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Original Message:   I have nothing against plastics, per se!
I began acquiring imitation amber beads from Mali in 1972, used them in designs I created, studied them, wrote about them—and continue to acquire them over forty years later.

And, from 1987 to about 1997 I made plastic beads and jewelry from Fimo modeling compound (and similar brands)—for which I am considered a "pioneer" in the medium.

There are a number of things I resent about plastics. Most assuredly the fact that, since about 1920, no manufacturers seem to have considered the possibility of immense polution caused by the thoughtless disposal of plastic waste—that is now wrecking our environment.

But, if we put that aside, plastics are important materials that make many things possible, and improve our daily lives. They also provide a valid art medium. It is the shallow idea of "disposability" that mess up the equation.

My problem with "Bakelite" has been expressed previously. But cast phenolic plastic artifacts are undeniably interesting and even beautiful. I have a small but reasonable collection (if we do not include the copious numbers of fake "amber" beads I also have). What I resent, more than anything else is misrepresentation. I am a Consumer Advocate. And as such, my mission is to inform people of facts, to counter misrepresentation (plastics are not "amber"), and to counter unwarranted explosions in pricing structures—based on those false ideas and wrongly-promoted misrepresentations.

I actually have a nice lecture that I present about plastic beads and jewelry—a large portion of which is dedicated to phenolic artifacts.

Jamey

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