Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ceramics Spotlight -- Alexis Shea

Artist Statement
               Recently I engulfed myself into a project that would open my eyes to problems within today's society. I  envisioned, sketched and designed a coil pot that would reflect today's education system with standardized testing. My coil pot is made out of line coils with a tree blended into the coils. Near the tree is a fish with air bubbles marked A, B, C, and D. A pencil is placed on top to the pot as if someone simply set it down. My pot encourages people to question standardized testing and here's why...
                     I'm going to start by telling you how I created this project, hoping it would influence many people. The first and most important step was the sketch. Coming up with the plan. What social issue I wanted to bring to the table and how exactly I was going to symbolize it. While making my sketch I had to envision the project as it was in front of me which was by far the most difficult part of the entire process. After the sketch was complete, I started by making line coils with the extruder. I used the slab roller to make a circular slab for the base of my pot. With the base ready I cut the coils and formed them into circles using the slip and score technique. After all the circular coils are made I begin to attach them to the base, again with the slip and score technique. After the entire pot is made I then wedged some clay and made a slab to make the tree. I cut out a piece of the coils in order to blend the tree into the coils. Once the tree was in and the pattern was sketched into it I began the process of making the fish and pencil.  The fish was made out of a slab. Detail and design was added to the fish and then simply attached to the outside of the coils with the slip and score technique. The pencil was made out of a single coil and placed on top of the coils again with slip and score. After the tree, pencil, and fish were added I began the smaller detail on the pot which include; the words, a hole in the tree, and the hole that make up the air bubbles from the fish. At this point my pot is ready to be fired in the the kiln. When my pot comes out of the kiln it is at a bisque stage. This is where I sand the pot and make sure everything is how I like and then its glazed and ready to be fired again. Now my pot is complete and ready to send a message.
                  My social issue is standardized testing. I sketched into the pot; “Children have different needs, different thoughts and dreams.” “How can we judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree?” and “Schools care more about the grades we receive rather than education.”. My worries are that every student is different yet were all tested on the same thing. One kid is a math wiz and another is amazing at wood work, yet when they take a math test, one kid believes and are told they are not as smart or smart enough. Our students need to be taken special care of because we are all unique. My symbol is the fish and the tree. I want the audience to think that you cannot judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree and then translate that to you cannot judge a wood worker on their ability to solve algorithms. My hope is that the principals of my school will take my side and begin to attempt to make a change within our schools. I know they may feel as if they do not have a voice but with their help we can spread the word and our knowledge. Our students can be assessed without making them feel worthless.
                    During this project I developed the Artist Habit of the Mind of “Express” and “Engage and Persist.” With this project I was able to express my feelings and concerns about my own and my peers education and even health. Because of my pot I will engage in this issue and persist by making it known that our education system needs work. Thank you.

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