The Fine Art Air-Dry and Polymer Clay Market Can Be Confusing for the Beginner to Intermediate Artist

What this page is and isn’t about — It’s about fine art air-dry and polymer clays. It’s not about ceramic, cold porcelain, resin clay, epoxy clays, or any kiln-cured products.

This page was written after reading https://www.reviewstream.com/reviews/?p=155083#thoughts-box, which was about Premier clay, which is an artist grade air-dry clay, and the beginner’s needs and understandable confusion.

For jewelry making, Premo!, Fimo Classic, Kato, and Cernit are some of your better choices of oven-cured polymer clays –they’re durable enough and do not have to be sealed unless certain surface treatments (mica powders like Pearl Ex or Perfect Pearls…) require it. See: https://thebluebottletree.com/seal-polymer-clay/

Durability… While people making charms often use various air-dry clays, they usually don’t construct bracelets or rings out of air-dry clays. Jewelry may take much more wear and tear.

Seal it or not? As a rule, air-dry clays generally have to be sealed once dry and finished but oven-cured polymer clays don’t. (Two-part epoxy clays don’t have to be sealed but although they’re often called air-dry, they actually cure by chemical reaction and may even be able to cure under water. They’re not true air-dry clays.)

Cracks in Premier clay.… Cracks don’t mean your air-dry clay is weak. Premier is one of the strongest air-dry clays. Nearly all air-dry clays have some shrinkage and Premier is no exception, although it shrinks less than some air-dry clays. Having a good armature, if armature is necessary, and using minimal amounts of water while sculpting with Premier can decrease the likelihood or severity of cracks. Sometimes cracks happen but they’re easily be repaired with Premier, even if your item dried. See the below video. Cracks may occur if you added too much water while sculpting, used a cardboard armature, used thin clay over a rigid armature (Ostrich legs, for example), let your item dry too quickly, or didn’t support sculpture parts subject to gravity. Don’t dry your Premier clay items under a fan, for example. Do remember to keep unused clay in an air-tight bag and/or container.

For figurative works, Premix, an air-dry clay made by the same company as Premier, is easier to sculpt and blend than Premier. Doll artist Hannie Sarris loved Premix clay. Premier clay may take some different sculpting techniques than what one would be used to with polymer clay and one uses minimal (!) amounts of water are used while sculpting Premier. People working with these air-dry clays might lightly dab their fingers across a wet sponge to keep clay moist enough while sculpting. They may use a mister type of water bottle. Do not use Sculpey Clay Softener or any type of oil to soften, smooth, and blend these air-dry clays — they are hybrid clays and have their own characteristics, sculpting techniques, storage and compatibility considerations. They’re not like the majority of polymer clays that are oven-cured (e.g., Fimo Classic, Fimo Soft, Cernit, Fimo Doll, Premo!). They’re not like most air-dry clays on the market. They are used by a number of very famous art doll artists and others.

So yes, there are indeed air-dry polymer clays — Activa Lumina Translucent Polymer Clay, Staedtler Fimo Air Basic Modeling Clay, and Activa LaDoll Premier clay are examples of air-dry polymer clays. Activa, the company that makes laDoll Premier clay, describes Premier clay as a type of polymer clay on their site. Lumina has long been known to the polymer clay community. Fimo Air Basic is weaker than either of those.

Polymer clays have their own issues — Dirt, lint, hair, compatibility issues, and baking considerations (always monitor your oven with two oven thermometers, not counting the oven’s own temperature reading). If you look at it that way, a few easily repaired cracks in Premier clay items isn’ts a bad deal.

Sculpey Diluent, AKA liquid Sculpey Clay Softener, works with oven-cured polymer clays, specifically, and not with air-dry polymer clays. Here’s the Sculpey Clay Softener Material Safety Data Sheet: https://www.sculpey.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Clay-Softener-SDS-10282015.pdf

In contrast, Makin’s, Hearty, Das, “cold porcelain” clays, Creative Paperclay, Celluclay, and epoxy putties are not polymer clays no matter who describes them as such.

For a whole lot of information on all things polymer and air-dry clay, see:

…Or go to clay manufacturers’ sites and hit their FAQs and MSDS pages. I wish there were sculpting, storage, compatibility, MSDS and other information (to seal or not to seal) with each clay package that one takes home, but that’s sadly not the case.

