Climate change’s existential threat is one that has become so pronounced that every aspect of our daily consumption can be analyzed and traced to larger destructive forces. My work explores the empathic connections between humans, the creative process, and the physical landscape, investigating the phenomenon of psychological distress associated with climate change. I use memories of my itinerant shifts between landscapes to create abstracted ceramic sculptures; for these I reference mountain and glacial forms, an extension of my own experience growing up in Alaska where I saw the rapid receding of glaciers first hand.
Ceramics is a medium which readily records the hand of the maker while making forms permanent through the firing process and I use this aspect of the material to freeze moments in time where the clay sometimes splits and cracks, implying a slow collapse. This reflection of time’s effect on materials elicits correlations between the temporality of flesh and ice and stone. Combining materials such as lumber, plastic, and polystyrene with the ceramic creates an environment that references the sublime in nature and its corruption due to the waste of industry. Using these material contrasts and metaphors, my sculpture work aims to engage viewers emotionally while allowing for a broader discourse regarding the changing climate.
I have a deep interest in how my material choice affects my sculptural work. I am dedicated to my technical research and the intuitive approach to working with ceramics, but I remain conscious of how ceramics and its firing process can be problematic when making work that discusses human influenced climate change. By converting the malleable materials of stoneware and porcelain to hardened, permanent ceramic, I remain aware of my carbon footprint and the legacy or “future history” of my objects as they will live on without me. In spite of this, I have a desire to make our complicated relationship to the planet less traumatic through contemplative, aesthetic objects and accessible ceramic functional ware.