Collection Title


Author/Artist Name

Emma MitchellFollow



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Academic Level at Time of Creation


Date of Creation

Fall 10-23-2020

Artist Statement

The broad concept behind my work is that of acceptance for one’s true form. As someone who struggles with self-acceptance, building ceramic sculptures bearing flaws and strange features has been a sort of therapy. When looking at my work, the viewer should feel empowered and safe in their own skin. They should see a reflection of their own flaws and insecurities in my sculptures, and feel a sense of belonging.

Out of the five senses, the one I resonate with most is touch. In all ceramic work, touch is utilized in the making; whether the finished product is meant to be held, felt, or seen. Through the element of texture, my work awakens the human desire to reach out and touch; however intimate and unconventional. Although I don’t want the viewer to touch my work without expressed invitation, I do want the sculptures to evoke the innate desire to feel. I am continuously experimenting with different textures and the sensations they provoke in the viewer. In executing these textures, nature is used as both the tools and the inspiration. I have used lava rocks as well as other unconventional tools to texture my sculptures. Some of my sculptures invite touch as they are visually satisfying surfaces, while others are hostile and rough to the touch. Texture not only serves as a physically appealing aspect, but a visual one as well. The contrast that texture adds to a piece draws the eye in all different directions; inviting the viewer to look at every curve and crevice.

The form beneath the texture is inspired by both natural formations and the fluidity of the human body. My sculptures begin as a flat surface, mirroring a starting point in every journey towards acceptance. I often let the clay dictate which direction it wants to grow in; offering help when gravity threatens failure. I enjoy working with clay because it’s natural, almost a creature of its own, growing and collapsing with the elements.

I draw inspiration from modernist sculptor Barbara Hepworth as well as German contemporary artist Birgit Piskor. Hepworth’s work was influenced by motherhood, history, and war as she sculpted forms evoking the human body and the space it occupies. The minimalist quality and psychological meaning reflect in my work. Birgit Piskor focuses on catching transformation and inevitable change as she sculpts with concrete. Her sculptures depicting the feminine form inspire my work to be poised and elegant.


John Utgaard


High fire and low fire ceramic




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