Karen A. Scofield On “What Makes Me Tick”

Levo App

My Results From the Levo app regarding thinking talents.

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As you can see, it picks up on my autism-related deficiencies/differences/advantages. My relational quadrant is empty (not in real life), but then the underlying social constructs de rigueur these days overwhelmingly favor charming extroverts, the more gregarious a la neurotypical fashion they are the better. I see it offers are some pointers about things “relational” but ultimately for someone like me, this test may not pick up on social and communication alternatives. Here’s a TED talk that challenges Introverts with a capital “I” being placed at the top of whatever  constructs we can devise without more penetrating examination.

Rethinking Introverts

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3794733

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/top-10-advantages-of-introvert.htmlimage

  • I tend to do my best thinking alone. That is core the body of any Venn diagram about myself).
  • I don’t do well with snap decisions, often go through a vigorous fact checking process, may research a topic north south east and west, and need time to think through pros and cons.
  • I prefer advanced notice about events or needed decisions.
  • I need a good amount of alone time to do my best thinking, stay true to myself, and stay on track.
  • As much as possible, I need to let people know I will get back to them on the topic or decision rather than keep them hanging.

What do I need to work on: I need to devise purposely nurture relationships with “big thinkers.” Spending time with them will nourish and inspire my thinking processes.

Since my relational skills are peculiar or lacking, I do best with other like people, meaning they are rather direct communicators who are or do well with those on the autism range.

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One Conclusion

It seems I should partner with someone who excels in people, feeling skills and bringing things to action. That sounds like a neurotypical rather than someone who is on the autism range too. Neurotypicals usually shun people like me with a vengeance. What to do? I don’t want a relationship of unequals, so rather than some sort of setup that involves being mentored, I probably would do best in a co-mentoring relationship in which each recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and each other, without the ego trips or superiority complexes and other such baggage. Ideally. If I can’t get that, I can at least use a certified accountant and other specialists to help me get an art career off the ground.

Keeping the above in mind, the below from my about me page may make more sense!

I design and make figurative bead or art dolls, whip together spirit dolls, art journal, do fine art paintings, create mixed media mosaics, and get into some fabric arts!

My blog pages reflect my intense, playful nature that leads me to intermittently research art mediums/techniques N, S, E, W, and outside the box for years on end so that I can readily dip my hands into multiple art mediums and play, sometimes exactingly and sometimes experimentally. To the core, it’s my nature to take things art further and I have no qualms about expanding and correcting my pages as new products or information comes along. Making art stirs up a deep-seated sense of awe, a child’s sense of wonder, a well-seasoned intellectual curiosity, and the sense that creation is a spiritual experience. Ideas for art constantly fly into my head and I keep notes. Days are never long enough.

A little background... Some of my polymer clay beads appear in the book Polymer Artists Showcase, by tejae floyde. My 1st two art dolls were in Kenosha Wisconsin’s Lemon Street Art Gallery, where I was a member from 2005 to 2007. Lovely place. (I had no idea I could sculpt until I was in my mid to late 40s. It turns out that my dominant dominant intelligence is spatial, helpful in more 3D arts.)

Eclectic Focus

Sculpting figurative beads of polymer or earthenware ceramic clay, resin, making my own prototypes and molds, art dolls, spirit dolls, mixed media mosaics, art journaling, water-based painting, and bouts of fabric arts (cotton, Kraft-tex, paper cloth AKA fabric paper).

Communication Style

I’m socially awkward (autistic) and do best with kind but exquisitely forward people who don’t infer or beat around the bush so if you talk with me, just say what you mean/feel yet remain respectful. (Hint: I love pluralism, eclecticism, constructive criticism and civil rights. I’m incredibly tolerant up to the point of intolerance, brainwashing, purposefully burdensome learned helplessness/ignorance, and other stupid toxic people tricks.)

Watermedia Warning: I’m an unabashed Cretacolor, Liquitex, Golden, and Da vinci fluid acrylics fan.

