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Academic Level at Time of Creation
Date of Creation
In a world filled with heavy overwhelmingness, the creatures I sculpt help root myself and the viewer in a lighter, gentler place. The creatures have diverse body shapes and sizes, colors, and an exploration of pattern and texture with a focus on tactility. I want viewers to feel compelled to touch or engage personally with my sculptures, and for the creatures to live through the viewers by interacting with them or their environment. This brings moments of curiosity, self-acceptance, or compassion. Though we are often overburdened with negative thoughts, our inner critics speaking louder than anyone in the room, my sculptures present the opportunity for a peaceful, comforting break.
The wide range of creatures I sculpt is inspired by the variety and diversity of all living beings, but with a focus on animals. Identifiable features such as eyes, mouths, and noses are often left out to reject and remove labels from my sculptures. I seek to reduce their forms down to essential expressions of animal curiosity and unselfconsciousness. In dialogue with the way Chanakarn Semachai uses sometimes humorous animal imagery to talk about radical self-acceptance and belonging, my work also expresses self-acceptance and joyful freedom through the peace in my soft sculpted creatures. Semachai, or Punch as she is known, works to bring pieces that embrace all people through her color and shape choices. The shapes I choose to sculpt produce a gentle or friendly appearance, inviting positive interactions. The purpose of my sculptures is to give a sense of joy, curiosity, and acceptance. I find that I most enjoy working with more bulbous, smooth shapes because they are reminiscent of plush forms and best convey a sense of comfort and support. It is through their shapes, colors, and textures where differences are enforced and welcomed.
Starting as nothing more than a mud mass, clay is a malleable tool able to take on any number of forms and aligns well with my desire to experiment and play. In contrast to my ideas of wonder, warmth, and gentleness, it is hard and cold to the touch despite the life poured into each sculpture. With this consideration, a dichotomy is created between the comfort these sculptures represent and the material; a soft presentation of a cold reality. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, these make believe creatures may not be alive, but they are real in the sense that they were made with love and care and that is enough for me. They are designed as companions and guides to self-acceptance and care. I find solace in how something so gentle, open-minded, and curious can be evoked by an inanimate sculpture. Through them, I am reminded to make time to find joy and reach for peace.
Dr. Antje Gamble; John Utgaard; Sarah Martin; Timothy Martin
Finding Solace is my senior BFA exhibition show featuring animal adjacent ceramic sculptures in a variety of shapes, actions, and sizes. There is a mix of white earthenware and stoneware clay bodies, underglaze, clear fire glaze, and the non-ceramic material, flocking. I experimented with playful posing and positions, sought cool, comforting colors, and aimed to create a pseudo environment of tranquility while addressing the importance of seeking peace of mind and joy in the regular stress that comes from day to day living. I aim to encourage self-acceptance through positive exploration and curiosity, diversity with colors and shapes, and joy with the life and warmth poured into each sculpted form.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Melcher, Cassie and Melcher, Cassie Victoria, "Finding Solace" (2023). B.F.A. Practicum Exhibition (ART 498). 117.