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
- consumer power/ support
- food security
- low/high impact
- universal need
- carbon footprint
- waste/ reduction
- local/global concerns
- alternative vessels/ packaging
- 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: http://chaipilgrimage.com/2008/09/14/the-indian-clay-cup/
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.