FAVORITES

Favorite Clays:

Ceramic — Earthenware, Raku
Polymer Clay — Cernit, Fimo Doll/Professional, Kato, Pardo, Premo, Sculpey UltraLight for under structures/armature
Air Dry Clay — La doll Premier, Creative PaperClay, Professional Cold Porcelain
Apoxie Sculpt

Favorite Artist Paints:

Winsor & Newton Watercolors
Golden Acrylics — Fluid Acrylics, Heavy Body
Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics
Liquitex — Soft Body, Heavy Body, Spray can), Basics

Favorite Acrylic Craft Paints (Art Journaling):

Delta Ceramcoat
Jo Sonja
SoHo

Favorite Watermedia Pencils and Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, in Order of Preference:

Cretacolor (artist grade) — AquaMonoliths, AquaStics, AquaBricks
Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Artists’ Crayons (not as lightfast as Cretacolor, across the board)
Inktense Pencils (the more lightfast shades)

Note: In any fine art, I only use water-soluble oil products on top of acrylics or watercolors, for final finishing touches, if I use them at all.

Favorite Opaque Markers and Pens for Art Journaling:

Uni Posca Paint Pens (remain water-soluble — judiciously seal with 3 layers spray sealant)
Sakura Gelly Roll Pens (no sealant
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens (permanent, can watercolor and paint over them!)

Favorite Sketching Pencils and Powders:

Cretacolor — Artist sketching pastel pencils, carre hard pastels, sketching leads and holders, sketching powders.
Pitt Pastel pencils
Prismscolor sketching pencils
Unison Soft Pastel Red Earth 10

Favorite Papers:

Canson, Strathmore 400 or 500 series, Canva-Paper, Stonehenge, Fabriano Soft Watercolor Paper, Yupo

Favorite Art Board:

Ampersand (especially their Aquabord)
Fredix Archival Watercolor panels

Favorite Illustration Boards:

Stathmore
Crescent

Favorite Canvas:

Fredrix — Watercolor Canvas and their canvas for acrylics

Favorite Canvas Pads:

Fredrix — Regular and Watercolor
Canva-Paper
Strathmore Acrylic

Favorite Mixed Media Pads:

Canson XL Mix Media (for art journaling)
Stathmore 400 or 500

Favorite Gesso:

Liquitex (not Basics!)
Golden
Winsor & Newton
Martin F. Weber Prima (art journaling and DIY art boards, has a lovely matte eggshell smooth texture)

Favorite Fixatives:

Krylon — Matte Finish, Workable Fixatif, or UV Resistant Clear Matte
Lascaux UV Protect 2 or 3
Blair Very Low Odor Spray Fix
Plaid Patricia Nimrocks Clear Acrylic Sealer Matte (for crafts only)

Favorite Colored Pencils:

I can’t afford those! Nevermind. Sigh.

I did unwittingly get Prismacolor pencils from after their factories moved to Mexico and too many leads fall out of the pencils or break. Grrr.

I’m not so much in love with colored pencils, presently.

Favorite Fabrics:

Quilting cottons
Kraft-tex

Favorite Thread:

Carpet thread
Strong quality cotton threads
Silky threads

Favorite Languages:

English, Estonian, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Punjabi, Spanish, and Italian.

Favorite Cuisines in Order of General Preference:

Punjabi, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Estonian, French, American.

Note that all my work is copyrighted and you may not use it without explicit written permission.

Viva Decor Precious Metal Colour Paint in Gold Was Heat-set on Cured Premo Polymer Clay, by Karen A. Scofield

Viva Decor Precious Metal Colour Heat-Set on Premo Polymer Clay

The Clay

I added crushed, shiny micaceous (meaning it’s loaded with mica) rock, fine gold glitter, and Blank Slate Gold and Silver Flake Mix, in order of volume, to some Premo! polymer clay (a Sculpey product). That’s why it’s sparkly and can appear darker or very light depending on how the light shines on it and it moves, you see sparkles as well as flashes and glints.

Aside: The Backstory on the Micaceous Rockhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/sari0009/19354330223/in/dateposted-..

The Paint (and A Closed US Office)

Spelling

Viva Decor’s US office closed in 2015 and my bottle is labeled “Precious Metal Colour” because that is how the UK spells it. Many sites and blogs still use the US spelling (Precious Metal Color), you may notice.

