Thesis Research Outline

In my thesis work I have been researching various theorists and areas of study that I feel tie in with my themes and objectives.

  • Relational Aesthetics; Nicolas Bouriaud,
  • Dialogical Aesthetics in Contemporary Art; Grant Kester
  • Participatory Art; Claire Bishop
  • Social Activism; Joseph Bueys, Gabriel Craig
  • Natural Farming, seed balls; Masanobu Fukuoka
  • Food Security, Michael Pollan, Dr. Vandana Shiva
  • Still Lifes; historical context and significance
  • Site Specific Art and Locational Identity; Miwon Kwon
  • Unfired Clay; Artists: Phoebe Cummings, Margaret Boozer, J.J. McCracken, Walter McConnell, Rebecca Warren, Clare Twomey, Kristen Morgin, Elena Khurtova, etc
  • Chai cups in India; significance and relationship to my work
  • Guerrilla Gardening


  • consumption
  • consumer power/ support
  • food security
  • agriculture
  • low/high impact
  • universal need
  • sustainability
  • carbon footprint
  • cultivation
  • waste/ reduction
  • local/global concerns
  • alternative vessels/ packaging
  • community
  • origins/ cycles
  • giving back/ regeneration


Thesis Statement Draft 1 Abstract

In my thesis work I address the relationship between the source of the materials that we use in the ceramic process and the source of food, as they pertain to the consumer. Both food and clay materials have a major disconnect between their points of origin and final destination.

Through a formal exploration of locally harvested clays, teamed up with native plant species, I have created vegetable seed bomb vessels that prompt the audience to engage and consider how the food they choose greatly affects their carbon footprint.  I aim for my work to be placed in the hands of those who already celebrate local food and sustainable agriculture as well as those who need to be educated about healthier ways of living and eating. My intention is for them to plant their vessels made with 100% locally harvested clay, seed and soil, nurture the plants and benefit from the intentional connections that ensue. When we recognize the relationship between what we consume, its point of origin and where it will eventually go, we can further learn how to reduce energy consumption and excess waste. I believe this is a pertinent issue because our planet’s resources can only withstand abuse for so long before there is nothing left to sustain us; as stewards of the planet, we need to take our roles more seriously.

Exhibition Plan Proposal

For my thesis exhibition in the Samuel Dorsky Museum I will create a large pile consisting of approximately 700 unfired, fully sealed, vegetable form/seed-bombs. I will mix into this pile some fired forms for contrasting permanence/impermanence, as well as additional color. I would like to have hundreds of forms, cast from a dozen different vegetables including different sizes of acorn squash, butternut squash, yam, potatoes, spaghetti squash, pumpkin and rutabaga. These forms, while unfired,  will be durable enough to pile on top of one another without concern of breakage in the gallery.

I will be using open floor space in the middle of the Dorsky Museum for my pile, situated as close to the floor as possible, yet raised slightly (two inches from the floor) on a circular platform, covered in a textured material like burlap, which has a grain sack /humble quality, providing a nonskid surface so the pile does not shift during exhibition. I will also be using a small pedestel for display of accompanying showcards and a few forms. In total I will use approximately  8’ x 8’ x 2 1/2′ of floor space


Chai Cups in India

I have been interested in the tradition of chai cups in India, which are made from locally sourced earthenware and fired just enough to hold liquid, then smashed on the ground after use. Here is a site that takes a closer look:

Drawn From Clay

Here is an inspiring article about a group of artists utilizing local clays in their native Holland, where they are creating vessels to serve that which is grown from the same soil.

Hunger Project/ Earth to Table Banquet

This performance and installation project was created by artist J. J. McCaracken to shed light on themes of charity and reciprocity. The unfired clay used to create the installation was later recycled to make plates, decorated by children and then sold at a fundraising event to raise money for the improvement of food quality at a a homeless shelter.

J.J. McCracken  fundraiser for Stenton Family Manor Homeless Shelter

Guerrilla Gardening

Seed Bombs A Guide To Their Various Forms and Functions

The Seed Bomb (or Green Grenade) in whatever form it takes is designed to enable seeds to be sown in a hard to reach place and in locations where a gardener is unable to spend long preparing the ground for conventional sowing. They are therefore potentially of great use to guerrilla gardeners who have ambitions to garden in challenging locations or who fear trouble if they spend too long tending the ground and can enable very spontaneous floral attacks.


3 thoughts on “Research

  1. From your sources in the Research Outline and your statement draft, I think that you should consider a format in the Dorsky that can accommodate not just the pile of unfired clay seed bombs but also the appropriate sculptural and didactic content that fills in the rest of what you are taking about.

    I think about what you were doing here: and want to know what binds this work formally, conceptually, and practically to the community? How will the people engage with it in the museum, while carrying the bombs around, once the seeds are sown, at harvest time, etc. This network speaks to the work as much as a table of unfired clay forms, with or without a fired platter. And what are we left with when all the seed bombs are gone?

    Finally, how much space is this work going to take up? 8′ x 5′ does not seem like enough, especially since people will need to engage with it to take the seed bombs. Do you need space around all sides? Why against the wall? Will the work engage the wall in some way?

  2. In your thesis statement draft, avoid saying things like “I aim for my work to be placed…” and just say it.

    Clarify this: “…benefit from the intentional connections that ensue…” Be specific. What connections? And, actually, the benefits themselves are not clear. What benefits?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s