Clay’s Anatomy: Art Students Craft Ceramic Body Parts

A hand made by beginner ceramic student Anna Stanton as part of Lisa Conway’s class. The hand will join other ceramic body parts to form a “human totem pole” and will be hung up in Archer Gallery May 16. (Photo by Andy Bao.)

It’s body parts galore for ceramics instructor Lisa Conway’s beginners ceramics classes.

The two classes, which consist of about 20-30 students, are working on what Conway would describe as “totem poles,” which incorporate an array of body parts including ears, hands, hearts, brains and more.

While the project is unique, Conway was inspired through social media.

“I saw a version of it that another instructor who teaches at the University of California had done,” Conway said. “He posted it on Facebook and I saw it and I just knew immediately we have to do that at Clark.”

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However, Conway has her own take on the idea.

“His was a little different in that his was only internal body parts,” Conway said, “But our students are doing both internal and external body parts.”

The beginner students were very successful in their artwork, despite the complicated details that come with sculpting body parts, said Conway. Among these students is Libby Gregory.

Gregory sculpted a hand with an intricate henna design on it.

“It was really hard at first because the only other clay class I’ve taken was in seventh grade,” Gregory said. “But I think that it’s really soothing to just work on clay and not worry about anything.”

Gregory also expressed her excitement about the artwork being revealed at the Clark College Art Student Annual, which opened May 16 and goes until June 16.

“I think it’s cool that Clark has a place where we can show our work,” Gregory said.

Fellow student Aeva Lindsa, shared her excitement about the project as well.

“I really liked how the project started out as a lump of clay, and then it transformed into whatever body part you wanted to do,” Lindsa said.

Like her peers, Lindsa ran into some troubles of her own sculpting her detailed ear for the project.

“I struggled with getting the inside of the ear, and shaping it just the right way,” Lindsa said. “But it was really exciting in the end.”

Destini Shuemaker, a ceramics student and nursing major, emphasized how helpful her peers have been throughout the two week process and the importance of teamwork.

“I asked probably three or four people ‘Hey, what do you think about this? Does this look like lips? Should I shape this up?’ and they would tell me ‘Oh, no you shaved off too much.’ Just things like that,” Shuemaker said.

Ceramics student Meghan Jackson, gave her thoughts on what the final piece might look like.

“I think that once we put them all together, it’ll kind of be like a Picasso type feel. Different body parts and different positions sort of, so I’m hoping that it will look really good cohesively,” Jackson said.

The project is free and open to the public, along with other artwork from Clark students, in Archer Gallery.

About Lexi Hanson (4 Articles)
Reporter for the Independent. Portlandian and Seattilite.

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