Viva Decor Closed Their USA Office in 2015. European Offices remain open. 2016.

Viva Decor Closed Their USA Office in 2015. European Offices remain open. 2016.

Inclusions Added to the Paint

Precious Metal Colour gold colored paint, specifically, has larger glitter-like particles while the mica powder has super fine (!) particles.

  • Alone, Pearl-Ex mica powder has a very slight orangish undertone by comparison.
  • Alone, Previous Metal Color is a bit bright and silvery.
  • Combined, the color is amazing and the larger particles of the paint aren’t glaringly evident.

So, I added a decent amount of Pearl Ex mica powder to Viva Decor “Precious Metal Colour.”

Rule: With mica powder, less is more, meaning you start by adding very small amounts and adjust according to your liking. I found my mix pleasing as a 14 karat gold color.

This doctored up Viva Decor “Precious Metal Colour” acrylic/enamel paint was painted in 3 or 4 layers on an already baked Premo polymer clay mix.

The bezels were entirely painted with the paint while the figurative beads only had detail work painted.

Heat-setting

All but one were heat-set at 275°F  for 30 minutes. There was no visual or tactile difference between the baked and unbaked paint.

I couldn’t scratch the paint off with a fingernail once the paint was heat-set. The paint looks the most like real gold. I finally, after years of looking for a rather durable solution, now have a tremendous amount of confidence regarding gold detail work on my beads and pendants.

Although Varathane Gloss sealant is one of the top choices for sealing polymer clay, it’s water-resistant, not waterproof. I’d prefer not to have to seal my beads at all.

Acrylic Paints — Drying Time vs. Cured

Note: There is A difference between drying time in curing time. Drying time might occur within minutes or a few hours for acrylic paints while curing time might take a few days. This difference might help explain some problems with heat-setting acrylic paints a polymer clay.

I say it might help explain some of the problems because, according to Blue Bottle Tree, there was a correlation between painting the paint on raw polymer clay before heat-setting and the paint bubbling. This was dependent upon brand of acrylic paint and/or polymer clay, whether the clay was raw or cured, and other factors. For more information, see that Blue Bottle Tree blog post.

One Minor Problem to Solve

When removing these painted bezels from the glossy tile they were baked on, some of the gold paint stuck to the tile. There was enough paint remaining on the bezels so this wasn’t a problem but I’d would still prefer this not  happen.

Perhaps baking on a silicone mat would improve things.

Hand Sculpted Voluptuous Ceramic Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Finally Glazed my First Ceramic Goddess Pendants!

Two of these darlings are in Red Roses Bead Haven, a local bead shop, to test the waters, as it were.

Pictures and a short video. These pendants  represent my first experience with teaching myself how to sculpt and work with ceramics. I previously worked with polymer clay. It’s taken me four months to get to this point because I don’t own my own glazes or kiln. I’m lucky enough that a local art gallery will fire them for me and will let me use donated glazes. However, it’s often three weeks or so between firings, more if the kiln breaks down as it did recently.

One is made of red micaceous (contains mica) clay and didn’t need to be glazed like the rest.

Hand Sculpted Voluptuous Ceramic Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Hand Sculpted Voluptuous Ceramic Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Goddess Pendants by SE Wisconsin artist, Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Goddess Pendants by SE Wisconsin artist, Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Goddess Pendants by SE Wisconsin artist, Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Ceramic Goddess Pendants by SE Wisconsin artist, Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Art Journal. Why Magic? by Karen A. Scofield.

So I’m Doing Art Journaling Finally

A Few Sample Pages of My First Art Journal

Of course, it all starts with love, four words for love, then it covers reciprocity, examining what kind of power we have in our relationships from personal to public and political. After that, I talk about making reality according to will, because chances are, if we examine love, power, and reciprocity then we’ll want to make changes.

First, I experimented with backgrounds made with acrylic craft paints. There are some neon, glow, and fluorescent colors in there. I added some mica misters (sprays) on top on some pages but not others. Uni Posca paint pens and “Moonlight” Sakura Gelly Roll gel pens were used on all pages so far. These particular gel pens don’t have to be sealed once dried but the Posca paint pens remain water-soluble and do best with several layers of Krylon matte sealant for that reason. The spray sealant also happens to solve the issue of acrylic painted art journal pages tending to stick together.

