Reinventing the wheel: Students explore ceramics for upcoming installation

Victor Dimitrov, Staff Writer

Reina McNutt (11), Taimur Moolji (11) Juli Moreira (12), and Jacob Bernheim (12) have been developing elaborate new ceramic techniques, giving them the opportunity to branch out and gain insight into what interests them as individual artists. Their latest creations are currently featured in the “Works in Progress” gallery in Fisher Hall.

McNutt is constructing several bowls and focusing on creating intricate differences between them, exploring beyond more conventional pottery forms, she said.

“For this project, I want my end product to be a set of bowls that my family and I will actually eat from, not just artwork that sits around the house. I want to try to go for a matching set that looks factory made but also has a personal touch to it,” McNutt said.

Moolji has been focusing on wheel-throwing tall, spiraled structures to further his ability to create tall pots. “Clay stands out to me because of its ability to be molded into three-dimensional structures,” Moolji said. “I enjoy the hands-on aspect of creating art with clay.”

Moreira experimented with the illusion of depth in her work by adding ornamental side structures onto a pot she created. “I was inspired by how my sculptures on the surface of the piece ended up messing with the perception of the depth of the piece and I want to delve more deeply into that,” Moreira said. “My inspiration for the piece stemmed from my interest in exploring how clay can be used in non-utilitarian ways, and I wanted to play more with the idea of using sculpture as a way to make a piece more interesting,” Moreira said.

“This year, I’m not in a ceramics class, and I have made a plan with Mr. Renner that I do self-assigned projects. For this specifically, he had suggested doing something that looks different from everything I have done in the past,” McNutt said.

“My presentation is not far from the final piece,” Moolji said. “I hope to finish glazing and firing the spirals soon and once I finish that they will stand together as a specific arrangement,” he said.

“An interesting aspect throughout my pieces is that, while their exterior gives the viewer an appearance of a filled inside, the interior is completely hollow and required careful deliberation to do so,” Moolji said.

The students did not have any specific instructions, so they were able to expand their inspiration as they worked on their projects. One purpose of the installation was to highlight the importance of going beyond what is perceived as conventional, Moolji said.

When an artist learns how the clay works with their particular style, they can make it into anything they want, allowing for a variety of options, which is a significant aspect of works featured in the gallery, McNutt said.