the Best of Philadelphia Glass Artists exhibit at the National Liberty Museum , Women Working in Glass at Rosemont College, and the Temple Judea Museum. Her interactive toy sculptures which utilize glass have been exhibited in museums, colleges and galleries in and around Philadelphia, Princeton and Pittsburgh. She is a prize winner in the International Flameworking Conference and was a featured artist for the International Glass Art Society.
2004 - 2006 Salem Community College, NJ Glass Art Degree Student AFA Program
1970 - 1974 Temple University, Philadelphia, PA B.A. Art, Psychology Summa Cum Laude
1973 Tyler School of Art, Rome, Italy Semester Abroad
Awards & Honors
2014 First Inspirational Award, American Glass Guild, Bryn Athyn, PA