I’m diving into some art journaling as I wait for my clay pieces to get fired. It’s taking quite some time as the art gallery’s kiln needed new parts and only recently got them. Because of that, they’re behind and still have to fire my pendants. I’m not doing anymore glazing until I know if this works out and what to expect.

Art Journal. Words for Love from Agape to Praxis. Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Art Journal. Words for Love from Agape to Praxis. Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

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Art Journal. Why Magic?

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Art Journal Spread "Words!" by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Art Journal Spread “Words!” by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Aphrodite Over Time. Goddess. Art Journaling. Grimoire is to spell or write. K. Scofield. 2016.

Aphrodite Over Time. Goddess. Art Journaling. Grimoire is to spell or write. K. Scofield. 2016.

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Art Journal. The Great Meta Goddess

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Art Journal. Equality.

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Art Journal Pages. Karen A. Scofield. 2016. Credit for Law of Magic goes to Isaac Bonewits.

Art Journal Pages. Karen A. Scofield. 2016. Credit for Law of Magic goes to Isaac Bonewits.

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Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amohora, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Unfired Ceramic Amphora Bead, by Karen A. Scofield

It’s my first one, it’s hollow and the cap,  which will be permanently chained to the vessel pendant, is removal. It will be glazed;  my daughter thinks a light driftwood or ivory color but I’m thinking something blue. Decorative slip decorations were added and slip was painted over them in multiple layers to avoid separation while retaining the dimensional  image. Once it’s completely fired and glazed, the tip of cap which fits inside the vessel will get a coating of silicone to make it stay put when closed but still allow the vessel to be open and closed. …If the silicone works out.

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amphora with Removable Cap, by Karen A. Scofield, 2016

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amphora with Removable Cap, by Karen A. Scofield, 2016

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amphora with Removable Cap, by Karen A. Scofield, 2016

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amphora with Removable Cap, by Karen A. Scofield, 2016

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amohora, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amohora, My First, by Karen A. Scofield.. 2016. Will fire to white bisque, will be glazed. First Attempt. 2016.m

 

Love, Reciprocity, Reality Bubbles, and Culture

Imagination.  Creativity or imagination aren’t merely about art. They go to our very core. Imagination bridges cognition and ethics/virtues and it strengthens science and daily reality. Imagination is also a key virtue even as it’s sometimes held in contempt by some dogmatic world views (how churches sometimes react to works of fiction, for e.g.). It’s frightening that US Americans have ranked dead last, in applying what they learned to real situations, among students from the top twenty world powers or so. The American child’s imagination has been under attack or hasn’t been nurtured enough in the right ways.

How can we treat ourselves or others with courtesy, respect or foresight if we don’t imagine why, if we don’t imagine “why not excellence? Our failures of imagination show in our public behavior towards one another, economic systems, educational system, and politics.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.: — Aristotle.

Imagination, examination, and applying what we know all require numerous meta life skills or habits, habits like examining topics with curiosity.

Consider this topic — the words cult and culture have a common root.

“Origin Expand
1610-20; < Latin cultus habitation, tilling, refinement, worship, equivalent to cul-, variant stem of colere to inhabit, till, worship + -tus suffix of v. action”

We scrutinized cults from the 1960s to the present and understand they’re often led by charismatic leader(s). We’ve developed methods of rating how dangerous they are. We should habitually examine culture as well, what we nurture, and what we fail to nurture.

