Rachel Eng, Art & Art History

Sustainability in Wheelwork Ceramic

After attending the Valley & Ridge workshop, I decided to modify the second project for ARTH 224 Wheelwork Ceramics.  In the first project students will use commercially produced clay, which comes from a regional company outside Pittsburgh.  For the second project students will dig their own clay from the college farm and process it together to make it ready to use.  Sourcing local clay for this project will connect to ideas of location, responsible consumption, and an understanding of where clay comes from.  We will also discuss the carbon foot print of certain materials and how different deposits and mines of minerals are located in various regions of the world and its influence on historic ceramic wares.
After the clay is processed, students will create cups.  These cups will respond to different sites: the farm, Carlisle area, and one location that is open to their choice.  The cups that they make will reference these different sites, becoming vessels that carry a sentiment from the students.  Once fired and finished, students will be asked to bring their cups to the cafeteria and use them during a meal.  They can also give their additional cups to their friends to use during a meal and learn how the function or lack of function affects their experience.  The time and labor intensive aspect of this project will open up discussions about convenience in our lives and will give opportunity to discuss the U.N’s sustainability goals and how the issues and resolutions are multifaceted.