  • “Reality leave a lot to the imagination.” — John Lennon
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. … Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” — Albert Einstein.
  • What appears to be external reality is really all in your head.call ordinary everyday reality is a mass hallucination, or, to put it more politely, a shared dream. — Serge Kahili King, in his book, “Urban Shaman.”
  • “We are caged by our cultural programming. Culture is a mass hallucination, and when you step outside the mass hallucination you see it for what it’s worth.’ — Terence McKenna, from his Eros and the Eschaton lecture (1994).
  • “I’m not completely sure we aren’t all living in a hallucination now.” — Marc Maron
  • Moral Panics, such as the Satanic Panic of the 70s to 90sare detrimental forms of mass hallucination, as it were, and attack ideas and people. They are later dismantled by academic, scientific, and other fair and thorough examination.
  • “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” — Yoko Ono
    • A line written by Ono many years before, and quoted by Lennon in December 1980, as quoted in All We Are Saying : The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono(2000) by John Lennon, Yōko Ono, David Sheff, p. 16.
  • See “Reality is a Shared Hallucination,” by Howard Bloom.
  • Holographic Universe theories infer in so many words that we live in a dream or mass hallucination we share as “reality.”
    • Are We Living in a Hologram?” — Carol Reid on IFLScience.com.
    • The definition of reality touches on reality as hallucination or something more plastic/malleable than many of us dare entertain. There are more entries about reality on NewScientist here.
    • This link touches on Indra’s Net and Physics in regards to a holographic universe.
    • Indra’s Net is a very old idea that touches on both the holographic universe and the natures of reality. “…any fixed notion of self, even the Universal Self, is an illusion.”
    • “Reality then becomes a “shared hallucination”, meaning that there is a cemented, agreed upon perception of something.  If there was a race of people living on an island who thought that the color green as actually the color pink, are they wrong?  To the majority of the people on this planet, maybe, but to them the notion of “being wrong” about something like that is absurd. They are simply not sharing in the agreed upon perception, or hallucination.  Wars are fought over this kind of difference.” English Prime @ OM. 2000. 

Many more people have said in various ways reality is a consensus “mass hallucination.” Look at human history and the different cultures on earth right now. Trying to nail down reality/culture is like trying to nail jello to the wall.

Contemporary culture  should be open to equally, if not more, exhaustive examination and questioning as what’s levied at cults. This is, of course, also needed in our social circles and political reality bubbles.

In today’s world of exponentially advancing technology and the world wind of change it brings. It’s tempting to look for certainty and power in group and political opinions. Currently, our culture/reality “is” is fed to us through mass produced media, images, politics, advertisements, and entertainment (movies, books, games, art). Think about it. Being spoon fed our reality may share many similarities with cults.

Creating our own art, our own stories, and framing our own debates are antidotes. One author even goes as far as calling art magic we create realities according to will this way. That author wrote “V is fo Vendetta,” and his name is Alan Moore. If you watch movies or read graphic novels then you’ve probably come across his other works.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta#Cultural_impa

I worry for a culture that seems more interested in ABC (already been chewed) two-sided debates and misleading or fallacious memes. It’s all too frequently not innocuous if it comes from the pundits, the pulpits, or profit worshipping corporations who try to run the show.

Perhaps I should start making art about with and about love.  It’s not only about  valentines day and making marriages work, love allows barriers to the universal consciousness to fall away and many way it is at our core and at the core of the universe. Love makes the Golden Rule (reciprocal ethics) and an array of virtues more possible in practice.  There are different words for love in the Greek language and they are agape (highest form of spiritual love, recognizes the divine in each person), philios (love that recognizes the humanity in each other, e.g. love of ‘Universal Brotherhood/Sisterhood’), eros (intellectual form of love, may or may not overlap with the erotic), and praxis (any action taken in any amount of love, not necessarily sexual, can include moments of silence or prayer, for example).

Reciprocity. It’s proactive in nature.  It’s intrinsically tied to love and imagination. It’s part of reciprocal ethics (“ethics of reciprocity) that’s a cornerstone of functional societies that value equality, empathy, compassion, human dignity and at least some degree of mutual courtesy and respect. Examples: What goes around, comes around. Love thy neighbor. Treat others as you’d like them to treat you. Reciprocity decreases as social and political climates encourage cognitive and social disconnects. As the practice of reciprocity decreases, denigration and dehumanization can increase exponentially. In America, the decrease in reciprocity is very noticeable in how people treat causes, the homeless, neighbors, and people that belong to different political camps or social circles. At least one book that addresses the need for more reciprocity in U.S. American culture is Robert D. Putnam’s “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.”

Imagination is a key virtue — it bridges cognition and ethics, strengthening both. It means we are able to apply what we know to every day situations, reality is something we co-create, and yes, we can imagine why to treat others with courtesy, respect and foresight. Imagination is a key virtue crucial, pivotal to equality and academic excellence and it’s been no accident that both have been under attack for far two long in the US and elsewhere.